Trevor Kollmann

I am a Research Fellow in Economics at the Centre for Transformative Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology with an interest in evaluating government policy from a historical and modern perspective.

My work combines rigorous econometrics, historical insights and solid economic theory to understand the dynamics of policies from both a historical and modern perspective. My recent research interests explore issues on racial segregation, regional housing affordability, and the value of heritage housing.

I have worked with policymakers to evaluate the effectiveness of government programs.  A recent project included evaluating Austrade's tailored service using quasi-experimental methods and measuring its impact on exports and other measures of firm performance. I am currently working on developing a framework to explore the relationship between international trademarking activity and it's link to global trade.

What I Do

Urban Economics

As an urban economist, I have experience valuing tangible and intangible amenities for housing, economic spillovers of infrastructure, and estimating the dynamics of population flows.

Innovation Economics

I have expertise in the role that trademarks play within the complex world of international trade and how the distribution of innovation is concentrated within cities and regions.

Econometrics

Econometrics

I have years of experience in cutting-edge econometric methods including quasi-experimental methods such as propensity score methods as well as spatial econometric techniques.

Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems

Many of my research projects involve the use of Geographic Information Systems. I have used QGIS, ArcGIS Pro, as well as ArcMap in my current work to both create shapefiles as well as to analyse complex data within a GIS environment.

Curriculum Vitae

9 Years of Experience

Education

2011
University of Arizona

PhD in Economics

Thesis: Housing Markets, Government Programs, and Race during the Great Depression

2008
University of Arizona

MA in Economics

2005
Saint John's University (Minnesota)

BA in Economics and Mathematics

Academic Appointments

2018 - Current
Centre for Transformative Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology

Research Fellow in Economics

  • Conduct and publish independently directed research in internationally recognised journals
  • Engage with government and industry stakeholders to evaluate and develop economic policies
  • Support PhD students through supervision and mentoring.

2014 - 2017
School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University

Lecturer in Economics

  • Conduct and publish independently directed research.
  • Coordinate Business Statistics, a common core unit in the College of Business

2011-2014
School of Economics, La Trobe University

Research Fellow in Applied Economics

  • Conduct and publish independently directed research.
  • Coordinate International Business Environment, a unit on international trade for business undergraduate students.

Economics

Econometrics

95%

Urban Economics

80%

Innovation Economics

80%

Economic History

75%

Technical Skills

Stata

95%

QGIS

80%

ArcGIS Pro

75%

Latex

70%

Matlab

60%

Python

40%

R

30%

SQL

30%

Research

Publications

Racial segregation in the United States since the Great Depression: A dynamic segregation approach

with Simone Marsiglio and Sandy Suardi

Abstract

Racial segregation is a salient feature of cities in the United States. Models like Schelling (1971) show that segregation can arise through white preferences for residing near minorities. Once the threshold or “tipping point” is passed, the models predict that all whites will leave. Our paper uses census-tract data for six cities in the United States from the 1930s and 1970–2010 to measure decadal, city-specific tipping points. We use a structural break procedure to estimate the tipping points and incorporate these in a regression-discontinuity design to estimate the impact on population trends for neighborhoods that exceed that threshold while controlling for city-specific trends in migration. We find that the magnitude of white flight for neighborhoods that have tipped in 2000 has fallen to between 23% and 36% of the level seen in 1970. There was no discontinuity in white flight after accounting for migration trends during the Great Depression. Finally, we show that in-migration of minorities in tipped neighborhoods do not fill in the gap left by white flight.

New Multi-City Estimates of the Changes in Home Values, 1920-1940

with Price Fishback

Abstract

The boom and bust in housing during the 2000s has led to renewed interest in the boom and bust in housing between 1920 and 1940. The most commonly used housing value series for this period is reported by Robert Shiller in Irrational Exuberance. We investigate the changes in housing values in cities between 1920 and 1940 using a variety of alternative sources with many more cities available for comparison than in the Shiller series. We find that all nominal housing value series show a strong decline between the late 1920s and the early 1930s. However, all of the series except the Shiller series imply that housing values in 1920 were well below the 1930 value and thus imply much stronger growth rates in housing values during the 1920s housing boom. Only the Shiller series predicts a strong recovery in housing values to within 5 percent of the 1930 level. All of the others suggest that nominal housing values in 1940 remained at least 18 percent below the 1930 values and several series suggest that values lurched downward between 1933 and 1940. The results suggest that a significant reconsideration of the operation of housing markets in the 1920s and 1930s is required.

The New Deal, Race, and Home Ownership in the 1920s and 1930s

with Price Fishback

Abstract

Many federal government housing policies began during the New Deal of the 1930s. Many claim that minorities benefited less from these policies than whites. We estimate the relationships between policies in the 1920s and 1930s and black and white home ownership in farm and nonfarm settings using a pseudo-panel of repeated cross-sections of households in 1920, 1930, and 1940 matched with policy measures in 460 state economic areas. The policies examined include FHA mortgage insurance, HOLC loan refinancing, state mortgage moratoria, farm loan programs, public housing, public works and relief, and payments to farmers to take land out of production.

Information and the Impact of Climate and Weather on Mortality Rates during the Great Depression

with Price Fishback, Werner Troesken, Michael Haines, Paul Rhode, and Melissa Thomasson

Abstract

Global warming has become a watchword for environmental policy over the past three decades. Daily temperature highs were thought to have reached the highest levels in recorded history within the past decade. Each month, there are reports of new studies of melting glaciers, thinning of ice caps on mountains, and warming in various areas throughout the world. Al Gore shared an Academy Award for his association with the movie An Inconvenient Truth, a film warning of global warming and its potential dire consequences. He then shared a Nobel Peace Prize with a group of  scientists warning of the dangers of global warming. Much of the force of Gore’s warnings about global warming comes from his predictions about the impact of warming on human populations and the economy. Yet the large volume of studies of climate change has not been matched by nearly as many studies of the impact of climate and weather on populations and economies or how populations and economies will respond. If the claims that global temperatures will warm over the next few decades no matter what
policy steps we take today are true, such studies are invaluable.

We have developed a database that combines information on infant and noninfant mortality rates, daily high temperatures and inches of precipitation, and a rich set of socioeconomic correlates for over 3,000 counties in the United States for each year between 1930 and 1940. We focus on infant mortality because infant mortality has long been seen as a key nonincome measure of standards of living, the death of an infant is an extraordinarily painful event, and infants are likely the most sensitive of populations to variations in conditions. We also examine the noninfant death rate to see if the patterns seen for infant deaths carry over to death rates for people in all age groups. The results of the Great Depression analysis show the importance of controlling for access to information when measuring the relationship between mortality and climate.

Working Papers

Social Interactions, Racial Segregation and Dynamics of Tipping

with Simone Marsiglio, Sandy Suardi, and Marco Tolotti

Abstract

We develop an analytically tractable population dynamics model of heterogeneous agents to characterize how social interactions within a neighborhood determine the dynamic evolution of its ethnic composition. We characterize the conditions under which integration or segregation will occur, which depends on the majority's social externality parameter and net bene t from leaving, and the minority's leaving probability. Minority segregation may result from the process of tipping, which may arise from three possible channels: two are related to exogenous shocks (migration flows and changes in tipping points) and one is related to the endogenous probabilistic features of our framework (endogenous polarization). This characterization of integration and segregation conditions yields interesting policy implications for the use of social and urban planning policies to mitigate segregation.

International Trademarking and Regional Export Performance

with Stephen Petrie, Alex Codoreanu, Russell Thomson, and Elizabeth Webster

Abstract

Analysis of international trade at the sub-national region level is perennially hampered by the lack of granular data. We contribute a new analytic approach for understanding trade performance of sub-national regions using a newly constructed international trademark filing dataset. We show that international trademarks provide an indicator of regional export activity by analyzing US data aggregated to the industry and State level. Our new dataset shows more detailed information about exporting businesses than have previously been unavailable such as the company name, industry, market and location. It is therefore valuable for public sector export promotion programs as well as business seeking timely information about the behavior of their competitors.

Co-innovation - the Australian Macarthur Story

with David Paynter

Abstract

To be added

Hedonic Price Indexes during the Great Depression

with Price Fishback

Abstract

To be added

A Comprehensive Look at the Interaction of Heritage, Zoning and Housing Values

with Adrian Puglia

Abstract

To be added

Teaching

Philosophy

Teaching History

As a student, I found the most engaging teachers were those that not only conveyed great passion for their subject and teaching, but also challenged us to critically analyze the functioning of the world around us. Few students entering college understand what it means to think “like an economist.” This of course is hardly surprising since it takes much time and effort to create this most important “end product” of an economics education. Needless to say, the discipline of economics has a multitude of powerful tools and methodologies to analyze a wide array of important and fundamental issues and not just pedantic studies of “widgets.” It is my view that all teachers should try to engage students in a stimulating and focused environment that helps them succeed today and in the future. To communicate important ideas and insights to students in an effective and motivating manner, it is useful to create an environment that is conducive to discussion and interaction since this fosters the development of critical thinking skills that helps students to think independently. However, to begin a constructive learning process, teachers must select a “common” starting point. They must then use their pedagogical skills to “push” students to the next level.

Instructors should not only teach and help students learn economics, but should also foster the development of basic skills like logical analysis and critical evaluation which are necessary in every profession. While it is crucial to have an in-depth knowledge of a topic to motivate to explain it, the optimal way to communicate the material can depend on the student composition of the class and its length. For example, since summer courses are at taught an accelerated pace, I provide additional handout materials including a review of major concepts from prerequisite courses and distribute regular problem sets so that students can more easily learn the subject matter under time constraints. I diligently prepare for each course and individual lecture to determine the best way to introduce and discuss each major topic in the course. Research indicates that students often retain only a small portion of the most salient features in any class. Accordingly, rather than covering a plethora of topics with sparse detail, my classes focus on the most fundamental and overarching concepts and themes that highlight the most pertinent aspects of the course. This way students are more likely to learn and internalize the most important and useful ideas that are presented in the class.

2020

Managerial Economics and Strategy

Open Universities Australia Session Convener

2020

Economic Policy in Society

Open Universities Australia Session Convener

2014 - 2017

Introduction to Business Statistics

Convener and Lecturer

2014

Quantitative Analysis

Lecturer

2013

International Business Environment

(International Trade for Business)

Convener and Lecturer

2009

Economics of Information and the Internet

Convener and Lecturer

2007 - 2008

Macroeconomic Institutions and Policy

Convener and Lecturer

Testimonials

Unit Outlines

Managerial Economics and Strategy

This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of some of the main economic tools used in making sound managerial decisions in an increasingly complex and competitive business environment. It also aims to assist students to apply those tools to a variety of economic issues faced by business, non-profit organisations and government. Among the topics covered are market structures and their impact on industry performance, the pricing strategies of firms, capital budgeting and information imperfections in markets.

Business Statistics

This unit introduces you to a range of statistical techniques which managers use. You will apply these techniques to relatively simple practical examples. To do this you need a calculator. For larger applications you will learn how to use Microsoft Excel to perform any of the calculations associated with these statistical techniques. The focus in this subject however is on how to analyse and interpret your own results or the output from Excel. You will learn how to apply these techniques by working with examples which are relevant to most major business disciplines and the functional areas of large organizations. These include examples from Accounting, Economics, Finance, Financial Planning, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, Logistics and Transport and Marketing.

Economics of Information and the Internet

This unit will use concepts and tools from microeconomics to analyze and help students understand the economics of information and facets of information technology.

Economic Policy in Society

This unit represents the economic concepts of public choice theory, market failure and government failure will be used to analyse the conduct of a range of government policies in Australia. These policy areas include industry/agricultural policy, utilities regulation, health and welfare policy, taxation and education. In doing so the unit has three broad aims. The first is to help students to understand and appreciate the relevance of economic principles and concepts to the development of policy in Australian society. The second is to assist students to develop their ability to apply economic reasoning to real world policy issues. The third is to encourage students to contribute to the policy process and help shape a better society.

International Business Environment

This subject examines business perspectives of international trade and foreign direct investments by focusing on the factors affecting international business decision-makings in the complex international business environment. The multinational enterprise is a focus of study, while significant aspects of the international business environment such as financial, cultural, economic and political are examined as well as their influence in relation to current and future business performance. Current development in the global economy is also covered.

Macroeconomic Institutions and Policy

To understand how the actions of large institutions as well as governmental policy influence the economy.

Contact

Get in Touch

+61 3 9214 3725

Melbourne

tmkollmann [at] gmail

How Can I Help You?

Trevor Kollmann

I am a Research Fellow in Economics at the Centre for Transformative Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology with an interest in evaluating government policy from a historical and modern perspective.

My work combines rigorous econometrics, historical insights and solid economic theory to understand the dynamics of policies from both a historical and modern perspective. My recent research interests explore issues on racial segregation, regional housing affordability, and the value of heritage housing.

I have worked with policymakers to evaluate the effectiveness of government programs.  A recent project included evaluating Austrade's tailored service using quasi-experimental methods and measuring its impact on exports and other measures of firm performance. I am currently working on developing a framework to explore the relationship between international trademarking activity and it's link to global trade.