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Economics Professor Gets Comfortable in New Role

Research Assistant Professor Benjamin Passty is enthusiastic about his role as director of McMicken's Applied Economics Research Institute.

Date: 1/18/2009
By: Matt Cunningham
Phone: (513) 556-4190
Photos By: Melanie Cannon
Benjamin Passty’s first day at McMicken didn’t pan out as he had expected.

“I told my friends, ‘labor economists have to work on Labor Day,’” said the research assistant professor and director of McMicken’s Applied Economics Research Institute (AERI).

Unfortunately, Passty said he found the economics offices locked for the holiday. Not one to give up easily, he adapted.

“I spent most of that first day working on my laptop at Panera,” he said with a laugh.

Benjamin Passty stands near UC
Benjamin Passty is the new director of McMicken's Applied Economics Research Institute.

Passty’s first quarter with the college has produced more than amusing stories. His work at AERI provides real-world opportunities for students while contributing valuable analysis to clients across the nation.

Passty explained that the directorship of AERI, which provides objective, high-quality business information and consultation on economic matters, was a large part of why he chose to join UC’s Economics Department.

“Being able to direct an institute like that was totally different from my other opportunities,” he said. “Plus, the chemistry is there; I really felt like I gelled with the department.”

One of the first projects AERI will complete under Passty’s leadership is a sales analysis for international wine and beverage producer Brown-Forman. He explained that graduate economics students took the data and created multiple models to forecast future sales trends.

“The students really cut their teeth on that and tried a number of different models,” he said. “This was perfect. The students got to deal with the data directly.”

Another future project AERI is pursuing involves an analysis of the economic impact of Hispanic residents in the Greater Cincinnati region.

“We’re looking at multipliers,” said Passty. “It’s important not just to know what their jobs are but also to trace the dollars these jobs generate into the economy,” through aspects such as retail demand, and the jobs created in turn to serve that need.

Again, Passty said, students will be involved in this real-world project.

“Education of the students is really at the core of what AERI does,” he said.

As Passty enters his second quarter at McMicken, he still feels the enthusiasm that drove him to put in a remote workday that first official day in September.

“I think there’s a wonderful dynamic here,” he said. “I’m really encouraged about the direction the department’s going, and that I am able to play a unique role in it.”

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