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Durham and Gentrification: Assessing the Impact of Displacement in the Bull City

By Armin Hakimzadeh Ameri

In this paper, I look to Durham, North Carolina, to demonstrate potential harms from gentrification. Using an expansive proprietary dataset, I come to two main conclusions: first, there is a significant link between gentrification and displacement, as low-income renters are constrained by increased prices and are forced to leave their neighborhoods. Second, displaced renters are significantly more likely to move into communities with higher crime rates, worse schools, and increased rates of poverty. These results suggest that the Durham government should enact policies protecting low-income renters and other at-risk groups while also balancing the benefits of gentrification.

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Advisors: Dr. Christopher Timmins, and Dr. Grace Kim | JEL Codes: R2, R3

Family Leave and Child Care Policy Across States: Implications for Labor Force Participation Over Time

By Kelly Albert

This paper investigates the impact of child care subsidies, maternity and paternity leave policy, and Earned Income Tax Credits on labor force participation rates at the state level, utilizing data sets from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Current Population Survey. Results suggest labor force participation increased with federal maternity and paternity leave, increased child care subsidy expenditures, and Earned Income Tax Credits. Head Start expenditures, state maternity leave, and Temporary Disability Insurance have negative impacts. These findings have wider policy implications; altering combinations of family leave and child care policy could help improve employment outcomes of parents.

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Advisors: Dr. Hugh Macartney, and Dr. Grace Kim | JEL Codes: J13, J18, J22

Evaluating Economic Impacts of Electrification in Zambia

By Aashna Aggarwal

Energy poverty is prevalent in Zambia. It is one of the world’s least electrified nations with 69% of its citizens living in darkness, without access to grid electricity. Zambian government has a goal to achieve universal electricity access in urban areas and increase rural electrification to 51% by 2030. With its main goal to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of Zambians. Electrification is expected to have positive impacts on health, education and employment play an important role to achieve wellbeing, however, previous studies and analysis of renewable energy programs have found different, context-dependent results. To evaluate the impacts of electrification in Zambia I have used the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) of 2015 and applied two different estimation techniques: non-linear regressions and propensity score matching. My study finds that firewood consumption significantly decreases with assess to electricity and education has positive outcomes on grade attainment. I negligible effects on wage earning employment outcomes respiratory health outcomes. Based on these results I conclude that access to grid electrification does have certain positive impacts but empirical evidence is not as strong as the theoretical claims.

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Advisors: Dr. Robyn Meeks and Dr. Grace Kim | JEL Codes: C31; C78; O13; Q40

Incentives to Quit in Men’s Professional Tennis: An Empirical Test of Tournament Theory

By Will Walker

This paper studies the influence of incentives on quitting behaviors in professional men’s tennis tournaments and offers broader implications to pay structures in the labor market. Precedent literature established that prize incentives and skill heterogeneity can impact player effort exertion. Prize incentives include prize money and indirect financial rewards (ranking points). Players may also exert less effort when there is a significant difference in skill between the match favorite and the match underdog. Results warrant three important conclusions. First, prize incentives (particularly prize money) do influence a player’s likelihood of quitting. Results on skill heterogeneity are less conclusive, though being the “match favorite” could reduce the odds of quitting. Finally, match underdogs and “unseeded” players may be especially susceptible to the influence of prize incentives when considering whether to quit.

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Advisors: Peter Arcidiacono and Grace Kim | JEL Codes: J41, J31, J32, J33, M12, M51, M52

Assessing the Impacts of an Aging Population on Rising Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Expenditures within the United States

By Rahul Sharma 

This paper studies the impact of aging on rising healthcare and pharmaceutical expenditures in the United States with the goal of contextualizing the future burden of public health insurance on the government. Precedent literature has focused on international panels of multiple countries and hasn’t identified significant correlation between age and healthcare expenditures. This paper presents a novel approach of identifying this correlation by using a US sample population to determine if age impacts an individual’s consumption of healthcare services and goods. Results suggest that age has a significant impact on healthcare and pharmaceutical expenditures across private and public insurance.

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Advisors: Gilliam D. Saunders-Schmidler and Grace Kim | JEL Codes: H51, H53, I12, I13, I18, I38

Evaluating Asset Bubbles within Cryptocurrencies using the LPPL Model

By Rafal Rokosz

The advent of blockchain technology has created a new asset class named cryptocurrencies that have experienced tremendous price appreciation leading to speculation that the asset class is experiencing an asset bubble. This paper examines the novelty and functionality of cryptocurrencies and potential factors that may lead to conclude the existence of an asset bubble. To empirically evaluate whether the asset class is experiencing an asset bubble the LPPL model is used. The LPPL model was able to successfully identify two of the four crashes within the data set signifying that cryptocurrencies are within an asset bubble.

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Advisors: Ed Tiryakian and Grace Kim | JEL Codes: G12, Z00, C60

Effect of Sentiment on Bitcoin Price Formation

By Brian Perry-Carrera

With the recent growth in the investment of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, it has become increasingly relevant to understand what drives price formation. Given that investment in bitcoin is greatly determined by speculation, this paper seeks to find the econometric relationship between public sentiment and the price of bitcoin. After scraping over 500,000 tweets related to bitcoin, sentiment analysis was performed for each tweet and then aggregated for each day between December 1st, 2017 and December 31st, 2017. This study found that both gold futures and market volatility are negatively related to the price of bitcoin, while sentiment demonstrates a positive relationship.

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Advisor: Grace Kim | JEL Codes: G12, G41, Z00

Multi-Horizon Forecast Optimality Based on Related Forecast Errors

By Christopher G. MacGibbon

This thesis develops a new Multi-Horizon Moment Conditions test for evaluating multi-horizon forecast optimality. The test is based on the variances, covariances and autocovariances of optimal forecast errors that should have a non-zero relationship for multi-horizon forecasts. A simulation study is conducted to determine the test’s size and power properties. Also, the effects of combining the Multi-Horizon Moment Conditions test and the well-known Mincer-Zarnowitz and zero autocorrelation tests into one forecast optimality test are examined. Lastly, an empirical study evaluating forecast optimality for four multi-horizon forecasts made by the Survey of Professional Forecasters is included.

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Advisors: Andrew Patton, Grace Kim and Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: G1, G17, G00

The Effect of Social, Cultural, and Political Values on Entrepreneurial Perceptions and Venture Creation: A Global Investigation

By Repton Salisbury

The effect of entrepreneurial activity on economic development has been researched thoroughly. New firm creation spurs economic growth by creating employment opportunities, cultivating innovation, and encouraging competition. Globally, there are countless areas that could benefit from a livelier entrepreneurial ecosystem. So how does a government or population first spur entrepreneurial activity? An entrepreneur’s perceptions are among the most powerful factors that impact the life or death of a new venture, but the determinants that influence how these perceptions first form are still largely unknown. Using survey data collected by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in 2010 across the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Israel, United Kingdom, Peru, Russia, Iran, and China, I conduct binary logistic regressions of individual level characteristics, social ideals, cultural norms, human development, and other environmental attributes on the most important perceptions of entrepreneurs. These perceptions have been identified by previous research as an entrepreneur’s perception of local opportunities, internal skills, and fear of failure in creating a new venture. I find that several social, cultural, and political values have a significant effect on the psychological behavior of nascent entrepreneurs.

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Advisor: Alison Hagy, Grace Kim | JEL Codes: L2, L26, O17 | Tagged: Culture, Entrepreneurship, Perceptions, Venture Creation

How does being a Serial Creator affect Probability of Campaign Success on Kickstarter?

By Minn Khine

This paper seeks to address the issue of how being a serial creator impacts campaign success on Kickstarter. My hypothesis is that being a serial creator – someone who has created 2 or more projects on Kickstarter – has a positive effect on probability of campaign success but there are diminishing marginal returns to this effect. A regression analysis over a sample of over 187 thousand Kickstarter projects from its inception in 2008 until December 2014 yields the following findings, which supports my hypothesis. I found that being a serial creator does have a positive effect on campaign success but there is diminishing marginal returns to being a serial creator. Furthermore, number of updates, number of reward levels, having a video, number of backers, FB Shares, FB Friends, and Number of Projects Backed all have positive effects on campaign success. On the other hand, comments, funding goal, and duration have negative effects on campaign success. The effect of the Fed Fund Rate on campaign success is inconclusive. In terms of how project characteristics and creator characteristics affect first time creators and serial creators differently, I found that Updates, Video, FBShares, FBFriends, and Goal matter less as number of projects created increases, in other words, for serial creators who’ve gathered more project experience. On the other hand, Rewards, Backers, ProjectsBacked, Comments, and Duration matter more as number of projects created increases.

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Advisor: Edward Tower, Grace Kim | JEL Codes: G21, G24, L26 | Tagged: Crowdfunding, Kickstarter, Serial creator

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