OXFORD, Miss. – George Akpandjar, a doctoral student in the University of Mississippi Department of Economics, is the winner of the 2015 Barry M. Moriarty Graduate Paper Competition sponsored by the Southern Regional Science Association.
Akpandjar, of New Castle, Deleware, was recognized for his paper titled “The Effect of Homeownership on Unemployment: Outcomes and Implications,” based on his dissertation. Akpandjar investigated the relationship between homeownership and unemployment using a job search framework. He discovered that the increased search costs associated with homeownership do not weaken employment opportunities for homeowners.
“Results from the paper are very important for federal and state governments’ policy on homeownership,” Akpandjar said. “Going by the result from the paper, homeownership should be encouraged by federal and state government as higher homeownership rates across the country will lead to lower unemployment rates since homeowners are less likely to be unemployed.”
He competed nationally for the $1,000 prize. Previous winners have come from major universities such as Duke University, Ohio State, Texas A&M and the universities of North Carolina, Southern California and Texas.
“It feels great to win this award,” he said. “It makes me believe I can contribute something meaningful to society. I am really gratified that all the efforts that I put into my research have been recognized.”
Akpandjar entered the Ph.D. program in 2010. He has also been a graduate instructor of economic principles and statistics for several semesters.
“George has been an outstanding student and is highly regarded by the undergraduates he teaches, his fellow graduate students and faculty alike,” said Walt Mayer, UM professor of economics.
After graduation, Akpandjar plans to begin a career with Bank of America as a quantitative operations associate.