Bagwell Center’s first undergraduate research fellows share their findings
KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 17, 2018) — A trio of Kennesaw State University students are conducting research on economic freedom, cryptocurrency and market factors affecting illicit drug prices, as the first undergraduate research fellows in the Bagwell Center for the Study of Markets and Economic Opportunity.
The first cohort of fellows is composed of finance major Sean Balliew, economics major Robbie Skinner and software engineering major Dave Hagemann. Their research papers examine a wide array of topics pertaining to the Bagwell Center’s mission to help students understand the relationship between free-market institutions, individual choice and economic outcomes.
“It is important for the Bagwell Center to encourage undergraduate students to participate in these kinds of research projects because it gives them the opportunity to engage in the conversation about the impacts of markets on society,” said Timothy Mathews, director of the center housed in the Coles College of Business.
Open to all undergraduate students at Kennesaw State, the Bagwell Center’s undergraduate research fellowship supports student-driven research into the societal impact of market institutions. Each student works alongside a faculty advisor throughout the academic year to produce a research paper eligible for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Sean Balliew presents his research at the Georgia Association of Economics and Finance Annual Conference
See the first issue of the Bagwell Center Undergraduate Working Paper Series.
“Through these papers, we hope students gain a better understanding of the ways markets work, and we hope they will continue their own research and/or become economically literate citizens," Mathews said.
Hagemann found that trading on the burgeoning cryptocurrency market actually can be as efficient for buyers and sellers as traditional financial markets. Meanwhile, Skinner’s research into the underground drug economy reveals that many factors that typically influence a product’s price – such as the item’s quality – do not apply to illegal markets; cocaine prices in New York are not influenced by the product’s purity. Finally, in comparing the relationship between a country’s gross domestic product and the economic freedom of its population, Balliew found that different methods of analyzing economic freedom can yield different outcomes.
“Given how important it is to understand and engage with foundational economic principles,” Mathews said, “it is impressive to see a group of undergraduate students do so with clarity, creativity and intellectual rigor.”
Bagwell Center Undergraduate Fellows Sean Balliew, Dave Hagemann, and Robbie Skinner
Participating in scholarly research was an exciting challenge for the undergraduate fellows, who each said the experience will aid them in achieving their career goals.
“I have learned more about my field of software engineering and how to apply it to other fields,” Hagemann said. “I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with the Bagwell Center on this project.”
Skinner said the process has deepened his appreciation for academic economics research. “The experience challenged me to raise difficult questions and allowed me an avenue in which I could pursue the answers,” he said.
Similarly, Balliew said this project was his first exposure to the academic research process.
“As a student studying finance who has entrepreneurial goals, academic methods of research were always foreign to me,” he said. “But I have always been curious about how certain elements of the process lead to new and original ideas that can be applied to the business world.”
With his research paper on economic freedom, Balliew now has the chance to contribute some new and original ideas of his own to the business world. The Southern Economic Association is currently reviewing his research paper for potential publication in the prestigious Southern Economic Journal.
Mathews said the quality of the research conducted by the Bagwell Center’s first cohort of undergraduate research fellows gives him hope for the program’s future.
“Their research will contribute to a body of literature that aims to explore the importance of liberty and free markets with respect to human welfare,” Mathews said.
The center takes on a new cohort of fellows each year. Mathews encourages all creative, academically strong students with an interest in pursuing their own research goals to learn more about the fellowship and to apply at the Undergraduate Research Fellows Homepage.
— Patrick Harbin
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.