“I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This section will be periodically updated with advancements in my research. Comments or questions on any of this work are always welcome.

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In the days before indoor smoking bans, individual bars and restaurants were resistant to prohibit smoking for three main reasons: they were unable to predict consumer reactions, they were reluctant to go against the status quo, and they were hesitant to act first among their peers. However, the decision to go smoke-free was made for many in the service industry when various states and counties passed control legislation. A natural experiment is created by the nature and timing of such smoking bans. This experiment allows for the testing of hypotheses about the implications restrictions have on the bar and restaurant industry. This paper examines the effect smoking bans have on bar and restaurant patronage ultimately observed through employment, which is directly derived from the business of smokers and nonsmokers. Because people can avoid policies by crossing borders, choosing an appropriate control group presents trade-offs. Researchers may either use geographically close localities (which may be contaminated by spillover effects) or distant regions (which may not be as characteristically similar to the treatment area in question). This paper presents a novel approach by using both sets of controls while also accounting for spillover into adjacent areas, thereby avoiding the trade-off decision all together. Although created to account for the spillover effect of smoking bans, this model is relevant to an endless number of future evaluations of geographically inconsistent policies. This paper focuses on how including additional measures of contamination in the analysis yields results that strongly support a net financial benefit for bars and restaurants under smoking bans while also explaining how previous studies (which have neglected these spillover effects) may have found a range of insignificant and contradictory results.

  • Free Ride:  Public Transportation Policy, Senior Citizens, and Traffic Fatalities

This paper measures the effect on traffic fatalities of a three year policy in the state of Illinois that gave senior citizens free access to all public transportation.

  • Domestic Meth Production: Effects of Production Control Legislation on Related Externalities

This paper measures the changes in the composition of crime when states adopt a pseudoephedrine control policy aimed at reducing the domestic production of methamphetamine.

  • A Comprehensive Strategy to Eliminate Central Line Bloodstream Infections in Adult Critical Care

In conjunction with DuPage County Hospital, this paper measures the success of several different policy measures aimed at reducing infections in adult critical care units.

  • Seniority and Subsidies: Incumbency and Federal Spending at the State Level

This paper estimates the effect that seniority has on the composition of private and public subsidies secured by members of Congress.

  • The Vector Voting Model: Incorporating Issue Weight into the Median Voter Theorem

This model allows for voters to weight issues and provides the basis for Monte Carlo simulation of mock elections and explains situations in which elections produce inefficient results.

  • Changing Incentives and Collusive Behavior in the National Hockey League

This paper looks for evidence of implicit collusion in professional hockey following a series of rule changes that occurred in the last decade.

  • Winners and Losers: How the Big Four Sports Championships Affect Local Economies

This paper measures the effect that making the playoffs, reaching the championship, and winning a season title in football, baseball, basketball, or hockey have on local economies.