My primary research fields are Economics of Crime and Political Economics. My research agenda also includes papers/projects in Economics of Housing and Energy. I maintain a broad interest in Health Economics and Discrimination.

Working Papers:

Do Homebuyers Value Energy Efficiency? Evidence From an Information Shock (with Brendon McConnell and Jaime Millán-Quijano) (Updated January 2024 draft here)

Abstract:  We study the housing market response to a country-wide policy that mandated the provision of energy efficiency information with all marketing material at the time of listing. Using the near universe of housing sales in England and Wales, we match in the energy efficiency status of the property from Energy Performance Certificates data. We develop a conceptual framework that makes clear the key channels through which the policy may impact house prices – an information-driven salience channel and a market valuation channel. We provide causal evidence of homebuyers’ willingness to pay for a higher energy rated property, documenting a 1-3% premium to a higher energy efficiency rating at the national level, and a 3-6% premium in the London market. We explore a set of key margins along which homebuyers can respond, ruling out as explanations both a consumption channel and an information channel. We conclude that the elevated EPC-rating premiums are driven by a market valuation channel, a conclusion for which we provide empirical support. Such a conclusion is of key policy importance, as it suggests market-facing energy efficiency regulations can increase demand for more energy efficient housing, even in absence of any discernible demand-side consumption or information effects.

Abolish the Police? Evidence from Camden, NJ (with James Rockey) (Draft available upon request)

Abstract: This paper studies a 2013 reform in which the city of Camden, New Jersey dissolved the city police department and replaced it. While crime did fall in Camden following the reform, evidence from a synthetic control approach suggests that there was no additional effect attributable to the reform beyond the expected improvement given state and national trends of a general fall in crime. However, we do find evidence of a 50% improvement in clearance rates, particularly for violent crimes.

On the Political Economy of Felon Disenfranchisement- (with James Rockey) [pdf] (Revising)

Abstract: Due to felon disenfranchisement laws (FD), more than 7.4% of Blacks are disenfranchised compared to only 1.8% of other Americans. We study the political consequences of this racial disparity. Our difference-in-difference setup exploits the unpredictable timing of changes in FD, while allowing for time-varying state heterogeneity. We find FD legislation causes a 1 - 2 point reduction in turnout overall, but double that amongst Blacks. This is too large to be a mechanical effect, implying FD substantially reduces turnout among enfranchised Blacks. Further results show that FD reduces the number of Black U.S. Representatives and also lead to more conservative state policy.

How Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Crime? (with James Rockey) (Revising)

Abstract: This paper studies how Medical Marijuana laws (MML) affect the level and composition of crime. Using a generalized synthetic control estimator we find that MML are associated with a substantial increase in convictions for drug possession and trafficking. These effects are driven by younger criminals, the rates of such crimes by older criminals falls. Interestingly, such declines in possession and trafficking are also seen in drug use data which show substantial declines in the use of drugs other than Marijuana by older criminals, particularly opiates, and a large increase in Marijuana consumption. Data on police numbers rules out that this is an effect of increased policing. We interpret the results as being consistent with MML increasing the risks associated with participation in criminal labour market, inducing both exit and increased participation in more serious crimes.

Peer-reviewed work:

Estimating Excess Mortality due to Female Genital Mutilation, joint with Heather Flowe & James Rockey, Scientific Reports vol. 13, 1-9, (2023)

Selected field research in progress:

Pedagogic research in progress: