|Student's Paper for Economics Class Merits Publication in International Journal
January 26, 2010
Contact: Bill Giduz
|(l-r) Appleyard and Rauh confer in his office
For most students, final research papers are never seen beyond the walls of professors' offices. But for Davidson College junior Alison Rauh, what started as a simple class assignment will end up as a published article in The American Economist, a refereed journal published by the Omicron Delta Epsilon international honor society in economics.
Rauh wrote the paper as a sophomore in her economics class on international trade, taught by James B. Duke Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics Dennis Appleyard.
Rauh's paper employed the Linder Hypothesis, which she learned about in class, to examine the nature of Germany's international trade in recent years.
The Linder Hypothesis proposes that countries with similar demand structures are more likely to trade with one another. Rauh's paper applied the hypothesis to Germany's trade from 2002 to 2007, and found that the country's trade patterns supported the hypothesis.
Rauh said, "In class, Dr. Appleyard mentioned some econometric work that had been done to test the hypothesis. Since I was also taking econometrics at the time from Dr. Mark Foley, I saw the opportunity to carry out the work by combining information from the class about trade with skills I learned in econometrics."
As a native German, Rauh wanted to apply the theory to her home country because she had experienced the importance of intra-European trade firsthand her whole life.
Appleyard was impressed with the paper's sophisticated application, and encouraged Rauh to pursue publication. "Alison took a topic we discussed in class and really tested it using German and European Union data," said Appleyard. "The theory is often debated, and her paper put an emphasis on that."
Rauh took Appleyard's advice for several reasons. "I thought it would be great if more people than just myself and my professor could benefit from the work in the paper," she said. "I also thought that publication would validate the hard work I've put into my in- and out-of-class work at Davidson. I knew it would be a great honor if my work were published."
Rauh was studying abroad in France with the Davidson in Tours program when she submitted her paper to the journal in September. She found out shortly thereafter that it had been accepted. The day she received the acceptance e-mail from the journal, Rauh had plans to dine with friends from Davidson and the French university. After sharing the good news, the dinner turned into a celebration. "It was great to see that my new French friends were almost as excited as me about the fact that my paper was accepted by The American Economist."
Appleyard was equally thrilled. "It's very rare for an undergraduate student to be published in a journal as prestigious as this," he said. "I'm very proud. Davidson emphasizes undergraduate research, and Alison's publication highlights the fact that research is not just limited to the natural sciences, but can be pursued in the social sciences as well. I hope it inspires other students to pursue the same thing."
While still uncertain about her career, Rauh would like it to involve economics and international trade. "My paper is an econometric analysis of a hypothesis concerning international trade, so it combines my two interests and should support my interest in international economics," she said.
Rauh's paper will be published by the journal in either its Fall 2010 or Spring 2011 edition.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.