By Jacob Epstein
This paper explores the relationship between active mutual fund performance and market dispersion from January 1990 to December 2018. I find a significant positive relationship between dispersion and 4-factor alpha overall, providing some evidence of managerial skill. There are large differences in this relationship by decade and fund selectivity. The results suggest active mutual funds were able to take advantage of stock-picking opportunities during the 1990s and 2000s, particularly the most active subset of funds. However, I find a significant negative relationship between dispersion and alpha for funds in the 2010s, indicating this relationship has changed over time. I discuss several possible explanations for this reversal, which could present interesting avenues for further research.
Advisors: Professor Emma Rasiel | JEL Codes: G1, G12, G23
By Cindy Feng
Agglomeration externalities is defined as the economic benefits from concentrating firms, housing, and output. This study investigates the impact of agglomeration externalities of industrial firms on product innovation output in China. In the research, I specified the impact of agglomeration into three types: Marshallian or localization externalities, defined as the impact of collocating with same-industry firms; Urbanization economies, defined as the impact of collocating with different-industry firms, and Porter externalities, the impact of competing with same-industry firms as a result of localization. My result suggests endogenous spatial selection of firms account for most of the agglomeration impacts we observe. Despite so, urbanization economies is still impactful in boosting a firm’s innovation performance, and should be taken into account as the government implements policies that boost firm performance.
Advisors: Professor Charles Becker, Professor Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: R3, D24, R50
By Pranav Ganapathy
We propose and evaluate an auction mechanism for the priority review voucher program. The 2007 voucher program rewards drug developers for regulatory approval of novel treatments for neglected tropical diseases. Previous papers have proposed auctioning vouchers for the priority review voucher program but have offered neither a mathematical model nor a framework. We present a mechanism design problem with one pharmaceutical company producing one drug for a neglected tropical disease. The mechanism that maximizes the regulator’s expected surplus is a take-it-or-leave-it offer, with three different offers based on low, intermediate, and high neglected disease burdens. We demonstrate how mechanism design can be applied to settings in which the buyer pays for public access to a product with regulatory speed. Finally, this paper may be useful to policymakers seeking to improve access to voucher drugs through modifications of the program.
Advisors: Professor David Ridley, Professor Giuseppe Lopomo, Professor Michelle Connolly| JEL Codes: I1, D44, D82
By Nalini Gupta
This paper seeks to test the hypothesis that developing countries or informationally inefficient countries should see higher returns for active mutual funds on average than passive funds and the trend should be reversed in developed nations or informationally efficient economies. This analysis is done using a cross section of eight countries, four developed and four developing. Using a fund universe of 20 active and 20 passive funds per country and controls such as volatility, market return, financial market development and Human Development Index among others, we see that there is no clear systematically dominant strategy between active and passive investment universally. While developing countries are associated with lower returns, we do not find a significant difference between active and passive based on development classification. A key finding is that an increase in liquidity, acting as proxy for informational efficiency, leads to a co-movement of active and passive returns in each country. The paper also lends itself to further analysis regarding confounding factor such as noise trading and movement of foreign capital which impact the effect of increased liquidity on mutual fund returns.
Advisors: Professor Connel Fullenkamp, Professor Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: G1, G11, G14
By Jenny Jiao
In the past decade, police departments have increasingly adopted predictive policing programs in an effort to identify where crimes will occur and who will commit them. Yet, there have been few empirical analyses to date examining the efficacy of such initiatives in preventing crime. Using police and court data from the second-largest police department in the country, this paper seeks to evaluate the pilot version of Chicago’s Strategic Subject List, a person-based predictive policing program. Using a boundary discontinuity design, I find that individuals eligible for the Strategic Subject List were 2.07 times more likely to be found not guilty of all charges in court than similarly situated individuals in the control group. Taking into account crime category heterogeneity, I find evidence that individuals previously arrested for drug crimes drive this result. This research sheds light on the potential unintended consequences of person-based predictive policing.
Advisors: Professor Patrick Bayer, Professor Bocar Ba | JEL Codes: K4, K42, O33
By Nell Jones
Music streaming has increased industry revenue and displaced piracy, but limited profits for artists. In this thesis, I examine user loyalty to streaming platforms, focusing on the asset specificity of features and estimating what users are willing to pay for each of these features. A structural equation model of survey data shows that feature satisfaction positively affects both asset specificity of and overall satisfaction with streaming platforms, strengthening user loyalty. Using conjoint analysis, I estimate that users are willing to pay at least $14.40 for platforms that offer algorithm, playlist and social features, and the ability to download music.
Advisors: Professor Michael Munger, Professor Grace Kim | JEL Codes: Z1, Z11, M21
Where You Live and Where You Move: A Cross-City Comparison of the Effects of Gentrification and How these Effects Are Tied to Racial History
By Divya Juneja
This thesis compares the effects of gentrification on school and air quality in ten cities to see whether cities with larger amounts of white flight post-World War II exhibited worse gentrification effects on renters. I find that renters in high white flight cities more consistently experience school quality downgrades—likely attributed to moving from gentrifying neighborhoods to worse neighborhoods. High white flight meant widespread de-investment across neighborhoods which could have lowered the school quality experienced by displaced renters. Gentrification did not consistently affect air quality in any way related to white flight, meaning confounding variables could have influence.
Advisors: Professor Christopher Timmins, Professor Alison Hagy | JEL Codes: R2, R3, J11
By Audrey Kornkven
In October 2008, a provision of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 known as Medicare “Nonpayment” went into effect, eliminating reimbursement for the marginal costs of preventable hospital-acquired conditions in an effort to correct perverse incentives in hospitals and improve patient safety. This paper contributes to the existing debate surrounding Nonpayment’s efficacy by considering varying degrees of fiscal pressure among hospitals; potential impacts on healthcare utilization; and differences between Medicare and non-Medicare patient populations. It combines data on millions of hospital discharges in New York from 2006-2010 with hospital-, hospital referral region-, and county-level data to isolate the policy’s impact. Analysis exploits the quasi-experimental nature of Nonpayment via difference-in-differences with Mahalanobis matching and fuzzy regression discontinuity designs. In line with results from Lee et al. (2012), Schuller et al. (2013), and Vaz et al. (2015), this paper does not find evidence that Nonpayment reduced the likelihood that Medicare patients would develop a hospital-acquired condition, and concludes that the policy is not likely the success claimed by policymakers. Results also suggest that providers may select against unprofitable Medicare patients when possible, and are likely to vary in their responses to financial incentives. Specifically, private non-profit hospitals appear to have been most responsive to the policy. These findings have important implications for pay-for-performance initiatives in American healthcare.
Advisors: Professor Charles Becker, Professor Frank Sloan, Professor Grace Kim| JEL Codes: I1, I13, I18
By Ralph Lawton
Natural disasters can have catastrophic personal and economic effects, particularly in low-resource settings. Major natural disasters are becoming more frequent, so rigorous understanding of their effects on long-term economic wellbeing is fundamentally important in order to mitigate their impacts on exposed populations. In this paper, I investigate the effects of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on real consumption and assets at the individual level. I also examine the heterogeneity of those impacts, and the related effects on inequality. Taking individual-specific heterogeneity into account with fixed effects, I find individuals living in heavily damaged areas experience major declines in real consumption and assets, and do not recover in the long term. These results are strikingly different than results that do not consider price effects, as well as previously published macroeconomic results. I also find significant heterogeneity by age, education-level, pre-tsunami socioeconomic status, and whether an individual went into a refugee camp. The tsunami resulted in large, long-term declines in asset inequality, and a temporary increase in consumption inequality that returns to near pre-tsunami levels in the long run.
Advisors: Professor Duncan Thomas, Professor Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D1, D15, H84