Amanda Cook recognized for joint work with graduate student

Cook
Amanda Cook (center) with Provost Joe Whitehead (left) and President Rodney Rogers at the 2019 Faculty Excellence Awards.

In the fall of 2017, Dr. Amanda Cook, assistant professor in the Bowling Green State University Department of Economics, and graduate student Alice Hanan Abboud began work on a research project focusing on the topic of Medicaid coverage rates for Hispanics and Spanish speakers compared to non-Hispanic speakers before and after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect in 2014. Abboud developed the idea for the project, gathered preliminary data and presented their paper, “Differential Rates of Medicaid Uptake for Hispanics and Spanish Speakers under the Affordable Care Act,” at the 2018 Midwest Economic Association annual conference. Their joint effort is now under review for publication by Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy.

In recognition of her work with Abboud, Cook received a President’s Award for Collaborative Research and Creative Work at the Faculty Excellence Awards April 16. The award recognizes innovative research and creative work conducted by faculty members in collaboration with graduate students. The $5,000 award included $2,500 for future collaborative research activities with BGSU graduate students and a $2,500 cash award.

Cook said that the skills acquired through “data work, presentation, and careful writing provided the necessary skills for Abboud to get her job as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.”

“Throughout this process, she has learned countless skills related to reading relevant literature, considering a theoretical model, identifying data, deciding on an appropriate analytical approach, presenting the paper at a conference, using feedback to improve the work and then submitting it for publication,” Cook wrote. “This process has highlighted the difference between writing a research paper for a class and writing a research paper that undergoes a double-blind peer-review. This work is not seen only by professors, but by the wider community, and after improving again from peer-reviewed feedback, this work will be used to advance the conversation about what we, collectively, know.”

Abboud said that Cook was the only one who encouraged her to keep pursuing her passion for economic research during a hard time in her life, related to Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico.

“I lost count on how many times I visited her office to share ideas or to get answers to my endless list of econometrics questions,” Abboud wrote. “She would also respond to my emails at late hours, sometimes the day before my work was due, and would even provide explanations on questions from other classes.”

The research is a culmination of both their personal research interests. Cook said that the research paired Abboud’s concept of social capital in economic decision making with her concept of social capital within the context of enrolling for Medicaid. Their goal was to investigate whether individuals in ethnic communities were more likely to enroll in Medicaid if they knew someone who had already enrolled in the program.

“The opportunity to undertake meaningful research also provided me with an opportunity to meet other economics researchers and prepare me for my career,” Abboud wrote.