Professor Jeffrey Cohen has been named a Research Fellow for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, where he will work on issues involving real estate and economic inequality.
Cohen, who is the Kinnard Scholar in Real Estate at UConn, earned the prestigious appointment after serving as a visiting scholar for the Fed for 20 years. The honor is bestowed on only a handful of academics each year.
“I’m very interested in questions of how real estate wealth accumulated differently over time for Black and Latino homeowners and residents, compared with others, and what can be done to try and remedy any potential inequalities that are found,” Cohen said.
His most recent research studied how proximity to highways affects home values in Connecticut, including how the interstate system, built between 1940 and 1960, destroyed some communities and created value for others. Cohen found a direct correlation between the proximity to Interstate 84 and increased home values, which disproportionately benefitted Caucasian families.
Appointment Is a Researcher’s Dream
In his new role, Cohen will serve with the Institute for Economic Equity, a relatively new arm of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He will conduct research, give presentations, attend seminars, and contribute to the Fed’s ‘brain trust’ on issues of inequality. Cohen said he is familiar with many of his colleagues at the Institute and is excited to collaborate with them.
“They are extremely bright and well-published individuals who share a vision of enhancing equality for underserved populations,” he said. The connection is a researcher’s dream both in terms of colleagues and access to insightful data, he said.
Cohen, who joined the UConn School of Business in 2014, teaches in both the undergraduate and MBA programs and he will continue with those and all his other responsibilities. He was the principal investigator on Phase One of a State of Connecticut Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation grant investigating how a new rail commuter line connecting New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Mass., would impact real estate value near the stations. He was also the principal investigator evaluating the property value impact of the CTfastrak bus-line project on Phases 1 and 2 of these projects. His work with the State of Connecticut on these transit-oriented development projects date back to 2016.
In addition, he is currently the principal investigator on a multi-year, $500,000 project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action, studying how the CTfastrak bus line has impacted the costs and outcomes of treating substance use patients, and how these systems can be aligned.
The St. Louis Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, regulates state-chartered member banks and bank holding companies, provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government, and promotes financial literacy, economic education, and community development.