Dennis Coates, Economics, on Econ Journal Watch

Economics Professor Dennis Coates was recently a guest on an Econ Journal Watch podcast discussing his research that found economists mostly frown on government subsidies for professional sports franchises, facilities and events. He was a guest on the program with Brad Humphreys, an associate professor of economics at the University of Alberta.

During the interview, Coates commented on claims that sports stadiums bring economic benefits and prosperity to cities and their immediate metropolitan areas.

“The evidence is that they are minimal at best, and may in fact even be negative,” Coates said. “We think of tangible benefits as job creation and income growth, and any benefits that occur, they occur in a form that is not job creation or income growth or tax revenue growth.”

To listen to the full podcast on Econ Journal Watch and for more on the research by Coates and Humphreys, click here.

Anna Shields, MLLI, Awarded Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Grant

Anna Shields, an associate professor of modern languages, linguistics and intercultural communication, is part of a three-person team that has been awarded a Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) grant for a collaborative reading workshop in 2015.

Shields, along with two colleagues at Cornell University and the University at Albany, were co-organizers of the grant, which was submitted in November. They were awarded $10,000 for the reading workshop, at which they will be studying the historical development of what “literary competence” meant in the Tang dynasty, looking at historical and literary texts from the 7th-9th centuries. The goal will be to produce a set of articles that they can then publish in a single issue of a journal or perhaps as a stand-alone volume.

Three other colleagues from the University of Colorado, Indiana University and Beijing University will also participate, and the workshop will be held at Cornell University in June

Jason Schiffman, Psychology, in The Baltimore Sun

Jason SchiffmanJason Schiffman, an associate professor of psychology, and his team of researchers are leading a study this spring to increase awareness of mental illness and break down the stigma that often prevents those with symptoms from getting the help they need. Their work was featured in an article published March 21 in The Baltimore Sun.

“Many of the folks who need help get lost somehow,” Schiffman said. “”There are so many kids and young adults who slip through the cracks.”

The article details the work behind the study, which will have participants listen to a tape that simulates the voices that those with psychosis hear as they go about their routines, and watch a video in which UMBC students talk about their personal experiences with mental illness.

The research study is part of the overall work Schiffman and his team are doing as part of the Center for Excellence on Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness, a collaborative effort among the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the university’s Medical Center and UMBC to identify and treat mental illness in young people.

Danielle Denenny and Eryn Bentley, two graduate students working as part of Schiffman’s research team, are also quoted in The Baltimore Sun article titled, “UMBC study among efforts to increase awareness of mental illness.” To read the full story, click here.

Brian Grodsky, Political Science, Op-Ed in Al Jazeera America

As Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a bill that completes Russia’s annexation of Crimea, nearby Poland is keeping a watchful eye on the developing situation.

Brian Grodsky

Brian Grodsky, an associate professor of political science, wrote an op-ed for Al Jazeera America that explores Polish perspective on the most recent developments. Grodsky is currently a visiting professor at the University of Warsaw, where he teaches classes on democratization and comparative politics. 

“Poles are watching the latest developments in their next-door neighbor with a mix of quiet anxiety and resignation,” Grodsky writes in his column titled, “Poles jittery over Russia’s expansion.” In the article, Grodsky argues Poland has cause for concern.

“For starters, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to protect ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Securing Kiev, the source of the problems in Ukraine, would be a logical and easy next step for him. Putin has also warned “meddlers” farther west, including Poland and Lithuania, that they are under watch,” he writes.

Grodsky adds, “the West’s halfhearted reaction to Russia’s takeover of Crimea has made it clear to a growing number of Poles that they will be, at the end of the day, largely on their own in the face of a Russian threat.”

To read the full column in Al Jazeera Americaclick here.

Justin Vélez-Hagan, Public Policy, Op-Ed in Fox News Latino

In an op-ed on the Puerto Rican debt crisis published March 20 in Fox News LatinoPublic Policy Ph.D. student Justin Vélez-Hagan argues default will be inevitable as a more than $1 billion deficit is expected to round out the current fiscal year. Vélez-Hagan is also executive director of the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce.

“Puerto Rico’s well-known dependency on credit first made public waves when every credit-rating agency gave Puerto Rico a vote of no confidence last month, citing major liquidity concerns as the biggest culprit for the downgrades,” Vélez-Hagan writes.

To dig itself out of the debt crisis, Vélez-Hagan adds: “[Puerto Rico] has to shed its fat by yanking off the fiscal Band-Aid and restructuring its debt. Speculators will suffer the most, and may have the loudest complaints, but after the initial shock Puerto Rico will finally have the chance to break its cycle of deficit-spending and will only then have another opportunity to make the right decisions that ensure long-term economic prosperity.”

You can read the full column in Fox News Latino here.

Kate Brown, History, Wins Environmental History Book Prize

plutopiaHistory Associate Professor Kate Brown has won the 2014 George Perkins Marsh Prize for her book, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013).

The award is given by the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) for the best book in environmental history. Brown received her prize March 15 in San Francisco at the annual ASEH conference.

Last fall, Brown presented a Social Sciences Forum on Plutopia which explored the work and research behind her book. More information can be found here.

Meredith Oyen, History, on CNBC News Website

Meredith OyenMeredith Oyen, an assistant professor of history, is quoted in a CNBC News article about the five-man alternative rock band from Taiwan known as Mayday that is set to kick off a tour in the United States this month.

In the article, Oyen says music groups like Mayday are beginning to become more popular in countries around the world: “Mayday is starting to challenge the assumption that English-speaking pop stars are global stars, and Chinese-speaking acts are only regional ones,” she said.

Oyen is currently in China serving on a Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (Beijing) external evaluation panel to evaluate U.S. history courses taught at several Chinese universities. As part of the trip, she gave a lecture at Minjiang University called “The Meeting of Minds: Academic Exchanges in US-Chinese Relations.”

To read the full CNBC article that Oyen is quoted in, click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, on BBC News Website

A new Duke University study finds that contagious yawning is linked more closely to a person’s age than their ability to empathize, and it shows a stronger link to age than tiredness or energy levels.

Robert Provine

Psychology Professor Robert Provine was interviewed for a BBC News article about the study and said it was “unique” because it marked the first time a link between ageing and contagious yawning had been demonstrated.

The scientific study of contagious behavior, including yawning and laughing, was conducted in Provine’s lab at UMBC and the new Duke study involved application of his previous methods for examining contagious yawning.

Provine said the findings would “help to get down to the neurological nitty-gritty of contagious behaviors” and mental health disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, adding, “contagious acts such as yawning and laughing remind us that we are often mindless beasts of the herd, not rational beings in full conscious control of our behavior.”

To read the full article on the BBC News website, click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

In his latest column published in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about growing political polarization at the national level at the same time forces are eliminating divided government on the state level.

Tom Schaller

“The American states have cleaved into red and blue subsets. In all but three — yes, three — of the 49 states with bicameral, partisan state legislatures (Nebraska is unicameral and non-partisan), one party controls both chambers,” Schaller writes.

As the balance of power between parties is becoming more even at the state level, Schaller writes divided government continues to prevail on the national stage.

“The first two years of Mr. Obama’s presidency saw unified Democratic control, but the next four have been divided and the last two almost certainly will be — the same pattern during his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton’s term.”

To read the full op-ed titled, “Adapting to a politically divided nation,” click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in The Baltimore Sun

The 2014 campaign for Maryland governor is intensifying, and candidates in both parties are moving forward with proposals on taxes and spending as Election Day nears in November.

Donald Norris UMBC

Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris was interviewed for an article published March 14 in The Baltimore Sun about the race for governor and the various education expansion and tax cut proposals from candidates on both sides.

“This is campaigning as usual,” Norris said. “Promise, promise, promise in order to win as many votes as you can on these promises — and then worry about it when you get in office.”

To read the full article titled “Candidates make many promises — but how to pay for them?” in The Baltimore Sunclick here.