Research Statement

THEME: The common thread of all my research thus far is the existence of natural experiments that cover the entire United States over extended periods of time. This has required that I create very large datasets often converting qualitative public records into usable quantitative formats.

FINDINGS: The research I have conducted thus far suggests that smoking bans have a positive effect on bar and restaurant employment unless it easy to avoid such policies with travel; that these same smoking bans increase drunk driving fatalities in border areas where policies are inconsistent; that placing pseudoephedrine behind the counter in pharmacies only reduces the number of methamphetamine labs if all neighboring states have the same policy; that members of congress ask for more public subsidies and fewer private subsidies as they gain experience; and that making the playoffs in major league sports is beneficial for local economies, while winning a championship is not.

GOALS: My ideal school is one where I find both a research mentor and co-authors, whether they be within economics or across other disciplines. The teaching load at my current position combined with the job market has not allowed me to achieve my goal of publication this semester. I hope to accomplish that objective in early 2015.

TECHNOLOGY: Aside from using standard statistical software such as Stata, R, and RATS, I have relied heavily on ArcGIS, Tableau, and GoogleVis to make interesting infographics and animations that can reach a greater audience. The next step is to make these data visualizations interactive and accessible. I would like to be a pioneer of such change.

FUTURE: The current problem I am trying to solve involves a drop in the number of non-alcohol related traffic fatalities in the mid 2000’s. Once solved, three other papers will have the appropriate control variables necessary to evaluate their respective natural experiments. The model I have created to control for spillover effects is well suited to investigate participation in Medicare expansion, the role of local and state taxes on vices, and an unlimited number of characteristics linked to health that vary from place to place. The research possibilities are seemingly endless.

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