Ohio University

Voinovich MPA candidate presents at North American Regional Science Conference

Doug Belleville
Doug Belleville

Doug Belleville, Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Master of Public Administration candidate and graduate of master’s in economics program, recently presented a paper at the 66th North American Meeting of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) in Pittsburgh. 

Belleville co-authored the paper, "World Heritage Site Designation and Economic Development: A Synthetic Control Approach," with his Voinovich School mentor, Dr. Christelle Khalaf, and his academic advisor, Dr. Jason Jolley. The paper builds on previous work by the Voinovich School in estimating the economic impact of UNESCO World Heritage Site Designation in Ohio. In the RSAI paper, the authors applied a complex statistical method to estimate the number of new firms in the food service and accommodation industries that could be attributed to World Heritage Site designations in Louisiana and Texas.

"It is unusual for a master's degree student to present at the conference," said Jolley. "However, Doug did a great job presenting in front of a room full of scholars with Ph.Ds. in economics, geography and related disciplines. He explained complicated concepts clearly and responded with poise to questions by senior scholars.”

Belleville has worked on two additional papers while in the MPA program. He recently presented one at the North American Regional Science Conference; another has been revised and resubmitted to a journal. 

“These experiences will no doubt put Doug in a position to excel in the next chapter in his life,” Khalaf said. “He has already dealt with many of the challenges that young researchers struggle with, such as finding the right data and methodology to answer a research question, meeting deadlines and delivering on projects, and conveying complicated research to a general audience.” 

Belleville said the presentation is another milestone toward his goal of entering a doctoral program. 

“I am really thankful that the Voinovich School gave me the opportunity to get experience presenting research at a conference,” he said. “I'm currently applying to some rather competitive Ph.D. programs, and it's a great way to help me demonstrate my research experience.”