The San Francisco Fed’s Economic Research Department congratulates two researchers – Aina Krupinski Puig and Hina Usman – as the authors of the selected essays in our inaugural “Unlocking Our Potential” graduate student essay competition.
Selected student essays explored topics of economic inequity through different lenses. Born in Barcelona and currently living in Washington, D.C., Puig, a PhD student in macroeconomics specializing in inequality topics at American University, has focused on the impact of monetary policy through interest rates on the spending habits of different types of American households, differentiated by gender and race. Usman, from Lahore, Pakistan, is a fifth-year doctoral student in applied microeconomics at the University of California, Irvine, whose essay examined whether economic insecurity fuels racially motivated crimes in the United States.
“These trials help shed new light on the impact of gender and racial inequalities, which have a real economic cost for every American,” said Sylvain Leduc, director of research at Fed SF. “We applaud the contributions of these students to this important area of scholarship.
The goal of the essay contest to explore new perspectives on these topics is part of the San Francisco Fed’s commitment to better understand the economy’s potential in support of the Fed’s maximum jobs mandate. .
How does monetary policy affect households differently?
By studying the effects of interest rates on different types of households, Puig found that demographic groups react differently to changes in interest rates. This results in different spending patterns between women and men and between black-headed and white-headed households. Her analysis suggests that households with mortgages, those with female heads, and those headed by whites drive aggregate consumption responses.
Puig said: “I think it’s important to be aware of these distributional impacts to better target policies and ensure they support the well-being of all.”
Puig will visit the San Francisco Fed as a researcher this summer to expand her research by working with staff before resuming her doctoral studies.
Does economic insecurity fuel racist crime?
In her research, Usman focuses on how politics and economic factors can impact how marginalized people – including minorities, incarcerated people and women – can integrate more fully into society. in general.
In her essay with co-author Usman Ghaus, Hina models how economic insecurity affects racially motivated crimes. She noted, “The focus of this study stems from a common belief in popular media that non-natives steal jobs from natives and negatively affect the economy.”
Using unemployment data to determine existing levels of economic insecurity, the authors compared how the incidence of hate crimes after September 11, 2001 differed with levels of economic insecurity. County-level data suggests that counties with higher unemployment experienced more hate crimes than economically more secure counties with lower unemployment.
Usman will present her work remotely at Fed SF and continue to refine her research as she works to complete her doctoral dissertation at UC Irvine and prepare to enter the workforce in January 2023.
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