Job Market Paper
Abstract: Stable housing is often inaccessible to ex-offenders, because rents are unaffordable and landlords are unwilling to rent to ex-offenders. This is the first paper to estimate the effect of rental housing market conditions on the probability that released felons return to prison. I find that black ex-offenders who return to areas with relatively higher vacancy rates for affordable rental housing are significantly less likely commit recidivism. This finding is driven by the availability of rental-units in single-family homes, whose landlords are more likely to rent to ex- offenders. Changes in the share of affordable units in multi-family buildings – which are often managed by property management companies and are less likely to rent to ex-offenders – have a much smaller effect on recidivism. I conclude that access to affordable rental housing and increasing access to affordable housing may help lower recidivism.
Abstract: This study is the first to examine the effects of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on body weight, physical wellness, and exercise. Using data from the 1990 to 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and a difference-in-difference approach, we find that the enforcement of MMLs is associated with a 2% to 6% decline in the probability of obesity. We find some evidence of age-specific heterogeneity in mechanisms. For older individuals, MML-induced increases in physical mobility may be a relatively important channel, while for younger individuals, a reduction in consumption of alcohol, a substitute for marijuana, appears more important. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that MMLs may be more likely to induce marijuana use for health-related reasons among older individuals, and cause substitution toward lower-calorie recreational ‘highs’ among younger individuals. Our estimates suggest that MMLs induce a $58 to $115 per-person annual reduction in obesity-related medical costs.
Abstract: The authors take up two questions that have not been explored in research on enterprise zones. First, does a considerably longer-run perspective on the effects of state enterprise zones lead to different answers? And second, are there heterogeneous effects of enterprise zones that depend on the set of incentives these programs offer, which can vary widely? The results indicate that whether state enterprise zone programs were observed through a longer-term lens, or through the lens of program heterogeneity, the authors generally did not find any consistent indication of beneficial effects of state enterprise zone programs; if anything, the longer-run effects are negative. The lack of positive effects is consistent with most of the prior evidence that focuses on effects that are short term and homogeneous.
Manuscripts Under Review
Young, Timothy. "Pay Secrecy and Worker Effort: Evidence from an Experiment" (R&R at ILR Review)
Abstract: I find evidence that the enactment of marijuana decriminalization laws decreased average reported earnings for young men by about 3%. The enactment of decriminalization laws changed the penalty for possessing small quantities of marijuana from an arrestable offense, where a conviction could result in incarceration, to a non-arrestable infraction without the possibility of incarceration. These deleterious effects are consistent with marijuana users, who likely have lower average earnings compared to the general population, being employed in the labor market, instead of being incarcerated.