Jessica Tabor Lassiter, who graduated from UCA last May, recently received the Best Paper Award at the annual meeting of the International Academy of Business Disciplines in St Louis.
“This is not an award for the best student paper,” said Dr. Mike Casey, Chair of UCA’s Department of Economics. “It is an award received in competition with Ph.D. business faculty members from around the world. I have never before heard of such prestigious recognition for an undergraduate paper.”
Dr. Joseph Horton, UCA Professor of Economics, said, “This demonstrates once again that we have really outstanding students at UCA. Our best students are just as good as the best students at Harvard or anywhere else.”
Lassiter wrote the paper as part of her UCA Honors Thesis supervised by Dr. Tim Bisping as part of Horton’s Senior Seminar in Economics. Lassiter is now a graduate student at Illinois State University.Lassiter’s paper on Central Banking in Transition Economies compares the economies of Estonia and Belarus which are transitioning from Communism to free enterprise. She finds that Estonia has been far more successful than Belarus. Much of that success is the result of Estonia granting its central bank a high degree of independence from politics. It is not allowed to lend money to the government, for example. In contrast, the Belarus central bank was subject to much political control. When the Belarus government ran huge deficits, the central bank created enormous amounts of money to finance the deficit. The result was 22,000 percent inflation and the near destruction of the economy. Estonia, on the other hand, is a model for transition economies.
Lassiter developed an interest in Estonia when she visited it as part of a UCA study abroad program. Her professor in Comparative Economic Systems had also visited Estonia, so this paper was a natural development of their interest in transition economies.