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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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Fundamentals of Blockchain in the Supply Chain

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The objective of this paper is to provide an educational diagnostic into the technology of blockchain and its application for the supply chain. Education on the topic is important to prevent misinformation on the capabilities of blockchain. Blockchain as a

The objective of this paper is to provide an educational diagnostic into the technology of blockchain and its application for the supply chain. Education on the topic is important to prevent misinformation on the capabilities of blockchain. Blockchain as a new technology can be confusing to grasp given the wide possibilities it can provide. This can convolute the topic by being too broad when defined. Instead, the focus will be maintained on explaining the technical details about how and why this technology works in improving the supply chain. The scope of explanation will not be limited to the solutions, but will also detail current problems. Both public and private blockchain networks will be explained and solutions they provide in supply chains. In addition, other non-blockchain systems will be described that provide important pieces in supply chain operations that blockchain cannot provide. Blockchain when applied to the supply chain provides improved consumer transparency, management of resources, logistics, trade finance, and liquidity.

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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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A Macroeconomic Model of Skill Mismatch within OECD Countries

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This paper investigates the effect of the mismatch between workers' skills and the job requirements on the aggregate output and the earnings distribution. It develops a labor market model in which workers of different skills are allocated across jobs with

This paper investigates the effect of the mismatch between workers' skills and the job requirements on the aggregate output and the earnings distribution. It develops a labor market model in which workers of different skills are allocated across jobs with different skill requirements, and this allocation is distorted by various government regulations. The model is calibrated to match the features of the earnings distribution and the extent of the skill mismatch reported by The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) for 2015. The model is then used to evaluate the economic outcomes of eliminating government regulations leading to skill mismatch. I find that such a change, despite an almost negligible effect on aggregate output, has quite a significant impact on the distribution of earnings. More formally, output increase by merely 0.045%, while wages allocated to routine workers increases by 1.77% and wages allocated to specialized workers reduced by 10.52%.

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2018-05

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Chinese Investment in Latin America and Latent Implications

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Within sixty years, the People’s Republic of China has risen from a struggling post-civil war state to the second largest economy in the world, comprising of 16.71 percent of the global economy as of 2015. While China has grown,

Within sixty years, the People’s Republic of China has risen from a struggling post-civil war state to the second largest economy in the world, comprising of 16.71 percent of the global economy as of 2015. While China has grown, its presence internationally has grown as well—China has utilized its capital to foment important relationships and foster soft power dynamics, making billions available in development aid and investment projects across the globe, most notably in Africa and Latin America, where Chinese goods have begun to dominate the markets there as they have in American counterparts. However, within Latin America China has been investing in countries that are traditionally seen as “risky” financial investments. This paper hypothesizes that the returns on Chinese investments in Latin America are not financial, but political—that China is investing in expansion of its soft-power and legitimizing its beginnings of global hegemony. The paper also explores the success of these initiatives by comparing the level of Chinese investment to changes in Latin American foreign policy alignment, discourse, and agreements through utilizing case studies of Venezuela and Bolivia.

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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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An Analysis of the Recreational Marijuana Industry in Colorado

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Since 2014, the legal marijuana industry has flourished in Colorado, the first state to ever legalize its recreational use in the United States. It is necessary to fully understand the economic impact of the implementation of the recreational system as

Since 2014, the legal marijuana industry has flourished in Colorado, the first state to ever legalize its recreational use in the United States. It is necessary to fully understand the economic impact of the implementation of the recreational system as well as the characteristics of the market for lawmakers, business owners, and voters to make educated decisions on future legislation. This report will delve into these matters in an objective manner to provide all the stakeholders in any present or future recreational marijuana market (users, business owners, legislators) with accurate information on the current state of the industry. Starting with an introduction of the history of marijuana in the United States, as well as the factors that led to its illegality, offers insight into the past and current laws currently impacting the recreational marijuana market in Colorado, with special emphasis on the state regulatory framework in place at this time. The analysis will include an in-depth examination of the current market forces at play in the recreational marijuana market, including technological, sociological, and economic factors, with a look at current business-level strategies for marijuana businesses and the threats arising from alcohol and tobacco, the drug's main substitutes. This report will explain the tax framework in place in Colorado, and investigate trends in market sales and tax revenues, including detailed statistics on the distribution of tax revenue throughout the state. A comprehensive analysis of the legislative issues the market faces, both in Colorado and across the country, will thoroughly indicate the major problems the industry must overcome in the future, or whether it can do so at all. These will include difficulties in the banking, taxation, insurance, and bankruptcy systems that marijuana-related businesses currently face.

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2018-05

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Origins, Economics, and Significance of Trade Imbalances in a Modern, Globalized World

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Government and news outlets everywhere preach that trade is hurting their domestic economy. However, trade is supposed to be beneficial to all theoretically. So where is the disconnect? This thesis was created to gather understanding about trade in the real

Government and news outlets everywhere preach that trade is hurting their domestic economy. However, trade is supposed to be beneficial to all theoretically. So where is the disconnect? This thesis was created to gather understanding about trade in the real world and how it can be accurately portrayed. First, I looked at the basics of bilateral and multilateral trade to show that trade imbalances will always exist and show that this idea that countries have that trade surpluses are best is incorrect. Second, I compared the accuracies of the two measures of trade that exist: balance of trade and current account measures. I conducted this research to show that the common measure of trade (balance of trade) is inaccurate and the stronger, more accurate measure is the current account measure. After coming to this conclusion, I began to see what factors in countries affect their current account balance. I looked at five categories: demographics, investment climate, level of economic development, existence of a technology boom, and current trade policy, and looked at theoretical explanations for how each one affects the current account. In the end, I was able to create a theory based on these five factors to predict the current account balance in any country and describe its trade health. In conclusion, I found that the issue of trade misconceptions lies in which measurement someone uses, and this simple misunderstanding can lead to things such as trade wars and global economic degradation.

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2018-05

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The Effects of Grade Inflation on Student Learning Outcomes

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Grade inflation in modern universities across the United States has been documented since the 1960's and shows no signs of disappearing soon. Responses to this trend have ranged from mild worry to excessive panic. However, is the concern justified? How

Grade inflation in modern universities across the United States has been documented since the 1960's and shows no signs of disappearing soon. Responses to this trend have ranged from mild worry to excessive panic. However, is the concern justified? How significant are the effects, if any, of grade inflation on students? Specifically, does grade inflation on the aggregate level have any effect on how much an individual will learn from their courses? This is precisely the question my project hoped to address. Grade inflation in U.S. colleges has played a central role in student-teacher relationships and the way university classrooms run. Through teacher interviews, student surveys, and a literature review, this paper investigates the nuanced effects grade inflation is having on student motivation and learning. The hypothesis is that the easier it is for a student to obtain their desired grade, the less they will end up engaging in and learning from a given course. Major findings of the literature include: grade inflation has robbed grades of their signaling power, grade inflation has helped create students are too grade-oriented, student evaluations of teaching have prompted higher grades, higher expectations for high grades induce greater study times, and open dialogue can help reverse grade inflation trends. The student surveys and faculty interviews agreed with much of the literature and found that professors believe grade inflation is real but do not believe its effects are significant, students admit to being primarily motivated by grades, and students find grades critically important to their future. The paper concludes that grade inflation is not as detrimental to student outcomes as ardent critics argue and offers practical ways to address it.

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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