Three Essays in Applied Microeconomics: Crime, Education & Health
AuthorCrouse, Joseph Thomas
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Chapter 1 - An Economic Investigation of Campus Crime & Policing To date, the literature on campus crimes and its determinants has been largely descriptive and narrowly focused utilizing only regional cross-sectional data. By examining the factors that influence campus crimes utilizing a national panel collected from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report from 2000 to 2010, this paper helps to fill the under-researched aspect of how policing and campus setting influence campus crimes, both those of a violent and non-violent nature. Empirical evidence presented here suggests that there are significant differences in the effectiveness of policing by census region, by degree of urbanization, and by campus setting. Results suggest that the policing elasticities of crime are higher in the Northeast and Midwest than in the South and West. The nationwide campus policing elasticity suggests that a 10% increase in the campus police force would lead to a 10.5% to 17.6% decrease in campus crime. Chapter 2 - Estimating the Average Tuition Elasticity of Enrollment for Two-Year Public CollegesTo date, the literature on estimating tuition elasticities has been narrowly focused by analyzing primarily four-year universities. We use data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) on all United States public 2-year colleges from 2004 to 2011 and examine the tuition elasticity of enrollment across the four major U.S. Census regions. By examining the tuition elasticity of enrollment for two-year public colleges, this paper helps to fill the under-researched aspect of how tuition levels influence campus enrollments at community colleges where the mission is to serve the greatest number of students in the community at an affordable cost. Empirical evidence presented here suggests that the nationwide tuition elasticity of total enrollment is -0.263. At the mean, a $100 increase in tuition and fees would lead to a decline in enrollment of about 0.883%. We find considerable differences across regional tuition elasticity of enrollment. Our results suggest that community colleges are normal goods and substitutes to four-year institutions. We consider the distribution of tuition increases among income groups and find that tuition increases are regressive. Lastly, we find that competition between border counties plays an essential role in determining the effects of tuition increases.Chapter 3 - The Impact of Obesity on Wages: Evidence from NLSY97We investigate whether obesity leads to lower earnings for women in the labor market. There has been an outpouring of interest by economists on the issue of obesity in recent years. The current literature is unclear as to whether obesity leads to lower earnings or has no effect on earnings for women. Recent medical research suggests a strong correlation between an earlier age at menarche and increased BMI. In this paper we utilize evidence from NLSY97 and find that age at menarche successfully serves as an instrument in identifying the effect of obesity on wages for women. Our IV results indicate that an increase in BMI has no statistically significant effect for white and Hispanic females while a point increase in BMI lowers the wages for black females by approximately 1.6%.