The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
June 6, 2024

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders stands out as a prime prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft, and it’s no surprise he's the current favorite...

Research never really ends

John_ElderI walked up to the third floor of the College of Business at Colorado State University to reach Dr. John Elder’s office. It’s a little bit warmer up there as the heat rises from the rest of the building. I met John in the hallway as he was going back to his office, and he welcomed me in.

John did his Masters and PhD at the University of Virginia. He has continued to work with faculty from Virginia to write method oriented papers focused on econometrics and statistical techniques. He remains in contact with many of his peers at Virginia for future projects as well. “I have become pretty involved in, kind of by accident, in an area of research that was very fruitful,” He told me in reference to his research on the relationship between energy prices and economic activity.


“High energy prices tend to be bad for economic growth, and lower energy prices tend to be better for economic activity, but there hasn’t been a really good understanding of the magnitude of these relationships.” Researchers have found that high oil prices definitely lower economic activity. The opposite is not necessarily true. When oil prices fall economic activity does not pick up by the same magnitude that it fell from. It’s kind of like dropping a bouncing ball which isn’t perfectly elastic. When a bouncy ball is held up and then released, the ball will not bounce back to the same height it was dropped from. This lack of equal effect on economic activity is an especially important concept when looking at investing in commodities.

When firms are unsure of what oil prices will be in the future they will not spend as lavishly until the uncertainty is resolved. John found uncertainty about oil prices to be a major cause preventing lower oil prices from creating more economic activity. He wrote several papers with his colleagues on this subject. He continues to look into this research more deeply by studying how industries are affected by these energy prices. “Trying to study relationships at the macroeconomic level is extremely difficult,” John told me. New econometric tools are developed every year to help researchers like John study how our world works financially. This has allowed him to continue researching and expanding upon his previous projects.

He said to me, “It’s not like you kind of work on that topic and then boom, it’s done, there’s nothing more to do. There’s a lot more to tease out of that relationship.” John’s research has the potential to affect policy created by the United States government. Some ideas he has proposed for protecting ourselves from the effects of oil on economic activity include looking into alternative sources of energy and insulating energy prices from external forces. Now the challenge is to use disaggregated data from his research to look at industry sectors. How are services affected versus manufacturing sectors of the economy when oil affects economic activity? This is still a macroeconomics study, but it’s performed at a more granular level.

The US isn’t the only country looking into these economic relationships. “There’s an energy institute in Milan, and they invited me out to meet with some of their energy folks,” John told me the team built upon the research he’s performed for years in order to find more . Dr. Elder was able to grow his previous research by working with international teams he met in Milan.

The journey that is research thus never truly ends. There is always something over the horizon waiting to be found.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *