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Category Archives: J16

Does Media Coverage of Sexual Assault Cases Cause Victims to Go to the Police? Evidence from FBI Data and Google Trends

By Harry Elworthy

This paper investigates the effect that national news coverage of prominent sexual assaults has on the reporting decisions of sexual assault victims. Estimates are based on time series data of reports made to police stations in the US from 2008 to 2016 and Google Trends data of search volume, along with an identification strategy that uses a number of individual high profile sexual assault allegations and related events as instruments. By removing assaults that occurred on the day that they were reported, I estimate the effect of coverage only on the reporting of assaults, and not on assaults themselves. A significant positive effect of news coverage on sexual assault reporting is found using several specifications. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that there were between 31 and 121 additional reports of sexual assault for each of the 38 high profile events captured. No evidence is found to suggest that these additional reports of sexual assault have different arrest rates to other reports, indicating that there are not a significant number of false reports. This paper adds to current literature on the sexual assault reporting decision by considering the effect of news coverage and by using different methods of inference to previous papers.

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Advisor: Professor Patrick Bayer | JEL Codes: D91, J16, K42, L86, Z13

24K Magic: Evidence on Maternal Asset Ownership and Children’s Long Term Outcomes in Indonesia

By Maya Durvasula

Household resource allocation in response to economic shocks is of central importance for policy makers, especially given widely documented evidence of gender biases. In this paper, I exploit a
plausibly exogenous shock to maternal asset holdings in Indonesia to examine gender biases in resource allocation in the wake of the 1998 East Asian Financial Crisis. Using insights from
anthropology, I separate assets in the hands of women from those controlled by men and interpret findings in the context of a household decision-making framework that allows preferences of parents to differ. Taking household-specific heterogeneity into account with fixed effects, I find significant evidence of efforts to shield male children from the effects of the crisis in both contemporaneous educational attainment and longer-term labor market outcomes, a remarkable trend given minimal evidence of a pro-son bias in Indonesia prior to the crisis. Finally, inferring preferences from maternal resource allocation, I find suggestive evidence of an old age security motive in women’s investment decisions.

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Advisor: Duncan Thomas | JEL Codes: D13, I0, J13, J16

The Decision to Marry of Cohabit and Economic Crises

By Jennifer Garand

This paper aims to investigate the relationship between peoples decisions to marry or cohabit and their economic circumstances  both personal, as measured by their employment status, and peripheral, as measured by the unemployment rate in their local county. This paper will look at the role economic factors, as well as demographic and personal factors, play in the decision of whether or not to marry, cohabit, or stay single.

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Advisor: Marjorie McElroy, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D1, J12, J16 | Tagged: Marriage, Unemployment, Demographics, Cohabitation

Undergraduate Education and the Gender Wage Gap: An Analysis of the Effects of College Experience and Gender on Income

By Kelsey Siman

Labor and education economists have long been interested in the link between undergraduate education and earnings. In addition, studies have addressed the connections between gender and college major and GPA, as well as between gender and income. This paper brings all of these together in order to show that college major choice does have a significant effect on earnings, and that this effect differs with gender and across majors. The results show that controlling for college major, ability measures, graduation year, and GPA can help to explain a majority of the gender pay gap. Finally, the thesis then utilizes the Oaxaca-Blinder Decomposition to break down the price and composition effect of undergraduate education on the gender pay gap.

Honor’s Thesis

Data Set

Advisor: Arnaud Maurel, Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: A22, J16 | Tagged: College, Gender, Income

Questions?

Undergraduate Program Assistant
Jennifer Becker
dus_asst@econ.duke.edu

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly
michelle.connolly@duke.edu