By Maizy Swift, Asst. Production editor
The Eastern Economic Association held its 49th Annual conference at the Sheraton in New York City, where they presented information on their current research from several studies they have been conducting.
Christopher Machol, a senior at Manhattan College, was one of the presenters at the conference. Machol did his research on the Bronx River and its water quality.
“I’ve been working on this project for about a year or so,” Machol explained, “ and the inspiration for it came from my internship at the Bronx River Alliance, which is a nonprofit organization in the South Bronx.”
The Bronx River Alliance has a goal to raise the water quality of the Bronx River, which is what inspired Machol to research this specific topic.
“The purpose of that organization is to revitalize the Bronx River and then also enhance the water quality so that the communities in the area can access it. So my research specifically was looking at the solar panel system that they have on the headquarters of their building, and I used that data and then I combined it with weather data from LaGuardia Airport, and then I determined how weather impacted energy production.”
The issue Machol is researching has an effect on the community, as helping with water and air pollution in the area could increase income and standard of living.
“It’s located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City, and so it also has a disproportionate amount of air pollution,” Machol said, “so by promoting these kinds of sustainable developments in low income areas that are burdened by polluting, we’re able to reduce the pollution burden as well as provide the communities with, in this case, they’re not being provided with income but if they were to put the same solar panel installation on houses in this area, then that would have a income effect there.”
In fact, there has been some improvement, as the Bronx River has been visited by some new wildlife recently.
“Just trying to outreach, trying to make the community more aware of the amenities that are available and how far that the river has come in recent decades because now there were dolphins in the river a few weeks ago.”
Dr. Jimena González Ramírez, a professor at MC, also presented research at the Conference. She had two presentations, the first of which on different teaching styles.
“The first one was part of a teaching session, where I presented how to use media and team based learning application exercises to engage students in environmental economics courses,” Dr. González explained, “I want to make sure that my teaching is engaging. It really shows the relevance of environmental economics and it shows the importance of the field within economics.”
As far as the second study, Dr. González researched how people recreational use may decrease with park fees.
“Are the people who play disc golf going to substitute away from the park that has a fee? We can answer this question because we have data from this app where the golfers can record their scores, so as people go out discing, they can say, I did three throws or hole one or whatever, and we have partnered with the app which is called U disk and they give us all the data from 2015 to 2021 every day for both parks and then we can see if the people are substituting away from FDR because of the charge.”
Dr. González was inspired by both her interest in environmental economics, and furthermore the way people interact with a sport that is harder to access in an urban area.
“As an environmental economist within environmental economics, we have something we study which is recreation demand. We care about how people interact with the environment, so going outdoor hiking through this is one way of interacting with the surroundings.”
Dr. González hopes that this study can bring disc golf to places near MC, and overall wants to see how people living in a city can still interact with recreation activities.
“Part of the motivation was to study the sport, because it’s really not accessible for people in the city,” Dr. González explained, “This is one out of many projects that I have connected to disc golf, another one, we want to figure out the value, of course closer to the city, so that people who don’t have cars can actually access it and we have been in touch with stakeholders who are looking into running a course whether it would be Van Cortlandt Park or another place within New York City.”
Another presenter at the conference, Danielle McGowan Vetere, a Manhattan College Alumni, began her research for this project her senior year.
“I started this research during the fall semester of my senior year in 2021. I first started working on it as an independent study with one of my Manhattan College professors, Professor Koimisis,”
Her research was based on macroeconomics, and how economic literacy can lead to unequal access to finances and other inequities.
“The focus of our research is a macroeconomic topic, specifically studying the link between remittances, economic literacy and income inequality. We study this link by investigating two main points. First, we investigate whether the effect of remittances on income inequality is enhanced when the level of economic literacy is higher. We also investigate whether financial development plays a role in income inequality when the level of economic literacy is considered.
“Specifically, through literature reviews and economic studies in general, we found that the connection between remittances and inequality growth has not been sufficiently examined. Economic literacy is also important to study as it accounts for one’s knowledge of budgeting, financial markets, investing, how certain global events may affect markets, etc.”
Taking part in the Eastern Economic Association can benefit any Manhattan College student, as anyone can decide their own topic of research or learn something new.
“Having some MC students attend and present at an economics conference may encourage others to start research projects,” Vetere explained, “Overall, it’s not only an informative experience as you listen to other presenters and their research, but it’s also a chance for presenters to get experience describing their findings to an audience.”
Overall, The Eastern Economic Associations’ research is not only interesting, but is a great way to get involved with the betterment of the community, and is open to any MC student.