Working Papers

"The Effects of Post-Release Supervision on Crime and Recidivism" [Job Market Paper]

Abstract: Prior to 2011, inmates who committed lower-level offenses in North Carolina were not subject to post-release supervision. The North Carolina Justice Reinvestment Act changed policy to require nine months of post-release supervision. Leveraging a discrete policy effective date in a regression discontinuity in time model and using administrative data from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, I explore the effects of this legislative change on criminal outcomes. Evidence indicates that post-release supervision decreases property and violent crimes, but these changes do not persist beyond the supervision period. Results suggest that supervision leads to more individuals returning to prison at a faster rate due to technical, not criminal, violations; however, requiring lower-level offenders to undergo post-release supervision is a cost-effective program.  

"Childhood Gender Nonconformity and Gender Gaps in Life Outcomes"  with Torsten Santavirta & Miguel Sarzosa 

Abstract: We study the role of childhood gender conformity in determining gender gaps. We present a conceptual framework that uses gender norms to explain why some women make less profitable choices than comparable men. Using unique longitudinal survey and register data, we show that gender-nonconforming girls have substantially better education and labor market outcomes than gender-conforming girls. In contrast, gender-nonconforming boys perform substantially worse at school, sort into lower-paying occupations, earn less, and have a greater incidence of mental health disorders and substance abuse during adulthood than gender-conforming boys. Our analyses suggest that such divergence develops from an early age.

Selected Work-in-progress

"The Effects of Chicago’s Teacher Strikes on Youth Behavior" with Mary Kate Batistich, Jillian Carr, Clint Harris, & Kendall Kennedy

Abstract: In the 2010s, Chicago’s teachers participated in two of the largest teacher strikes in American history, causing schools to shut down for a combined twenty-two days with little notice to the more than 400,000 students enrolled in Chicago Public Schools. Using a variety of methods – interrupted time series, difference-in-differences, synthetic controls, and place-based intensity of treatment analysis – this study examines how these unexpected school closures in 2012 and 2019 affected crime, teen births, and traffic accidents. We find for both strikes that crime in Chicago neither significantly nor substantially changed during or after the strike, and no evidence that any specific type of crime was affected as well. Using publicly available natality data from the CDC, we find preliminary evidence that for youths aged 15-19 overall birth rates increased nine months after the strike, the birth rate of newborns who needed to be in the NICU increased, the birth rate of newborns needing assisted ventilation increased, average birth weight decreased, average gestational age decreased, and average age of the mother decreased. In addition, we find preliminary evidence that the 2019 strike resulted in more traffic accidents and increased total accident-related damage costs; however, traffic fatalities decreased.

 "Unemployment Insurance and the Development of Human Capital" with Daniel Kebede

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to explore economic outcomes of human capital development due to differences in the generosity of various unemployment insurance policies. The paper looks to see if more human capital is created when unemployment benefits are greater.  Simulations of a basic human capital development model show that individuals will hold off on accumulating human capital when they know that they have generous unemployment insurance.  In settings where unemployment benefits are not high, individuals will choose to educate themselves in order to self-insure.