Avery Maloney, from Ottawa, ON, is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce with honours in economics.
1 - You just won first prize in a graduate-level essay contest for a paper you co-wrote with Mount Allison alumnus Andrew Klain (‘16), who is now a graduate student at the University of Calgary. How did this opportunity come about?
Andrew and I became good friends when we played football together at Mount Allison. We worked together a lot, with many late nights in the library, and both took to the academic side of things. Andrew came across the opportunity for the essay contest, but knew he didn’t have the background in the theory of the markets, so he asked me if I wanted to work on it with him.
2 - What is the topic of the essay?
The essay is about individuals operating in the informal economy or the sharing economy, as it is commonly called. That would be something like Uber or Airbnb, where myself as an individual performs a role as a producer of a service. It is a peer-to-peer market.
This market has evolved over the past five years with the birth of these platform-based technologies. We wrote the paper exploring why people use the informal economy. What is the upside to it? What is the downside? Andrew is in political science, so he is the policy expert, and I am in economics, so I focus on the economic theory behind it.
We submitted the paper not really thinking much about it and six weeks later Andrew sent me an e-mail that we had won. I thought it was a hoax.
[Read the award-winning essay.]
3 - You spent last summer working as a research assistant to economics professor Dr. Craig Brett. What did you learn from this experience?
This was another great experience and something I consider myself lucky to have had. I transferred from a larger school and I think this is the type of opportunity you can only have at a small school. Dr. Brett’s research is on public choice theory and he needed someone to comb through some of the papers on the topic and look for some of the answers to the issues he had run into. I learned a lot from Dr. Brett about academic research and public choice theory. Having that close contact with a professional in the field was great.
4 - What is the best part of playing football at Mount Allison?
Community! There is great community support from the school community and the town. I have people stop me on the street to talk. I have been picked up and driven to campus when I used to live on the north side of town and we would talk about football on the drive. Sackville is such a special place. The community within the team is also fantastic. Over my five years, I feel I gained family members.
There were a lot of late nights and early mornings and sometimes I asked myself if it was really worth it. It does add 25 hours a week to an already pretty full schedule. You have to work really hard, but in the end it was so much fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
5 - What do you enjoy most about Mount A?
I got turned on to academics here and a big part of that was having professors who really want you to learn. The Economics department is amazing. Profs always have their doors open and are always willing to talk to you. It is a feedback loop, when you love learning and you have a prof that loves teaching.
Bonus question - Do you have time to be involved in anything else on campus?
Well, I did swing dance with my girlfriend. That was a lot of fun!