Rosemarie Emanuele

"Math Geek Mom"

Although she holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College, Rosemarie Emanuele is a professor and the chair of the Department of Mathematics at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. She loves to teach math but also pursues research related to the economics of nonprofit organizations and volunteer labor, and has published in both economics and interdisciplinary journals — as well as in the book that inspired this blog. She is the proud mother of a wonderful daughter.

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Most Recent Articles

April 11, 2013
One man leaves New York going West at 100 mph. Another leaves Chicago going East at 120 mph. Where do they meet? The answer is, of course, jail, since they are both driving much too fast. This joke occasionally shows up as a “free” problem on my math exams, and typically draws groans when the students learn the answer. However, it also reminds me of some very fond memories of times spent with my mother working either algebra or geometry problems during the years I was in school.
April 4, 2013
One would think that an economist who teaches math, including one math class that teaches the statistical program SPSS, would be very knowledgeable about how computers work. Alas, that is not actually the case. While I use computer programs to do my research, and write SAS and Fortran programs to do so, the actual workings of the computers that I depend on are still quite a mystery to me. My father was an electrical engineer, and therefore had more of a sense of how these mysterious boxes turned what are basically “on” and “off” switches into the tools that make my life possible. I, however, went to college in the final years before the personal computer became a fixture in our homes, and had very little education as to how they work. Much of my early research was done on mainframes (either locally or remotely), and I still find myself with a sense of ignorance about personal computers.
March 21, 2013
There is a concept in math called “one to one correspondence”, in which members of one set may be matched with members of another set, so that each member of one set is matched with exactly one member from the other set. I thought of this concept lately when I found myself working one-on-one with several of my students as they struggled to master some difficult concepts from the class they were taking.
March 14, 2013
When I teach Principles of Macroeconomics (which I have not done for some time), I teach, among other things, the Keysian model that says that the total spending in the economy can be summarized as consisting of “C+I+G”. That is, it is made up of consumer spending (C), business investment (I) and government spending (G). I thought of this recently when I contemplated a gift that will allow Ursuline College to make a major investment in our facilities. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we are able to proceed with plans for a building which will be called the “Center for the Creative and Healing Arts.” We plan to break ground on this investment in the fall.
March 7, 2013
I recently found myself in a conversation with a fellow faculty member about the idea of “comparative advantage.” This is an economic idea that says that people, and countries, should do what they are best at doing. If a person is best at doing math, they should do that. And if a country is best at raising sheep, they should raise sheep. If everyone does what they are best at, the “Classical Economists” tell us, we can then trade with each other and everyone will be better off.
February 28, 2013
One of the cool aspects of teaching college is that I get to learn things from my students that I would not otherwise learn. My need to learn from them most often occurs because I live in a very different world than they do, especially in regards to my relationship to technology.
February 21, 2013
A professor in a course in Labor Economics in graduate school once described the workings of the national conference where job searches were held, outlining behavior that might be seen as illegal in many other contexts. For example, it was not uncommon at the time for schools that were hiring to get together before any interviews began to discuss what salaries would be offered that year to those hired at different ranks. He asked us to try to explain how such behavior could not be seen as collusive price setting behavior, and we were all at a loss for words.
February 14, 2013
As Labor Economics was one of my fields in graduate school, I always look at any hiring process with special interest. I therefore was intrigued at the new job opening I learned of Monday, with the news that our current Pope is resigning.
February 7, 2013
When I teach Algebra, I often get a chuckle out of my students when I tell them to just “plug and chug” with an equation. What I mean is for them to substitute values of a variable into an equation and then to find the value the equation now represents. I have found myself thinking of this recently as I recall an equation that I once applied “plug and chug” to when I took a class in Quantum Physics in college.
January 31, 2013
When I teach Economics, I often find myself teaching about the effects of a tax on the supply and demand curves for a product. While a tax can be levied on a producer or a consumer, it is generally the case that the producer and consumer will each pay a portion of that tax in the end, once the equilibrium price changes in response to the tax. Indeed, the degree to which a consumer and producer share the cost of a tax depends on how willing those agents are to change their behavior in response to a change in price. In economic language, we say that who actually pays a tax “depends on the elasticities.”

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