Tag Archives: economics

A University Lecture on Mathematics, Data Science, Finance, and Public Life

CathyONeilPoster-page-001Economics Professor Abigail Hornstein writes in:

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University, was a post-doc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mathematics Department, and was a professor at Barnard College, where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D. E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and next for RiskMetrics, a software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene; she then launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. O’Neil is a weekly guest on the Slate Money podcast. She co-wrote the book Doing Data Science (2013) and is the author of a new book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Random House, September 2016), about the dark side of big data.

Please contact the organizers with any questions: David Constantine (math), Abigail Hornstein (economics), and Chris Rasmussen (math)

Date: Thursday, April 21
Time: 8-9 PM
Place: Ring Family Performing Arts Hall (CFA)

Fighting Poverty with Data: Research at the Intersection of Machine Learning and Development Economics

From Joli Holmes ’17:

Next week the Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative will host a
Friday lunch (April 15th) talk in Downey House 113 at noon, featuring
Wesleyan alumnus Joshua Blumenstock, a graduate of 2003 with a degree in
Computer Science and Physics. He was a Watson fellow.

Joshua Blumenstock is Assistant Professor in the Information School, with affiliations in Computer Science and Engineering, at the University of Washington. He is co-Director of the Data Science and Analytics Lab, where they work on methods to analyse large-scale behavioral data, keyed to trying to understand better poverty and economic development.

Fighting Poverty with Data: Research at the Intersection of Machine Learning and Development Economics.
He’ll show how he and his collaborators have worked in Afghanistan, Ghana, and Rwanda combining field-based experiments and interviews with terabyte-scale mobile phone data to gain insight into the distribution of poverty and wealth in order to improve policy decisions.

Date: Friday, April 15
Time: 12PM-1PM
Place: Downey House

Economics Workshop

Ellen Chang ’17 writes in:

It is back!! The Economics Workshop starts this Sunday 2/14! It will continue throughout the semester Sunday to Thursday 7-9PM. Come by for assistance with economics course material or simply to chat with an Economics Peer Mentor!

Date: Sunday – Thursday
Time: 7:00 -9:00 PM
Place: Exley 58

Gender Economics Roundtable Discussion & Lunch

12105946_10153701078612269_6040459403287531098_nFrom Christina Sickinger ’18:

Join Provost and Professor of Economics Joyce Jacobsen for a
roundtable discussion of Gender Economics. Gender Economics is a field
of Economics drawing from Gender Studies, Sociology, and other
disciplines.

Professor Jacobsen will enlighten us all about some of the most
pressing and pertinent topics of the field – women in the economy,
gender differences in behavior and decision-making, the economics of
the family. Then, we’ll open it up to discussion and questions!

**Lunch will be provided!**

This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs and the
Female Economists of Wesleyan, with additional support from the
departments of Economics and FGSS.

Date: Wednesday, October 21th
Time: 12-1 PM
Place: ALLB311 – Top floor of Allbritton!
Facebook: Event page

What is the Church? Process Organisation Studies, Actor-Network Theory, and Excommunication for Debt

A message from Jamie Hall ’15 with the promise of cookies!

Between 1300 and 1550, church court across Europe frequently excommunicated delinquent debtors for breach of faith. This did not reflect the preoccupations of prelates or ecclesiastical judges, but widespread, popular demand for legal-religious remedies in matters of day-to-day, relatively minor credit.

By examining the practice of excommunication for debt in light of recent theories of network and organizations, we can glimpse how pre-Reformation believers understood the Church–and the market.

Cookies provided.

Date: Tuesday, April 21
Time: 4:15 PM
Place: Downey 113

CAPITAL: A Panel Discussion on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century

capital in the 21st century

Join a panel of Wesleyan professors for a lively debate about Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty. In his monumental book, Piketty analyzes data from 20 countries, going as far back as the 18th century. His discussion of the political sources of the distribution of income; his attempt to systematically examine how dynamics of capitalism breed wealth concentration; and his willingness to consider how government policies might save capitalism from itself have made him one of the most influential economists of our era.

Panelists:
Basak Kus, Sociology
Donald Moon, College of Social Studies
Melanie Khamis, Economics
Alex Dupuy, Sociology
Gill Skillman, Economics

Date: Tuesday, December 2 – Today!
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Russell House

So Apparently Wesleyan is “Economically Diverse”

Paying tuition never looked so bucolic

Paying tuition never looked so bucolic

Please put your iPhone back in your Patagonia sweatshirt pocket for a second. Apparently it’s time to rethink the idea that the Wesleyan student body is entirely made up of students from upper-class families, at least according to new data from the New York Times. In conjunction with an article on colleges recruiting from an increasingly diverse set of economic backgrounds, the Times has published a chart comparing the economic diversity of various schools. And Wesleyan has come out at number 13 on the list.

The chart ranks colleges according to a College Access Index, which is based on the percent of the past few freshman classes who came from low-income families (measured by the share receiving a Pell grant) and on the net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families. The data states that 18% of freshman classes arriving 2012-14 have received Pell grants, and that the average cost for low- and middle-income students is $8,700 a year. This gives Wesleyan a College Access Ranking of 1.5, putting us below Amherst and above Williams, for reference.

Happening Just About Now: Radical Giving and Alternative Economics

Hope Dana Pellegrino ’12 forgives our tardiness on this one:

RADICAL GIVING AND ALTERNATIVE ECONOMICS: a post-Wes conversation with Brendan Martin ’95, hosted by Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Lunch will be provided, and registration is required. If you would like to register and are unavailable to attend the lunch at noon but you are interested in meeting Brendan while he is on campus, contact mjkingsley@wes.

After graduating from Wesleyan with a degree in economics and a specific interest in issues of poverty and economic opportunity,
Brendan Martin ’95 started his career as a general manager at a Wall Street information firm. A few years later, he decided to change gears, and using his personal savings, he founded the “La Base” Loan Fund and The Working World, a non-profit which supports fledgling cooperatives and underrepresented workers in Argentina, Nicaragua, and ultimately in the United States. The Working World partners with workers’ cooperatives, helps them with their business plans, and offers other services. It has now made more than 600 loans, worth over $3 million, to some 100 cooperatives, ranging from metal-working to honey-gathering groups.

Guest Post: “An Open Letter to the Wesleyan Community on Our Current Situation”

The following is a guest post by Ross Levin ’15, titled “An Open Letter to the Wesleyan Community on our Current Situation”:

During the fall semester this year, I was not on campus, but whisperings of the efforts to save need-blind admissions still reached me, through Wesleying, through friends, through maverick independent journalist Ben Doernberg ’13. I was enthralled by all the activity and excited at the prospect of joining in the movement upon returning in January. However, in early October I received a startling email. Apparently, I was being fined $50 for writing a few sentences in chalk on the University’s pavement last April. And evidently, without paying the full $50, re-enrolling at Wesleyan University wouldn’t be an option.

So I replied to the email from our Dean of Students, inquiring as to the provenance of the figure of $50. The Dean wrote back promptly, informing me of the fact that ResLife, the office of the Dean of Students, Physical Plant, and all other institutions, organizations, sub-contractors, and autonomous collectives involved in the hefty task of regulating student-committed acts of chalk against pavement, brick, concrete, and otherwise script-conducive surfaces, have at their disposal a “formula.” This formula is precise in its calculations of financial damage done by the chalk. My $50 fine, I was graciously informed, was exactly equal to, no more and no less, the cost of restoring the Wesleyan University campus to its original state, as if I had never carried out that heinous deed.

Wes Students for a Free Society Discussion: Richie Adelstein on Libertarian Ethics

Charlie Smith ’15’s political sensibilities are less routine at Wesleyan than his name is:

Is taxation theft? Or is a government policy as moral as its outcome?

Does capitalism necessitate a system of natural rights? Does the free market presuppose an objective good?

Difficult questions, but surely Richie Adelstein has the answers. Come join Wesleyan Students for a Free Society for our final meeting of the semester.

Date: Tuesday, December 4
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:20 pm
Place: Room 421 PAC
Cost: taxation with representation