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.

Do Public Libraries Help Mitigate Crime? Evidence from Kansas City, MO (with Jennifer Nowicki and Shishir Shakya) [WP Link]

We examine the relationship between public libraries and local crime rates. Previous studies have looked at different factors that could account for changes in crime, but few have focused on cultural institutions as a primary factor. Using crime data from the Crime Open Database and library data from the Public Library Survey, we leverage the geolocation of crimes and libraries and explore opening a new public library branch in Kansas City, MO. We use a difference-in-difference strategy. Our results show that public library may reduce crime within its nearby proximity. In particular, we find within the nearby proximity of the library a substantial reduction of burglary, vandalism, robbery, fraud, and assault. However, such effects vanish in the distant proximity of the library

Consolidated City-County Governments and Economic Stability (with Josh Matti)

With improving economic conditions as a primary motivator for city-county consolidations, a theoretical and empirical literature explores the effect of consolidation on economic development. However, despite the economic development effects arguably most relevant during economic crisis, no studies have focused on consolidation's effects during recession. Using county-level data from 13 states across the United States, we consider how consolidation influences economic stability during and after the Great Recession. After controlling for demographic, economic, and geographic factors, including potential spillover effects, the results suggest that consolidation does not promote stability for either employment, the unemployment rate, per capita income, or number of business establishments. These null effects are not influenced by government sector employment or driven by results from any particular state. The paper's findings caution against local governments pursuing city-county consolidation in hopes of greater economic stability.

Regional and Sectorial Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic In Sergipe, Brazil (with Luiz Ribeiro, Morais Laudenor, and Luiz Carlos Gama)

This paper aims at estimating the regional and sectoral impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state of Sergipe, Brazil in 2020. To do so, we use an input-output model with partial hypothetical extraction. The main results suggest that there would be a significant reduction in economic activity in the state, particularly in the Transport and Industry sectors. On the other hand, the Real Estate and Food and Accommodation sectors would have a greater capacity for recovery with the introduction of an emergency aid program. The municipalities with the greatest absolute impact on GDP would be Aracaju, Canindé de São Francisco and Nossa Senhora do Socorro.

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.

Unpublished Manuscripts

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.