Ben Shoesmith ('14, Economics)

Photo of Ben Shoesmith What do you do for your undergraduate research?

The present paper I am working on uses the statistical technique, cointegration and error correction. I’ll be applying the technique to two topics, gasoline spot prices and the spread between 30-Year Mortgage Rates and 7-Year Treasury Yields.  In the gasoline portion, I hope to get a better understanding of price leadership and memory components within the gasoline spot market.  In the Mortgage and Treasury section, I’ll be looking for the effects of Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions on the spread and leadership between to the two rates over time.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

I’ve worked on several research projects (all in economics) since I arrived at UNCW, so it has become something I really enjoy!  This project will be fun because it has wide-spread relevance to all people, especially those considering a mortgage or refinancing their mortgage.  The current state of monetary policy is in uncharted territory, so understanding the effects of different policy decisions is extremely important being that the policy affects everyone!

How did you start your research project?

My father is an economics professor in Wake Forest University’s MBA program and over school breaks he gives me the coursework for his classes.  Recently, he taught me cointegration and error correction and steered me toward the gasoline data.  I also participate in Fed Challenge, a monetary policy competition team.  Last year, I saw two data sets (the Mortgage and Treasury data) that appeared cointegrated, so I decided that they would be a good addition to the project.

It isn’t required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

I have been able to travel to present my research at a conference in Boston and a couple within North Carolina.  Additionally, CSURF awarded me a travel grant, so I could present at a much reduced cost.  I’ve also developed good relationships with teachers and been exposed to more topics in my major than I thought possible when I entered UNCW.  Doing research also teaches discipline and perseverance for when a project falls through or a result isn’t what you were expecting. I am now working on my honors research under the direction of Dr. Robert Burrus.

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I received the Board of Visitors Research Fellowship, a CSURF Travel Award, and the Undergraduate Research Scholar designation.

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

After UNCW, I hope to work within the Federal Reserve System in a research or policy related role.  If that does not work out, I’m sure God will provide an opening somewhere!

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