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Where to From Here? A Comprehensive Analysis of Past and Future of The Republic of Cuba

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This paper analyzes modern day Cuba and draws conclusions about the most likely future political and economic events that will take place. Because of Cuba's troubled economy, leadership change and the world's continued shift towards democratization, Cuba is in a

This paper analyzes modern day Cuba and draws conclusions about the most likely future political and economic events that will take place. Because of Cuba's troubled economy, leadership change and the world's continued shift towards democratization, Cuba is in a position where drastic changes in its government and economic structure may occur. This paper investigates Cuba's history, politics, economy, and the general quality of life of its citizens, which are used to help predict what may happen to the Cuban government in the near future. The paper also analyzes options for foreign nations' policy towards Cuba and summarizes what actions they may take to increase the likelihood of an economic and political transition. Cuba's economic structure needs drastic reform, the reluctant privatization only increases wealth disparity, trust in the government continues to get weaker as more information and its human rights violations are causes of huge concern. There are four possible outcomes for Cuba's future: stagnation, adopting the mixed economic model, a peaceful transition to a democratic model, and rebellion. There is evidence that Cuba will not make drastic policy changes in favor of liberalization in the immediate future, however, if the economic conditions are not improved and an economic crisis ensues, this paper asserts that another revolution or coup will likely occur. The resulting government may be a new autocratic leader that fills the vacuum of leadership, or a democratic regime depending on the nature of the rebellion. The exact future of Cuba is uncertain, but one thing is clear, change is on the horizon.

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2018-05

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An Analysis of Consumer Demand for Digital Songs

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In this paper I seek to understand how consumers value music today by investigating what consumers are willing to pay for digitally downloaded songs (such as the ones available on the iTunes or Amazon music stores) and the variety of

In this paper I seek to understand how consumers value music today by investigating what consumers are willing to pay for digitally downloaded songs (such as the ones available on the iTunes or Amazon music stores) and the variety of factors that influence their willingness to pay. I conducted a survey and received over 500 responses regarding willingness to pay for single-song downloads, consumer sentiment on whether music should be free, streaming service use, and other information pertaining to music consumption behavior. Through this research I found that paid-streamers are willing to pay more for songs than those who do not pay to stream, all else being equal. Further, Free-streamers are not willing to pay significantly more or less than non-streamers. This finding is additional information to other research that suggests streaming acts as a substitute for sales. I also found that most consumers are in the middle when it comes to the debate for whether music should always be free or always be purchased. Where someone aligns on the spectrum is a statistically significant contributing factor to what that person is willing to pay for a song. My findings also suggest that consumer preferences distinguish between benefit derived from music ownership and benefit derived from the ability to listen to music. This information sheds more light on the reason behind the declining digital download market.

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2018-05

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No Worker Left Behind: An Analysis on a Universal Basic Income

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Many fear that the growth of automation and artificial intelligence will lead to massive unemployment since human labor would no longer be needed. Although automation does displace workers from their current jobs, it is unclear the total net effect on

Many fear that the growth of automation and artificial intelligence will lead to massive unemployment since human labor would no longer be needed. Although automation does displace workers from their current jobs, it is unclear the total net effect on jobs this period of advancement will have. One possible solution to help displaced workers is a Universal Basic Income. A Universal Basic Income(UBI) is a set payment paid to all members of society regardless of working status. Compared to current unemployment programs, a Universal Basic Income does not restrict participants in how to spend the money and is more inclusive. This paper examines the effects of a UBI on a person's motivation to work through a study on current college students. There is reason to believe that a Universal Basic Income will lead to fewer people working as people may become dependent on a base payment to meet their basic needs and not look for work. In addition, some people may drop out of their current jobs and rely on a UBI as their main form of income. The current literature does not offer a consensus opinion on this relationship and more studies are being completed with the threat of mass unemployment looming. This study shows the effects of a UBI on participants' willingness to work and then applies these results to the current economic model. With these results and new economic model, a decision about future policies surrounding a UBI can be made.

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2018-05

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The Thrill of Victory or the Agony of Defeat: Hosting a World Cup

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The FIFA World Cup is one of the most anticipated, inspiring, and intense sporting events in the world. Soccer has integrated itself not only in sports circles, but also in politics, commerce, and society as a whole. The sport

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most anticipated, inspiring, and intense sporting events in the world. Soccer has integrated itself not only in sports circles, but also in politics, commerce, and society as a whole. The sport has about two hundred million active players and is still growing, especially in areas such as North America and Asia. As of mid-2007, FIFA’s membership included 208-member associations, making it not only one of the largest and most powerful sports governing bodies, but also one of the most popular in the world.

Since 1930—with the exception of the break for World War II—every four years, the world’s best national teams face off in a soccer tournament. The last two tournaments hosted by South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014 will be the emphasis of this paper. Each tournament featured the thirty-two countries and captured a television audience of over three billion people throughout the month-long tournament, one billion of which tuned in for the final. For comparison, the Super Bowl XLIX where the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28 to 24 was the most watched event in United States’ history with a viewership of 114.4 million people.

Countries spend years planning and preparing to win a bid to host one of these mega events. Bids are often times awarded eight to twelve years in advance. There has been a recent trend of developing countries hosting the FIFA World Cups and the future bids already awarded follow that trend. Many people ask the question of whether all the money spent on infrastructure, construction, and tourism to host this tournament and gain international exposure are really worth it? Simply put, the 2010 FIFA World Cup was valuable to South Africa while the 2014 FIFA World Cup was not worth the costs to Brazil.

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2018-05

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An Analysis on the Impact of the Recession on Working Hours in European Countries

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The impact of the 2008 Great Recession was felt on a global level. While many European countries moved to
implement large fiscal adjustments in response to the financial crisis, various other economic consequences
were felt, such as inflation, public debt

The impact of the 2008 Great Recession was felt on a global level. While many European countries moved to
implement large fiscal adjustments in response to the financial crisis, various other economic consequences
were felt, such as inflation, public debt growth, and a decrease in purchasing power. A result from these
consequences that typically occur every recession are demand shocks within the employment sector. As firms
are put into tight financial positions, employers are forced to make employment decisions to cut costs for
long-term sustainability, such as laying off workers, or reducing their working hours.

This paper aims to investigate how weekly working hours are impacted by shocks to the economy across European countries. Using the 2008 recession as the basis, an empirical analysis was conducted with panel data for 32 countries over 33 years, with average weekly working hours across four occupational groups as the variable of interest, and various economic indicators such as GDP growth as independent variables. Additionally, countries were split up and grouped based on geographical location to examine potential country and region-specific trends.
Over time, there is a decreasing trend in weekly working hours across all observed occupations and countries. This decreasing trend continues during the 2008 recession, but the slope of decrease is not significant relative to the entire time period. However, when dis-aggregated into occupational groups with a distinction between full-time and part-time workers, the trends in working hours are a much more noticeable, both during the recession and over the entire time frame of observation.

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2019-05

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Probabilistic Voting: An Addition to theDowns Two Party Voting Model

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This paper proposes that voter decision making is determined by more than just the policy positions adopted by the candidates in the election as proposed by Antony Downs (1957). Using a vector valued voting model proposed by William Foster (2014),

This paper proposes that voter decision making is determined by more than just the policy positions adopted by the candidates in the election as proposed by Antony Downs (1957). Using a vector valued voting model proposed by William Foster (2014), voter behavior can be described by a mathematical model. Voters assign scores to candidates based on both policy and non-policy considerations, then voters then decide which candidate they support based on which has a higher candidate score. The traditional assumption that most of the population will vote is replaced by a function describing the probability of voting based on candidate scores assigned by individual voters. If the voter's likelihood of voting is not certain, but rather modelled by a sigmoid curve, it has radical implications on party decisions and actions taken during an election cycle. The model also includes a significant interaction term between the candidate scores and the differential between the scores which enhances the Downsian model. The thesis is proposed in a similar manner to Downs' original presentation, including several allegorical and hypothetical examples of the model in action. The results of the model reveal that single issue voters can have a significant impact on election outcomes, and that the weight of non-policy considerations is high enough that political parties would spend large sums of money on campaigning. Future research will include creating an experiment to verify the interaction terms, as well as adjusting the model for individual costs so that more empirical analysis may be completed.

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2019-05

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EFFECT OF A CASHLESS ECONOMY ON THE ROBBERY RATE

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A global trend towards cashlessness following the increase in technological advances in financial transactions lends way to a discussion of its various impacts on society. As part of this discussion, it is important to consider how this trend influences crime

A global trend towards cashlessness following the increase in technological advances in financial transactions lends way to a discussion of its various impacts on society. As part of this discussion, it is important to consider how this trend influences crime rates. The purpose of this project is to specifically investigate the relationship between a cashless society and the robbery rate. Using data collected from the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusions Index and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, we implemented a multilinear regression to observe this relationship across countries (n = 29). We aimed to do this by regressing the robbery rate on cashlessness and controlling for other related variables, such as gross domestic product and corruption. We found that as a country becomes more cashless, the robbery rate decreases (β = -677.8379, p = 0.071), thus providing an incentive for countries to join this global trend. We also conducted tests for heteroscedasticity and multicollinearity. Overall, our results indicate that a reduction in the amount of cash circulating within a country negatively impacts robbery rates.

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2019-05

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The Economic Impact of the Opioid Crisis in the United States

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This study examines the economic impact of the opioid crisis in the United States. Primarily testing the years 2007-2018, I gathered data from the Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, and Kaiser Family Foundation in order to examine the relative

This study examines the economic impact of the opioid crisis in the United States. Primarily testing the years 2007-2018, I gathered data from the Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, and Kaiser Family Foundation in order to examine the relative impact of a one dollar increase in GDP per Capita on the death rates caused by opioids. By implementing a fixed-effects panel data design, I regressed deaths on GDP per Capita while holding the following constant: population, U.S. retail opioid prescriptions per 100 people, annual average unemployment rate, percent of the population that is Caucasian, and percent of the population that is male. I found that GDP per Capita and opioid related deaths are negatively correlated, meaning that with every additional person dying from opioids, GDP per capita decreases. The finding of this research is important because opioid overdose is harmful to society, as U.S. life expectancy is consistently dropping as opioid death rates rise. Increasing awareness on this topic can help prevent misuse and the overall reduction in opioid related deaths.

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2019-05

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The Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Real GDP per Capita

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The Medicaid expansion policy that was introduced during the Obama administration has been a political point of controversy. The expansion aimed to increase health insurance coverage for those who are unable to afford health insurance for themselves.

The Medicaid expansion policy that was introduced during the Obama administration has been a political point of controversy. The expansion aimed to increase health insurance coverage for those who are unable to afford health insurance for themselves.
This analysis aimed to determine the economic effect of the Medicaid expansion on real GDP per capita. The expansion is believed to result in greater worker productivity and increases in healthcare service consumption and consumption of other goods. As health insurance coverage may increase real GDP per capita due to healthier workers being more productive, an analysis was first done on the effect of the expansion on health insurance coverage, then the effect of the health insurance coverage on real GDP per capita. The data used was in the time frame of 1999 to 2016 and organized by state, and gathered from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S Census Bureau, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The analysis was structured as a 2-stage multivariable linear regression. These regressions were modeled as a fixed-effects regression so states may be compared to itself over time. The first regression was of health insurance coverage on proportions of industry output from the agriculture, resources, manufacturing, and finance sector, median income, employment rate, poverty rate, Medicaid expansion status, and year. The predicted values of this regression were then used as an instrumental variable in the second regression. The second regression was of real GDP per capita on proportions of industry output from the agriculture, resources, manufacturing, and finance sector, median income, employment rate, poverty rate, the instrumental variable, and year. Regressions were also done on the expansion’s effect on per capita personal consumption expenditures and healthcare consumption expenditures using the instrumental variable.
The results of the regressions show that the expansion had a positive effect on health insurance coverage and real GDP per capita. It also increased personal expenditures per capita and healthcare expenditures per capita, suggesting that the lower price of healthcare results in increased overall consumption. The data was constrained by time, as the expansion was only implemented recently, and some states are still deciding whether or not to. Thus, the results of support expectations, but more time would need to pass to more accurately estimate the effects of the expansion on these states.

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2019-05

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Effects of Water Right Heterogeneity on Price in California Water Markets

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Research on California water markets has historically made two inaccurate assumptions regarding water rights: that water is a one-dimensional commodity, and that every water rights holder is in the market to sell. In reality, water is a bundled good that

Research on California water markets has historically made two inaccurate assumptions regarding water rights: that water is a one-dimensional commodity, and that every water rights holder is in the market to sell. In reality, water is a bundled good that comprises varying attributes, and the decision to become a seller often has more to do with politics than price. This thesis analyzes the heterogeneous dimensions of a water right to explain the evolution of supply, demand, and price in California water markets. A dataset of 712 short-term surface water transfers in California from the period of 1990 through 2016 is analyzed to explain market trends and model the price of water. The data comes from a proprietary dataset of water transfers provided by WestWater Research, LLC (WestWater). Transfer data is distinguished based on variables such as buyer and seller experience, perennial crop plantings, seasonal timing of sale, buyer and seller region, water-year type, and end use. A variety of figures present summary statistics of the data. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression is used to identify variables that are statistically significant in estimating the unit price of water in dollars per acre-foot ($/AF). The regression shows that State Water Bank (SWB) purchases, Environmental Water Account (EWA) purchases, environmental end use, North of Delta (NOD) seller location, the San Joaquin Valley Water-Year Index (San Joaquin Index), total perennial crop acreage, and purchases made by South Coast buyers were statistically significant at the 95% or 99% confidence interval. These variables were included in the final econometric model to estimate price.

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2018-05