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Redefining Resource Allocation in Computing Systems

By Jacob Chasan

A new kernel1 is in town. The current industry-standard for resource allocation on computers does
not take the user’s preferences into account, rather programs are given access to resources based on the
time that each requested to be run. Although this system can lead to solutions that minimize the time it
takes for a program to receive an allocation, it often leads to an incentive misalignment between the
programs and the user. This misalignment is exacerbated as the current queue-based systems have no
inherent mechanism to prevent a tragedy of the commons issue, whereby programs take more resources
from the system than the value they provide to the user. By shifting to a market-based approach, where
computing resources are allocated to programs based on how much utility the user receives from each
program, the incentives of the programs and the users align. With inherent market mechanisms to keep
the incentives aligned, this new paradigm leads to at least superior levels of utility for a user.

1As described in subsequent parts of this paper, the kernel is the core program within an operating system which is given the authority to allocate the hardware resources amongst the programs on the computer.

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Advisors: Professor Benjamin C. Lee, Professor Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Professor Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: C8, C80

Immigrant Workers in a Changing Labor Environment: A study on how technology is reshaping immigrant earnings

By Grace Peterson

This research determines how automation affects immigrant wages in the US and how closely this impact follows the skills-biased technical change (SBTC) hypothesis. The present study addresses this question using American Community Survey (ACS) data from 2012 to 2016 and a job automation probability index to explain technological change. This research leverages OLS regressions to evaluate real wage drivers, grouping data by year, immigration status, and education level. According to the SBTC hypothesis, high skill immigrant wages should be less negatively affected by technological change than low skill immigrant wages. Univariate analysis suggests that the SBTC hypothesis is even stronger for US = immigrants than native-borns, as high skill immigrants have a lower average probability than low skill immigrants of having their jobs automated, and the difference in effect on high versus low skilled workers is larger for immigrant than native-borns. However, multivariate analysis asserts that technological change affects low skill immigrants’ wages less than high skilled individuals’ wages, which counters the SBTC hypothesis.

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Advisors: Professor Grace Kim | JEL Codes: J15, J24, J31, J61, E24

The Puzzle of Mobile Money Markets: An Example of Goldilocks Conditions

By Ricardo Martínez-Cid and Gonzalo Pernas

This paper investigates the supply-side and demand-side factors that explain the success of mobile money markets. Namely, we argue that there exists a set of Goldilocks conditions that best supports mobile money services. A population must have exposure to financial services to understand mobile money and have a high enough level of income to have a use for these services. However, the population must also not have access to highly developed banking architecture, such that their banking needs are already satisfied. By comparing El Salvador and Kenya, countries in different stages of development, we find empirical support for our hypothesis. Our evidence suggests that low income regions and households with some exposure to financial services are more likely to use mobile money than fully banked people who enjoy a higher income.

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Advisor: Erica Field | JEL Codes: E40, E42, G21, G23, O12, O16, O17

The Rise of Mobile Money in Kenya: The Changing Landscape of M-PESA’s Impact on Financial Inclusion

By Hong Zhu

M-PESA, the hugely popular mobile money system in Kenya, has been celebrated for its potential to “bank the unbanked” and increase access to financial services. This paper provides evidence to support this idea and explores mechanisms through which this might be the case. It specifically looks at the savings products held by individuals and how this changes in relation to M-PESA use. It then constructs an index for measuring the extent to which individuals are integrated into the formal financial sector. This paper argues that M-PESA’s effect on financial inclusion is a growing phenomenon, which suggests that keeping pace with the rapid evolutions of this mobile money system should be a high priority for researchers. As this paper elucidates, M-PESA has become notably more integrated with the formal financial sector in 2013 as compared to 2009, which holds implications for user behavior.

Honors Thesis

Advisor: Michelle Connolly, Xiao Yu Wang | JEL Codes: D14, E42, G21, G23, O1, O17, O16, O33 | Tagged: Financial Inclusion, Mobile Money, Savings,Technology


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Jennifer Becker

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly