Working PapersDollars on the Sidewalk: Should U.S. Presidential Candidates Advertise in Uncontested States? (with Sarah Niebler)
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This Version: August 2012
Many studies estimate the degree to which government spending affects economic growth, developing strategies to overcome the endogeneity problem resulting from the allocation of money to areas with the greatest need. We use an exogenous form of spending--the money spent while campaigning for a party's Presidential primary nomination--to answer a similar question. This paper also highlights a potential economic incentive for states to hold early primaries, whereas past work only focuses on the disproportionate policy influence that states with early primaries gain. To answer these questions, we create a novel dataset combining the date each state held its primary from 1976-2008, the date in each election cycle in which only one candidate remained, and quarterly state income by sector. We find that hosting a primary election increases total income, particularly in the accommodations sector. We confirm these results using data on primary campaign expenditures across states in the 2004 and 2008 elections.
This Version: May 2012
Inferior? Evidence from Variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit (with Donald Kenkel and Maximilian Schmeiser)
This Version: September 2012
In this paper we estimate the income elasticity of smoking. In contrast to previous research, we address the econometric endogeneity of income as a determinant of smoking participation, cessation, and cigarette demand conditional upon participation. We use an instrumental variables (IV) estimation strategy that exploits exogenous variation in family income generated by changes in Federal and State Earned Income Tax Credit parameters. Using the IV strategy we find that smoking cigarettes appears to be a normal good among low-income adults: higher instrumented income is associated with a higher probability of smoking participation and a lower probability of smoking cessation. The magnitude and direction of the changes in the income coefficients from our OLS to IV estimates are consistent with the hypothesis that correlational estimates between income and smoking related outcomes are biased by the unobservable characteristics that differentiate higher income smokers from lower income smokers.
Protecting Homeowners: Foreclosure Counseling Policies and Modifications of Mortgage Terms (with J. Michael Collins and Maximilian Schmeiser)
This Version: July 2012
Millions of homeowners are at risk of losing their homes to mortgage foreclosure as a result of the housing crisis, and millions more are delinquent on their mortgage. One consumer-oriented policy response to this crisis is mortgage default counseling for borrowers. This study examines which borrowers seek default counseling, the probability that counseling can increase a borrower's ability to obtain a loan modification of their original terms, or in the event of a modification negotiate for more favorable terms. The results suggest that borrowers sharing vulnerable characteristics are most likely to take-up counseling, and that counseled consumers obtain loan modifications at a higher rate and with better loan terms, than uncounseled homeowners. As loan modifications are a policy priority and appear to improve borrower outcomes, public support for foreclosure counseling may yield significant improvements in consumer financial well-being.
Differences in Survey and Observational Advertising Data: Revisiting the Effects of Political Advertising in Michigan (with Ken Goldstein and Sarah Niebler)
New Version Coming Soon!
The degree to which campaign advertising affects political turnout and vote choice remains a much-debated question in the political science literature. Much of this work still relies upon individuals' recollection of their television viewing habits in the time period preceeding the survey. This paper employs unique Nielsen ratings data from Michigan, which objectively measures what television programs were on households’ televisions from October 18-24, 2010. We combine these Nielsen data with a pre-and post-election panel survey asking the same individuals about politics. The pre-election questionnaire also asks individuals whether they watched a series of television programs during the same time frame. In doing so, we are able to compare what individuals claim to watch with what is actually on their television during any given time slot. The first part of this paper simply describes the differences between individuals' self-reports and what Nielson indicates they watched. The second part examines the demographic and political characteristics of individuals who are better at self-reporting their television consumption as compared to those who are worse. The final part of the paper incorporates CMAG data on advertisements aired during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Michigan to ask whether scholars under- or over-estimate the effect of campaign advertising on a series of political variables such as turnout and vote choice.
Work in Progress
Do Advertisements Generate Out-of-State Campaign Contributions in US Congressional Races?
Mortgage Moratoria: Helping Consumers or Delaying the Inevitable? (with J. Michael Collins)
Coming Home to your Base: Evidence from Campaign Contributions
Are Firms Winners or Losers during a Recall Election?
Carly UrbanDepartment of Agricultural Economics and Economics
Montana State University
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