College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Economics Student Wins Prestigious Prize

Doctoral candidate honored for research on relationship between homeownership and unemployment


George Akpandjar

George Akpandjar

George Akpandjar, a doctoral student in the University of Mississippi Department of Economics, is winner of the 2015 Barry M. Moriarty Graduate Paper Competition sponsored by the Southern Regional Science Association.

Akpandjar, of New Castle, Delaware, was recognized for his paper titled “The Effect of Homeownership on Unemployment: Outcomes and Implications,” based on his dissertation, an investigation of the relationship between homeownership and unemployment using a job search framework. Akpandjar discovered that the increased search costs associated with homeownership do not weaken employment opportunities for homeowners.

“Results from the paper are very important for federal and state governments’ policy on homeownership,” he said. “Going by the result from the paper, homeownership should be encouraged by federal and state government as higher homeownership rates across the country will lead to lower unemployment rates since homeowners are less likely to be unemployed.”

Previous winners of the national $1,000 prize have come from Duke University, Ohio State, Texas A&M and the universities of North Carolina, Southern California and Texas.

“It feels great to win this award,” Akpandjar said. “It makes me believe I can contribute something meaningful to society. I am really gratified that all the efforts that I put into my research have been recognized.”

Akpandjar, who entered the Ph.D. program in 2010, has been a graduate instructor of economic principles and statistics for several semesters.

“George is an outstanding student and is highly regarded by the undergraduates he teaches, his fellow graduate students, and faculty alike,” said Walt Mayer, professor of economics.

After graduation Akpandjar plans to begin a career with Bank of America as a quantitative operations associate.

The Southern Regional Science Association is an interdisciplinary organization with members in approximately 40 states and seven countries.