Student presenting at Senior Symposium. Text reads: Humanities

Student Abstracts: Dwight - Panel A


Francesca Petruzzelli, Economics
The Industrial Revolution: Changing Art and the Economy in 19th Century France
Project advisor: Johannes Norling

The industrial revolution is arguably the greatest economic event in history. The shift from an agrarian to an industrial society allowed for more efficiency and higher output, ultimately leading to economic growth. But these developments were uniquely delayed in France due to decades of political turnover and national uprisings spanning from the end of the eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. The industrial revolution welcomed more than just economic expansion. It also affected a number of industries, one being the art world as the subject matter depicted by classically trained painters started to change. Artists benefited from greater production and the invention of resealable paint tubes. The creation of portable art supplies combined with the total reconstruction of Paris known as Haussmannization, in which Parisians were encouraged to spend time outdoors, allowed artists to take their craft outside and they ended up painting the world around them, rather than painting the biblical or historical events often applauded in the Paris Salon. This era of art marks the shift when painters began to depart from the neoclassical style and revolutionized their own. Given the timing of this evolution of artistic subject matter, I wonder whether the economic effects of France’s industrial revolution were able to influence art.

In order to understand how depicted subject matter changed, I turned to the Paris Salon catalogs that recorded the artwork exhibited throughout 19th century Paris. I digitized the 1865 Paris Salon catalog and compiled it with categorizations made by Jon Whiteley and digitized by Diana Greenwald. I recorded the artist’s name, gender, and birthplace, along with their Salon entry number, the title of the painting, and who the artist apprenticed to, if applicable. From there I divided the artists by birthplace into two groups: Parisians and non-Parisians, to determine if artists born in Paris who were exposed to more urbanization and modernity chose to paint more urban or rural scenes in art. This project takes an economic approach to examine how industrialization influences art. More specifically, I focus on the question of how the subject matter being depicted in the 1865 Paris Salon exhibition was impacted by the industrial revolution. Were Parisians able to paint more rural or urban scenes? Is it possible industrialization can influence the scenes painters depict? My argument is deeply rooted in economic history, the art history data I have collected, and the intersection between the two. The interdisciplinary work has been a phenomenal exploration of combining quantitative and creative disciplines to determine how the art world hinges on the economy and its developments.


Simran Kaur, Economics
A Humane Economy: A German Economist's Social Framework of the Free Market
Project Advisor: Jim Hartley

Economists use Gross Domestic Product as a marker of the growth and success of a country but fail to consider that the people who constitute an economy are more than just machines built for labor. What is the meaning of success? What does a successful economy look like? How does one determine if an economy is progressing or regressing? Guided by the perspectives of German economist Wilhelm Ropke, this thesis describes the possible structure and mechanisms of a flourishing economy.

In the early 20th century, Ropke published books arguing for alternatives to both nazism and communism and dissected topics of morality and cultural decline. In his humanitarian approach to describing an ideal economy, he advocates for the spiritual elements of Christianity and rejects the outcomes of societies built on the foundations of socialism, collectivism, totalitarianism, and mass society. He evaluates arguments from intellectuals including Karl Marx, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Adam Smith to establish how the economy can form a more nourishing society and genuine community. This thesis focuses on his works and the ideologies he preaches in A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market1 With the intention of applying a contemporary context to Ropke’s work, I gained insight into his motivations and ideas just prior to A Humane Economy and investigated the public response to determine if his beliefs could be implemented in today’s society. This thesis attempts to decipher the layers of complexity in his idealized economic market and further extrapolate which elements, if any, can be considered in a current application of his ideas.

1 Ropke, Wilhelm. A Humane Economy: A German Economist’s Social Framework of the Free Market.
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2014.


Aarushi Sharma, Economics
The Impact of Road Connectivity on Crime in India
Project advisor: Margaret Lay

One billion people worldwide live in rural areas without access to national paved road networks. Most of this population lives in India. India is the second most populous country in the world with around 176 million people living in extreme poverty as of May 20211

This has led to rising inequality and crime rates in the country in the last two decades. The overall number of crime cases in India increased by 28\% in 20202

This is associated with an increase in poverty and inequality, thus forcing people to resort to unethical activities to fulfill their basic needs. In early 2000, the contemporary government of India decided to launch a 40 billion USD national rural road construction program under the name Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). This national rural road construction program connected over 115,000 Indian villages in 28 states and 8 union territories by building high quality roads between 2001 and 2015. This exposed over 30 million rural households to nearby towns3

This project explores whether better road connectivity can reduce crime in India by looking at the PMGSY program. My research question is — Did the PMGSY (2000) reduce the occurrence of crime in the districts of India? This is a crucial question in both poverty alleviation efforts and the economics of crime.

I explore the question using two models. In the first, I use a multivariate linear regression to analyze how change in road connectivity, independent of road construction under the PMGSY influences crime. The second model uses an instrumental variable to specifically explore how the PMGSY influenced the crime rate in the districts of India. Using this project I add to the literature of infrastructural development, and patterns of crime in developing countries. Importantly, I generate data for future researchers to use. I scrape PDF reports to obtain data on crime rates in India at the district level for years 2001 to 2013.

1 The World Bank, 2021.
2 National Crime Bureau Report, 2021.
3 Adukia, Anjali, Sam Asher, and Paul Novosad. “Educational Investment Responses to Economic Opportunity:
Evidence from Indian Road Construction.” American Economics Journal 12, no. 1 (2017).


Adrienne Corr, Economics
The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Married Female Labor Force Participation
Project Advisor: Michael Robinson

In March of 2020, SARS-CoV-2 had started to spread in the United States and the country began shutting down. The risk of transmission by kids forced many schools to close, and many students attended school remotely from their homes. Parents became responsible for extra care work hours and ensuring that their child attended class. This situation affected all families with children, especially those with small children. I theorized that married women, more than any other demographic, dropped out of the labor force during the pandemic to provide extra childcare for their family.

This project examines the effect that the pandemic had on the labor force participation of a married female with children compared to other demographic groups by estimating the probability that she will be in the labor force compared to other groups. Using data from before and during the pandemic (March 2019 to February 2021), I estimated monthly models with dummy variables for each demographic group interacted with a dummy indicating whether the month was pre-pandemic or during the pandemic with the omitted category of married females with children prior to the pandemic. I use the months from March of 2020 through February 2021, to be “during the pandemic” and compare each pandemic month with the same month in the year before (March 2019 to February 2020).

I found the pandemic’s effect on labor force participation for each demographic group varied from month to month. Some groups recovered quickly, such as single and married males with children, whereas others, such as single and married women with kids experienced consistent decreased probabilities of labor force participation from September of 2020 to February of 2021. My results suggest that while every group experienced negative effects on their labor force participation, the effect on females and particularly females with children was more pronounced. This differs from what is typical during recessions and is likely due to an increased burden of childcare.

1 Albanesi, Stefania, and Jiyeon Kim. (2021). Effects of the COVID-19 Recession on the US Labor
Market: Occupation, Family, and Gender. Journal of Economic Perspectives 35 (3), 3-24.