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ODE Induction 2018

Posted by: blackwellc | June 7, 2018 | No Comment |

On May 4, 2018, Professor Doug Walker welcomed the newest members of Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE), the Economics Honor Society. The following students were inducted:

  • Caroline Carmichael
  • Francesca Howard
  • Meg Montgomery
  • Trevor Padoll
  • Mark Rohrbacher

under: Students

Adam Smith Week 2018

Posted by: blackwellc | June 7, 2018 | No Comment |

Every spring semester, in conjunction with the Department of Economics, the Center for Public Choice and Market Process puts on Adam Smith Week. Through a variety of events, the week is a way to engage students, faculty, alumni and the community in a conversation on the ideas of Adam Smith and economics in general.

The theme of this year’s Adam Smith Week was Mainline Economics. Six prominent economists visited the College and gave lectures on six Nobel Laureates. The speakers (and the respective Nobelists) were:

  • Randy Holcombe (Nobelist: James Buchanan)
  • Bruce Caldwell (Nobelist:Friedrich Hayek)
  • Lynne Kiesling  (Nobelist: Ronald Coase)
  • Bart Wilson (Nobelist: Vernon Smith)
  • Bobbi Herzberg (Nobelist: Elinor Ostrom)
  • Kevin Grier (Nobelist: Douglas North)

For more information on Adam Smith Week, visit http://sb.cofc.edu/centers/publicchoice/programs-and-events/adam-smith-week/index.php.

under: Uncategorized

Graduating Seniors Caroline Carmichael and Meg Montgomery each made presentations at this year’s Association of Private Enterprise Education in Las Vegas. On April 2, 2018, both Meg and Caroline presented their posters at a special session focusing on undergraduate research.

Caroline’s presented work on income inequality. In her poster, “The Regional Determinants of Income Inequality,” she showed that a number of factors significantly impact income inequality at the state level. In particular, more economic freedom, increased education and higher union participation rates all seem to reduce income inequality.

Meg’s research project, “An Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap Amongst Congressional Staff Members,” formed the basis of her Bachelor’s Essay for the Honors College. In her research, she found that women Congressional staffers suffered from a larger pay gap than the 2017 national average, and that this gap was larger for women working in Republican legislator’s offices.

Congratulations to Meg and Caroline for presenting their hard work!

under: Students

This year’s winner of the Fanchon Morrow Condon Memorial Award/Outstanding Economics Student is Meg Montgomery. Meg is a Presidential Scholar graduating from the Honors College with a degree in Economics and minors in Data Science and Philosophy. She has been in the Center for Public Choice & Market Process Market Process Scholar program for two years. She has had the opportunity to work on various research projects and has presented her research on the Gender Wage Gap in Congress at the Association of Private Enterprise Education Undergraduate Poster Session, and William Moore Undergraduate Research Conference. She is the captain of the Women’s College of Charleston Ultimate Frisbee team and enjoys photography.

under: Students

Mark Witte in the Post and Courier

Posted by: blackwellc | July 19, 2017 | No Comment |

Mark Witte, Associate Professor of Economics and MBA director, is quoted extensively in this Sunday’s Post and Courier. The article, on private equity purchases in South Carolina, is available at:



under: Uncategorized

Behavioral Economics, Nudges and Handwashing

Posted by: blackwellc | July 12, 2017 | No Comment |

Student’s Bachelor’s Essay Yields Practical Policy Advice

We all know we should wash our hands regularly. Yet studies suggest as few as 5% of Americans wash their hands in compliance with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.

Zach Sturman, a Political Science major/Economics minor, and Daniela Goya-Tocchetto, Adjunct Professor of Economics, wanted to improve handwashing rates, and they seem to have done it. Sturman, who will enter Vanderbilt University’s joint J.D./Ph.D. program in Law and Economics in the fall, became interested in behavioral economics while taking an economics course with Professor Goya-Tocchetto. The two subsequently teamed up to design a ‘nudge’ – a non-binding behavioral cue –  to encourage more handwashing.

Sturman started the project by measuring baseline handwashing rates in the Beatty Center restrooms. Don’t worry – he didn’t skulk around the bathrooms watching people wash their hands! Instead, using infrared people monitors, he and Professor Goya-Tocchetto carefully counted the number of persons who used each restroom, and the amount of soap they consumed. From this data they could compute average soap consumption, a proxy for handwashing. (Note: Consistent with previous research, they found that men washed their hands less than women – let’s work on that, guys!)

Once the baseline was established, Sturman was ready to see how his ‘nudges’ would work. First he tried posting smiley faces on the mirrors in the restrooms. There was little effect, so he tried a second ‘nudge’ – arrows glued to the floor leading from the toilets to the sinks. Presto! This simple intervention increased soap usage by 15%! Consistent with previous studies, Sturman’s work showed that a simple, cheap and easy-to-implement cue could be used to positively change behavior.

If you are interested in learning more about Sturman’s project, his article for the College Today is available here:


Zach Sturman (far left) presents his research at the William Moore Student Research Conference

under: Students

Faculty Spotlight: Associate Professor Mark Witte

Posted by: blackwellc | July 11, 2017 | No Comment |

Now in his tenth year at the College of Charleston, Dr. Mark Witte came to the College of Charleston after earning his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Witte has published numerous articles in international trade and international finance as well as other fields such as sports economics, labor economics and comparative economics. In 2013, he co-founded Sports Analytics Consulting, LLC which aids collegiate and minor league organizations via statistical analysis. In 2016, he became Director of the Master of Business Administration program. In addition, he works with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce as part of their Economic Outlook Board.

In addition to his research and service, Dr. Witte teaches macroeconomics and international economics. He regularly works with undergraduates on research projects in sports and international economics.

Dr. Mark Witte

under: Alumni, Students

The Condon Award is given annually to the most outstanding student majoring in economics. The recipient is chosen by the economics faculty based on individual achievement. This year the faculty selected Victoria Drechsler and Elizabeth Mandell.

Victoria earned degrees in both Economics and Finance. She was a member of the College’s Women’s Golf Team and was selected to be a member of the Division 1 All-American Scholar Team for the past two years. A native of Munich, Germany, Victoria also speaks Italian and French. While at the College was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and the School of Business Investment Program.

Elizabeth graduated from the Honors College with a degree in Economics and a minor in Data Science, along with a Music Industry concentration. She was selected to be in the first cohort of Market Process Scholars for the Center for Public Choice & Market Process, and was been involved with the Center for nearly 4 years. Elizabeth was selected to be a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. In addition to her interest in economics, she also loves music, and is the vocalist and rhythm guitar player in her smooth jazz band, Horizon.

Congratulations Elizabeth and Victoria!

under: Students

2017 Alumni Reception

Posted by: blackwellc | June 1, 2017 | No Comment |

For the second year in a row, the Department of Economics hosted a reception for alums and graduating seniors. On Saturday, May 6, 2017, about thirty faculty and graduates caught up over drinks and hors d’oevres immediately before this year’s A Charleston Affair. We hope to make this a tradition – the department plans to host a similar event in 2018.

David Ahnen, Elizabeth Mandell, Katherine Lawson and Peter Calcagno (from left)

under: Alumni, Students

Graduation Spring 2017

Posted by: blackwellc | May 20, 2017 | No Comment |

Congratulations to the 23 Economics majors who graduated this spring!

under: Alumni, Students

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