Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation examines three distinct issues using applied microeconometric techniques and big data sets. Within the field of applied microeconometrics, I investigate the unintended consequences and externalities caused by a diverse set of events.
The first chapter examines the effect of social stigma on housing prices. I use the unique circumstances surrounding an unpredictable one-time event, the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre in Columbine, Colorado, to isolate a stigma and estimate its magnitude. Using a repeat sales framework I find the stigma generated by the Columbine Shooting reduced property values by 10 percent, resulting in a $19 million loss to property sellers in the year 2000 alone. The results show stigma may play a significant role in consumer preferences.
In the second chapter, my coauthor Greg Madonia and I focus on the impact that oil and gas wells in Colorado have on crime. Combining well data provided by Drillinginfo.com and FBI crime data, we examine intra-county changes in both property and violent crime as wells open and shut down. We find that for every additional hundred wells active in a county, the number of violent crimes increases by one percent, and property crimes increase by two percent. Public policy makers should anticipate this increase in crime during the beginning of a resource boom.
In the third chapter, I examine the effect of prenatal air pollution on adult labor outcomes. I combine a longitudinal survey with historical air pollution data to find that a standard deviation increase in particulate matter results in a one percent increase in the probability that an individual is disabled. There is also evidence that the second trimester of gestation is when a fetus is most vulnerable and that there is a threshold that must be reached before air pollution can have an effect.
Gourley, Patrick James, "Three Essays in Applied Microeconometrics" (2016). Economics Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 67.