Faculty Updates


Elaine FreyElaine Frey recently published “Spatial Hedonic Valuation of a Multi-use Urban Wetland in Southern California” (with student Marissa Palin and colleagues Patrick Walsh, EPA, and CSULB professor of biological sciences Christine Whitcraft) in the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review. Currently, Frey is collaborating on research examining environmental issues such as air pollution at the Port of Long Beach, deforestation in the Amazon, the impact of environmental amenities in L.A. County and the protection of recreational fisheries in southern California. In the past year, she presented her research during the CSULB Economics Seminar Series and the Southern Economic Association Conference. Frey serves as the graduate coordinator for the Master of Arts in Economics degree program and continues to organize the Economics Seminar Series and the Economics Poster Competition, which are open to all alumni and students. Finally, she and her husband are happy to announce the birth of their first child, Eleanor, in June 2013.

LGrobar2-DUOLisa Grobar was one of 25 CSULB professors awarded a grant in 2012 to develop a 100 percent online course in the university’s push to develop online summer offerings. The College of Continuing and Professional Education hosted ECON 100, which was different from the Department of Economics’ usual offerings because the course is completely asynchronous; all lectures are taped in advance and the students work independently. Last summer, a small group of students (21), some of whom took the course while living in another state, enrolled in Grobar’s online course and provided positive feedback. They appreciated the ability to complete their coursework in a flexible manner so they could carry out their summer activities and still accumulate credits toward their degrees. Grobar expects that the department will continue to offer online options during upcoming summer sessions.


Jack Hou continued to serve as chair of the Chinese Economists Society’s Academic Publication Council and is a member of the Regents. He alsocontinued as a cluster leader of the Partners for Success Program, a mentoring program for sophomore probationary students. He sits on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Applied Economics, Journal of International and Global Economic Studies, and was recently invited to join the editorial board of Economics and Political Studies (Renmin University of China).

As an active researcher, Hou published two papers: “How is U.S. trade policy toward China determined? A political economic analysis illustrated by voting outcome of the PNTR bill” in China Economic Review and “Time-varying Volatility in the Chinese Economy: A Regional Perspective” in Papers in Regional Science. He also wrote chapters for two books: “Labor, Social Security, and Public Finance: Cost of Elderly Healthcare” for “China’s Economic Reform and Development Future” (Tianjin: Nankai University Press), and “Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Taiwan’s Industrial Structure and Firm Activities” for “Implications of the Global Economic Crisis for Industrial Restructuring in Asia” (Asian Development Bank Institute).

Hou gave the keynote speeches at the Third Presidents’ Forum, Chinese Economists Society, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, Kunming, China, on Dec. 17, 2012; Fourth Biennial International Conference on International Trade and Growth, Nankai University, Tianjin, China, on June 22, 2013; and at the 2013 International Symposium on Contemporary Labor Economics, Xiamen University, in December 2013.

In addition, he presented papers at the following conferences: International Conference on “Global Dynamics and World Development” at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China, October 2012, where he also chaired six sessions; Western Economic Association International’s 10th Pacific Rim Conference in Tokyo, Japan, March 14−17, 2013, where he organized 25 sessions, chaired five sessions and discussed one paper; Western Social Science Association’s 55th Annual Conference in Denver, Colo., April 10-13, 2013, where he chaired one session and discussed one paper; Chinese Economists Society 2012 China Conference: “China’s Financial System in Transition,” at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China, June 7-9, 2013, where he also chaired two sessions and served as an invited panelist on a roundtable; and Western Economic Association’s International 88th Annual Conference in Seattle, Wash., in June/July 2013, where he organized 33 sessions, chaired five sessions and discussed two papers.

In December 2012, Hou was an invited VIP panelist, who reviewed the 2013 Human Capital Report of China (Central University of Finance and Economics), and gave two seminars at Shanghai University. During summer 2013, Hou gave lectures/seminars at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China; China Agriculture University, Beijing, China; Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China; and Jilin University, Changchun, China. He also taught a short course at the Executive MBA Program of Guizhou University, Guiyang, China, and the MBA program at Henan University, Kaifeng, China.

Liu smallXuemei Liu published “The Value of Holding Scarce Wind Resources-A Cause of Overinvestment in Wind Power Capacity in China” in Energy Policy. In the paper, she explores reasons for the overinvestment in wind power capacity and argues that a part of the overinvestment has a real value, which can be interpreted as the value of holding scarce wind resources. This value exists because the wind-rich sites with convenient locations to connect to the grid are scarce resources and the specific government policies that are essential for promoting wind power face an uncertain future.

Chen Feng NgChen Feng Ng presented her research at the University of Southern California in February 2013 and at the Kuhmo-NECTAR Conference on Transportation Economics in July 2013. Her paper, “The recession and truck traffic on the Long Beach Freeway in Los Angeles,” co-authored with Elaine F. Frey, was recently published in Economics Bulletin. She also co-wrote an article with Kenneth A. Small, titled “When do slower roads provide faster travel?” for ACCESS magazine. The article was translated to Chinese and published in Urban Transport of China. Ng is currently on a yearlong leave of absence from the department.

Seiji Steimetz

Seiji Steimetz continues to serve as the department’s associate chair and director of its Master of Arts in Global Logistics degree program. He also serves on the executive committee of the METRANS Transportation Center, which, in collaboration with the University of Southern California, seeks external funding to support faculty and student research. His recent efforts in that role helped to secure $2.9 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the California Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, Steimetz is collaborating with professor Elaine Frey and a former honor’s thesis student, Celeste Ahl, on a research project that examines pricing incentives to reduce air pollution generated by ships. He is working with a current graduate student, Sam Valdez, on developing methods for determining the statistical precision of estimates commonly used in transportation analysis.

Steve YamarikSteve Yamarik was happy to be back at CSULB after being on leave in Switzerland for the 2011-12 academic year. He had one paper accepted for publication, “Corruption, Regulation, and Growth: An Empirical Study of the American States” (with Noel Johnson, Will Rugers and Jason Sorens) at the Economics of Governance. Yamarik also organized and presented at two sessions in honor of Eldon Dvorak, CSULB professor emeritus of economics, at the 2013 Western Economic Association Meetings.