Refugees and Crime: What is the Evidence?

It is hardly a surprise to anyone that the idea of some sort of a link between refugee resettlement and crime is pervasive. It was a central topic of debate in the 2016 US election. Due to the center stage of this topic, within the first week of President Trump’s term, the US refugee resettlement…

“What do you do?” “I’m a development economist”

There is a small Twitter fad going around recently, it goes something like this: “What do you do?” “I’m an economist.” “Oh, cool! I’ve been thinking about making some investments, any advise?” “I’m not that kind of economist. I’m a development economist who studies poverty alleviation in Africa.” “Ah, okay. I’ve never been to that…

Mini-Summaries from MIEDC 2018

A couple weekends ago, my department (Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota) hosted the Midwest International Economic Development Conference (MIEDC). It is a smaller conference with tremendous quality of presentations. Despite this, many are not able to attend the conference or even all of the sessions. As a service to those interested, a few…

The Impact of Christian Theology on Economic Outcomes

Religion, spiritual practices, and faith are easily observable factors in the daily lives of people almost anywhere in the world. This leads many to speculate and theorize about the role of religion in driving economic and social outcomes. Positive correlations abound between religiosity and a host of factors that may influence economic success. Correlation, however,…

How Much Does the Cardinal Treatment of Ordinal Variables Matter? – New Working Paper

Concepts such as subjective well-being, satisfaction, happiness, trust, measures of quality, and even standardized test scores are all measured using an ordinal variable. This means that we know the rank of the response categories (e.g. a respondent reporting being “very satisfied” indicates they are more satisfied than if they had reported being “satisfied”), but we…