BY SHAWN PROCTOR
This is part 4 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.
Matthew Fagerstrom ’19 CLAS
Hometown: Hershey, Pa.
Faculty Mentor: Michael Curran, PhD, Assistant Professor, Economics
Research: The Financial Industry in the Era of Fiat Currency: An Empirical Approach
Other Honors: Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellows Summer Program Grant
In his own words:
My research project involved curating a literature review covering developments in the measurement of financial regulation, monetary policy, and the growth of the financial industry.
Following understanding the literature surrounding these topics, I conducted a Vector Autoregression (VAR) and Structural Vector Autoregression analysis using data on financial compensation, monetary policy, financial deregulation, and unionization.
Through my research I found that as the money supply in the economy increases that wages in the financial industry rose faster than wages in the rest of the economy. Between 1973 and 2015 employees in the financial industry saw their wages grow from 80 percent of averages wages to 150 percent.
Today, we assume that money is neutral. This study suggests significant non-neutralities of money due to the persistent relationship between the monetary base and financial variables. Banks need to be aware of how their policies will impact the distribution of jobs and production, and plan monetary interventions accordingly.
Matthew’s “Falvey Experience”:
The library was of immeasurable value, especially in writing the literature review. Writing the literature review involved reading and compiling sources from the cutting edge of the economics discipline, as the topic I researched has not been researched by many other scholars. I accessed almost every journal through the library, as they were restricted by “paywalls,” which made my research efficient.
Moreover, the private study spaces that populate Falvey Memorial Library were oases where my productivity could flourish.
In previous, but related research, Linda Hauck, Academic Librarian for Business and Human Resource Development, assisted me with finding data sources that I carried over into this project.
The Impact on Him:
I learned a great deal about writing literature reviews from this process, and I also learned applications of matrix algebra in the VAR setting. This experience has made me more confident about becoming an academic economist and has given me the confidence to write literature for my graduate-level political science classes.
I am continuing my Villanova education next year in order to earn a master’s in political science and Government. Beyond that, I plan to pursue a pre-doctoral fellowship then a PhD.
Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.
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