Honors theses of students at the Department of
Economics, University of California at Santa Barbara.
The decision by Germany to lead the effort against the refugee crisis in 2015 sparked controversy amongmany of its native population. With over a million new refugees in 2015 and 2016 alone fleeing war andterorrism from mainly Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, member’s of Germany’s far-right were outraged bythe decision. The AfD used the controversy to create a platform and gain popularity. They eventuallygained the third most votes in the 2017 federal election, the first time in 60 years that an openlynationalistic party would enter parliament. In this paper, we analyze how an increasing number ofrefugees affects voting sentiment in Germany. We search for causal effects of refugee numbers on votingfor far-right political parties. We perform our analysis with multiple regression models, mainly relying onfixed effects to determine causality. Although our initial hypothesis was that there should be a positiverelationship between the refugee share and voting for far-right political parties, our results indicate theopposite. We found that an increase in the amount of refugees actually decreases the average vote sharefor anti-refugee political parties. This falls in line with contact theory, the idea being that exposurebetween natives and foreigners can help create tolerance and acceptance among both groups. Our analysiscould be improved more, as many of our results show to be insignificant. If we took a more granularapproach by analyzing county-level data, we may be able to better isolate the effect that an increase in therefugee share has on voting.
I propose a methodology to isolate the effect of competition on media content using local newspaper closures as an exogenous change in competition to closured newspapers’ competitors. I define five topical metrics and construct a specialized categorization scheme to measure newspaper content over time. By comparing content across the periods before and after a newspapers’ competitor closes, I hold all factors that may affect content constant save the level of competition in the market and chronological time. Following the theoretical model proposed by Perego and Yuksel (2020), I hypothesize that decreasing competition should incentivize general content and disincentivize specialized content. I test my hypothesis on a case-study of 13 local newspapers in California over the period from 2000 to 2020. I am unable to differentiate the effect of decreasing competition from other time-related factors, and therefore cannot make a definitive conclusion from the limited data. However, my methodology and categorization scheme may be applied a more extensive dataset further test whether the effect of competition on local newspaper content can be observed and isolated from other factors.
Numerous solutions have been proposed to address the replication crisis, in which numeroushigh-profile empirical research studies cannot be replicated by other research teams. One possibleexplanation is that researchers have the option to adjust their data analyses after viewingthe results, inflating false positive rates. One popular solution is study preregistration, the practiceof developing the data analysis plan before the data is collected. However, preregistrationsonly alleviate replication problems if researchers are held accountable to their analysis plans.Across two related studies, we explore the effectiveness of preregistration in its current form.In Study 1, we audit recent preregistered publications from a major psychology journal andobserve deviations in 19 of 32 papers. In Study 2, we simulate the effects of generic deviationson the false-positive rate. We find that deviations that run more or more varied tests causelarger changes, tripling the false-positive rate in the most extreme case. We note that auditingpreregistrations requires an inconsistent amount of time depending on their length and format,which we suspect contributes to the enforcement issues we observe. We suggest that researchersand journals alike adopt the asPredicted.org template for preregistrations.
In order to understand why labor force participation (andemployment rate) have declined in the United States over the pasttwo decades, declines in the employment to population ratio wereregressed against minimum wage, labor laws and labor forcecharacteristics during the last three major recession periods. Theresults yielded little significant effects of minimum wage orunionization, but a strong negative effect of the percent of the laborforce employed in the service sector.
This paper examines the effect of market size on the votes for the National Basketball Association’s All-NBA teams. While the All-NBA teams are intended to represent the league’s best players, prior research suggests that media members vote based on factors other than performance. I hypothesize that a player on a large market team is more likely to receive votes than a player with comparable performance but on a small market team. Using All-NBA ballots from five consecutive seasons and Nielsen television market sizes, I employ a two-part model approach to determine the effects of market size, being born outside the United States, representing an East Coast team, and Team Win-Loss Percentage on All-NBA votes. I find that the effect of market size on All-NBA votes is unclear, but Team Win-Loss Percentage has a significant positive effect. Future studies could introduce other factors to the models such as age and race.
This paper studies whether political ideology affected early restaurant avoidance behavior during Covid-19 in March 2020. Early conflicting narratives about the severity of Covid-19 driven by political leaders and media outlets with liberal versus conservative views may impact the speed in which Republican and Democratic cities adopt safety measures such as avoiding dining at restaurants. I use data on seated dining rates at restaurants from OpenTable and find that cities in the United States with more Democratic voters saw faster declines in seated dining. I also find that cities with more Covid-19 cases saw faster declines in seated dining rates, but this effect is concentrated on early adopter cities. These findings have public health implications which suggest that effective public health policy should take the influence of politics on behavior into account.
The proportion of international Ph.D. candidates has been increasing in recentyears, and the growing importance of international candidates requires researchersto pay more attention to the differences between them and Americancandidates. Using information collected from CVs on the 2021-2022 economicsPh.D. job market, we find that international candidates are more likely to havea previous graduate degree before a Ph.D., and less likely to have full time RAexperiences and a background in math. The results of this study suggest thatseveral variables have positive effects on Ph.D program rankings: graduatingfrom a highly ranked undergraduate institution, having full time RA experiences,and coming from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, or Latin America,while candidates attending an unranked undergraduate institution and an liberalarts college are less likely to graduate from highly ranked Ph.D. programs.
Innovation appears to have a direct impact on broad measures of social mobility. The mechanism thought to be behind this is Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction, where new entrant firms develop more sophisticated technologies in an incessant process of industrial turnover. Thus, the gains in social mobility are dependent on the success of new entrant firms.We hypothesize that in regions with dense concentrations of venture capital funding, new entrant firms will be more successful, and this will amplify the effect that innovation has on mobility. This study contributes meaningful nuance to the argument that innovation causes increases in mobility by showing that the effect may vary in magnitude depending on influencing factors such as venture investment.
In this paper, I investigate how oil price shocks and volatility affect adoption ofrenewable energy technologies by private businesses and households. Additionally, I analyze thechanges in electric utilities’ energy supplies sourced from fossil fuel-powered generators asprivate renewable energy adoption increases. This paper considers net energy metering programadoption as a measure of renewable energy technology uptake. I estimate two models on a paneldataset of electric utility-level data of net energy metering programs. The empirical resultsindicate that oil price shocks and oil price volatility reduce renewable energy adoption throughnet metering programs by a significant magnitude. The findings also show that greater customernet metering subscription significantly reduces utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels for their retailelectricity supplies. Coal and natural gas generator usage is most reduced, while oil-firedgenerator reliance is affected fractionally. Recommendations for improving renewable energypolicies and considerations for further reducing utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels are made basedoff these findings.
This paper examines the effects of the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 on the number ofchildren entering foster care due to maltreatment using data1 for 2004 to 2015. I usestandard OLS regressions with heteroskedastic robust standard errors in order toexamine the impact of the Great Recession, measured by the yearly unemployment rate,on children entering foster care due to physical abuse or neglect. Overall, I find littleevidence that there was an impact of the unemployment rate on entry into foster care.However, when looking across racial and ethnic groups, I find that Black children andAsian children were more or less susceptible, respectively, to entering foster care due tomaltreatment when there were increases in the unemployment rate during and after theGreat Recession.