Cameron School of Business at UNCW

Two Economics Professors Share New Research

Posted by Cameron School of Business on Oct 6, 2021 4:08:57 PM

Schuhmann and Julian (2)

Guest Blogger: Information for this article was contributed by Olivia Kashuba, Administrative Associate of Economics and Finance, UNCW Cameron School of Business.

Economics professors Drs. Pete Schuhmann and Allison Witman announce new research opportunities. 

Schuhmann-4350v2Dr. Schuhmann has been a Professor at CSB since 1999. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a Professor at the University of Richmond. Along with Professor Adriana Santos Martinez, Pete Schuhmann is co-supervising a PhD student named Julián Prato Valderrama. Julián and Adriana are based at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Caribe (National University of Colombia, Caribbean Headquarters) in San Andrés Colombia.

Julian is here on a scholarship from Fulbright Colombia, specifically The Colombian PhD Student Scholarship program, which provides support for a PhD student from Colombia to visit the U.S. for up to a year to support their research. Julián’s PhD research project is titled “Relationships between coral reef complexity and ecosystem services at Caribbean oceanic islands, Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, Colombia”.

"The aspect of the research that I am primarily involved in is the economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs at San Andrés. Our research seeks to improve the understanding (by the scientific community, policy makers and general society) regarding the importance of coral barrier reef ecosystems for human wellbeing. These ecosystems bring vital benefits for economies and human wellbeing in insular territories. Reef barriers acts as a natural shield to protect coastlines, beaches and islands against wave effects and provide shelter for fishes that are important for livelihoods and food security. This work is critically important for people in insular territories and coastal areas, who depend on the goods and services that these ecosystems provide and who are especially vulnerable to the risks associated with climate change. Our results are expected to provide critical insight into the development of management tools that could be applied to the Archipelago and to other insular territories and low-lying islands around the world," said Schuhmann.

WITMAN-0010Dr. Witman joined the Cameron School of Business as an Assistant Professor of Economics in 2017 where she teaches Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics, and Health Economics. Dr. Witman is a health economist whose research agenda focuses on public health insurance programs, drug use and treatment, and family structure. Her research has been published in the Journal of Health Economics, Health Services Research, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Prior to joining UNCW, Dr. Witman worked as a consultant specializing in health policy and evaluation for federal government clients including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control.

On Witman's newest piece, she worked alongside her colleagues Angelica Meinhofer, Jesse Hinde, and Kosali Simon to develop the research titled “Marijuana Liberalization Policies and Perinatal Health”. This research is forthcoming in the Journal of Health Economics.

The researchers assessed the impact of medical and recreational marijuana laws on maternal and newborn health, an important question for policy makers as marijuana use among pregnant women increased 103% between 2003 and 2017. As of today, 17 states have implemented recreational marijuana laws and 36 states and DC implemented medical marijuana laws.

They found that in the first three years after the implementation of a recreational marijuana law, the proportion of maternal hospitalizations involving a marijuana use disorder diagnosis increased by 23 percent (0.3 percentage points). The proportion of maternal hospitalization involving a tobacco use disorder diagnosis decreased by seven percent (0.4 percentage points), yielding a net zero effect over maternal hospitalizations involving any substance use disorder after recreational marijuana legalization. Recreational marijuana laws were not associated with statistically significant changes in newborn health. Researchers additionally found that medical marijuana law implementation was not associated with statistically significant changes in maternal substance use disorders nor newborn health. The types of newborn health outcomes examined included low birth weight, low gestational age, congenital anomalies, respiratory conditions, feeding problems, neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and prenatal exposure to noxious substances.

Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., is the dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, named in June 2015. Burrus joined the UNCW faculty in 1998. Prior to his current position, Burrus was interim dean, associate dean of undergraduate studies and the chair of the department of economics and finance. Burrus earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University. The Cameron School of Business has approximately 90 full-time faculty members and 30 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,600 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 750 graduate students in four degree programs. The school also houses the prestigious Cameron Executive Network, a group of more than 200 retired and practicing executives that provide one-on-one mentoring for Cameron students. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit Questions and comments can be sent to

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Cameron School of Business at UNCW

UNCW was established as Wilmington College in 1947. The Department of Business and Economics became the Cameron School of Business in 1979. Focused on the transformation of today’s business world from the industrial age into the information age, business education at the Cameron School of Business is focused on the technical, analytical and interpersonal skills students will need to lead this fundamental change in the business world through the 21st century.

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