Senior Theses 2019

Hannah Baney (Adviser: Prof. Bill Even)

“The Gender Gap in Wealth: 1989-2016”

Abstract: Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we attempt to estimate the gender gap in wealth, trends in the gap, and possible explanations for its occurrence. Multiple regression reveals that a gender gap does indeed exist, although it is difficult to define a clear trend in the gap over time. We find some evidence that the wealth gap may shrink during times of economic recession and grow during times of economic prosperity. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition shows that a small portion of the gender gap between single men and women can be explained by differences in the characteristics of men and women- primarily work experience and risk aversion. However, a majority of the wealth gap remains unexplained.

Samantha Bossa (Adviser: Prof. Deborah Fletcher)

“Impact of Direct Admissions into the Miami University Farmer School of Business on Student Incentives”

Abstract: Does a direct admissions policy with a secured spot for the student promote better performance than a non-direct admissions policy with a GPA requirement after two years?  To answer this question, we focus on the business core that all business students take at Miami. The data spans 2003 to 2015 cohorts, with the change to a full direct admissions policy occurring in the 2012 cohort.  This allows us to explore how course grades and students’ decisions of when and where to take the course differ over multiple admissions policies. The analysis shows significant changes between the policy periods overall.  Most notably, the average student GPA decreases with the switch to direct admissions, after controlling for ability. The effects seem to be concentrated in Managerial Accounting and Calculus 1. These effects differ when students are broken up into high and low ability groups as well as minority and non-minority.  Low ability students appear to benefit from the new policy, narrowing the gap between them and the high ability students, but minority students seem to be hurt by the new policy in that they have lower GPAs on average. 

Madison Cain (Adviser: Prof. John Bowblis)

“Opioid Overdose Trends and the Impact of Treatment Center Admissions and Naloxone Drugs in Connecticut”

Abstract: Previous opioid-related research has focused on experimental trials involving opioid abusers, rather than looking at the outcomes of existing prevention programs on mortality rates. This study first examines the general trends stemming from the opioid crisis to determine how drug use has changed and which individuals have been primarily affected in Connecticut from 2012 to 2016. Next, by utilizing a town-year level panel dataset, I study the effects anti-overdose drug access has on opioid treatment center admissions, as well as the effects that opioid treatment center admissions and pharmacies that offer anti-overdose drugs have on the mortality rates in a given town. I find that increased naloxone availability is associated with a higher number of treatment center admissions, but that the number of opioid treatment center admissions and naloxone availability lack a significant impact on opioid overdose deaths.

Sumedha Chakravarti (Adviser: Prof. Gerald Granderson)

“Crime and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): How a Specific State’s Attitude towards DACA Impacts its Crimes Rates”

Abstract: This paper analyzes how differences in states’ attitudes towards DACA impacts its crime rates. Most research finds no significant correlation between increased immigration and higher rates of crime, while other research finds that DACA implicitly leads to a decline in crime via increased high school graduation rates and better job opportunities for those on the program. I examined each state over an 11-year time period using a balanced panel to see how DACA policies impacted their crime rates. I mainly find that providing additional amenities to those on DACA has no significant correlation with a state’s crime rates. Additionally, accepting more people on DACA reduces the crime committed by younger people.

Kiley Duhn (Adviser: Prof. Chuck Moul)

“Here Comes the Flood: The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Outcomes”

Abstract: The existing growth and investment literatures generally fail to achieve a consensus on the overall effect of catastrophic natural disasters on economic outcomes. Using natural disaster data ranging from 1970-2010 and measures for GDP, FDI, and their respective drivers, I implement the synthetic control method to construct comparative case studies for nine individual disaster scenarios. I find substantial evidence that natural disasters can have varying effects on GDP and FDI regardless of an affected country’s political climate, suggesting that the consequences of catastrophes are highly idiosyncratic and that a variety of macroeconomic factors can have an impact on short and long run outcomes in such affected countries.

Madi Gregory (Adviser: Prof. Greg Niemesh)

“The Political Economy of Physician Licensing: The Adoption of Pre-Medical College Requirements”

Abstract: States began licensing physicians in the 1870s, ostensibly to control entry into an unrestricted medical field and protect the public from medical quacks. Despite these laws, physician supply continued to increase into the early 1900s. As medical education became more rigorous, and states began requiring medical schools to include a college prerequisite as part of their admission standards in the 1910s, physician supply began to decline. Using a hazard model, I analyze various political and economic characteristics at the state level to understand the relative importance of such factors in the timing of adoption of pre-medical college requirements. States with higher AMA membership and a larger number of physicians per capita, pass pre-medical licensure laws earlier than others. The evidence presented more-so aligns with the regulatory capture theory, whereas the public interest theory variables have little impact on the timing of passage of these laws.

Eashwar Nagaraj (Adviser: Prof. Greg Niemesh)

“Are Skilled Immigrant Wage Premiums Countercyclical”

Abstract: Using a pooled cross section of Labor Condition Applications from 2002 to 2015 (N = 5:1 million), this paper aims to estimate the effects of exogenous labor demand shocks on wage differentials between high-skilled immigrants and their native colleagues in the US. Exploiting the Great Recession (2008-2009) as a natural experiment for a labor demand shock, I find that the mean wage premiums earned by potential H-1B visa holders decrease by 5 percent during the recession. Notably, the wage premiums earned by the highest earning immigrants exhibit countercyclical behavior, increasing by 3 to 4 percent when the national unemployment rate for college educated native workers increases by 1 percentage point. Results are robust to compositional changes. Firm heterogeneity possibly biases these results, which can be addressed using panel methods.

Sara Rosomoff (Adviser: Prof. Melissa Thomasson)

“Promote the General Welfare: A Political Economy Analysis of Medicare & Medicaid”

Abstract: Medicare and Medicaid are U.S. federal health insurance programs established in 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. They provide coverage to the aged population (65+), low-income individuals, and to other subsets of the U.S. population. These programs were born out of 50 years of debate and failed attempts to pass national government-provided health care in the U.S. After reviewing the history of government-provided health insurance and the foundations of Medicare/Medicaid, I analyze the political economy of state and individual effects on Members of Congress’ vote choices on the 1965 Medicare/Medicaid law. I find evidence that the effects of number of doctors, size of hospitals, percentage of Black Americans, and public assistance expenditures per capita are strong predictors of vote choice. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest party alignment of constituencies and geographic region assisted in persuading Republicans in Northeastern, urban-concentrated, party-contested states to defect.

Matt Runser (Adviser: Prof. Austin Smith)

“Athletic-Induced Absenteeism: The Effect of Scheduled Athletic Absences on Grade Point”

Abstract: Previous literature suggests that absences have a negative and significant effect on academic achievement. Prominent studies focus on primary school students and rely on instrumental variables to address endogeneity concerns. I resolve the endogeneity issue by examining absences created by pre-scheduled athletic traveling for a large sample of student athletes at the university level. Using an academic and travel dataset from Miami University across 2010 to 2017, I use student by season fixed effects to estimate the cost of absences in regards to grade point. I find there to be a negative and significant marginal effect on grade point for each absence. I also find this result to be greater in magnitude for students who are domestic minorities and for students who scored lower on the ACT. Furthermore, I find that athletic travelling has additional negative effects outside of the costs of absences.