Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jonathan Hughes

Second Advisor

Scott Savage

Third Advisor

Charles De Bartolome

Fourth Advisor

Jeffrey Zax

Fifth Advisor

Stephen Billings


This dissertation examines three topics in applied economics. In the first chapter, I examine the effects of market structure on ticket pricing in the professional sports industry. The professional sports industry is highly visible and generates notable discourse for local policymakers. The abundance of data in this industry provides a unique opportunity to study economic behavior. I use data on professional sports franchises in over 40 different markets to examine how competition affects ticket prices. I estimate a two-stage model to correct for potential endogeneity between prices and the number of firms in local markets. A first stage market structure model provides a correction term included in a second stage price regression. The results demonstrate a strong positive relationship between prices and market concentration. However, this effect is somewhat diminished when firms differentiate themselves, either by type, quality, or brand. Ignoring the endogeneity of market structure leads to biased estimates that understate the impact additional competitors have on price.

The second chapter, written with Bentley Clinton, focuses on how the joint venture with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) benefits the National Hockey League (NHL) through increases in popularity. Specifically, we study the impacts of participation in the Olympics on fan attendance at NHL games. While previous literature has examined the costs of participation, the benefits remain largely unstudied. We develop a censored difference-in-differences model that provides evidence that NHL participation in the Olympic Games lead to an increase in league-wide attendance of approximately 4.2%, equating to approximately 673 additional tickets sold per team per game. Furthermore, the boost in attendance is larger for teams with excess capacity. These results have implications on future decisions for the NHL to continue to work with the IOC, as well as, the most recent decision not to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In the final chapter of the dissertation, I investigate the price premium households are willing to pay for the ability to walk to nearby amenities. Locational characteristics (parks, schools, shopping, restaurants, etc...) are an important factor in the consumer's decision to purchase a particular home. A major emphasis has been placed on the walkability of the neighborhood and how close residents live to shopping and social activities. So much so, that almost all major real estate websites include a measure of the walkability of an address. On the whole, households are willing to pay more to live in more walkable neighborhoods. This price premium is largest at the top end of the Walk Score distribution. However, these effects diminish with the geographic size of the fixed effect suggesting there may exist nuisance effects, such as noise and congestion, in close proximity to these destinations. Understanding households’ willingness to pay for neighborhood walkability is paramount for local governments, city planners, developers, and policymakers in determining the optimal mixture of residential and commercial properties. They must also consider ways to minmize nuisance effects in order to realize the greatest potential benefits from neighborhood walkability.

Included in

Economics Commons