Working Papers Series
Papers below are in pdf.
This paper examines the impact of post-neonatal childhood health on adult educational attainment using evidence from mandatory school vaccination laws in the U.S. After the development of a number of key vaccines, states began to require proof of immunization against certain infectious diseases for children entering school. I exploit the staggered implementation of the laws across states to identify both the short-run impacts on child health and long-term effects on educational attainment. First, I show that the mandatory school vaccination laws were effective in reducing the incidence rates of the targeted diseases. Next, I find sizable and positive effects on educational outcomes as measured by high school completion and years of schooling. The effect on educational attainment is twice as large for non-whites relative to whites.
JEL Codes: I18, I2, J13
Keywords: value added models, value added, teacher value added, test measurement error, teacher evaluation
This paper analyzes the effect of traffic tickets on motor vehicle accidents. OLS estimates may be upward-biased because police officers tend to focus on areas where and periods when there is heavy traffic and thus higher rates of accidents. This paper exploits the dramatic increase in tickets during the Click-it-or-Ticket campaign to identify the causal impact of tickets on accidents using data from Massachusetts. I find that tickets significantly reduce accidents and non-fatal injuries. However, there is limited evidence that tickets lead to fewer fatalities. I provide suggestive evidence that tickets have a larger impact at night and on female drivers.
JEL Codes: K32, K42, I18, R41
Keywords: traffic tickets, motor vehicle accidents, natural experiment
How does public access to criminal records affect crime? Economic theory suggests that expanding access to criminal information may increase the cost of crime to potential criminals by endangering their future work prospects and thus act as a deterrent. However, increased provision of information could also obstruct ex-convicts from finding legal employment and lead to higher recidivism rates. I exploit the state and time variation in the introduction of state-maintained online criminal databases � which represent a sharp drop in the cost and effort of gaining criminal background information on another person � to empirically investigate the trade-off between deterrence and recidivism. I find that online criminal records lead to a small net reduction in property crime rates, but also a marked increase of approximately 11 percent in recidivism among ex-offenders.
JEL Codes: K14, K4
Keywords: crime, recidivism, criminal records
Adolescents face daily trade-offs between human capital investment, labor, and leisure. This paper exploits state variation in the repeal of Sunday closing laws to examine the impact of a distinct and plausibly exogenous rise in the quantity of competing diversions available to youth on their educational attainment. The results suggest that the repeals led to a significant decline in both years of education and the probability of high school completion. I explore increased employment opportunities and risky behaviors as potential mechanisms. Further, I find a corresponding decline of the repeals on adult wages.
JEL Codes: I21, J13, J22
Keywords: educational investment, youth labor supply, blue laws
forthcoming in The Journal of Human Resources