Dr. Dustin Chambers: BEACON’s Economics Scholar-in-Residence
During the 2016-17 academic school year, Dr. Dustin Chambers provided assistance on a number of BEACON projects, including an estimate of the economic value of resource-based industries in the State of Maryland, an estimate of the economic impact of Habitat for Humanity in the Salisbury metro area, a joint project in partnership with the United Way and Peninsula Regional Medical Center with the goal of improving health outcomes in vulnerable populations, and the development of Maryland state- and county-specific indexes of economic activity. While most of these projects involved teams of graduate students from the Perdue School M.B.A. program, Chambers also worked closely with PSB undergraduate students in the development of the Maryland economic indexes and will continue to do so as additional data are collected and the indexes are updated.
Patterned after the Federal Reserve’s Midwest Economic Index, the Maryland Economic Index (MDEI) employs principle component analysis to extract the underlying economic data “signal” (factor) from 138 county-level economic data series. The resulting index tracks Maryland’s business cycle between 2005 and 2015. This index is combined with other county-specific data to derive an index of economic activity for each county. The figure provided here plots the index for Wicomico County. Working with BEACON intern and PSB undergraduate Tatiana Barr, efforts are underway to extend the indexes through the second quarter of 2017.