Undergraduate Research Fellows (REU) Program, A Synopsis of the Program, 1994-2001

In 1993, the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University was selected as the NSF’s first Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site in regional science, an interdisciplinary field that links economics, geography, planning, and other social sciences. From 1994-2001, over 55 outstanding students from around the country including West Virginia University spent their junior/senior year as Undergraduate Research Fellows at the Regional Research Institute. Many have fulfilled the program’s goal of learning research skills, undertaking a research project with a personal faculty mentor, and furthering their education by attending graduate school and beyond.

The Program

The NSF/REU program offered support for undergraduates to conduct research and participate in the University Honors Program as Undergraduate Research Fellows. Since 1994, over 55 students have worked closely with distinguished faculty mentors, learning research skills and completing a research project. They took an REU seminar each semester to learn about regional science, as well as how to conduct and present research. Students chose the balance of their coursework from among the hundreds of courses offered by West Virginia University, including the small classes in the Honors Program. They participated in other activities of the Regional Research Institute and had access to the Institute’s advanced computer facilities.

In 1993, the National Science Foundation chose the Regional Research Institute to be a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) site. The REU program is an important part of the National Science Foundation’s effort to train the next generation of leading scholars and professors. NSF hoped that exposure to research would help the student become interested in a research career. Undergraduate Research Fellows gained a better appreciation of how research occurred and how researchers produced a better understanding of our world. Students were required to be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, and classified as a junior or senior. Women, minorities, and students from institutions where advanced research opportunities were relatively limited were especially encouraged to apply.

The Undergraduate Research Fellows who have participated in the Institute’s NSF/REU program and those who participated in the earlier pilot program have presented research papers at conferences, published research reports, and won prestigious fellowships for graduate study. The Institute’s REU program focused on regional science, an interdisciplinary field that links economics, geography, and other social sciences. Regional scientists study economic and social phenomena within regions and human behavior in which the spatial dimension plays an important role. A strong tradition within regional science is the use of quantitative methods to derive and tests theories and to measure the effects of public policies. More recently, regional scientists have begun to embrace a broader range of research approaches, which are strongly represented within the Regional Research Institute. Among the Institute’s primary research areas are economic and social development, environmental and resource policy, labor markets and poverty, migration and in-migration, and methods of regional and spatial analysis.

During the fall semester, Undergraduate Research Fellows became familiar with a substantive area of interest. The focus was on understanding more fully the nature of inquiry and the process of scholarly research, as well as learning research and communication skills. During the spring semester, students worked actively on their research projects, learned more about regional science, prepared their draft and final reports, and often presented their research at a conference. Faculty mentors also helped students prepare their manuscripts for possible journal publication.

Program Courses:

ECON 200H Regional Research (Fall), 3 credit hours. Students learned general research skills, including writing well and acquiring and using data, while they learned about the research process and the variety and range of regional research.

ECON 255H Regional Economics (Spring), 3 credit hours. Students learned the core theories and methods of regional science. Topics included regional growth and decline, industrial location, migration, labor markets, and several methods of quantitative regional analysis.

RESEARCH PROJECT (Spring), 3 credit hours. Students conducted research with their faculty mentors. Typically, they joined an on-going research project. They served initially as research assistants, working toward the point when student and mentor could define an independent research role for the student. The final product was a scholarly research paper written by the student.

In addition, participants chose other courses consistent with their plan of study and career objectives.

Scholarships

The National Science Foundation grant provided each Undergraduate Research Fellow with a stipend of $1000. In addition, need-based financial aid was available to help cover any additional expenses from participating in the NSF/REU program. In some cases financial aid could be transferred from the students’ home institutions. The goal was to provide sufficient financial aid to enable all students selected for the REU program to participate.

REU Papers Part1

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9300445. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Impacts of Deregulation on the West Virginia Power and Coal Industries

Michael Alfred
Research Paper #2001-23 (pp. 22, 189K)

Abstract: The U.S. electricity industry has been monopolistic in structure until recently. After the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order 888 in 1996, West Virginia, along with the other forty-nine states, began the deregulation process at the wholesale market level. This paper focuses on the effects of wholesale market deregulation on the fourteen coal burning power plants in West Virginia. The methods implemented in this research paper include a regression to determine what effect deregulation has had on the utilization rates of these power plants. The paper also discusses changes in consumption of coal, total expenditures on coal, and net generation in the 14 coal-burning power plants in West Virginia. The paper concludes that since deregulation coal plants are being utilized more, and the more efficient plants are being used more often.

Women and Education in Eritrea: Society and Development

Charles M. Smith
Research Paper #2001-22 (pp. 24, 175K)

Abstract: Many countries in the world, particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, work towards developing modern industrialized economies. Much of the discussion in this area revolves around investment in natural resources and physical, human, and financial capitals. This paper examines human capital development, specifically education, in the context of post-independence Eritrea. It focuses upon female enrollment in formal educational systems and the societal roles that shape their participation.

Forestry: Environmental Savior or Scourge? WVU’s Student Response to “Forestry as it Affects the Individual: An Opinion Survey”

Karen Hixson Cox
Research Paper #2001-21 (pp. 48, 362K)

Abstract: This survey gathered opinions of West Virginia University students regarding the forest industry as well as what factors most influenced those opinions. The most important aspects of forestry determined in the ranking process, and their regional distribution help focus the directions of public relations and educational campaigns. By comparing this study to preceding studies from other areas, we can ascertain whether current educational programs are affecting the public’s opinions.

An Internet Spatial Multimedia Approach to Recording and Exploring the Urban Historical Geography of the Wharf District, Morgantown

Audrey Dawson

Abstract: This research focused on two main objectives. First, it recorded the Wharf District’s historical geography, including its late nineteenth century origins, industrial development, (1880-1927), post-industrial decline, and subsequent gentrification. The study undertook an extensive archival search, created an oral history, and prepared a photographic record of the area’s present state. The research also explored the factors leading to the district’s current gentrification program. The second objective encompassed using the Internet and spatial multimedia tools to publicly display this information. This medium contains a history, spoken dialogue, photographs, historic maps, and virtual tours of the area.

Basic Examination of the Correlation between Crime Rates and Income Inequality

J. Travis Parsley
Research Paper #2001-19 (pp. 13, 316K)

Abstract: This paper analyzes the significance of income inequality in determining crime rate. Researchers have frequently investigated this topic, albeit with inconsistent results. Guiding myself with previous research, I have attempted to conduct my analysis with simple, unambiguous techniques. I used county-level crime data and various census data to estimate the correlation between crime rates and several explanatory variables including income inequality. My results show that income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has a statistically significant effect on property crime rates as well as violent offense rates.

Analysis of the Economic Viability of SmartWood Certification on NIPFs in West Virginia

Jeffrey S. Huff
Research Paper #2001-18  (pp. 45, 576K)

Abstract: This paper reports a systematic assessment of the economic viability of a forest certification program for non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners in West Virginia. NIPF landowner decisions to enroll in a certification program are modeled using a profit function approach. Sensitivity analysis is conducted to identify the conditions under which NIPF landowners would have an economic incentive to enroll in a certification program. A general indication is that the smaller the property, the lower the likelihood the landowner would enroll. Policy initiatives are discussed that could be used to increase the likelihood of small property owners’ likelihood of enrollment.

REU Papers Part2

Pope John Paul II: Papal Treatment of Mexico’s Indigenous Peoples

Maria M. Weir
Research Paper #2001-15 (pp. 31, 112K)

Abstract: With the second largest number of Catholic believers in the world, Mexico holds great significance to the Catholic Church. Mexico also boasts the highest percentage of indigenous peoples in Latin America. Over the past few decades, Mexico’s Indians increasingly have been abandoning Catholicism, and joining evangelical groups. Pope John Paul II realizes that he must stem the exodus of Indian believers if the Catholic Church is to maintain its supremacy in Mexico. Since his inauguration in 1978, the Pope has traveled to Mexico four times, each time addressing the concerns of indigenous peoples. Over the course of his papacy, a systematic approach emerges in the Pope’s treatment of Mexico’s indigenous population. Using the Pope’s four visits to Mexico as a chronological framework, this research attempts to determine his approach to the dilemma. Papal speeches, Mexican newspapers, and Church publications provide the bulk of information. This paper shows that the Pope has responded decisively to the Indians’ growing demands for social, religious, and political equality. His staunch adherence to conservative ideals, however, often has limited the scope of his action.

A Regional Analysis of Elected Women in the United States: A Case Study of State Legislatures

Amanda G. Alderman
Research Paper #2001-11 (pp. 35, 984K)

Abstract: The paper analyzes the 2000 State Legislative elections. All data is reviewed to identify the states showing the highest and lowest percentages of women in their state legislatures. The purpose of the research is to determine if women have made progress in the legislative elections. Other goals include seeing if regional differences exist and if political subcultures affect the percentage of women elected into office. By looking at the 2000 elections, the gender gap and its possible continuation or elimination can be predicted.

The Loss of New Orleans, The Loss of Empire: Spanish Trade Policies in the Mississippi Valley, 1762-1803

Stephen Williams
Research Paper #2001-10 (pp. 17, 62K)

Abstract: Many factors led to the eventual withdrawal of the Spanish Empire from the Western Hemisphere. Specifically, New Orleans and the effect of trade policies played a huge role in limiting the Spanish presence in the Mississippi Valley. By examining Spanish official and unofficial trade practices on the Mississippi, it is possible to identify the importance of New Orleans maritime trade in establishing Spanish authority over the region. Questioning the lack of research on the matter, this paper proffers that not only was New Orleans vital to Spanish affairs in North America, but also a contributing factor in the empire’s eventual collapse. Many possible reasons for failure in New Orleans are examined including Spain’s detrimental trade policies, English and French intervention, settler unrest, and the U.S. dynamic.

Liberal Democracy and the Environment in North America

Eric S. Lee
Research Paper #2001-9 (pp. 25, 67K)

Abstract: There is a growing concern about environmental degradation in North America. Concerns about the environment have given the region a specific starting point for managing cross-boarder issues. The approach to managing this issue must be drawn from liberal democracy. The idea holds that everyone affected by decisions in the international arena should directly participate or have fair representation in the political process. Until liberal democracy spreads and is fully entrenched throughout North America, we will find it more difficult to articulate a coherent regional political will toward sustainable development and saving the environment. This article describes how we might better extended liberal democracy to the many realms of political interaction, including civic associations and free-market capitalism. This effort will reduce inequalities and prioritize opportunity, allowing us to build an ecological sensibility among the North American region.

The 1920 Congressional Election: A Study of Sectionalism in American Politics

Jody Crockett Jones
Research Paper #2020 (pp. 50, 158K) and Tables for Research Paper #2020 (pp. 40, 80K)

Abstract: This paper examines the 1920 congressional election. The 1920 election is characterized by a distinct sectional separation. In order to understand this polarization every election from 1912 to 1920 was analyzed. A historical pretext lays the foundation, and the election analyses discuss the many variables responsible for the election’s outcome. This creates a unique perspective because it includes not only the historical political information, but geographic variables factor in as well. By looking at the House of Representatives elections the geographical variations in ideology surface, and a thorough record and explanation of the nation’s contemporary sentiments accompanies those results.

REU Papers Part3

Rural Retailers’ Attitudes and Perceptions of Competing with a Wal-Mart Supercenter

Nicole Vassey
Research Paper #2019 (pp. 24, 62K)

Abstract: Businesses in many small towns often feel threatened by the invasion of large corporations coming in and dominating the retail and service industries within the immediate geographic area. Fifteen business owners in Spencer, a small town in southern West Virginia, were surveyed via telephone interviews to determine attitudes and perceptions about a Wal-Mart Supercenter that had recently opened in the community. The business owners’ competitive strategies, planned and executed, were identified. Perceived threat to existing businesses depended largely on product offerings that directly competed with Wal-Mart. Identification of strategies utilized by small businesses in their efforts to coexist with Wal-Mart offer other communities insight into a changing retail environment.

Mental Health Parity

Donna Sisler
Research Paper #2018 (pp. 20, 59K)

Abstract: In 1996, the federal government passed the Mental Health Parity Act. This limited attempt to mandate a degree of parity, or equality, between physical and mental health coverage took effect on January 1, 1998. In the four years since passage of the federal parity act, states adopted their own parity laws, which may be more or less
restrictive than the federal law. This new form of coverage has left states generally lacking benefit data prior to parity implementation. Therefore, they can not assess the impact of parity on access, adequacy and quality of mental health/substance abuse services. As West Virginia considers passage of parity legislation, it is important to gather baseline data that can serve as a point of reference for comparison if parity is enacted. This research provides facts, impressions, interpretations and other subjective information in order to get a more complete picture of how passage of the parity act may impact the delivery of mental health services to clients.

Training Needs and Computing Uses of Local Officials in West Virginia

Matt Urban
Research Paper #2017 (pp. 20, 43K)

Abstract: Local governments directly impact the daily lives of their residents. The job of being a local government official has become an increasingly complex occupation. As computers gain growing importance in the daily operations of local governments, officials must be properly trained. A survey consisting of eight different parts sought to gain information about local needs. Responses from questions concerning training and computer usage provide insight into issues such as types of training tried and preferred and Internet usage. Determining the training and computing preferences of local officials helps to assess ways of improving the efficiency of local government.

A Comparison of Local Concerns in West Virginia Communities: 1996 and 2000

Jennifer Teagarden
Research Paper #2016 (pp. 25, 80K)

Abstract: Having knowledge about the local needs of West Virginia communities and understanding those localities’ specific needs change over time enables local and state government leaders as well as other agencies to focus on pressing issues throughout the state to foster growth and promote development. A survey consisting of eight different parts designed to gain knowledge about localities technological advancement, training needs, and specific local concerns ranging from governmental administration to education was distributed to 694 local government leaders in 2000. Responses to the surveys were compared to responses received from a similar survey distributed in 1996 to help assess the change in local concerns over a four-year time span.

Factors Influencing Faculty Use of Service-Learning

Christine Estep
Research Paper #2011 (pp. 20, 54K)

Abstract: Service learning provides a multi-factor teaching approach. It includes classroom instruction, class participation in a community based learning project, and reflection on the knowledge gained through the project. Although service learning is known as an excellent teaching tool, it is not widely used. This research explores reasons for faculty reluctance to use service learning and seeks to determine which factors may influence teachers to be more open to adding service learning to their curricula. The results of this study will assist colleges and universities in targeting specific professors to implement such a program.

A Comparison of States to Determine the Impact of the Social Environment on Adolescent Cigarette Smoking

Jason Ng
Research Paper #2010 (pp. 45, 143K)

Abstract: Cigarette smoking has been shown to cause significant health problems and a significant impact on our economy. Cigarette smoking predominately begins in one’s adolescence. This study examined the likelihood of adolescent initiation, frequency, and quantity of cigarette smoking with respect to the social environment. We defined the social environment as the immediate physical surroundings, social relationships, and cultural milieus in which people interact. By examining gender, race, and other characteristics of the social environment, we identified certain subgroups that seem more susceptible to adolescent cigarette smoking.

Business Cycles and the World Wine Market

Lisa Corin Yarnell Phares
Research Paper #2009 (pp. 106, 307K)

Abstract: Previous research has explored the relations between international business cycles and particular commodity markets, such as foods, metals and energy. These studies for the most part fail; however, to examine the wine market. Several questions are of interest in this regard. 1) As a country’s national product rises, will wine consumption also rise? 2) If GDP falls, will wine consumption fall? 3) As a country’s exchange rate appreciates and the dollar becomes more expensive in terms of foreign currency, will the exports of that country rise accordingly? These questions are addressed here by analyzing the relations between selected macroeconomic variables and wine market variables in the major OECD wine-related countries.

REU Papers Part4

The Effectiveness of Mediation in the Kanawha County Court System

Jackie Bass
Research Paper #2008 (pp. 13, 33K)

Abstract: In 1997, the RAND Institute conducted a study to test the effectiveness of case management techniques implemented under the Civil Justice Reform Act (CJRA) of 1990. The study based effectiveness on four factors – time to disposition, litigation costs, satisfaction, and views of fairness. The RAND institute concluded that the implemented case management techniques had no significant effect on these four factors. West Virginia has aggressively enacted mediation programs throughout the state in part due to the CJRA. Practitioners attest to the benefits mediation has already had on the state court system; however, the state has not conducted a study to gain empirical evidence to support mediation’s benefits. his study analyzes the Kanawha County “Mediation Week” program using one of the RAND institutes factors, time, to empirically examine mediation’s effectiveness within West Virginia.

The Changing Nature of Migrant Farm Labor: A Case Study of West Virginia’s Apple Industry

Alyse Schrecongost
Research Paper #9913 (pp. 43, 263K)

Abstract: The formal economic liberalization of agriculture trade is matched by an informal liberalization of agriculture labor. Undocumented Mexican farm workers pour into United States fields daily in record numbers. Over the past ten years the composition of West Virginia’s orchard labor crews shifted dramatically from predominately documented Caribbean workers to predominately Mexican-born workers, believed to be overwhelmingly undocumented. There are two major parts to this paper. The first part identifies and analyzes national and international policies on trade, economic, immigration, and labor that influence the nature of US agriculture labor over the past ten years. Using West Virginia as a case study, the second part of the paper examines how international, national and local events and trends interact and affect the regional apple labor force. The paper includes quantitative descriptions when data is available and qualitative descriptions otherwise. The regional description is based largely on a series of interviews conducted in the 1999 harvest season in Jefferson and Berkeley Counties.

The ARC’s Corridor L Tourism Enhancement Project: A Case Study of a Community-Based Economic Development Project

Holly Hendricks
Research Paper #9910 (pp. 35, 179K)

Abstract: This paper evaluates the process and outcomes of a community-based tourism enhancement project in four distressed counties in West Virginia. The Appalachian Regional Commission provided approximately $200,000 in grant money for tourism projects encouraging tourism business. Community members participated on a steering committee deciding which of their neighbors received grants. The ARC hired a consultant and local liaison. Community-based participation helped create increased social capital, community capacity, economically sustainable projects and empowered the community by creating diversity in future economic development projects. The project is a model for similar federal intervention because it applies a bottom up approach to economic development.

Answering the Question: Who Gets Victimized? A Study of “Recidivist” Victims

Meredith L. Krejny
Research Paper #9901 (pp. 20, 51K)

Abstract: Despite efforts to control and prevent it, crime is still a serious problem, suggesting that policies aimed at criminals may not be having the desired effect. In order to best allocate scarce resources, policymakers must begin to turn their attention to victims. By understanding what makes a person more likely to be victimized, policymakers can identify high-risk groups and formulate policies that directly, and more efficiently, reach these potential victims and prevent crime. This study attempts to identify common characteristics of one particular subset of victims: so-called “recidivist victims,” or individuals who have been victimized more than once. Whereas a person who was victimized only once may simply have been in “the wrong place at the wrong time,” a person who has been victimized several times may possess some characteristics that make him or her a more attractive target to criminals. The “lifestyle” or “routine activities” framework formulated by sociologists and other researchers to explain personal criminal victimization is discussed and tested using an econometric approach. Some unexpected results indicate that the routine activities theory may not adequately explain an individual’s repeat victimization risk.

Family Resource Centers: Will This Investment in Our Communities Successfully Empower Our Children and Families?

Sarah Rentch
Research Paper #9809 (pp. 29, 78K)

Abstract: Current research reveals that parental involvement and a healthy environment are two crucial factors which affect the healthy development of young children. Often, families in low economic situations struggle meeting these criteria. To help these families in need, governmental agencies have established organizations and programs that work with families and children, improving the family’s atmosphere and parent-child relationship. Within the state of West Virginia, the Family Resource Centers focus on providing for these families and children by utilizing two-generational programs. These programs provide for both parent and child together as well as on an individual level. This paper examines the importance of parental and community involvement in determining the center’s success, based on length of establishment and level of support and usage. It also looks at additional benefits, such as increased social capital, provided to the community as a result of the center’s establishment.

REU Papers Part5

New England as a Political Region: A Case Study of Gubernatorial Elections

Christopher Kopp
Research Paper #9808 (pp. 49, 212K)

Abstract: Since the Republican Party’s formation at the time of the Civil War, the “Party of Lincoln” established a dominant foothold in the politics and social structure of the New England states. For many years, GOP candidates took state offices almost at will, tapping into the conservative Yankee leanings of the region’s inhabitants. These trends began to change and the “Solid North” started to break apart in response to the industrialization and urbanization of much of the area, particularly in the southern New England states. This project assesses the dynamics and of political change that has taken place in New England from 1856 to the present by examining the outcomes of all gubernatorial races within that period. Statistical analysis is also used to determine the magnitude of these changes. Individual state trends and eccentricities are gauged and then compiled to determine general conclusions relating to all six New England states.

Expressions of Discontent in America: Regional and Temporal Aspects of Third Party Governors and Gubernatorial Candidates, 1866-1966

Shannon Jones
Research Paper #9807 (pp. 34, 75K)

Abstract: Democrats and Republicans traditionally dominate elections in America. The main goal of this project lies in determining if support for third parties exists and if certain third party support patterns exist within the United States. This project examines gubernatorial elections beginning with 1866 and continuing through 1996. This research does demonstrate that third party support has definite patterns and characteristics. Certain third parties rise up and exist for definite periods of time. Eventually they lose their support or their cause loses its salience. However, it remains one huge cycle: prevalent parties appear, and then disappear, making way for other parties to emerge. The Midwest, the Far West states, and select New England states have all consistently supported third party candidates. Obviously, the Midwest states existed mainly as agrarian communities and areas of prevalent immigrant settlements. Therefore, during the times of hardship it is obvious they would support third parties concerned with issues they felt. Following this agrarian tradition, certain states (Minnesota and Wisconsin) still today support third parties more often than other states. The gubernatorial elections in these areas reflect the values, traditions, economics and social nature of the citizens. Third parties play an important role in the two party system which most Americans accept without question. The entrance of a third party onto the political scene in America gives rise to those important questions. Third parties offer a forum for discussion of new and different ideas. They often allow disadvantaged groups to have a choice in the politics of their chosen party. In essence, third parties allow for expressions of discontent.

 
Recovering from Private Wars: Rural Appalachian Women Talk about Their Experiences Dealing with Domestic Violence and the Economy’s Role in Their Situations

Stacey M. Willis
Research Paper #9808  (pp.31, 1,951K)

Abstract: Previous studies of domestic violence generally focus on urban areas while neglecting women in rural locations, such as Central Appalachia. This study explores the problem of domestic violence in a rural West Virginia county undergoing economic restructuring. Four sources of data are used: court records profiling final protection orders; socio-demographic factors related to domestic battery; and interviews with both victims and service workers from the county’s domestic abuse help center. A clear correlation exists between increases in protection orders filed and increases in mining and manufacturing unemployment rates for 1989 through 1996. The interviews corroborate this evidence. This research contributes to knowledge of domestic abuse in rural areas. The special consideration of rurarlity and economic restructuring pose unique problems for rural Appalachian women suffering from abuse as well as challenges for intervention and prevention efforts.

An Assessment of Affordable Housing in West Virginia

Brian Lego
Research Paper #9735 (pp. 26, 199K)

Abstract: This research assesses affordable housing in West Virginia. Regression and X2 analysis are used to examine the relationship of demographic characteristics and geographical location to homeowner and home-renter cost burdens. Analysis shows that owner and renter cost burdens have different determinants. An analysis of affordable housing non-profit developers indicates these groups have made significant contributions to the supply of affordable housing, but current productivity is below national norms and residents in large geographic areas with substantial housing issues do not have access to services.

A Spatial Analysis of Southern Gubernatorial Elections: 1965-1997

Chuck Failing, IV
Research Paper #9733 (pp.37, 1,064K)

Abstract: For nearly a century the Democratic Party exerted an unmatched influence at all levels of government in the southern United States. This is particularly true in the eleven former Confederate states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. In turn, the policies and personalities of politicians and voters in the South played immense roles in shaping the national Democratic Party and national policies. This paper illustrates the dynamics of political change in the South at the gubernatorial level, and quantifies the magnitude of change over time with statistical analysis.

REU Papers Part6

Examining Substitution Between Property Crimes Using North Carolina Data

Jeffrey Merrifield
Research Paper #9723 (pp. 21, 51K)

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to test the economic model of crime for the existence of substitution among property crimes using aggregate data from North Carolina counties in 1983. Two models were estimated using weighted least squares. The first model tests the deterrent effect of four criminal justice variables on the rate of four property crimes. The second model tests for substitution cross effects among the crimes. While deterrent effects for individual crimes are apparent, the estimated elasticities do not support the notion that substitution among property crimes exist.

Agricultural Transformation in Rural Western Kenya: The Maize Crop in the Mt. Elgon Region, 1930-1950

Jennifer L. Hoskinson
Research Paper #9717 (pp. 23, 61K)

Abstract: Between 1930 and 1950 the Kenyan colonial government began an experiment with maize by attempting to introduce it as a major cash crop in the Mt. Elgon geographical region of Western Kenya. Part of a larger campaign concerning African agriculture in general, the colonial government pursued various policies aimed at raising the price of African-grown maize and improving its production. Just as these policies began to provide an atmosphere favorable to African maize export growth, however, the colonial government reversed several of these policies. Using the case of maize in the Mt. Elgon region, this research illustrates how the failure of economic development policies in colonized or less-developed countries is often due to contradictory or unfit governmental policies. This is in contrast to standard perceptions regarding the inability of the colonized or less-developed peoples to adapt to the policies.

Why South Carolina Economic Developers Pursue Industrial Recruitment

David Shideler
Research Paper #9715 (pp. 16, 75K)

Abstract: Industrial recruitment is a common tool used for economic development by local developers. Recent research, however, concludes that this tool may be costly and ineffective. This project identifies why South Carolina local developers use industrial recruitment as a primary economic development strategy. Selected local developers were surveyed to collect data for testing six hypotheses used to justify the industrial recruitment strategy. Tradition, high expected values, political pressures, weaknesses within the community, high discount rates, and the notion that any community can recruit a firm to encourage local economic developers to use industrial recruitment.

West Virginia Progress

Myles Roberts
Research Paper #9713 (pp. 20, 207K)

Abstract: How has West Virginia changed in the last three decades? Using a broad range of socio-economic indicators, this research highlights changes West Virginia has made since 1960: the areas in which the state has made progress, and the areas in which the state needs improvement. Today, West Virginia has a rank consistent with the national average for many socio-economic indicators such as infant mortality. The population of the state is stable and has been rising slowly since 1990. These statistics are testaments to the state’s progress. Despite its rural character, the state is economically stable. The socio-economic variables include employment, poverty rates, population growth, median income, education attainment, home value, and age distribution. These variables are important because they indicate the general economic condition of the state, and are excellent measures of socio-economic conditions such as growth and wealth. West Virginia has seen several changes between three decades. The state lost its major industry and its economy fell. Young people moved away from the state. The observations suggest several policies. First, the economy must find a new foundation. Second, the state should find a balance of various age groups that approaches the national average. Third, education must predominate so that the vast majority of all West Virginians have graduated from high school in the next thirty years.

Regional Aspects of Political Party Development in the United States: The Case of Governors, 1789-1824

Anna Falkner
Research Paper #9711 (pp. 36, 1,558K)

Abstract: The current political system is a compilation of the events of political party formation and transformation that have occurred over the last two hundred years. The following research focuses on the development of the first political system in the United States. The rivalry between the Federalists and Republicans led to the modern party system. The system developed in the 1790s, matured by 1800, and then declined by 1810s. This research focuses on governor political affiliations and makes observations about regional patterns. The research objectives are: identification of party affiliation, identification of method of election, and regional analysis of party strength for governors. The United States is divided into four regions: New England, Middle Atlantic, South, and West. The regional analysis led to discoveries about why the Republican party began to dominate the country. The Republican party did not have much support in the mid 1790s, but their support slowly grew. The Federalists lost control in most areas, except for the New England region. By 1824, the last year of the study, only one governor was a federalist. This research explains the Federalist decline and the eventual decline of the Republicans. This is the first era of United States political parties and is often termed “the experimental system.”

REU Papers Part7

Measuring Governors’ Effectiveness: A Control Group Study

Brad Keller
Research Paper #9710 ( pp. 15, 57K)

Abstract: This research sought empirical evidence that the policies of celebrated governors of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Arkansas led to increases in employment in their state. The counties of those states were matched with counties from other states based on variables thought to affect economic growth. Differences between the matched pairs were then examined in seventeen major sectors. Little regional support was found for the conclusion that the policies stimulated the counties’ economies. The Pennsylvania counties lagged behind the match counties before the policies went into effect and continued to do so afterward. Massachusetts counties experienced relative growth in transportation and public utilities for a decade and manufacturing for three years. Finally, Arkansas demonstrated relative employment growth for a few years in farming and services, but it had done so previously for farming.

Domestic Violence as a Growing Societal Concern in West Virginia: Contextual, Historical, and Economic Linkages

Branka A. Jikich
Research Paper #9619 (pp. 14, 537K)

Abstract: Domestic violence essentially affects everyone. It is not merely a personal or private problem within families. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (US Department of Justice), a woman is beaten every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States. Additionally, the Surgeon General’s report also reveals that one in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses say that they had been victimized over and over again by the same person. These selected statistics easily demonstrate that domestic violence in the United States is a serious and grave social concern. This paper explores the many facets of this social ill, ranging from the psychological makeup of an abuser to the legal ramifications of the problem. Beginning with a definition of domestic violence, this paper takes a historical look at the epidemic, examines the cycle of violence in abusive relationships, and finally links domestic violence to the socio-economic situations of its victims. This imperative link is especially important because it provides a perspective into domestic violence as it correlates with poverty levels in West Virginia. The focus is on West Virginia so that the paper has a regional base, and also because the state is a clear example of the link between economic downturns and high rates of domestic abuse.

Black Success on a Regional Scale

Melissa A. Albert
Research Paper #9611 (pp. 31, 1,557K)

Abstract: All of American society is judged by its attainment of success. This study focuses on the society of black America. Black America has a relatively short, but oppressive, history. Progress has taken place, however, and at present, a significant portion of black America has attained success. Success, which can be a very subjective measure, is difficult to fathom at times. In order to regard the whole realm of “success,” three approaches are discussed: economic success, educational attainment, and self-esteem. The empirical analysis, however, focuses exclusively on educational attainment. Many factors influence the likelihood of success. This study emphasizes spatial factors such as region of residence, region of birth, and migration. It compares success of blacks by region and tendency for migration. Through these comparisons of North and South, we find that those blacks residing in the North are still the most successful. Migrants, who are likely to be the most motivated, are by far the most successful blacks in this study.

Did the West Virginia Supreme Court Subsidize the Railroad Industry?

John S. Kamarados
Research Paper #9609 (pp. 23, 810K)

Abstract: The debate over the legal system subsidizing industry has been waged for the past thirty years. This paper takes a look at two perspectives of this debate by comparing Morton Horwitz’s thesis that industry was subsidized by the legal system and Gary Schwartz’s thesis that it was not. To determine which thesis is most applicable to West Virginia, State Supreme Court of Appeals’ rulings from 1870-1920 were examined in the areas of personal injury, fire, and injury to animals. In each of these cases, railroad companies (the dominant industry in West Virginia during this era) were the defendants. The findings support Horwitz’s thesis by showing that the West Virginia legal system subsidized industry by favoring the defendant railroad companies in the Supreme Court’s decisions.

Dividing Political Space: Commissions and the Congressional Redistricting Process

Lory Marie Chipps
Research Paper #9608 (pp.30, 1,171K)

Abstract: Congressional redistricting has always been a controversial and cumbersome task. For over 150 years, federal and state laws have expanded certain guidelines that must be met in the redistricting plans. Since the landmark 1962 Baker v. Carr case allowing judicial jurisdiction in redistricting matters, the courts have debated such items as malapportionment and the constitutionality of both partisan and racial gerrymandering. Many states have been forced to defend questionable redistricting maps in both state and federal courts. With all these problems, some states have begun to redistrict in a new fashion. During the 1990s round of congressional redistricting, commissions were employed in Hawaii, Connecticut, Washington, Iowa, and New Jersey to draw new district boundaries. Traditionally, state legislatures have drawn the lines, but with the increasing number of judicial precedents to be met, the political ramifications of redistricting, and in the spirit of democratic reform, some legislators have relinquished the duty to bipartisan commissions. Each state has specific laws governing the commissions. Although redistricting commissions can not solve the inherent problems of the United States’ electoral and representative systems, commissions provide a less partisan alternative to the process.

REU Papers Part8

A Look at the Cheat River Whitewater Rafting Industry

Mandy Neidermeyer
Research Paper #9601 (pp.57, 1,800K)

Abstract: The purpose of the Cheat River Management investigation was to gather baseline customer data. This data will facilitate future management decisions regarding the operation of commercial whitewater rafting companies (whitewater outfitters) on the river system. The sample reflected a random selection of outfitter customers on rafting days based on a stratified selection of usage patterns. The descriptive research design resulted in the compilation of an overall description of the Cheat River whitewater rafting consumer characteristics. This study provides the baseline data which will assist outfitters in staying close-to-the-customer and should be continually updated to understand the customer experience.

Measuring the Influence of Partisan Control of the Redistricting Process of the 1972 Elections to the United States’ House of Representatives

Kevin W. Young
Research Paper #9533 (pp. 20, 1,097K)

Abstract: Gerrymandering has received a great deal of attention in recent years, most notably the racial gerrymandering of congressional districts in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. However, using party control of the redistricting process to increase a party’s advantage need not always be so obvious. Indeed, the most successful gerrymanders are often so subtle as to go unnoticed until after elections are held. This paper proposes one method of measuring (on a national scale) the effectiveness of partisan control of U.S. congressional district boundary decisions in increasing a party’s congressional representation. By comparing the difference between the percentage of seats and popular vote received by a party in states in which that party had control of the redistricting process to the voting trends that occurred in non-partisan-boundaries to their benefit in impending elections. Regional and population-based trends are shown to be important factors. This paper uses voting information from the 1972 U.S. House of Representatives’ elections for its analysis.

Economic Development: Equity Choices and Consequences

Eric Schmuck
Research Paper #9529 (pp. 32, 1,111K)

Abstract: In the last twenty years, economic development planning has become a major activity of state and local elected officials. So far, evaluations of planning have concentrated on efficiency-do the policies work? Given the magnitude of efforts which now reach into many foreign countries, the size of tax abatements, and value of other subsidies, it is appropriate to ask to what extend success has been achieved. Rarely have evaluations considered equity-are the policies fair? Evaluations of economic development policy must include not only “who wins,” but “who should win,” and “at what cost.” To study the policies for local government, several specific economic development projects were studied. The popular press provided the examples and illustrations of the problems and strengths. These illustrations are not rigorous case studies. Their sole purpose is to serve as examples of how a lack of clarity about the goals of policy can have unintended and unanticipated negative effects. First the case of Rio Rancho was considered. Rio Rancho is generally perceived as an overwhelming success in terms of economic development. However, a careful study of the community reveals otherwise; a city with serious financial problems due to the excessive amount of financial incentives given to relocating firms. Another example is the case of United Airlines. When United announced it would build a new repair facility, many cities engaged in a bidding war. Both the process of the bidding and the result itself provide insight into contemporary economic development planning. Finally, Disney’s America is analyzed. The issue of the bearing of risk by the firm and by government is considered. Also studied is the relationship between the local government and location decisions by the firm. The paper concludes with theorized solutions to the problems and conflicts introduced throughout the paper. A discussion of the size of tax abatements is included. Finally, the importance of the conflicts provides the conclusion.

The Feminization of Poverty in West Virginia

Beth L. Taylor
Research Paper #9528 (pp. 19, 576K)

Abstract: In this paper, the concept of the feminization of poverty in West Virginia is discussed, with an emphasis on single-parent females. The industrial history of the state is examined, as well as the history of poverty policies which impacted the lives of women. A regression analysis shows the degree to which social and economic factors including education and employment influence the poverty status of women. In conclusion, the anti-poverty policies of current times are examined in order to evaluate their effectiveness.

Juvenile Delinquency Rates in City, Suburban, and Rural Areas from 1988-1993

Stacey L. House
Research Paper #9519 (pp.18, 692K)

Abstract: Juvenile delinquency increasingly is a problem in the United States. Gangs, drugs, and violence in urban areas are stereotypically portrayed in the media. However, the media have left out any juvenile crime problems in rural areas. Are urban youths really responsible for a majority of the juvenile crime statistics or are rural youths to blame also? To answer this question, an analysis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports from 1988-1993 for city, suburban, and rural areas was done. A majority of the juvenile crime is occurring in heavily populated cities. However, several of the crime rates for rural areas exceeded suburban areas. These crimes included burglary, vandalism, drunkenness, and liquor law violations. There are several reasons this may be occurring, such as the lower house density in rural areas compared to suburban. Also, there may be less activities for rural youths, therefore they turn to crime. The law enforcement may be more lenient toward rural than suburban youths. Nevertheless, juvenile crime has become a big problem in this country.

REU Papers Part9

West Virginia Game and Fish Warden: Creation and Early Development, 1895-1905

Jonathan Byrne
Research Paper #9516 (pp. 44, 1,424K)

Abstract: West Virginia is a rural state. It’s most precious resources are those contained in the deep backwoods of the state. In this century, those resources are timber, coal, and natural gas, but in the preindustrial era, fish and game resources were also important. Fish and game provided food and possible trade items for those who lived in the hills and hollows of the back counties. But over hunting and over fishing, particularly by out-of-state hunters and fishermen, threatened to use up these valuable resources. In addition, the emergence of extraction industries destroyed many animal habitats. The state of West Virginia attempted to remedy such problems through increasingly vigorous government regulation. This paper will examine the development of one such action, the West Virginia Game and Fish Warden. It will be explored in four ways: 1) a brief look at the state of West Virginia’s game and fish laws up to 1895 and the first attempt at establishing the Game and Fish Warden in 1895, 2) the establishment of the Warden in 1897, 3) its early development, and 4) a recapitulation of the legislator’s votes on game and fish legislation during this period.

“Eleanor’s Million Dollar Gift”: Monongalia County’s 1938 School Bond

Patrick Esposito
Research Paper #9515 (pp. 19, 778K)

Abstract: With the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a revolutionary idea arrived in Monongalia County in 1938. The Million Dollar School Building Project of 1938 was the largest undertaking in the United States where a county attempted to overhaul its entire edifice of education. Ironically, in the depth of the Great Depression, Monongalia County built a school infrastructure which still thrives today. Monongalia County has benefited greatly from this Works Progress Administration Program. Without the program and the initial vision of Eleanor Roosevelt, the quality of education provided to the people of the county would have suffered. “Eleanor’s Million Dollar Gift” has been one for the century.

REU Students

Undergraduate Research Fellows (REU) Students, 1995-2001

REU Teachers 2001

1994-1997 REU Instructors
left to right: Cynthia Rogers, Brian Cushing, Andy Isserman, Stephan Weiler, Luc Anselin

2000-2001 Students
Amanda Alderman
Michael Alfred
Janice Cessna
Audrey Dawson
Karen Hixson-Cox
Jeffrey Huff
Eric Lee
J. Travis Parsley
Charles Smith
Maria Weir
Stephen Williams
1999-2000 Students
Jackie Bass
Cody Duckworth
Christine Estep
Jody Jones
Jason Ng
Sirisha N. Reddy
Alyse Schrecongost
Donna Sisler
Jennifer Teagarden
Matthew Urban
Nicole Vassey
Lisa Phares
1997-98 Students
Holly Hendricks
Shannon Jones
Christopher Kopp
Brian Lego
S. Travis Raines
Sarah Rentch-Turner
1996-97 Students
William Ballard
Chuck Failing, IV
Anna Falkner
Jennifer Hoskinson
Brad Keller
Jeffrey Merrifield
David Shideler
Stacey Willis
1995-96 Students
Lory Chipps
Ben Hawkins
David Jensen
Branka Jikich
John Kamarados
Meredith Krejny
1994-95 Students
Melissa Albert
Jonathan Byrne
Patrick Esposito II
Stacey House-Kovac
Mandy Neidermeyer
Brian Price
Myles Roberts
Eric Schmuck
Beth Taylor
Shannon Whyte
Kevin Young