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Essays in Public Economics and Empirical Political Economy

Silveus, Neil (2023) Essays in Public Economics and Empirical Political Economy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation consists of three essays in applied microeconomics, focusing and topics in public economics and empirical political economy. Chapter 1 studies how the accessibility of subsidized housing impacts the probability that a recently incarcerated person returns to prison. Exploiting orthogonality of release timing to local subsidized housing conditions, I show that the probability of recidivism increases as average local wait time for public housing units decreases, suggesting potentially criminogenic effects of public housing. These effects are strongest for individuals released to counties where public housing projects contain more units and are located in high minority share neighborhoods. In contrast to the findings for public housing, I find no relationship between wait time for housing choice vouchers on return prison stays. Results from this study suggest increased re-incarceration as a negative externality associated with place-based housing subsidies but not associated with tenant-based subsidies. Chapter 2 investigates how partisan gerrymandering impacts turnout for US House elections. Common measures of gerrymandering are a function of turnout, making assessments of the impacts on turnout difficult. We present evidence from two natural experiments. First, in a nationwide sample, we construct a state-level measure of gerrymandering based on the partisan composition of districts and leverage variation stemming from Congressional redistricting. Second, we draw on Pennsylvania and Ohio voter files and leverage the court-ordered redrawing of Pennsylvania districts in 2018 aimed at undoing partisan gerrymandering. Both approaches reveal that higher levels of partisan gerrymandering causally reduce turnout. Chapter 3 presents work analyzing the effects of shocks to the resources of non-government resettlement organizations on refugee outcomes. We use reductions in refugee support provided by the largest partner entity, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, resulting from revelations of sexual abuse allegations across U.S. dioceses. Combining this information with recent administrative data and a novel approach to identify refugees at the diocese level, we find that resource strain resulting from newly disclosed abuse scandals leads to reductions in refugee participation in federal social safety net programs. We also find suggestive evidence of negative effects on labor market outcomes such as employment and wages. When evaluating mechanisms, we discuss the impact of scandals on financial and non-financial support at partner resettlement organizations, who rely on both types of resources to help refugees access public social safety net programs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Silveus, Neilnas233@pitt.edunas2330000-0002-1211-2689
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairWalsh, Randallwalshr@pitt.eduwalshr@pitt.edu0000-0002-9015-4024
Committee CoChairShertzer, Allisonshertzer@pitt.edushertzer@pitt.edu0000-0002-1917-3337
Committee MemberGiuntella,
Committee MemberJones,
Date: 11 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 March 2023
Approval Date: 11 May 2023
Submission Date: 7 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 136
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: public economics, applied economics, political economy, prisoner reentry, subsidized housing, refugee resettlement, gerrymandering, voter turnout
Date Deposited: 11 May 2023 19:14
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 19:14

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