Home » JEL Codes » O

Category Archives: O

The Effects of Health IT Innovation on Throughput Efficiency in the Emergency Department

By Michael Levin  

Overcrowding in United States hospitals’ emergency departments (EDs) has been identified as a significant barrier to receiving high-quality emergency care, resulting from many EDs struggling to properly triage, diagnose, and treat emergency patients in a timely and effective manner. Priority is now being placed on research that explores the effectiveness of possible solutions, such as heightened adoption of IT to advance operational workflow and care services related to diagnostics and information accessibility, with the goal of improving what is called throughput efficiency. However, high costs of technological process innovation as well as usability challenges still impede wide-spanning and rapid implementation of these disruptive solutions. This paper will contribute to the pursuit of better understanding the value of adopting health IT (HIT) to improve ED throughput efficiency.

Using hospital visit data, I investigate two ways in which ED throughput activity changes due to increased HIT sophistication. First, I use a probit model to estimate any statistically and economically significant decreases in the probability of ED mortality resulting from greater HIT sophistication. Second, my analysis turns to workflow efficiency, using a negative binomial regression model to estimate the impact of HIT sophistication on reducing ED waiting room times. The results show a negative and statistically significant (p < 0.01) association between the presence of HIT and the probability of mortality in the ED. However, the marginal impact of an increase in sophistication from basic HIT functionality to advanced HIT functionality was not meaningful. Finally, I do not find a statistically significant impact of HIT sophistication on expected waiting room time. Together, these findings suggest that although technological progress is trending in the right direction to ultimately have a wide-sweeping impact on ED throughput, more progress must be made in order for HIT to directly move the needle on confronting healthcare’s greatest challenges.

View Thesis

Advisors: Professor Ryan McDevitt, Professor Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: I1, I18, O33

Patrolling the Future: Unintended Consequences of Predictive Policing in Chicago

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.

View Thesis

Advisors: Professor Patrick Bayer, Professor Bocar Ba | JEL Codes: K4, K42, O33

Investigating the Impact of Chinese Financing on Productivity in the African Continent

By Kedest Mathewos   

Given that productivity is a key component of long-term economic growth and that China has become an important source of external financing in Africa, this study aims to investigate the impact of Chinese foreign direct investment and government-to-government loans on productivity. Using a panel of the top fourteen African recipients of Chinese financing during the period 2003-2017, this study employs a two-stage regression process. The first relies on the use of a revised version of the Solow Model that accounts for human capital, natural resource accumulation and country-specific heterogeneity, to generate values of total factor productivity. The second examines the impact of Chinese financing on this generated measure of productivity. After taking into account significant confounding variables such as institutional quality, trade openness and manufacturing value-added, this study finds that Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) has a significant negative impact on productivity while Chinese government loans are positively associated with productivity. However, consistent with the literature, the impact of Chinese FDI depends on the country’s absorptive capacity – proxied here by the level of human capital accumulation. Therefore, as African countries seek to boost productivity levels, they should continue to attract Chinese government loans while enhancing their FDI absorptive capacity.

View Thesis

Advisors: Professor Lori Leachman, Professor Grace Kim, Professor Kent Kimbrough| JEL Codes: O4, O47, F21

Where Did the Money Go? Impact of the ECB’s Corporate Sector Purchase Program on Eurozone Corporate Spending

By Tina Tian   

Slow corporate growth and a lack of corporate investment has plagued European markets for the past decade. As a response, the ECB began the Corporate Sector Purchase Program (CSPP) in 2016 to provide liquidity to corporate debt markets through bond purchases. Four years after the start of the program, this paper assesses its impact by looking at how companies spent this money on a micro level. In particular, it looks at the impact of long-term debt on five expenditures (fixed assets and R&D, cash balances, short-term debt, cash to shareholders, and share buybacks). We test these hypothesized expenditures based on financial statement panel data from a selection of European firms whose bonds were purchased by the ECB. The results show an increase in financial expenditures including cash balances and short-term debt and a decrease in productive investment expenditures such as fixed assets and R&D. This indicates a lack of efficacy of the corporate bond purchase program as excess liquidity provided by the ECB went towards eurozone companies refinancing existing debt rather than investing in growth ventures.

View Thesis

Advisors: Professor Connel Fullenkamp, Professor Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: G3, O16, E58

Social Capital and Financial Development after Economic Shocks: Evidence from Italy after the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009

By Sujay Rao & Ethan Lampert

Like traditional forms of capital, social capital – an intangible measure of an individual’s social networks, trust in institutions, and participation in civic life – has implications for personal and financial behavior. Individuals from educated, well established backgrounds with fruitful family ties may be more amenable to opening new lines of credit or investing in stock markets due to their trust in and connectedness with society. But what happens after a major economic shock, such as the financial crisis of 2008? Using Italy as a case study and panel data from the Survey of Household Income and Wealth, we find that social capital has significant effects on an individual’s credit card usage, informal borrowing, and choice to invest in securities.

View Thesis

Advisors: Professor Grace Kim, Professor Michelle Connolly, Professor Giovanni Zanalda | JEL Codes: G01, G2, O1, D1, D14

The Impact of Microfinance on Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Rural Areas of Uganda

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.

View Thesis

Advisors: Professor Kent Kimbrough, Professor Lori Leachman | JEL Codes: O1, O12, O35

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.

View Thesis

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

Deciphering Chinese Financing To African Countries

By Gwen Geng

The paper considers what attracts Chinese aid and Chinese investment to African countries and what kinds of Chinese financing projects are more likely to have unrevealed financing amount. The main database used is AidData: China’s Official Finance to Africa 2000-2012. It contains 2356 Chinese financing projects to 50 African countries. The results suggest that Chinese aid supports less developed economies, while Chinese investment favors countries with resource abundance and political conditions conducive to profit-making. The findings show that projects with unrevealed funding amounts tend to fall under investment and the government sector among other categories, raising questions on financing secrecy.

View Thesis

Advisors: Robert Garlick and Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: F13, F54, N47, N57, O24, R11, R15

Sister competition and birth order effects among marriage-aged girls: Evidence from a field experiment in rural Bangladesh

By Stephanie Zhong

Early marriage before the age of 18 is prevalent among adolescent girls in Bangladesh, but the timing of marriage is not uniform across daughters within a household, with some sisters marrying earlier than others. Using survey data from a novel field experiment from rural Bangladesh, I find that girls ages 10-21 with lower birth order tend to be married at a younger age, even when controlling for confounding nature of household size on birth order. Additionally, girls with younger sisters are more likely to be married and at a younger age than girls with younger brothers. The findings on dowry are inclusive.

View Thesis

Advisors: Dr. Erica Field and Dr. Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D13, J13, O15

Endogeneity in the Decision to Migrate: Changes in the Self-Selection of Puerto Rican Migrants before, during, and after the Great Recession

By Aasha Reddy 

Migrants self-select on characteristics such as income. We use the U.S. Census’ ACS and PRCS to study changes in selection patterns of Puerto Rican migrants to the to the U.S. mainland (50 states) before, during, and after the Great Recession (2005 to 2016). We construct counterfactual income densities to compare incomes of Puerto Rican migrants to the mainland versus incomes of island residents under equivalent returns to skill. We examine where Puerto Rican migrants to the mainland tend to fall in the island’s income distribution and find that Puerto Rican migrants tend to come from the top 20% of the island’s income distribution. This pattern remained stable with little to no effect of the Great Recession on selectivity patterns.

View Thesis

Advisors: William Darity and Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: J15, J61, O15

Questions?

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

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