AUSTIN, Texas—From the football field to Sixth Street, economic students at The University of Texas at Austin transformed their college experiences into economic analyses to study the effect of Bevo on the football team’s performance and their peers’ risk-taking and partying preferences.
Parker Ramsdell, a senior economics student who will be graduating this semester, studied the effect of Bevo’s presence at football games on the team’s performance. After adjusting for the quality of the football team during each season and the record of the opposing team, the student researcher found the Longhorns scored an extra four points per game and were 13 percent more likely to win the game when the Longhorn steer mascot was present.
Because Bevo has been a fixture at football games in Austin since 1945, Ramsdell built an economic variable into the study to account for the effect of a home-field advantage. He also reviewed historical data from 1916 through 2006 to include years when the university did not have a mascot and seasons when Bevo did not travel to away games.
Alex Navarro and Ruben Colmenares, junior and senior economics students, examined students’ attitudes toward risk. They surveyed nearly 500 university students about their willingness to make bets. The results showed business majors were most likely to make risky bets, while fine arts majors were least likely. They also found female students were more averse to risk than males.
Dang Thu Vo Viet, a junior economics student, surveyed students about how frequently they go to nightclubs and bars. The research revealed business students are the most likely to go out partying. Among races and ethnicities, African Americans are less likely to hit the town clubbing.
The students completed the research under the guidance of Daniel Hamermesh, the Centennial Professor of Economics at the university, as part of an honors econometrics course, which teaches students economic measurements and how to use statistics to analyze data.
For more information contact: Daniel S. Hamermesh, Centennial Professor of Economics, 512-475-8526 or 512-206-0908; Christian Clarke Casarez, director of public affairs, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-4945.