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Tilahun Emiru and alum publish paper on effectiveness of COVID mandates

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March 07, 2024
Linda Blaser

A paper on government mandates during COVID that was co-written by Assistant Professor of Economics Tilahun Emiru and alum Anthony DerManulian ’22 has been published in the American Journal of Biomedical Science & Research.

“Did the Implementation of Government Mandates Reduce COVID-19-Related Mortality Rates?” is featured in a collection of the latest published research related to the COVID-19 outbreak that is included in the Journal’s special report.

Emiru and DerManulian examine in their report how vaccine and mask mandates helped contain the spread of COVID-19 and reduced mortality rates based on quarterly data from all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.

Tilahun Emiru portrait“This was a hotly debated topic at the time and there was a lot of controversy around it,” Emiru said. “This is still a current issue. We are going to have pandemics in the future. Whatever we learn from this paper will have the potential to shape future policies regarding public policy measures when similar situations and similar events happen.”

Emiru, an economist who teaches econometrics courses, explains that in his class he asks students to consider topical questions. “We might be interested in exploring the wage gap between men and women, or we might ask questions like, does participation in the NCAA tournament increase the popularity of your school?”

The goal of the empirical research paper assignment, Emiru said, is for “students to select a current topic, find relevant data that addresses that topic, and then apply econometric techniques to analyze the data so that they can answer their question.”

In DerManulian’s case, he was interested in the mandate-effectiveness topic from the start. “I was curious to find out how a ‘one-size-fits-all’ response [to the pandemic] would work or if it was detrimental to the public,” he said.

A senior at the time, DerManulian did all the research on his final project. “I aggregated the data, built out the regression model, and wrote the rough draft,” he said. With guidance from Emiru, DerManulian wrote and submitted his final term paper. 

Emiru was interested in taking DerManulian’s paper further and expanded his research and analysis into a full-blown academic research paper.

DerManulian considers it “a great personal achievement” that his professor took his undergraduate research a step further.

“I am glad to have been able to sit in his class, learn how to formulate an empirical research paper, and how to run and read statistical analyses,” DerManulian said. “It is an honor to have worked on such an interesting topic that had real-world impact.”

A student-athlete at Lake Forest, DerManulian double-majored in finance and data science with a concentration in finance and economics. After graduating in 2022, DerManulian earned his master’s of accounting at the University of Notre Dame in 2023. Today, he works as an investment banker in Chicago.

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