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Marine Foray, WIU graduate student, has been invited to share her research by the London School of Economics and Johns Hopkins University at a joint conference.
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WIU MBA Grad Student Presenting at Prestigious Johns Hopkins Conference

February 11, 2021

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University Master of Science in Quantitative Economics graduate student and Master of Business Administration alumna (2019) Marine Foray, of Lyon, France, has been invited to share her research by the London School of Economics and Johns Hopkins University at a joint conference this month.

The event, which will be held virtually Friday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb. 19, is a special conference on experimental insights on behavioral economics on COVID-19. Invited speakers from Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania will present.

"Marine Foray is an exceptional grad student having already completed her MBA (through the Atlantis program) and is now finishing her joint pursuit of the M.S. in Q-Economics and ASDA," said Jessica Harriger-Lin, interim director for the WIU School of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Decision Sciences. "Dr. [WIU Assistant Professor of Economics Jobu] Babin's mentorship is an excellent example of the lengths to which our faculty go to support student research. Even the most seasoned scholar would be thrilled to be accepted into this conference, yet alone a grad student."

Foray's work, in collaboration with Babin and University of Memphis Associate Professor of Economics Andrew Hussey, is titled "Shelter-in-Place Orders, Loneliness, and Cooperative Behavior." Her research examined the levels of loneliness during the COVID-19 shutdown and how those levels affected people's willingness to collaborate in teams.

Through 1,000 observations of people all over the country via an online platform called Amazon Mechanical Turk, the research team found that the shutdown increased feelings of isolation and loneliness, particularly for people who don't have the opportunity to work in teams. Through Game Theory, a branch of applied mathematics that models interactive decision-making, they analyzed levels of cooperation when playing an online game and found that people were more cooperative with each other once economies began to reopen.

One reason Foray and Babin chose this topic to examine is because no one had researched loneliness and collaboration using Game Theory, Babin's area of expertise.

"The research results will help organizations and companies understand the consequences of employees working remotely," said Foray.

"Marine has a remarkable skill set. Her contributions to this project are significant, and her insights are meaningful to numerous organizations," said Babin.

Foray came to Western as a participant in the Transatlantic Atlantis Program, a dual-degree program that offers students an opportunity to study and live in France, Sweden, and the U.S. and earn an undergraduate or a graduate degree in business or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in four years. Students study at INSEEC University in Lyon, France in the fall and at Linköping University in Sweden in the spring during their third year of study, with the first two years being completed at Western. The fourth year is spent in the U.S. at WIU, where students will obtain a second bachelor's degree or an MBA.

"The Atlantis Program is amazing," said Foray. "Students are given so many opportunities, and because the campus in France is so small, all of the international students are together for everything and exposed to so many different people and cultures. And, because there is so much to do in Sweden, we all developed strong relationships with the other international students."

For more information on Western's MBA, visit; for more information on WIU's M.S. in Quantitative Economics, visit For more information on the Atlantis Program, visit

Posted By: Alisha Looney (
Office of University Communications & Marketing