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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.

Schedule
March
• 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!

WVU to Lead ARC-Funded Research on the Coal Industry Ecosystem

 

A collaborative team of researchers at West Virginia University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has received a grant of nearly $350,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Economic Development Administration to study the consequences of falling coal demand on the Appalachian region.

Researchers from WVU’s College of Business and Economics and the Regional Research Institute are part of the team that will study the breadth and depth of the declining coal industry on Appalachia.

John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at WVU, said, “Currently data exist that simply report the losses in direct coal employment across Appalachia. However, there is no existing research that also documents the full economic effect of coal’s decline on communities across Appalachia given a community’s broader economic context, and when considering losses from businesses that are linked to coal through supplier connections and impacts associated with losses at coal-fired power plants. Our research will be the first to establish the complete economic impact of coal’s decline across Appalachian communities and, as such, our work will be critical in properly directing any economic redevelopment efforts in coming years in light of coal’s decline.”

The grant project, which should be completed in June 2017, was one of 42 awards totaling nearly $28 million from the Obama administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in communities that have historically relied on the coal industry. The WVU/UT research project will also look at trends in coal production, transportation and coal-based power generation to determine how the coal industry downturn might impact freight rail, barge and truck transportation. Rounding out the project will be an analysis of the impacts of the coal industry decline on human capital resources and development in Appalachia.

Randall Jackson, director of the Regional Research Institute at WVU and project principle investigator, said the project is perfectly aligned with the land-grant mission of both universities.

“Our group includes individuals who have devoted their careers to understanding industrial economic systems, energy policy, transportation and human capital,” he said. “Our research expertise is perfectly matched to project goals.”

The UT researchers are from the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Center for Transportation Research in the Tickle College of Engineering, and the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, in the Haslam College of Business.

This year, the POWER initiative has invested $66.3 million in 71 projects to diversify local and regional economies by retraining coal industry workers in 15 states for jobs in agriculture, technology, entrepreneurship, manufacturing and other industries.

“These federal investments will enable Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities to continue their work developing innovative paths towards economic resilience,” said Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. “They will directly support the region’s emerging industries, which are making Appalachia America’s next great investment opportunity.”

“We are very pleased to engage in this research,” Jackson said, “which gives us the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the coal industry ecosystem and, at the same time, contribute to our own Appalachian region as we adjust and adapt to new and sometimes painful economic realities.”

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.

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.

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY JOINS ELITE IN WORLDWIDE RANKING: RRI and Affiliates Make Their Mark in Regional Science Research

Research just released reveals the prominent role played by West Virginia University in the field of regional science, defined by the nexus of economics, geography, and planning. At WVU, the Regional Research Institute (RRI) is the focal point for this kind of research, with Faculty Research Associates (FRA) in 21 WVU departments and 5 colleges. RRI and FRA efforts place WVU at number two nationally and number 7 in the world in numbers of articles published in the Top Ten Core Regional Science Journal Publications for the most recent five-year period (2010-2014). Nationally, WVU follows only The Ohio State University, and leads institutions like Arizona Sate University (3), UCLA (4), UIUC (5), Oklahoma State University (6) and Cornell, Harvard, and UC-Irvine rounding out the top 10. Internationally, WVU ranks higher on this list than such institutions as the University of Cambridge, Oxford, and University College London. Among the Top 100 ranking authors internationally are the RRI’s director Randall Jackson (53), Donald Lacombe (80), and Gianfranco Piras (28), who along with RRI’s FRAs have helped the Institute strengthen its reputation as an internationally recognized center of excellence in regional research.[1]

The report, published by researchers at Oklahoma State University, appears as the RRI begins its 50th Anniversary celebration, and validates the Institute’s longstanding goal of enhancing the visibility and reputation of the University both nationally and internationally. It reinforces statements from the RRI’s most recent external review that “to economists and geographers trained since the early 1960s, WVU is best known as an international leader in regional research.” The review went on to add that no other research group in this area has been so attentive to the dissemination of new knowledge that they have produced, and that doubtless thousands of regional researchers worldwide have bookmarked the RRI website as their entry point for conducting regional research.

“We are pleased to continue our half-century tradition of regional research excellence,” said Jackson, adding that “we know that many decisions to accept appointments at WVU have been heavily influenced by the Institute’s stature and its community of on-campus scholars, and a great many student job prospects and career paths have been enhanced by their RRI ties.” The Institute brings together faculty and students with regional and spatial analytical interests to engage in interdisciplinary research. More than two dozen WVU faculty specialize and offer more than 30 courses in spatial statistics, spatial econometrics, regional economic analysis, and related research topics. Virtually all of the contributing publications were authored by RRI Faculty, FRAs, and Graduate Research Assistants.

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[1] Preliminary unpublished revisions to correct some misclassifications show these numbers to be Jackson (33), Lacombe (84), Piras (30), and ARE’s Peter Schaeffer (83). The original report and preliminary revisions are available upon request.