On April 14th, a team of U-M undergraduate economics majors—the "Econ Wolverines”—won second place at the 2019 Econometrics Game hosted by the University of Chicago’s Undergraduate Economics Research Society; beating out teams from MSU, Harvard, University of Chicago, and Moscow University.
The game is an annual competition where teams are given a dataset and 14 hours to devise an answer to a question of economic importance. This year, teams were prompted to use changes in import competition on US markets to identify a causal effect. Given a paper by David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson about import competition from China, they were tasked with using this data (and finding more) to identify something impacted by US import competition.
Juniors Amanda West and Jessica (Jessi) Meadows worked alongside seniors Joseph (Joe) Mancina and Shane Reed, utilizing the Autor et al. paper to determine how Chinese imports to the United States affected union participation rates. Ultimately, they posited this importation as a factor in the decline of U.S. unionization since the 1990s (down from 25% to 12.5%); they believed this relevant as industries tending to be unionized are often impacted by importation. Their subsequent paper, entitled "An IV Estimation of Domestic Declining Unionization in Urban Centers,” led them to claim second place at the competition.
The Econ Wolverines were awarded kindles for their success and report the competition was a great experience and a wonderful accomplishment.