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Category Archives: L8

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

The Impact of Collegiate Athletic Success and Scandals on Admissions Applications

By William J. Battle-McDonald

This paper examines how the quantity and quality of admissions applications to Division 1 colleges and universities were affected by two non-academic factors: (1) performance of a school’s men’s basketball and football teams; and (2) scandals associated with these athletic programs. Admissions data from 2001 – 2017 were compared to team performance during their football and basketball seasons in order to understand how these non-academic factors contribute to an individual’s decisions to apply for admission. A multivariate linear regression model with school and year fixed effects supported the hypothesis that athletic success positively affects the quantity of applications, increasing them by up to 3% in basketball and 11% in football in the following application period. Seasonal football success was also shown to have negative impacts on the distribution of standardized testing scores of future applicant classes, however these scores were shown to increase when a team played their best season in five or more years. Additional analysis of the effects of athletic program scandals reveals a significant negative effect on the number of applications received, although a deep dive into a few of the most prominent scandals suggests that the benefits associated with violating NCAA rules may, under the right circumstances, be well worth the risk.

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Advisor: Dr. James Roberts | JEL Codes: I23, J24, L82, L83, Z2

Increased Foreign Revenue Shares in the United States Film Industry: 2000 – 2014

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  2014Both 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 languagethat contributed to the increase in foreign share over this period

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Advisor: James Roberts, Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: F40, L82, Z11 | Tagged: Foreign Share, International Box Office Revenue, Motion Picture Industry

Predicting Transfer Values in the English Premier League

By Dylan Newman

This paper examines factors that affect the transfer value of players transferred into the English Premier League from 20092015. The analysis begins by examining what factors are significant in determining a player’s projected transfer fee based on the website Transfermarkt.com as well as the actual fee that the player was sold for. The paper goes on to find that competition level and a player’s form are not statistically significant in models built to determine a player’s transfer value. Quantile regression is then used to illustrate that there is a superstar effect with a forward’s goal’s scored in the transfer market. 

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Advisor: Kent Kimbrough, Peter Arcidiacon | JEL Codes: L83, Z21 | Tagged: English Premier League, Quantile Regression, Soccer Transfer Fee

A Franchise Education: The Impact of High School Quality on the Operations of Quick Service Restaurant Franchises in Texas

By Joseph Yetter

While the franchise business model provides customers with a certain level of consistency, there is still considerable variation in service quality across locations. Among other factors, a franchise’s quality of human capital (i.e., its workers) contributes to the quality of its operations, one of the strongest determinants of its revenue. Assuming that low wage workers have minimal geographical mobility, this paper studies how worker education impacts operation scores at the Texas locations of a quick service restaurant franchise brand by studying local school quality. This analysis controls for internal and external operations influences, such as the franchisee, designated market area, retail location type, the location’s proximity to a highway, and per capita income of the area to isolate the effect of school quality on operations. Ultimately, this study finds that higher school quality ratings have a significant and positive impact on the operations of franchises, and that operations have a significant and positive impact on sales revenue. Decomposing operations scores, this study finds that school quality ratings primarily impact operations by reducing customer complaints.

Honors Thesis

Advisor: Michelle Connolly, Ryan Mcdevitt | JEL Codes: J24, L8, L83 | Tagged: Business Operations, Education Quality, Franchise, Worker Productiviity

Video Game Sales: Does Diversity Pay?

By Helena Wu

The video game industry has grown into a mature market in the past decade, surpassing the size of the U.S. film industry in 2009. As a result of the rise in popularity of video gaming amongst many demographic groups of the American population, the underrepresentation of female and ethnic minorities in video games has become an increasingly relevant topic of discussion. This paper empirically examines the effects of including female and ethnic minority lead characters on the equilibrium sales volume of video games. Through the use of a reduced-­‐form regression, the equilibrium quantity is regressed on a list of exogenous variables pertinent to the interest of this study. The findings suggest that the inclusion of female and minority lead characters affects sales of different genres of games in distinct manners, suggesting that the video game market has a heterogeneous consumer base with a diverse range of preferences. In addition to empirical work, one of the main contributions of this paper is creating a new and unique dataset (N=712) on game attributes, especially with regard to character gender and ethnicity. This paper’s findings have implications on the game design decisions for video game producers.

Honor’s Thesis

Data Set

Advisor: Kent Kimbrough, Loi Leachman | JEL Codes: D00, L1, L82 | Tagged: Entertainment, Ethnicity, Gender, Sales, Video Game

The Impact of Online Streaming on Primetime Viewership An Econometric Analysis of Technological Change, Network Practices and Audience Behavior

By Yeshwanth Kandimalla

This study considers the impact of online streaming on the viewership of popular primetime programs aired on four major U.S broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. The time period considered will begin with the 2004-2005 TV season through the 2011-2012 season. Technological change, primarily with faster Internet speeds, spurred some growth of online video streaming. Furthermore, over this time period, the four major networks all authorized streaming at different levels. This variation in availability provides the heterogeneity needed to compare the effect of making programs available
online. The existing literature has posited two effects of online streaming: substitution away from traditional TV viewing due to lower costs or complementarity by drawing in additional viewers. Using this framework, this study conducts an empirical analysis of TV viewership and online availability with a panel of more than 3,500 episodes across 8 seasons and 42 programs. The results strongly suggest that online streaming options drive statistically significant substitution away from traditional TV viewing, a trend that can have major consequences for the distribution of TV programs and the broadcast TV business as a whole.

Honors Thesis

Data Set

Advisor: Michael Munger, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D12, D22, L82 | Tagged: Big Four, Cable Cord-cutting, FOX, Hulu, Network Television, Networks, Online Streaming

Debunking the Cost-Shifting Myth: An Analysis of Dnamic Price Discrimination in California Hospitals

By Omar Nazzal

Cost-shifting, a dynamic form of price discrimination, is a phenomenon in which hospitals shift the burden of decreases in government-sponsored healthcare reimbursement rates to private health insurers. In this paper, I construct a data set spanning 2007 – 2011 that matches financial metrics of California hospitals to hospital- and market-specific characteristics with theoretical implications in price discrimination. The subsequent analysis is split into three stages. In the first and second stages, I use a fixed-effects OLS model to derive a point estimate of the inverse correlation between private revenue and government revenue that is consistent with recent empirical work in cost-shifting, a body of literature almost entirely reliant upon fixed-effects and difference-in-difference OLS. These types of models are encumbered by the inherent causality loop connecting public and private payment sources. I address this endogeneity problem in the third stage by specifying a fixed-effects 2SLS model based on an instrument for government revenue constructed with data from the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Census. This instrument performed well in canonical tests for relevance and validity. I find that an increase in government payments causes an increase in private payments, and that the relationship is statistically-significant at all reasonable levels. In addition, I comment on properties of the data set that suggest that the original inverse correlation was due to inadequate measurements of market power. I conclude with policy implications and suggestions for future research.

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Advisor: Frank Sloan | JEL Codes: I11, I13, I18, L11, L80 | Tagged: Health Insurance, Market Structure, Medicaid, Medicare, Price Discrimination

The Effects of Digital Media on Advertising Markets

By Bradford Lightcap

This paper examines the viability of sustained advertising spending in an increasingly digital age. Beginning with print media and through the advent of television, the ad market has seen vast evolution in information consumption. The result has been a creative adaptability by advertisers to keep pace with said change. However, growth in ad spending has not significantly outpaced GDP growth, as documented in the Relative Constancy Hypothesis. RCH asserts that both ad spending and consumer expenditure as a percent of GDP remain steady over time. This paper focuses on whether the advertising claim holds up through the rise of the Internet. How this powerful medium may alter traditional advertising trends remains unclear. The answer could have implications for both advertisers and parties that rely on them

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Advisor: Connel Fullenkamp | JEL Codes: L82, M3, M37, O39 | Tagged: Digital Media, Relative Constancy Hypothesis

Price Partitioning and Consumer Rationality in Internet Retail Markets

By Katherine Bodnar

This paper seeks to further understand the bounds of consumer rationality and search on the Internet. Specifically this paper focuses on how consumers respond to partitioned prices when making their purchasing decisions. The goal of the paper is to determine if consumers are as sensitive to explicitly stated shipping prices, as they are to list prices, in an environment where items are sorted by list prices. After evaluating the data using a non-linear regression model, the results suggest that consumers do not weight partitioned prices (taxes or shipping prices) as much as they do list prices, contradicting the standard economic model about consumer rationality. The results imply that price partitioning is an effective obfuscation method that is allowing retailers to continue to maintain mark-ups and profit margins in Internet settings.

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Advisor: Andrew Sweeting | JEL Codes: L1, L11, L81 | Tagged: E-­‐Commerce, Obfuscation, Price Partitioning, Retail Competition, Search, Shipping Price

Questions?

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

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