Senior Theses 2022

 Dr. Chuck Moul teaches a class in the Farmer School
Student raises her hand during class
 Student shuffles papers on his desk
Figures and equations on a whiteboard
 Students listen to an Economics class lecture

Teddy Caulton

Title: “The Existence of a Free-Riding Problem in Tip-Pooling Businesses”

Adv: Dr. Steve Elliott


Sofiya Kryvoruchenko

Title: “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Service Industry: Evidence from Privately Owned Restaurants”

Adv: Dr. Austin Smith


“The pandemic resulting from the spread of the COVID-19 virus caused an ongoing period of economic downturn. Due to the low cyclicality of the service industry, previous recessions hit other fields more severely, creating a unique case of decline during the pandemic. However, due to the inflexible and high contact nature of the restaurant business, we see drastic differences across wages, employment, and number of establishments with an increase in COVID-19 cases. We focus on the survivability of the service industry throughout the pandemic. We hypothesize that warmer climates tend to improve the health of the industry in the observed state. By constructing a two-way fixed effect model with interaction between weather and cases, we find that with medium to severe cases numbers, an increase in temperature leads to a positive effect on the service industry outcomes.”


Micah Fields

Title: “Global Spillovers of U.S. Climate Policy: Evidence from E.U. Carbon Emissions Futures”

Adv: Dr. David Lindequist


“We investigate how expected paradigm shift in U.S. climate policy impact other climate policies globally by examining changes in the prices of carbon emissions futures contracts in the European Union around the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Utilizing a constant average returns methodology, we find returns within the event windows that differ significantly from the average return prior to the events. Specifically, we find highly robust directional effects of U.S. climate policy, indicating markets expect the European Commission to loosen and tighten climate policy in coordination with U.S. efforts. We suggest this to mean that markets believe the U.S. and E.U. engage in a common interest game with respect to climate policy, such that their policy decisions are strategic compliments.”


Bryanna Renuart

Title: “The 2011 German Nuclear Energy Shutdown: A Synthetic Control Study”

Adv: Dr. Jing Li


“This paper contrasts the trajectory of Germany's nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, particulate matter 2.5, and carbon dioxide emissions with the trajectory of a data-driven weighted average of similar economies. The synthetic Germany is constructed to reveal the counterfactual of what would have happened to Germany's environment  in the absence of shutting down eight nuclear reactors in 2011. We report a negative environmental impact. For instance, the energy-supply nitrogen oxides increased by 3.28% in Germany within five years of nuclear shutdown, whereas they dropped by 13.11% in synthetic Germany. The difference, 16.39%, is the estimated treatment effect of 2011 nuclear shutdown on energy-supply nitrogen oxides.”


Aaron Garner

Title: “Fuel Surcharges: Railroads’ Exercise of Market Power”

Adv: Dr. Chuck Moul

“This paper proposes a new methodological approach to define rail markets by using geospatial clustering to assign terminals into disjoint local markets. These new rail markets then resemble the unidirectional city-pair from the airline literature. This new definition of railroad markets is applied to estimate the determinants of fuel surcharges, especially market shares, as implemented under the current regulatory safe harbor regime. Motivational analyses show shipments where a fuel surcharge is implemented have higher rates than shipments where a fuel surcharge is not implemented. It is then estimated a 10 percentage point increase in a railroad’s market share is associated with an increase of in the fuel surcharge.”


Davis Heyman

Title: “The effect of Football Scholarships on Institutional Outcomes”

Adv: Dr. Peter Nencka


“Many American universities have a football program that operate at a financial deficit. This deficit is made up by money coming from other parts of the university’s budget. Athletic scholarships are a large contributor to the expenses, and thus deficits of the program. An understudied question is the impact of football scholarships on overall institutional outcomes. Leveraging a policy change by the Patriot League, I show that offering football scholarships does not improve key performance indicators for the university.”


Isabella Mancini

Title: “Can Nursing Homes Survive a Minimum Wage Increase?: How CNA Staffing Affects Nursing Home Profitability”

Adv: Dr. John Bowblis


Mitchell Boice

Title: “Financial Deregulation and the Great Moderation”

Adv: Dr. Jonathan Wolff


“This paper examines the 1970s and 1980s deregulation of interstate banking restriction as a possible cause for the Great Moderation. Characterized by its abrupt drop in volatility at the national level, I disaggregate the Moderation and recognize the importance of explaining the role of interstate business cycle correlations in the reduction of aggregate volatility. Using empirical methods, I demonstrate two items: a series of disaggregated structural breaks to the volatility of state business cycles occurring before the U.S. aggregate, and suggestive evidence supporting the theory that an integrated banking system can reduce volatility by allowing for state and regional shocks to be smoothed across a more interconnected national economy. I establish the former by use of a cumulative sum of squared residuals test, which is common in the literature of the Great Moderation. Furthermore, I establish the latter by implementing a more novel Synthetic Difference-in-Differences approach.”


C.J. Walker

Title: “Fiscal Cliffs and Economic Growth: An Endogenous Regime Switch Approach”

Adv: Dr. Jonathan Wolff


Emma LaGuardia

Title: “The Community College Expansion Period: A Historical Perspective on Accessible Higher Education"

Adv: Drs. Riley Acton and Greg Niemesh


“Community colleges are an important tool to study how increased access to higher education may affect individual and community outcomes. Previous literature has focused on various tuition policies to understand these outcomes in the modern day. I expand our understanding of college accessibility by using distance as a proxy for opportunity cost of higher education. Focusing on a historical perspective, I exploit a major expansion of community colleges in the period from about 1950 to 1980 as a natural experiment for increased accessibility. I use a two-way fixed effects model to determine the effects of increased access on several educational and labor-market outcomes. I find that, in general, the presence of a community college in one’s community when they are age 16 or 17 is associated with slightly higher educational attainment, greater likelihood of completing either two or four years of college, and a lower probability of unemployment in adulthood. I argue in favor of the democratization effect of community colleges.”