In search of Adam Smith – Blog 3 Tadhg Looram, Anna Shostya

There have been some major developments since my last blog entry. In blog 2 I talked at great length about how we were going to focus on our macro study and postponed our Micro study. We collected all the necessary data and ran all the Ordinary Least square regressions, however it was completely inconclusive, not one of our chosen variables exerted any influence on the number of Chinese students studying in the US. We asked ourselves, what we could do. On the one hand we have a very interesting survey study that needs some tuning and on the other we have a lame macro model.

Once again we decided to pivot, and go back to our micro study. We gave our study a lot of thought and with the aid of our literature review; we identified a whole in the existing literature and an opportunity for our study. According to our literature, the majority of studies done so far establish exogenous push and pull factors that influence Chinese students to study abroad. For instance, the increase in cultural acceptance between China and the US as well as increase in trade make it easier for Chinese students to gain visas. Furthermore rise in disposable income in China allow parents to send what is often their only kid to study abroad. What is missing is the students intrinsic motivation to study abroad. Our survey asked several questions that would estimate such motivation and what we really want to know is if our Chinese students desire to pursue education is motivated by monetary, self-serving incentives (like western students.). Or do they choose to study to pursue more altruistic goals: self-learning, obligations to family and society, based on Confucius teachings.

Now we are on to something! To answer our question we built three models: the first measures the probability that our students would study abroad at an undergraduate level, based on our Explanatory variables. The second model is the same but at a graduate level and the third measures the probability that they want to study at a graduate level period.

Time was of the essence, we had to have it all done before Friday, for we were to present at the Eastern Economic Association. We managed to pull it off and found interested significant results, I will refrain from discussing them here, I would prefer to keep them for the final blog and presentation.

I have learned a great deal so far; I’ve learned to do work independently and be my own critic and instructor. I say this not because Dr. Shostya wasn’t available but because she refused to hold my hand and treat me like a subordinate. Despite the gap in our knowledge and experience she treated me like a partner and expected such results, it was up to me to be produce and from that I learned to be my own biggest critic. I also had to be very flexible to last minute changes, which is hard to roll with when you have a big dead line 5 days away. Last but not least I became more aware the importance of preparation. When preparing for the EEA (eastern economic conference) never have I scrutinized a power point nor rehearsed the presentation as much as I did.

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