News blurbs that aren’t long enough for an article

Two RRI Graduate Research Assistants Win Best Paper Award

Elham Erfanian

Elham Erfanian

Amir Borges Ferreira Neto

Amir Borges Ferreira Neto

Elham Erfanian and Amir Borges Ferreira Neto, two RRI graduate research assistants, were co-recipients of the monetary award for Best Paper in Economics by a Graduate Student at the Academy of Economy and Finance. The presentation took place at the Academy’s 54th annual conference in late February in Charleston, SC.

The Academy is celebrating its 50th year; its mission is to support the increasing role played by financial economists and finance specialists. Originally more regional in nature, it began in Mississippi, its membership base had expanded over the years to include members from  many states in addition to areas outside the borders of the United States.

Erfanian, also a doctoral candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics, said, “I am so glad to win the award. We started the paper from an assignment for our econometrics II course. Adding a spatial dimension to the research enabled us to ask more questions about the effects that R&D elements has on research output. Incorporating spatial dimension and measuring neighboring effects helps regional economists to incorporate the spillover effects in research and development literature and that leads to more realistic policy implementations.”

Borges Ferreira Neto had this to say, “I am very happy to have won the outstanding graduate student paper award in Economics as it tells me I am on the right path as a researcher. With respect to regional science, this paper’s main contribution is to re-introduce the importance of looking at this other facet of innovation, namely, the production of science (journal articles) instead of usual measure: patents.”

The name of the winning paper they co-authored is Scientific output: labor or capital intensive? An analysis for selected countries . In the paper, they explain why “policy-makers should understand how the different inputs – namely labor and capital – are related to a country’s scientific output.” They address this issue by “estimating output elasticities for labor and capital using a panel of 31 countries in nine years.”

Dr. Randall Jackson, RRI Director had this to say about the winners, “We are very proud of Elham and Amir, who have now joined the ranks of other RRI graduate student award winners.  Recognitions like these reinforce the value and benefits of direct graduate student participation in funded research projects, from inception through research communications.”

The two authors will have their paper published in an upcoming issue of  Scientometrics, an international journal for all quantitative aspects of the science of science, communication in science and science policy.

RRI Summer Courses in Spatial Econometrics

July 31- August 3, 2017

The objective of the course is to provide a (not so short) introduction to spatial econometrics. Students will learn how to model and incorporate spatial dependencies into their empirical analyses. The course will cover basic as well as more advanced concepts ranging from the different typologies of spatial data, through the definition of connectivity in space (spatial weights matrices), to a comprehensive treatment of various spatial econometric models both crosssectional as well as panel. Estimation methods presented will include MLE (maximum likelihood), GM (generalized method of moments), GLS (generalized least squares), and GS2SLS (generalized spatial two stage least squares). The latter part of the course will deal with special topics such as panel data models, and various testing procedures.

Gianfranco Piras

The course is organized into a format that includes morning (theoretical) lectures and afternoon computing lab and applications sessions. A reading list will be provided for each of the topics covered. Additional course materials will be provided.

Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and a brief statement of interest to Applicants will be screened for suitable levels of preparation and background, and placed into the course on a first come, first served basis.

Important Dates:
Applications period opens: March 13, 2017
Extended Application Deadline: July 1, 2017
Acceptance Notification: Two days after application is received.
Confirm Participation by July 8, 2017

We will be able to admit a limited number of participants based on applications received by the deadline. Participation must be confirmed through the payment of course fees on or before July 8, 2017.

The course fees are $3,000. Fees cover course tuition, lunches and course materials. Submitted fees will be nonrefundable. Accommodation and other living expenses are not included. A block of rooms will be reserved at nearby hotels at a discounted rate.

Additional information and a link for registration will be available soon on the RRI website at:

Workshop on Methods for Regional Science

The RRI Workshop on Methods for Regional Science is composed of a group of sessions created to share applied knowledge. In this workshop, students and professors can share with other members of the WVU community the methodologies and tools used in research, and our goal is to provide help to handle new applications. Students can learn to use tools that they might use for their own research.

This workshop will include in-class demos in which attendants can apply what they are learning. All presentations will be held at the RRI computer lab, room 519 at the CRRB. Because room capacity is limited, attendance will be handled by Eventbrite. (See links below.)
Materials will be posted on this RRI website.

• February 9: Zheng Tian
Presentation: (RRI-WMRS) Emacs, Org-Mode, and Reproducible Research

• February 23: Juan Tomas Sayago
Presentation: (RRI-WMRS) Workshop on How to Make Maps With Qgis and R.

• March 2: Juan Tomas Sayago
Presentation: (RRI-WMRS) Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) with R.

• March 23: Caleb Stair
Presentation: (RRI-WMRS) IO Snap and applications.

• April 6: Juan Tomas Sayago
Presentation: (RRI-WMRS) Spatial Econometrics (Cross Section) with R.

• April 20:
Presentation: To be Determined

Dr. Randall Jackson Works With World Bank Global Solutions Group to Structure Regional Policy Analysis.

When the World Bank wanted to prepare its newly formed Global Solutions group to solve some of the world’s most complex territorial and spatial development, analysis, and policy design challenges, it called upon leaders in the field of regional science to share their knowledge.

According to Dr. Nancy Lozano-Gracia, Senior Economist at the World Bank, the presentations would introduce staff to the “concepts, tools, and policy instruments that can be used when thinking about Territorial Development.” The presentations took place on December 5, 2016, at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

One of the speakers was Dr. Randall Jackson, Director of the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University and professor of geography, who provided a range of methods for application to regional policy analysis. This information was intended to provide the group with an overview of available tools and to better understand the methods available in regional economic analysis and the scenarios in which they can be used to solve various policy questions.

Also presenting were Drs. Raymond J.G.M. Florax, professor of spatial and environmental economics at Purdue University, and Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Emeritus Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory and emeritus professor of agricultural and consumer economics, economics, geography, and urban and regional planning, at the University of Illinois. Dr. Florax presented applications of spatial economic methods to regional development problems, and Dr. Hewings provided an overview of regional policy issues and concerns.

New Input-Output Software Now Available

In line with an Economic Development Administration research project on Regional Innovation Systems, RRI researchers set about to gain firsthand technology transfer experience by developing its own commercial software. In the process, we gained valuable insights into copyrighting, licensing, and other steps in the tech transfer process. These efforts produced not only academic insights and outcomes, but we also now have in hand the software, called IO-Snap (Input-Output State and National Analysis Program).

A Demo/Trial version is available now, and the Pro version, which will have greater sectoral detail and more years of data, will be released in coming weeks. The Demo/Trial version is ideal for classroom use, and we expect it to continue to be free to all users. Once the IO-Snap Pro is released, it will available at no cost to users within WVU; however, there will be a cost to users outside WVU.

To get your copy or learn more about IO-Snap, including video tutorials, please visit the IO-Snap Website.

If you decide to download your own copy, you will be taken to a typical product purchase page. You will need to enter all but the credit card/financial info to get the product link.

Let us know what you think about the software!

RRI Part of Team to Educate Countries on Best Practices for Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development

(Reprinted with permission from WVU Today)
“Recognizing the depth and breadth of its knowledge about unconventional natural gas resources, the United States Department of State has called on West Virginia University to share that expertise with the world.

With increasing interest in natural gas development both in the U.S. and worldwide, the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources has reached a cooperative agreement with WVU to create the International Forum on Unconventional Gas Sustainability and the Environment, or INFUSE, a unique technical program dedicated to increasing other countries’ understanding of best practices for unconventional gas resource development through a mix of classroom and in the field activities.”
For more on this story, please click here.

Did you know. . .

During the month of June, the RRI website received nearly 72% new visitors. The top five countries these visitors represented include the U.S., China, United Kingdom, Brazil, and Canada.

The greatest percentage of visitors fell within the 25-34 age group, with 54% being male and 46% being female.

Amir Borges Ferreira Neto Awarded Fellowship

Amir Borges Ferreira Neto is a graduate research assistant in the RRI and a doctoral candidate in the College of Business and Economics. Just recently, he became a recipient of the W. Marston and Katharine B. Becker Doctoral Fellows Endowment. The Beckers are both WVU alumni.

Borges Ferreira Neto said, “I am honored and grateful to have been awarded this prestigious fellowship.” He continues, “On the one hand, the fellowship will allow me the opportunity to focus on both my doctoral and my personal research, which are consistent with the donors’ expectations of regional and public policy-oriented research. On the other hand, over the next couple of years I will be able to complement my doctoral training with  teaching experience while continuing to maintain focus on my research.”

This fellowship is awarded to the top students by the Center for Free Enterprise at WVU and is based on a student’s ability to communicate basic economic principles through research on state policy. Fellows are expected to engage in the ongoing dialogue on state economic policy through public speaking opportunities and new commentary and publications. Borges Ferreira Neto explained, “Because of this fellowship, I expect to finish my doctoral program with both research and teaching experience concurrent to publishing and participating in conferences to strengthen network opportunities.”

Students are awarded a $20,000 annual stipend to work on research relevant to West Virginia economic policy while pursuing doctoral studies.

2016 Winner of the William H. Miernyk Research

Carlianne_Patrick2Carlianne Patrick, Assistant Professor in Economics at Georgia State University is the winner of the 2016 William H. Miernyk Research Excellence Medal Competition. Patrick won $1,500 for her paper titled, “Demand for New Cities: Property Value Capitalization of Municipal Incorporation.”

Patrick said, “I’d like to thank the Regional Research Institute for awarding me the 2016 Miernyk Research Excellence Medal. I am humbled and deeply honored to have my work associated with Professor Miernyk’s legacy of rigorous and insightful regional science research.” Patrick’s primary research fields include urban and regional economics, public finance, and economic development policy.

The Miernyk Medal Award was presented at the 2016 Southern Regional Science Association conference held in Memphis, TN this past March. According to Dr. Randall Jackson, Director of the Regional Research Institute, competition for this prestigious award, “named after one of the most influential and highly regarded regional economics scholars of the last century” is held annually among young scholars for the best solely-authored paper presented at the SRSA, yet only five other individuals have won this award: Jonathan Winters in 2015, Zhenhua Chen in 2014, Olivier Parent in 2008, Shaoming Cheng in 2006, and Santiago Pinto in 2005. The Miernyk Medal may not be awarded every year, at the discretion of the panel.