The Department of Economics recognized Rasmussen for writing the best economics thesis of the year.
The Martha and Spencer Love School of Business’ Department of Economics honored Alexa Rasmussen `21 with the 2021 Best Economics Thesis Award.
Rasmussen, mentored by Martha and Spencer Love Professor Steve DeLoach, received the award for her paper, “Is Having a Child Damaging to a Woman’s Earning Potential? A Regression-Based Analysis of the Motherhood Penalty.”
The department recognized Caroline McGimsey ‘21, mentored by Assistant Professor Andrew Greenland, with honorable mention for her paper, “The Economic Impact of Critical Habitat Designations on Indigenous Communities in Northern Alaska.”
Rasmussen and McGimsey presented their theses virtually at the 2021 Eastern Economic Association annual meeting in addition to Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).
In “Is Having a Child Damaging to a Woman’s Earning Potential? A Regression-Based Analysis of the Motherhood Penalty,” Rasmussen provides a thorough analysis showing that a wage gap of 12 percent occurs when a woman has a child compared to childless women. The effect is even higher for highly-educated women. Further, she finds that the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 did not close this wage gap.
“Alexa is one of the best students I have taught in my 25 years at Elon,” DeLoach, chair of the Department of Economics, said. “I began working with her last summer after she lost her summer internship due to the coronavirus, as she assisted me with one of my projects. Her work ethic and obsession for learning blew me away. By the end of the summer, she was independently researching how to write better STATA programs, spending hours on listservs and reading dense manuals. We continued to work together these last two semesters, but this time, Alexa was in charge. She is bright. But more importantly Alexa is hard-working, intellectually humble, competitive and utterly fearless.”
After graduating with a degrees in economics and philosophy, Rasmussen joins NERA Economic Consulting in New York as a research associate.
In “The Economic Impact of Critical Habitat Designations on Indigenous Communities in Northern Alaska,” McGimsey finds that good intentions of preserving a habitat for polar bears comes with negative economic consequences for the well-being of Native Alaskans living there. As a result, she urges policymakers to consider the welfare of the indigenous population when determining the costs and benefits of environmental policies.