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Dakota Langhals, a junior economics and mathematics major, was presented with the Best Undergraduate Paper at the 2018 Kentucky Economic Association Conference on Friday, October 12 for his research on the effect that predatory lending laws have on mortgage prices and closure rates.

Langhals’ research stemmed from a $1,000 stipend awarded through NKU’s Institute for Student Research & Creative Activity (ISRCA). He was one of four ISRCA summer fellowship recipients in 2018. The grant allowed Langhals to dedicate much of his summer to conducting an extensive literature review on different kinds of predatory lending and legislative responses to them, identify a model that estimated the impact of legislation on mortgage prices and closure rates, and synthesize his conclusion into a final report. However, Langhals soon learned through this intensive project that one can never dedicate too much time to research.

Langhals’ summer research extended into the fall semester when he enrolled in ECO 392 – Research for Economists with Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani, a class designed for students interested in conducting original research, preparing them for a graduate degree in economics. Langhals credits the class for developing his research skills, enhancing his ability to conduct meaningful research, “Not only would Dr. Al-Bahrani invest hours into helping me learn specific research methods that would apply to my project, he would spend equally as much time helping with the larger conceptualization of the research process as a whole.” Langhals was able to qualify as a research fellow in the class, providing him with another $500 stipend from the Center for Economic Education and ISRCA to continue his research.

Through the support of economics faculty and funding by ISRCA, Langhals was able to produce a high quality, original economics research paper, earning him the honor of Best Undergraduate Paper at the 2018 Kentucky Economic Association Conference. So what’s next for this honoree? Langhals plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, contributing to discussions around policy issues such as welfare, healthcare, education, transportation, and housing.

Dakota Langhals
Pictured above is Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani (left) and Dakota Langhal (right) accepting the 2018 Best Undergraduate Paper award at the 2018 KEA Conference.