Published Paper:

Political Decentralization and Corruption: Exploring the Conditional Role of Parties” (with Jorge Martinez Vazquez and Charles Hankla) 

Abstract: This study investigates how national levels of corrup- tion are influenced by the interaction of two factors in political decentralization: the presence of local elec- tions and the organizational structure of national parties. Previous studies have focused primarily on the role of fiscal decentralization on corruption and have mostly ignored the institutions of political decentralization. Using new data in a series of expansive models across multiple countries and years, we find that corruption will be lower when local governments are more accountable to and more transparent toward their constituents. This beneficial arrangement is most likely to occur when local elections are combined with nonintegrated political parties, meaning that party institutions themselves are decentralized from national control. Such an institu- tional arrangement maximizes local accountability by putting the decision to nominate and elect local leaders in the hands of those best in a position to evaluate their honesty—local electors.


Working Papers:

Fiscal decentralization, Party institutionalization, and Climate change” (with Jorge Martinez Vazquez and Rose Camille Vincent)

Abstract: In this paper, we study the joint effect of fiscal decentralization and party institutionalization on climate change. Decentralization has remained an important shift in governance structure throughout the world in the past few decades. The economics literature, thus far, has not provided conclusive evidence regarding the relationship between fiscal decentralization and climate change. This harkens back to the issue of the potentially large externalities that climate change policies typically carry. As the degree of externality increases, fiscal decentralization might yield under-provision of local public goods with externalities, but which are provided strictly from a local lens. Institutionalized parties have a stable party organizational structure and strong linkage to voters. Thus, they have both the incentives and capacity to shape the political incentives of local politicians. We hypothesize that, holding everything else constant, strong party institutionalization improves the functional role of fiscal decentralization in combating climate change. Our empirical findings support this view. They show that party institutionalization and fiscal decentralization, together, can help lower Co2 emission and promote renewable energy consumption.


"State Low-Income Housing Credits: Impacts on Housing Affordability" (with Robert D. Buschman and Nicholas I. Warner"

Abstract: The federal LIHTC subsidizes construction of affordable housing through income tax credits. Since its 1987 launch, 21 states have adopted state LIHTCs. Literature on the federal LIHTC investigates spillover effects on property values and various social conditions. Other literature finds it associated with higher construction costs and crowding out of unsubsidized development. We find no studies evaluating efficacy of state credits in increasing supply of affordable housing. We use LIHTC project data from HUD, factors in demand for low-income housing, and matched untreated control observations to estimate the effect of a state LIHTC on the production of low-income units. Preliminary results suggest Georgia’s LIHTC could be credited with about 1/5 of LIHTC units built in the state through 2009. We next use IPUMS-ACS data to construct housing affordability gap measures, which will be used to estimate the effects of state LIHTCs on housing affordability more generally, not only subsidized production.

"Improved Methods in Predicting Volatile Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Sources: The Georgia Experience" (with Peter Bluestone, Nicholas I. Warner, and John Gomez"

Abstract: In 2015, Georgia allowed designated regions to levy a regional Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) to finance transportation infrastructure. However, due to the volatility of sales tax revenues and the lack of a fall back regional funding source, forecasting these revenues takes on a special significance. This research focuses on several areas of improvement for regional TSPLOST forecasts. First, improve the understanding of economic and demographic factors that influence sales tax receipts generated in the four  Georgia TSPLOST regions. Second, test different forecasting models and techniques to determine which provide the most accurate forecasts against historical data. Our preliminary findings suggest that special attention must be paid to the components of regional economies as statewide economic forecasts may not improve regional forecasts. In addition, traditional autoregressive frameworks generally perform as well as more sophisticated techniques such as machine learning and Automated ARIMA for longer time horizons.

“Household wealth and labor migration: Study of 2015 Earthquake in Nepal” (Draft coming soon)

Abstract: In this paper I provide empirical evidence for labor migration as ex-post risk management strategy by households following a natural disaster. A negative income shock could lead to an increase in migration (by lowering opportunity cost) or decrease in migration (by raising liquidity constraint). I use the 2015 Earthquake as a natural experiment to study if households use labor migration as a coping strategy following a negative income shock. Then I use panel data and exploit the variation in household wealth to show a diverging effect on labor migration following the earthquake. Furthermore, I show that migration choice varies with migration destination. The results show that, following the earthquake damage, total labor migration decreased. However, household wealth is associated with higher migration within the country and to India. Migration to other destination i.e, Gulf-countries, and Non-Gulf Countries are not statistically significant. The result highlights the significance of wealth heterogeneity on labor migration following an income shock.  


“The effect of old-age benefit and women’s’ bargaining power on fertility rate: Evidence from cross country study” (with Xiangyu Meng and Tien Hoang)

Abstract: This paper study the effect of women’s bargaining power on fertility rate in the presence of old-age benefits. The motivating factor for a causal link between old-age pension and fertility has been previously explored in the literature. However, these studies have thus far mostly ignored the effect of women’s autonomy in household decision making on fertility rate. Our paper fills this gap by providing empirical evidence on this topic. Our preliminary results show that greater bargaining of power women leads to lower fertility rate, holding everything else constant. However, this effect is blunted in the presence of old-age pension. That is, when old-age security is high, women’s empowerment is associated with higher fertility rate. This is an interesting result and could be relevant for countries that are concerned with declining population. 


“Ethnic diversity and political decentralization”

“Natural resource revenue sharing and ‘resource curse’”

Policy Reports:

Tax Incentive Evaluation: Georgia Low-Income Housing Tax Credit(for Fiscal Research Center)

"Tax Incentive Evaluation: Georgia's Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit" (for Fiscal Research Center)