For his thesis, Chris Goings ’19 pulled research and advice from a wide range of sources, materializing years of classroom experience. The economics major’s thesis, “Federal Credit Market Intervention as Fiscal Policy: Federal Credit and its Impact on Commercial Banking and Liquidity, 1976-2018,” grapples with economic concerns that are both current and pressing.
The finished project was a fusion of economic literature reviews and a dataset constructed through Goings’ use of Python and other coding tools. By incorporating his own skills into the project, Goings was able to further the discussion on his topic.
“This thesis demonstrates empirical evidence of the effect of federal credit programs on commercial bank lending and liquidity,” he said. “It builds on monetary and fiscal policy literature supporting a bank lending channel of these policies, respectively.”
In order to do accomplish this, Goings relied on the solid economic backbone given to him by his classes. His thesis advisors, Assistant Professor Saleha Jilani and Visiting Assistant Professor Eric Gaus, also aided him along the way.
“Jilani’s ‘Junior Research Seminar: Advanced Topics in International Trade’ during my junior year provided a foundation for economic literature reviews,” Goings recounted. “Gaus provided invaluable feedback on my data work and empirical development, building on the empirical foundation he gave me in our ‘Econometrics’ course. I began research on this topic in [Visiting Associate] Professor Olivero’s ‘Fiscal Policy and the Macroeconomy’ course.”
His thesis is a true encapsulation of his time in the Haverford Economics Department. Though his writing of it has concluded, its subject will remain close in his mind as he moves on to his employment at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
What did you learn from working on your thesis?
I learned the process through which academic literature is synthesized and additional arguments are added on. My biggest takeaway is the ability to place my in the perspective of a journal article and understand how and why an economist is demonstrating evidence of their research topic. Another takeaway is my knowledge of the use of data in empirical economic literature and policy. For my research, I used Python, SQL, and STATA for data storage, graphing, and statistical analysis. My data was contained in releases from the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Without these tools, I would not have been able to construct my dataset in accordance with the data’s own accounting definitions.
Is there anything else you want to share?
The Economics Department’s “Senior Research Seminar” (our thesis course) facilitates an invaluable opportunity for peer feedback. I would encourage anyone interested in economics at Haverford to read any of the theses written during the year, on topics from environmental policy, labor economics, behavioral economics, trade, and international economics.
“What They Learned” is a blog series exploring the thesis work of recent graduates.