Working in Progress

Papers Under Review

Do Public Libraries Impact Local Labor Markets? Evidence from Appalachia [WP link]

This paper investigates the effect of public library programs and participation on unemployment and labor force participation in Appalachia. Appalachia is an economically distressed area, mostly rural, and with a sustained lower level of labor force participation and a higher level of unemployment. As public library programs can be countercyclical to labor market outcomes, I use public library staff and the amount of print resources and computers available as instruments. The results show that neither adult nor children’s programs and participation affect local labor market outcomes. These results are robust across different specifications. Spatial econometric estimates corroborate the main results and provide evidence of spatial spillover effects, especially for children’s programs.

Localization Economies and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Football Teams in São Paulo, Brazil (with Brad Humphreys) [WP Link]

Agglomeration economies clearly affect firms in urban areas. Interestingly, the existing literature on outcomes in professional sports largely ignores localization economies. We explore the variation in team productivity and the agglomeration of teams across leagues and cities in Campeonato Paulista an annual football competition played by teams in São Paulo state in Brazil. Our results show that localization and urbanization positively affect team success. These results help to shed more light on why teams in larger cities continuously enjoy more success than those isolated in smaller markets.

Does Corruption Impact the Informal-Formal Sector Wage Gap? Evidence from Brazil (with Jamie Bologna) [WP link]

This paper investigates the relationship between political corruption and the informal-formal sector income gap. We focus on a sample of 476 randomly selected municipalities in Brazil, and combine individual level Census data with measures of municipal corruption. We first document the upward pressure corruption puts on the informal-formal income gap. We then utilize a measure of mismanagement by governmental officials as an instrument for corruption to show that these results are robust to plausibly exogenous variation in corruption. When disaggregating the results, we show that the effect of corruption is heterogeneous across industries, with a significant impact on the construction industry in particular.

Crowding Out in Cultural Goods: Asymmetric Gender Responses to Votes on Tax Increases (with Bryan McCannon)

We examine the relationship between taxpayer support of cultural goods and charitable donations. Using a Dictator Game, subjects are paired with a real library as the recipient. Using outcomes from recent votes to increase property taxes to support local public libraries, we find a striking gender discrepancy. While slight reductions arise for both when the vote passes, female subjects increase their giving substantially in response to the ballot measure's failure. This effect is driven by women donating all of their endowment more frequently.

Working Papers

(drafts available upon request)

The Effects of Dollar General Opening on Next Door Firms (with Amelia Biehl)

Dollar General plans to open 1,000 new stores in 2020 in the United States and can already be found in 44 states. Using a unique business plan, Dollar General is low-cost retailer that makes shopping convenient by utilizing small stores, rather than the traditional big box approach, with (thus far) only speculative impacts on their competitors. Using the National Establishment Time Series dataset for the state of Florida between 2000 and 2014 we exploit the difference in timing of Dollar General openings to investigate its effect on businesses nearby. Specifically, we quantify the effects on nearby firm revenue, entry, and exit, as well as the composition of area businesses. The unique nature of the NETs data allow us to focus on the impacts of businesses within a 0.5 mile radius, 1 mile radius, and 5 mile radius, rather than using pre-defined geo-political boundaries. In addition, we investigate differential impacts in urban and rural areas.

Identification and Concentration of Same-Sex Households (with Mia Goodnature and Adam Nowak)

This paper identifies same-sex couple households who purchase homes together and evaluates the concentration of their residential location. We draw upon a novel data set of real estate transactions from Miami-Dade County, Florida; Franklin County, Ohio; and King County, Washington. We are able to separately identify male same-sex couple homebuyers and female same-sex couple homebuyers at the property level by predicting the homebuyers’ sex based on homebuyers’ full names. To show that the method suggested in this paper to identify members of the LGBTQ+ community is identifying same-sex couple homebuyers, we compare distributions from the Decennial Census and look at summary statistics of houses purchased by same-sex couples.