Faculty & Research

Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy Working Papers Series

Batten faculty may post their working papers as PDFs until they are published. Once published, the work and its complete citation can be found in Publications.

2015--005. Enforcement spillovers: Lessons from strategic interactions in regulation and product markets

We explore mechanisms driving enforcement spillovers - when sanctions at one entity influence behavior at other entities. Our model illustrates when spillovers arise from a regulatory channel and when they arise from a channel not emphasized in the existing literature: product markets. Using facility-by-month data from Clean Water Act manufacturers, we find that penalties generate strong positive spillovers for other facilities facing the same authority.

2015--04. Take Me Home Country Roads? Exploring the College Attendance Patterns of Rural Youth

National estimates suggest that rural students attend college at lower rates than non-rural students. However, the sources of this gap are unknown. This paper examines two potential explanations: 1) economic and information constraints and 2) community or family expectations that deter college attendance and persistence. This paper uses a longitudinal data set to follow a nationally representative group of students beginning in 10th grade and following them over 10 years.

2015--03. How Effective Are Federal Food Safety Regulations? The Case of Eggs and Salmonella Enteritidis (Randall Lutter)

In 2009 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimated that its shell egg rule would reduce illness from Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) by about 79,000 cases annually (37%), with a range from about 30,000 to 191,000 cases avoided. I assess the effectiveness of this rule, which requires farmers who sell eggs to adopt SE control measures, by comparing illness from SE with illness from other Salmonella serotypes, using a differences-in-differences approach.

2015--02. Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response: Evidence from Bottled Water Sales Before and After Tropical Cyclones (Jay Shimshack)

This paper explores bottled water sales before, during, and after tropical cyclones. We focus on bottled water because local, state, and federal guidelines assert that bottled water is an essential emergency preparedness good. We match a panel of supermarket scanner data with tropical storm and hurricane information. We find that bottled water sales increase modestly in coastal areas as hurricanes approach. We find sharp increases in bottled water sales across impacted stores after hurricane landfalls.

2015--01. Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness (Craig Volden)

Spatial models of policymaking have evolved from the median voter theorem through the inclusion of institutional considerations such as political parties, committees, and various voting and amendment rules. Such models, however, implicitly assume that no policy is more effective than another at solving public policy problems and that all proposers are equally capable of advancing proposals. We relax these assumptions by modeling proposal “quality” and the effort needed to make better proposals. The resulting Legislative Effectiveness Model (LEM) offers three main benefits.

2014--004. Experimental Evidence on Early Intervention: The Impact of Full-day Kindergarten (Chloe GIbbs)

Nearly all school-age children in the United States attend kindergarten, and approximately three-quarters of kindergarten students are in full-day classrooms. While there have been dramatic increases in provision of and participation in full-day kindergarten, there is little evidence on the impact and cost-effectiveness of such programs and policies, particularly as compared to other types of investments in early childhood.

2014--003. Keep the Kids Inside: Juvenile Curfews and Urban Gun Violence (Jennifer Doleac)

Gun violence is an important problem across the United States. Due to limited data, it has been difficult to convincingly test the impacts of government policies on the quantity and geography of gunfire. This paper uses a new source of data on gunfire incidents, which does not suffer from selective underreporting common in other crime datasets, to measure the effects of juvenile curfews in Washington, DC. Juvenile curfews are a common, but extremely controversial, policy used in cities across the United States.

2014--002. Can Congress Do Policy Analysis? The Politics of Problem Solving on Capitol Hill (Eric Patashnik)

The conventional wisdom is that the U.S. Congress is not well-structured to do policy analysis. According to the received view, Congress's internal organization is inconsistent with analytical perceptions and definitions of policy issues. Congress caters to the demands of interest groups, and regularly makes economic decisions that policy analysts find indefensible on efficiency grounds. But negative assessments of Congress's capacity as a policy analyst cut too deeply.

2014--001. Alleviating Poverty through Housing Policy Reform (Edgar Olsen)

The purpose of this paper is to describe proposals for reform of low-income housing assistance that will alleviate poverty without increasing public spending. Low-income housing assistance is fertile ground for such reforms. The majority of current recipients are served by programs whose cost is enormously excessive for the housing provided. Phasing out these programs in favor of the system’s most cost-effective program would ultimately free up the resources to provide housing assistance to millions of additional people (Olsen 2014).

2013--014. The Effect of Fundamental Housing Policy Reforms on Program Participation (Edgar Olsen)

This paper estimates the effects of alternative reforms of the current system of low-income housing assistance on the number of people of various types who would receive assistance. The reforms are designed to eliminate the system’s substantial inefficiencies, inequities, and bias against homeownership. All would replace HUD’s largest low-income housing programs with alternative tenure-neutral housing voucher programs that serve all eligible families that apply for assistance. Most cost less than the current system.