By Sonia Maria Hernandez
Microfinance is the practice of extending small collateral-free loans to underserved populations in developing areas with no access to credit. The Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) randomized access to microfinance treatment for women in rural areas of Uganda and tracked outcomes through surveys. This research determines the impact of microfinance by analyzing outcomes over five dimensions of women’s empowerment, including decision making power, community participation, business outcomes, emotional wellness, and beliefs about women. The strongest results showed that access to the VSLA program empowered women in terms of business outcomes and decision-making power. This leads to the conclusion that microfinance can more easily impact how a woman behaves within the household than change how a woman behaves within the community.
Advisors: Professor Kent Kimbrough, Professor Lori Leachman | JEL Codes: O1, O12, O35
By Jacob Graber-Lipperman
The thesis explores the increasing success of non-original films distributed through traditional theatrical releases, and asks whether new distributors, such as Netflix, may serve as better platforms for original content. A dataset incorporating the top 100 highest-grossing films at the domestic box office each year from 2000 to 2018, as well as a smaller subset including 82 titles distributed by Netlix, was utilized to investigate these issues. The results confirm non-original content has performed increasingly well over time for theatrical releases, especially within the past four years, while original content has performed poorly, especially during this recent time period. Additionally, the research suggests the stark difference in performance observed for non-original and original content in traditional distribution models may not appear for titles released through the newer streaming platforms. This paper thus hopes to motivate future study into the effect of streaming platforms on consumer purchasing behavior of films as new distribution technology within the movie industry continues to proliferate.
Advisor: Professor Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: D1, D10, D19
The Impact of Access to Public Transportation on Residential Property Value: A Comparative Analysis of American Cities
By Moses Snow Wayne
This paper develops a consistent model for analyzing the impact of access to public transportation on property value applied to the four cities of Atlanta, Boston, New York, and San Francisco. This study finds a negative relationship between increasing distance to public transit and property value. Additionally, the elicited effects in each city generally align with geographic features and the degree to which a city is monocentric. This study also demonstrates the salience of using actual map-generated distances as proximity measures and characteristics of public
transit systems in modeling the relationship between public transportation and residential property value.
Advisors: Dr. Patrick Bayer and Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: C12, R14, R30, R41
By Justin T. Rosenblum and John H. Zipf
We investigate the efficiency of the current financial aid system for prospective college students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form reviews a family’s financial information and universities review a student’s academic prowess, but neither fully examines students and their family’s qualitative factors such as parents’ highest education level or intended major. Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, we investigate academic, financial, and familial characteristics to determine if they impact a student’s level of private loans relative to their total cost of attendance. We find that students with parents who did not receive a college degree are adversely affected by the current financial aid system. In particular, these students take out a greater amount of private loans relative to their total cost of attendance all else equal. Our finding has wider policy implications; changing the current financial aid system to assist disadvantaged students could help reduce intergenerational education inequalities. In addition, colleges could reach a broader range of students by helping
the students that currently struggle the most to pay tuition.
Advisors: Michelle Connolly, Hugh Macartney and Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: I2, I22, I23
By M. Thomas Marshall Jr.
When deciding on housing location, people theoretically optimize for the best location given their commute time, housing cost, income, as well as other factors. Stutzer and Frey (2008) suggest that this is not true in some nations, such as in their investigation of Germany, with their results showing that the cost of an average commute is equivalent to 35.4% of the average income. This paper investigates the impact of commute time on the well-being of individuals in the United States, correcting for various other factors that determine housing choice such as race,
age, and whether they have a child living at home. The results of this study are clearly that the relationship found between commuting time and well-being cannot be proven to be statistically significant from zero, so there is not any evidence against optimization.
Advisor: Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: D12, D61, R31, R41
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.
Advisors: Andrew Patton, Grace Kim and Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: G1, G17, G00
By Michael Karamardian
Because Medicare’s prospective payment system for long-term acute-care hospitals (LTCHs) makes a large lump-sum form of payment once patients reach a minimum length-ofstay threshold, LTCHs have a unique opportunity to maximize profits by strategically discharging patients as soon as the payment is received. This analysis explores how the level of competition between LTCHs in geographic markets affects the probability of a patient being strategically discharged. The results show that patients at LTCHs in more competitive markets have a lower probability of being strategically discharged than at those in less competitive markets, suggesting increased competition could help save Medicare funding.
Advisors: Kent Kimbrough and James Roberts | JEL Codes: D22, I11, I18
By Nicholas Thomas Gardner
This paper works towards developing the narrative of orphans whose parent or parents died from natural disaster. By taking advantage of the unanticipated nature of death from the 2004
Indonesian tsunami, orphanhood can be treated as much closer to random than similar literature using data centered on HIV/AIDS related deaths. We use a community level fixed effects model to attempt to derive a causal relationship between orphanhood and both education and log wages. Our models suggest that orphaned males aged 14 and older at baseline complete 1-2 fewer years of education than their cohorts. The adverse effects persist in the long-term, as these orphans earn 26% less than non-orphan cohorts.
Advisors: Duncan Thomas and Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: I24, I25, I31, J24, J31
By Daniel Dorchuck
This study explores variation in US bank holding companies’ (BHCs) net inter-est margins (NIMs) and the eﬀects of interest rate risk exposure on NIMs. Interest rate risk (IRR) is intrinsic in maturity transformation and ﬁnancial intermediation as banks take on short-term liabilities in the form of deposits and create assets in the form of loans with longer maturities and diﬀerent repricing proﬁles. Accordingly, interest rate risk is necessary for bank holding companies (BHCs) to be proﬁtable in ﬁnancial intermediation, and net interest margins are chosen as a variable of inter-est because they are an isolated measure of bank’ proﬁtability from interest earning assets. Naturally, BHCs employ maturity pairing and derivative hedging to mitigate IRR and ultimately increase and smooth earnings. Synthesizing banks’ balance sheet and income statement data, macroeconomic variables, credit conditions, and interest rate environment variables, this study hopes to expand on existing work by provid-ing insight on the determinants of NIMs as well as interest rate derivatives’ eﬃcacy in increasing and stabilizing net interest margins. The models presented establish links between long term rate exposure, risk-averse capital positions, and increased margins. Additionally, the models suggest that banks earn smaller spreads (NIMs) in higher interest rate environments but beneﬁt from steeper yield curves.
Advisor: Mary Beth Fisher, Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes:
By Victoria Lim
The American film industry, which has historically been driven by the domestic market, now receives an increasing proportion of its revenue from abroad (foreign share). To determine the factors influencing this trend, this paper analyzed data from 11 countries of 2,337 American films released during 2000 – 2014. Both film and country attributes were analyzed to determine each attribute’s effect on foreign share, whether its effect size has changed over time and whether each attribute has changed in frequency amongst films released. The results identified six attributes, star actors, sequels, releases in top markets, release time lag, GDP growth and a match in language, that contributed to the increase in foreign share over this period.
Advisor: James Roberts, Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: F40, L82, Z11 | Tagged: