Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Looking ahead to summer

So my summer plans are solidifying nicely. I'll be staying here in New Haven, and doing a combination of the following three things:
  1. Running the Elmseed Enterprise Fund. Elmseed is, as far as I know, the only student-run micro-credit lender in the country. It's been up and running for more than four years now. Right now we have 9 long-time clients with 11 more awaiting certification. We've loaned out more than $25k to local New Haven entrepreneurs and have a repayment rate of over 85%. I run the client services department, which provides free business consulting and loan application writing help to our clients. Over the summer I'll be running the whole shebang, booking speakers, doing publicity and recruiting new clients, some fundraising, and running training sessions for our clients.
  2. Working as a research assistant to Professors Patrick Bayer and Fabian Lange here at economics department here at Yale. The project I'll be working on is about the location decisions of firms and workers, particularly firms that hire low-skilled workers and whether or not their location decisions are affected by a binding minimum wage. The reasoning goes like this: If wages are market-clearing, i.e. wages are set by the market, then firms that demand low-skilled labor will locate near its abundant sources. But if you introduce a binding minimum wage, firms might not employ as much low-skilled labor, not need as much of it, and so not see so much advantage in locating near its sources. This has grave implications for low-skilled workers, who are often in areas with poor infrastructure, might not own cars, and so might find it hard to travel to employers. And low-skilled workers in the areas where firms choose to locate are actually in high demand and low supply, and so can demand a higher-than-minimum wage. Thinking all of this over makes me a bit leery; is this the lead-in to an argument against the minimum wage? It will all depend on what the data show. The data set they have is massive, including every employer in California over 15 or so years. I'll be in charge of organizing all that junk into something usable. It'll take a long time, much more than the 160 hours I'll work over the summer. In fact, I'm going to start working on it in the next few weeks as the data comes in.
  3. Part-time job at the Beinecke Rare Book Library. The job is dull, for the most part, but it does involve working with, at least in passing, some pretty amazing stuff. Have you ever touched a 17th century doctorate from the university in Basel, Switzerland? Hah!
  4. McKenzie Leadership Summit. Still think about this one. It would be an all-expense paid weekend. Applications due at the end of March. Positives: Might set me up for a job at McKenzie after school. Negatives: Might set me up for a job at McKenzie after school. Obviously, I'm a bit ambivalent about consulting. It sounds like it might be really interesting. Game Theory certainly picqued my interest in business strategy.
So that's the summer plan. Hanging in the balance: My career plans. Will I like working with the economics data? Will it inspire me to apply to graduate school? Or will I like managing Elmseed so much that I choose to go the MBA route, with an eye on non-profit management?

In any case. Thought I'd let you all know what I'll be thinking/writing about in the summer months. Hopefully, it'll all provide me some interesting posts.


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