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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Department of Economics

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The Department of Economics at the University of California, Davis offers nationally and internationally recognized graduate and undergraduate programs. The Department of Economics has 25 permanent faculty members, all active in research, and by various ranking criteria the department consistently ranks between number 25 and 35 in the country. The department specializes in macroeconomics, applied microeconomics, public finance/labor economics, economic theory, economic history, econometrics, and industrial organization.

Department of Economics

There are 87 publications in this collection, published between 1999 and 2023.
Recent Work (2)
Open Access Policy Deposits (85)

What is the Price of Tea in China? Goods Prices and Availability in Chinese Cities

We examine the price and variety of a sample of consumer goods at the barcode level in cities within China. Unlike the position in the United States, in China the prices of goods tend to be lower in larger cities. We explain that difference between the countries by the more uneven spatial distribution of manufacturers' sales and retailers in China, and we confirm the pro-competitive effect of city size on reducing markups there. In both countries, there is a greater variety of goods in larger cities, but that effect is more pronounced in China. Combining the lower prices and greater variety, the price indexes in China for the goods we study fall with city size by around seven times more than in the United States.

The impact of welfare reform on the health insurance coverage, utilization and health of low education single mothers.

The Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity and Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 imposed time limits on the receipt of welfare cash benefits and mandated cash benefit sanctions for failure to meet work requirements. Many studies examining the health implications of PRWORA have found associated declines in health insurance coverage and healthcare utilization among single mothers but no impact of PRWORA on health outcomes. A limitation of this literature is that most studies cover a time period before time limits were implemented in all states and also before individuals began actually timing out. This work builds on previous studies by exploring this research question using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation that covers a time period after all states have implemented time limits (1991-2009). We use a difference-in-differences study design that exploits variability in eligibility for cash welfare benefits by marital status and state-level variation in timing of PRWORA implementation to identify the effect of PRWORA. Using ordinary least square regression models, controlling for state-level and federal policies, individual-level demographics and state and year fixed-effects, we find that PRWORA leads to 7 and 5 percentage point increases in self-reported poor health and self-reported disability among white single mothers without a diploma, respectively.

Distributional Analysis in Educational Evaluation: A Case Study from the New York City Voucher Program.

We use quantile treatment effects estimation to examine the consequences of the random-assignment New York City School Choice Scholarship Program (NYCSCSP) across the distribution of student achievement. Our analyses suggest that the program had negligible and statistically insignificant effects across the skill distribution. In addition to contributing to the literature on school choice, the paper illustrates several ways in which distributional effects estimation can enrich educational research: First, we demonstrate that moving beyond a focus on mean effects estimation makes it possible to generate and test new hypotheses about the heterogeneity of educational treatment effects that speak to the justification for many interventions. Second, we demonstrate that distributional effects can uncover issues even with well-studied datasets by forcing analysts to view their data in new ways. Finally, such estimates highlight where in the overall national achievement distribution test scores of children exposed to particular interventions lie; this is important for exploring the external validity of the intervention's effects.

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