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Some Economics Student/Faculty Publications

Vandegrift, D. and Duke, K. ’13. 2015. Competitive Behavior, Impact on Others, and the Number of Competitors, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 57: 37-44.

Abstract: This paper investigates changes in competitive behavior that follow from changes in: 1) the impact of competitive behavior on others; and 2) the size of the competitive reference group. Using a 2×3 between-subjects design, we asked participants whether they would work more hours (i.e., “compete”) in return for an increase in pay, varying: 1) group size – small (n = 4) or large (n = 40); 2) whether there is impact on others or not; and 3) given impact on others, whether there is future interaction or not. We find that when competitive behavior has no impact on coworkers (i.e., the baseline), the size of the competitive reference group does not influence the level of competitive behavior. If we allow the competitive choice to reduce the earnings of coworkers: 1) the level of competitive behavior falls relative to the baseline; and 2)  increases in the size of the competitive reference group increase the level of competitive behavior. The level of competitive behavior falls further when respondents also anticipate future interactions with the reference group.


Vandegrift, D. and Loyer, J. ’10. 2015. The Effect of Walmart and Target on the Tax Base: Evidence from New Jersey. Journal of Regional Science, 55: 159-187.

Abstract: We find that a new Walmart has no significant effect on the growth in the tax base in either the host or the adjacent municipality. By contrast, a new Target has a significant positive effect on the growth in the tax base per acre in the host municipality and in the adjacent municipality. The new Target raises the real tax base per acre in the host municipality by about 2.82 percent and in the adjacent municipality by about 5.87 percent. Seventy percent of the host municipality effect follows from changes in the nonresidential tax base.


Vandegrift, D. and Holaday, B. ’11. 2012. Competitive Behavior: Tests of the N-Effect and Proximity to a Standard. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 5: 182-192.

Abstract: Previous research establishes that: 1) individuals behave more competitively when they perceive themselves to be close to a reference standard (i.e., proximity to a standard); 2) individuals behave more competitively when the number of competitors is small (i.e., the n-effect); and 3) men compete more intensely than women in tournament competition situations.  This paper seeks to test the robustness of these results. To do this, we construct four versions of a survey instrument (i.e., a 2 × 2 design). The instrument varies the number of competitors and the individual’s proximity to a standard. The instrument tests the robustness of the results by asking respondents to make decision about effort (rather than a distribution) and allows the impact of competitive decisions on other competitors to vary inversely with the number of competitors. Across the entire sample, respondents in proximity to the standard show more competitive behavior. However, this effect is due entirely to changes in the behavior of men. Finally, we find that the n-effect is not robust when competitive behavior has an impact on others.


Vandegrift, D., Lockshiss, A. ’09, and Lahr, M. 2012. “Town versus Gown: The Effect of a College on House Prices and the Tax Base,” Growth and Change, 43: 304-334.

Abstract: The analysis reported here suggests that the presence of a college is associated with house prices that are about 2.7 percent higher. However, the effect is caused only by four-year colleges and the primary source of the effect is the degree to which the college is residential. Interestingly, the size of the college as measured by enrollment has no effect on house prices. While the results indicate that municipalities with a community college have a tax base that is 11.6 percent higher, evidence to support the claim that colleges cause the tax-base increase is weak. Finally, neither the size of the college (measured by enrollment) nor the degree to which the college is residential has an impact on the tax base.


Samanta, S. and Szyfman, S. ’11. 2011. “Impact of an Interest on Reserves Regime on Monetary Policy Effectiveness: Evidence from New Zealand,” The Journal of World Economic Review, 6, No. 2: 111-121.

Abstract: The paper examines the case of New Zealand’s 1999 transition from a Monetary Conditions Index (MCI) instrument to that of an Offered Cash Rate (OCR) instrument to analyze the efficacies of the monetary policies. The MCI was a direct function of the interest rate and exchange rate, whereas the OCR is a function of broader economic variables correlated with short-term interest rates and the exchange rate. Although both policy instruments are meant to attain and anchor inflation expectations, the OCR regime provides greater oversight, influence, and control for the Reserve Bank over the financial market.


Mullings, A. ’09 and Samanta, S. 2010. “Quality of Health with Technological Advancement: An Empirical Study of Obesity Rate from United States, United Kingdom and Japan,” International Journal of Quality and Productivity Management, 10: 30-39.

Abstract: Recently, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the obesity rate of its population and the same phenomenon has been experienced by different countries across the globe, implying that obesity is not a disease of the rich country only, but a global problem. Discussions are going on about what causes the growth in the obesity rates, and if obesity targets a specific cultural group of people, thereby identifying the warning signs and taking precautionary actions. In this paper we want to analyze the role technology plays for such obesity. We have collected sample observations from three different countries from three different continents with different cultural and social backgrounds to identify the importance of technological development for the increasing obesity. Initial results indicate that technology does play a role but it is not as significant as we have anticipated. Other factors are probably more potent than technology for increasing obesity rates.


Mooney, P. ’09, Samanta, S., and Zadeh, A. H. M. 2010. “Napster and its Effects on the Music Industry: An Empirical Analysis,” Journal of Social Sciences, 6: 303-309.

Abstract: In the mid to late 1990s the rise of the internet has led to the development of  Peer-to-Peer networks (P2P), which allows for increased and rapid connectivity between individuals and has made the transfer of information and files as simple as clicking a button. The ability to connect so easily has had its share of positive and negative effects on the music industry. One potentially negative effect in particular has been the charge made by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group representing the music industry,  that P2P networks have enabled individuals to effectively steal and share music, which is concomitant with decreasing CD sales. Still others claim that the availability of free music on applications such as Napster and Kazaa, among others, has actually helped the music industry by exposing individuals to artists they might not have otherwise become aware of. This study attempts to empirically identify and measure the effects of illegal downloading on CD sales and the music industry as a whole, using semi-annual time series data for the years 1990 through 2007. Our regression results show that we cannot establish illegal downloading as the main culprit for decline in CD sales. There appears to be a number of factors driving down the sale of CDs, the largest of which is the sale of vinyl singles. The rise of legal online downloading since 2002 will also be accounted for the online electronic transfer and its effect on CD sales.


Pleskov, I. ’09, Samanta, S., and Zadeh, A. M. H. 2010. “Religion and  Economic Strength as Determinants of Corruption: A Comparison of OPEC  and OECD Countries,” International Journal of Management, 27: 728-744.

Abstract: The analysis of corruption in international business is a relatively new but very important phenomenon. It has been shown that both economic and social characteristics are significant factors for the development of corruption in business transaction and it suggests that corruption is a product of social and institutional facets of a country.  In this study we focus on a specific, closely related group of countries in order to isolate some variables that are significant determinants of corruption.  The OPEC countries are unique in a sense, because oil is a large part of the economy for these countries, and population of these countries are dominated mostly by one religion, Islam. Similarly, selected OECD countries are dominated by Christianity. This research work examines empirically the role of the dominant religion as a determinant of corruption in those countries.


Samanta, S. and Pleskov, I. ’09. 2010. “Does Religion Make a Difference as Determinant of Corruption: Evidence from  OPEC Countries,” Middle East Business and Economic Review, 21: 97-112.

Abstract: The analysis of corruption in international business is a relatively new but very important phenomenon. Many studies have attempted to capture the reasoning behind the corruption and its incidence on the economy. It has been shown that both economic and social characteristics are significant factors for the development of corruption in business transaction and it suggests that corruption is a product of social and institutional facets of a country.  In this study we focus on a specific, closely related group of countries in order to isolate some variables that are significant determinants of corruption.  The OPEC countries are unique in a sense, because oil is a large part of the economy for all these countries, and population of these countries are dominated mostly by one religion, Islam. This research work examines empirically the role of the dominant religion as a determinant of corruption in those countries.


Frumkin, D. ’08 and Vandegrift, D. 2009. “The Effect of Size, Age, Beta, and Disclosure Requirements on Hedge Fund Performance,” Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds, 15: 241-251.

Abstract: This paper analyzes hedge fund returns in excess of the S&P 500 to determine the effects of beta, fund size, age, and enforced registration in 2006 due to Rule 203(b)(3)-2.  We find that beta had a positive effect on performance, while the increasing age of a fund caused managers to suffer from “style drift,” thereby reducing the hedge fund’s performance.  Registration increased returns by 11.6% by raising the net worth requirement for accredited investors. This provided funds with a more knowledgeable investor and increased asset base stability. This suggests that advisers have been able to finance funds more efficiently by taking on more leveraged positions and holding less cash on hand, while pursuing a greater number of strategies.


Samanta, S. and Heyse, A. ’05. 2006. “Income Inequality and Economic Growth in Developing Countries: An Empirical Analysis,” Indian Journal of Economics & Business, 5: 237-248.

Abstract: Studies show conflicting conclusions about the relationship between income inequality and economic growth. This paper uses income inequality data from several developing countries to reexamine the issue. Based on panel data estimation over the 1966–1991 time period, the empirical evidence shows that developing countries with higher income inequality do not grow at a slower rate than developing countries with a more equal income distribution.


Vandegrift, D. and Yoked, T. ’01. 2004. “Obesity Rates, Income, and Suburban Sprawl: An Analysis of U.S. States” Health & Place, 10: 221-229.

Abstract: In a decade of economic growth and rising income, obesity has risen dramatically. This is puzzling when researchers have found that there is an inverse relation between income and obesity. This paper argues that new location patterns produced by suburban sprawl are an important cause of rising obesity rates. New location patterns are such that work, school and social activities are not as easily accessible by foot. Changes in sprawl then drive changes in the causes of obesity identified by medical researchers (e.g., low activity levels). We define sprawl as increases in the amount of developed land, holding population constant. Determinants and outcomes are analyzed on a population basis. We use state-level data from the 1990s on obesity to show that states that increased the amount of developed land (holding population constant) showed larger increases in obesity. As a result, town planning efforts to reduce sprawl may be justified not only on aesthetic grounds but also based on efforts to reduce the costs associated with treating medical conditions related to obesity.


Grube, B. ’02 and Samanta, S. 2003. “The Effects of Exchange Rate Uncertainty on Mexican Foreign Trade” Multinational Business Review, 11: 3-15.

Abstract: This paper examines the long-run equilibrium relation between exchange rate risk and the volume of foreign trade in Mexico. Because Mexico has instituted a series of market reforms designed to increase the volume of international trade, it is a particularly interesting case. We find only limited evidence that exchange rate uncertainty affects the volume of trade.


Vandegrift, D. and Bisti, J. ’00. 2001. “The Economic Effects of New Jersey’s Self-Service Operations Ban on Retail Gasoline Markets,” Journal of Consumer Policy, 24: 63-81.

Abstract: This paper tests the effect of the self-service ban on retail gasoline sales using a random sample of gas stations from Mercer County New Jersey.  The paper finds that the self-service ban reduces the number of pumps and islands at each station. Gas stations are smaller because the ban reduces the ability of gas stations to substitute capital for labor in the production process. In addition, the paper finds evidence that the self-serve ban decreases the rate of refiner ownership, changes the mix of ancillary services that stations offer and prevents price discrimination. Because capital-labor ratios are lower, labor-intensive ancillary services (i.e., auto repair) are more cost effective than capital-intensive ancillary services (i.e., convenience stores). Because convenience stores are easier to monitor from a central location, the ban causes a reduction in the rate of refiner ownership.

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