UC Davis Managerial Economics

Coffee Hour Encourages Students Participating in Undergraduate Honors Thesis Program

Jan. 17, 2019

A recent Undergraduate Honors Thesis Coffee Hour allowed participating students to receive feedback and support on their research from faculty and graduate students. The coffee hour was hosted jointly by the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) and the UC Davis Department of Economics. Faculty and students from the Undergraduate Honors Thesis program in both departments were in attendance.

Open to seniors majoring in Managerial Economics or Economics with a minimum GPA of 3.5, the Undergraduate Honors Thesis class is a two-quarter program designed to give outstanding, committed, and hard-working students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and get involved in academic research.

“Today I’m here to support students interested in doing research,” said Economics Professor Deborah Swenson.

Swenson explained that undergraduate classes don’t delve into research the way this honors program does, facilitated by it being two quarters long and allowing students access to research advisors and research tools.

“A good share of the students in Undergraduate Honors Thesis go into a graduate program, and this is a good way to figure out if they enjoy the research that they’ll be doing,” added Swenson, who previously sponsored students in the program.

Attending Managerial Economics senior Adam Einbinder heard about Undergraduate Honors Thesis through a friend also considering it.

“It intrigued me as a way to apply all the economic theory I’ve been learning as a Managerial Economics major,” Einbinder said.

Einbinder’s research involves assessing the correlation between the concentration of cannabis retailers in any given California city and the respective prices for cannabis flower, utilizing license data from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control and retail price data from popular cannabis dispensary search websites, in an attempt to corroborate whether traditional economic theory on competition can be applied to California’s retail cannabis industry, he wrote in his thesis topic. The results “will be examined in tandem with current statewide and city regulations to see if strict municipal ordinances are to blame for the slow growth of California’s cannabis market.”

He chose this topic after discussing ideas with Undergraduate Honors Thesis program coordinator Kristin Kiesel, an ARE faculty member who teaches Managerial Economics courses. Kiesel facilitated Einbinder speaking to Daniel Sumner, ARE distinguished professor, who has published research on the California cannabis market.

“I saw an opportunity for meaningful research,” Einbinder said.

Einbinder started his research at the beginning of the fall quarter with ARE Professor Aaron Smith as his advisor. He’s currently in data-collection mode, preparing to present his findings along with other Undergraduate Honors Thesis participants at the end of winter quarter.

“I’m looking forward to seeing if my hypothesis is correct,” he added.

Eight Managerial Economics majors and eight Economics majors are participating in this academic year’s Undergraduate Honors Thesis program. Click here to view each participant’s research topic, as outlined in the coffee hour brochure.

Click here for more information about the ARE Undergraduate Honors Thesis program and directions on how to apply.

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