Theses/Dissertations - Economics

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 52
  • Item
    How does heavy Internet usage affect cybercrime victimization : evidence from Europe.
    (May 2023) Sun, Mingrun (Coco), 1998-; Cunningham, Scott, 1975-
    This paper studies how faster Internet affects victimization of online identity theft, online consumer fraud, denial of service, and hate speech across Europe. I provide empirical evidence by exploiting the heavy Internet use, instrumented by the availability of wireless mobile communication technology (LTE). The development of wireless mobile Internet encourages people to use the Internet more. The results show that heavy Internet use makes people more likely to fall victim to cybercrimes and perceive themselves as well-informed about the risks of cybercrimes. My estimates suggest that cybercrime victimization deters heavy Internet use and well-informed risk perception about cybercrimes. While statistically significant, the estimates come with statistical uncertainty. The instrument is correlated to some personal characteristics though the magnitudes are small. I interpret my findings as evidence of an important concern about the investment in faster Internet: the high-speed Internet might threaten data privacy and the regulation of cybersecurity.
  • Item
    The complexities of school bullying : perceptions and patterns within Ghanaian classrooms.
    (May 2023) Schilling, Karleigh, 1999-; Pham, Van Hoang.; Thornton, Rebecca.
    This paper uses multiple student perspectives to provide an overview of bullying in Ghanaian schools. There are a high number of discrepancies between student’s perceptions of bullying, emphasizing the benefits of using both self-reports and peer-reports in bullying research. When defining a bully or a victim as an individual with at least 1 confirmed instance, low-performing, non-poor, highly abused, physically large, and isolated students are more likely to be bullies. Students who have been victimized themselves are also more likely to be bullies. Girls, highly abused, and isolated students are more likely to be victims. Analyzing student-student pairs reveals similar determinants of bullies and victims, with the addition of a significant association between gender and bullying likelihood. Finally, there are many significant interactions between these characteristics, indicating that determining bullies and victims is complex and multifaceted.
  • Item
    Effects of recessions on price bubbles within experimental asset markets.
    (May 2023) Shuda, Ryan, 2001-; Aimone, Jason A.
    This paper looks at the effects of real-world recessions on price bubbles in asset market experiments with data from Palan (2013). In both non-parametric and random effects tests, recessions are found to increase the size and length of bubbles within these markets. This effect holds across the three recessions that occur in the period that the database covers.
  • Item
    The effect of the Meals-to-You program on crime in Texas during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    (2022-05-05) Silva Gomez, Santiago, 1997-; Pham, Van Hoang.
    COVID-19 not only impacted the health of people around the world; it also impacted the global economy, crime, food insecurity, and countless other areas. Governments took action to help their people. The emergency-Meals-to-You (eMTY) program delivered meals to students of low income families during the lockdown. In this thesis, I evaluate the effect of eMTY on crime in Texas. I analyze domestic violence, theft, and drug-related crimes in Austin and Dallas at the zip-week level. I first use OLS, Two Way Fixed Effects (TWFE), and Poisson regressions to determine that eMTY decreased crime in Texas during the lockdown. I then use networks analysis with TWFE regressions to look at how the interconnectedness of zip codes within the city influenced the effect of eMTY on crime. I find that the negative effect that eMTY had on crime was lessened for zip codes that are more interconnected in the city.
  • Item
    The effects of race and socioeconomic status on HPV education and cervical cancer diagnosis.
    (2022-05-05) Ramirez, Treasure, 1997-; Richards, Michael R.
    While cervical cancer is one of few easily preventable cancers, it is the fourth most common cancer in the world among women. The American Cancer Society predicts that by the end of 2022, 14,100 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 4,280 women will lose their lives to the disease. Despite advancements in cervical cancer screening and vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV), racial and socioeconomic minorities underutilize screening services, HPV vaccination, and follow-up care post an abnormal diagnosis. Due to these disparities in health care access, Black women are twice as likely to die, and Hispanic women are three times as likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer when compared to their White counterparts. With a greater understanding of the underlying factors associated with these disparities, we can begin to develop tailored interventions that provide unique support and resources needed to increase utilization and access preventative service measures for minority women.
  • Item
    Healthcare provider state restrictions on elective care : effects on direct-to-consumer healthcare advertising.
    (2022-04-27) Eaves, Todd R., 1984-; Richards, Michael R.
    SARS-COV-2’s high virulence and rapid transmission caused uncertainty in the global economy which caused leaders to enact unprecedented measures to slow the spread of the virus and limit its economic impact. In this paper, I examine nationwide policy interventions focused on restricting healthcare providers’ ability to perform elective medical procedures. Following implementation of the elective procedure stoppage, healthcare television and outdoor direct-to-consumer advertising spending began fluctuating. Specifically, dental spot television advertising spending decreases by $15,857.55 and dental outdoor advertising spending decreases by $2,171.15. These novel findings demonstrate that healthcare policymaking affects external markets beyond the original scope.
  • Item
    The effect of insurance expansions on the advertising behavior of healthcare firms.
    (2022-04-21) Mu, Huimin, 1990-; Richards, Michael R.
    Medicaid expansion is one of the most important components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was legislated in 2010. It contributed to the rapid decrease of the uninsured rate in the United States. We leverage proprietary data and two separate difference-in-differences research designs to causally estimate the effect of public and private insurance expansions on advertising expenditures among several key healthcare industries. Our main conclusions are: 1)Medicaid expansion causes clinics in a DMA to cut down about 77 thousand dollars on TV ads spending per season. That is to say, the total amount TV ads spending reduced by clinics is around 25 million in a year due to the Medicaid expansion. 2)Medicaid expansion causes hospitals in a DMA to cut down 32 thousand dollars on outdoor ads spending per season. That is to say, the total amount TV ads spending reduced by hospitals is around 12 million in a year due to the Medicaid expansion. 3) After private insurance expansion, in a DMA, clinics TV ads spending increase by 8269 dollars for 1% increase in uninsured rate per season.
  • Item
    The integration of refugees and economic migrants in the U.S. from 1845 to 2017.
    (2022-05-02) Mirasola, Audrey K., 2000-; Ward, Zachary.
    Research shows that refugees in the United States experience faster economic growth than other immigrants, in part because they have limited incentive to return home. However, this pattern has primarily been documented in the late 20th century, making it unclear whether faster economic assimilation is an inherent characteristic of refugee flows, or whether it is unique to recent decades. This paper uses data between 1850 and 2017 to compare the economic assimilation of refugee cohorts to economic cohorts. I find that after 1900, refugee cohorts start off at a lower average occupational prestige than both their economic immigrant and native-born counterparts upon arrival, but refugees economically assimilate at a faster rate and, in some periods, overtake the occupational prestige of economic immigrants after two decades. Older arrival periods display more complex patterns of assimilation where refugees do not always start off below natives or assimilate more quickly with more years of stay.
  • Item
    Are religious schools following their principles of generosity?
    (2022-04-19) Badger, William Walter, 1999-; West, James E., 1965-
    One of the most pressing issues for institutions involves practicing what they preach. This is seen abundantly within religious institutions. For example, generosity is a core tenet of Christianity. This is seen in both the Old and New testaments of the Bible. Proverbs 11:25 in the Bible says that “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”; and Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Generosity is a trait that Christians encourage in practices such as tithing as well, giving back to the church as the church gives to the poor and serves the needy. But in the question of religious universities, are they as giving as the organizations they represent? Do religious universities practice what their founders and affiliates preach?
  • Item
    Examining health care provider case and setting allocation shifts.
    (2022-04-13) Seward, Jonathan A., 1986-; Richards, Michael R.
    Health care delivery is trending more and more towards outpatient care, and hospitals are beginning to embrace this shift because it is expected to benefit patients through lower costs and better convenience relative to inpatient treatment options. We exploit a dataset comprised of the near universe of hospitalizations in Florida to explore the provider distortions in setting allocations, competitive hospital-physician consolidation, and unemployment shocks. We examined the changes in case mix trends in hospital outpatient surgery due to reclassifying total knee arthroplasty (TKA) coverage by the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Studies (CMS) to remove the outpatient ban of TKAs. Physicians shifted Medicare TKA cases abruptly to the outpatient care and similarly shifted under-60 privately insured TKAs as well. We show some evidence of selection against the potentially riskiest Medicare TKA patients for outpatient delivery. Interestingly, these changes are primarily driven by independent or horizontally integrated physicians. Additionally, hospital ownership of physicians (i.e., vertical integration) is becoming more common as is the rise of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). The increase in ASC market concentration has weakened the consumer demand and profitability for hospitals. We investigate the presence and extent of anticompetitive effects from formal hospital-physician tie-ups in contested outpatient procedure markets. We find that following hospital acquisition, physicians shift their Medicare and commercially insured cases away from ASCs to hospital outpatient departments and are less likely to use an ASC at all. This distortion of physician decisions over treatment setting can lead to allocative inefficiencies and even forgo state and federal tax revenue. Another distortion of provider behavior frequently discussed in the literature is physician-induced demand. One theory is that in a poor economy, physicians would shift their case mix to more secure patients (Medicare) or increase the numbers of procedures per patient. We use the Great Recession of 2008 to assess the presence and extent that physicians are inducing demand due to an abrupt and severe economic downturn by comparing physicians in Florida counties which were least impacted to those in counties which were most impacted as measured by the county-level unemployment rate. We find no evidence of physician-induced demand, but rather a slight shift from privately insured utilization to other payers (e.g., self-pay) among those who were in the counties more affected by the recession. Additionally, we find evidence of a general long-term depression of health care utilization among privately insured beneficiaries across the treated and control groups.
  • Item
    The effect of the ACA Medicaid expansions on mortality : evidence from state border counties.
    (2021-04-20) Bainn, Sarah Ayensuah, 1996-; Richards, Michael R.
    This thesis examines the effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid Reform on adult mortality at the county level. This thesis uses a difference-in-difference (DD) causal inference research design to study the impacts of the ACA Medicaid expansion on adult mortality rates and the spillover effects potentially caused by it. The research design shows no statistically significant results for the impact of the expansion on adult mortality. An event study was implemented as a robustness check.
  • Item
    A social networks framework to study the influence of language on international trade in services.
    (2021-04-23) Bikoi, Barthelemy Pierre Njiki, 1995-; Pham, Van Hoang.
    Social network theory has been overlooked as a tool to examine relationships in economics whereas all economic interactions create networks, some more complex than others. Specifically, attempts to estimate drivers of bilateral trade fall in this category. A significant number of studies explaining trade focus on the gravity model and estimate varieties of transformations. The literature widely measures the effect of language in gravity models using a dummy variable indicating the presence of common language between trading countries, and recently developed measures of linguistic distance. However, there has not been an attempt to estimate the effect of language as a factor that connects countries and allows one country to influence other countries in the network. This thesis constructs a network of countries whose interconnections are the similarities of the languages of the countries. I first estimate the linear effects of eigenvector centrality on per capita income, and then on exports. The results reveal that there is a positive relationship between linguistic influence and exports.
  • Item
    A multi-level analysis of the spread of COVID-19.
    (2021-04-23) Hickok, Bennet E., 1993-; West, James E., 1965-
    This paper uses extensions of the traditional methods for evaluating panel data to evaluate the effect of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI) on the spread of COVID-19. I utilize data from weather conditions, policy interventions, past outcomes, and political landscapes at the county level. These components allow me to navigate confounding issues with traditional models such as heterogeneity, endogeneity, and measurement error. The results of this model support the efficacy of policy interventions. I also find that poor weather conditions contribute to the spread of the disease, which indicates that the disease spreads less effectively outdoors. Finally, I find that the share of GOP voters in the previous election is positively associated with the spread of the disease. The ability to combine time variant and invariant components with minimal assumption, makes this model a helpful foundation for further research.
  • Item
    Health services research : how economics plays a role in public health for children in Somaliland and inmates in Texas.
    (2021-04-26) Vigliotti, Vivian S., 1993-; Smith, Emily Rose.; Cunningham, Scott, 1975-
    Throughout this dissertation, I will assess three studies: (1) a cost-effectiveness analysis for pediatric surgery uptake for children in Somaliland with congenital conditions; (2) a survival analysis for time to suicidality for inmates in Travis county, Texas; and (3) an instrumental variables model for mental health courts and their effect on repeat offending and suicidality. Each chapter aims to highlight the economic impact on public health for each of the studied populations. The chapter on cost-effectiveness utilizes a Markov model to display the disability-adjusted life-years averted, net monetary benefits, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for nine congenital conditions for children aged 0 to 3 years old in Somaliland. The chapter on survivability for inmates finds the probability of surviving during various length of stays within the Travis county prison for suicidality (suicide attempt and/or suicide ideation). The chapter on mental health courts focuses on their effect on repeat offending and suicidality through evidence from randomized clinicians within the Travis county prison. Each chapter highlights the importance of health services research, the effects of economics and opportunities, and the need to increase health services research for vulnerable populations, such as children in low-income countries and inmates in prison.
  • Item
    Precursor to crime : an instrumental variable analysis of the effects of meth supply interdictions on crime.
    (2021-03-30) Chance, Zachary A., 1998-; Cunningham, Scott, 1975-
    In the late 1990s, the use of methamphetamines (meth) grew substantially. At the same time, crime fell prodigiously, seemingly at the same time as two governmental supply interdictions on two key chemical precursors of meth. The “War on Drugs” has been the subject of continuous and contentious discussion for many years, but very little in the way of causal evidence has been produced, except for one paper by Dobkin and Nicosia from 2009 that finds no effect from these interdictions on property or violent crime. Notably, Dobkin and Nicosia use data from California alone. This paper expands upon their work by utilizing a procedure similar to that used by Cunningham and Finlay in their 2012 examination of the effect of these same interdictions on the foster care system. This paper finds that these interdictions had no effect nationwide on the levels of either property or violent crime.
  • Item
    Economic impact of Ebola virus disease in Western African countries.
    (2020-05-05) Tsai, Terry, 1995-; Pham, Van Hoang.
    The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa from 2014 to 2016 infected 28600 people and claimed lives of 11325 people. It is the worst and the longest Ebola outbreak since the first recorded Ebola outbreak in 1976. The World bank estimated the cost of this outbreak is approximately $4 billion. In this thesis, I estimate the impact of the spread of ebola on economic activity in Western African countries. Economic activity is measured with nighttime light intensity from satellite measurements. The use night time lights allows higher frequency more geographically disaggregated measure. Using distance to ground zero as an instrument for my empirical analysis, I find that the GDP for Sierra Leone decreases by 3.26 percent, GDP for Guinea decreases by 5.1 percent, and the GDP for Liberia decreases by 51.82 percent. I also employ a dif-in-dif model and find that Ebola outbreak has no long-term effect on GDP.
  • Item
    A differences-in-differences approach to the UPP policy and crime displacement in the city neighborhoods and metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro.
    (2020-04-27) Rodrigues, Hugo S., 1988-; Cunningham, Scott, 1975-
    This thesis uses differences-in-differences causal inference method to study the impact of the UPP policy in the surrounding neighborhoods of the city of Rio and also the spillover effects potentially caused by it. Five types of crimes were taken into account: Violent death, rape, robbery, drug related and death caused by police intervention, each of them with a certain degree of relationship with the "drug trading cycle" Rio suffers. The model reveals statistically significant results for all types of crime, with the exception of rape, potentially revealing how UPP in fact only swept crime to other cities and the reduction of it perceived along the years was a general trend. An event study using leads was also used to increase robustness of the research, showing parallel trends assumption cannot be discarded for UPP regions.
  • Item
    The effect of Ruiz v. Estelle on crime in Texas.
    (2020-04-28) Morris, Hunter Abbott, 1996-; Cunningham, Scott, 1975-
    I examine the effects of a 1980 Texas District Court ruling that ruled the conditions in the Texas prison system unconstitutional. In particular, I analyze its effects on crime and incarceration. I use a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to estimate these effects, and I implement the synthetic control method of Abadie, Diamond, and Hainmueller (2010) as a robustness check.
  • Item
    Baumol’s cost disease and physician shortages: an analysis of rising healthcare expenditures from the supply side.
    (2019-04-09) Wu, Qian, 1994-; Kelly, Mark C.
    Over the last two decades, the U.S. experienced a stagnant supply of physicians, as well as rapidly rising healthcare expenditures. Based on a novel version of Baumol’s unbalanced growth model, this paper addresses the relationship between physician supply and healthcare expenditures. Applying a fixed-effect estimation on a panel data set consisting of 50 U.S. states over 2008-2016, we confirm the existence of Baumol’s cost disease in the healthcare sector. Besides, a negative correlation between the growth of relative physician supply and unit healthcare cost is found, which according to the theory model, implies a less-than-one substitution elasticity between physicians and non-physicians. Followingly, a translog production function is estimated using seemingly unrelated regression, obtaining a magnitude of the elasticity of substitution which is roughly 0.23. Our study shows that due to the weak substitution between two groups of healthcare workers, the physician shortage can harm healthcare productivity substantially, which further cause the healthcare price to rise dramatically.
  • Item
    Wisdom of crowds : the story behind customers’ online reviews and business success.
    (2019-04-05) Phan, Linh Thuy, 1992-; Pham, Van Hoang.
    Using the data from Yelp as of December 2017, this thesis examines the impacts of the online customers’ reviews on the performances of servicing businesses (raw effect) as well as their neighboring establishments (spillover effect), and on the review-writing behaviors of later customers (sentimental inducement effect). The findings on the raw effects dovetail the results of past studies, signifying a negative correlation between bad reviews and the traffic of businesses. However, the good reviews are only correlated with better performance in the short term but negatively associated with performance in the long term. More importantly, this thesis reveals the significant spatial spillover effects, showing that positive reviews of neighbors can make a business worse off in both short and long term while it will immediately suffer from neighbors’ negative reviews before being benefited from them in the long term. Finally, we discover that the negative (positive) reviews are likely to induce negative (positive) reviews in the future.