Research and Grants

Manuscripts Under Review

  1. Spanbauer, M., L. Johnson and P. Button. "How Valuable are National Parks? Evidence from a Proposed National Park Expansion in Alaska."
    • Abstract: We estimate the national average passive use value for Alaskan National Parks. Passive use refers to the value that individuals get from the existence of a public good without actually using it. We field a questionnaire asking respondents, using the contingent valuation method, how much they would pay for a 5% expansion of Denali National Park. We find that respondents are willing to pay $115 to $409 for this expansion, according our preferred specifications. Respondents’ answers to questions about what motivated their support and questions about their connections to Alaska indicate that support for the expansion is driven by passive use values.

Working Papers

  1. Spanbauer, M. "Stand Your Ground: Self-Defense Policy, Justified Homicides, and Race''
    • Abstract: I use police records to explore whether changing self defense policies, known as Stand Your Ground, have differential effects across race. I find that implementing these policies leads to an additional 1.611 monthly killings of black Alleged Perpetrators of Crimes, 70.8 percent of whom are killed by black citizens, while only causing an additional 0.345 monthly killings of white Alleged Perpetrators, 97.7 percent of whom are killed by white citizens. Tests indicate that these racial disparities are significant in all cases, while falsification and robustness tests address concerns of endogenous policy creation. Results provide evidence that Stand Your Ground policies cause unequal outcomes between races.
  2. Spanbauer, M. "Effect of Waterborne Uranium Exposure on Human Capital Endowment Proxies.''
    • Abstract: This paper examines the causal relationship between waterborne uranium exposure and birth outcomes in order to more fully understand the external costs of the activities that increase the probability of human exposure to uranium, such as the prevalent military use of depleted uranium munitions. I use the Church Rock Uranium Mill industrial accident as a natural experiment, in which children born in specific counties are exposed to uranium via a contaminated water supply. I examine changes in birth outcomes, which approximate human capital endowment at birth, and I find that waterborne uranium contamination does not manifest via observable decreases in birth outcomes, specifically birth weight, or via changes in gender ratios. I also provide evidence suggesting that migratory responses to the contamination are not driving a change in the population's determinants of birth outcomes. Collectively, these results support modern militaries' claims that the risk of unintentional harm by uranium based weapons are "negligible."


Manuscripts in Preparation

  1. Spanbauer, M. "External Costs of Nuclear Power Compared to Coal-Fired Generating Stations.''
  2. Spanbauer, M. "Hydraulic Fracturing and Public Health: An Empirical Analysis.''
  3. Spanbauer, M. "Public Law 112-141: Comments, critiques and lessons-learned from the RESTORE Act of 2012.''

Grants and Awards

Academic Merit Fellowship, Tulane University.

        • $16,547+Tuition - Awarded in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Academic Merit Fellowship, Tulane University.

        • $22,063+Tuition - Awarded in 2013.

Travel Grant, German Central Bank and Justus-Liebeg University.

        • €2,500 - Awarded in 2012.

Department of Economics Alumni Scholarship, UW--Milwaukee.

        • $500 - Awarded in 2012.

Austan Goolsbee Lecture Grant, UWM Senate Appropriation Committee.

        • $46,530 - Awarded in 2012.

Seminar & Presentation Grant, UWM Senate Appropriation Committee.

        • $30,370 - Awarded in 2011.