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) (First draft here)

Abstract:  We study the housing market response to a nationwide 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 at the time of sale. We provide causal evidence of households 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 consider two potential responses of homeowners to the policy – short-run gaming of the ratings, and longer-run property improvements – finding no support for the former, but some evidence of the latter.

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.

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.

Excess Mortality due to Female Genital Mutilation: A forensic approach (with Heather Flowe & James Rockey) (Submitted in Scientific Reports)

Abstract: Globally, over 200 million women and girls have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This practice, illegal in most countries, often happens in unsanitary conditions and without clinical supervision with consequent bleeding and infection. However, little is known about its contribution to the global epidemiology of child mortality. We matched data on the proportion of girls of a given age subject to FGM to age-gender-year specific mortality rates during 1990–2015 in 24 countries where FGM is practiced. We used fixed-effects regressions to separate the effect of FGM on mortality-rates from variation in mortality in that country in that year. Using our estimated effect, we calculated total annual excess mortality due to FGM. Our estimates imply that a 50% increase in the number of girls subject to FGM increases their five-year mortality rate by 0.075 percentage points (95% CI 0 · 065 − 0 · 085). These estimates imply 35,200 excess deaths per year across countries where FGM is practiced. FGM is a leading cause of the death of girls and young women in those countries where it is practiced accounting for more deaths than any cause other than Enteric Infections, Respiratory Infections, or Malaria.

Selected work(s) in progress: