Economics and Public Policy Seminar Series

Spring 2022 Seminar Series

Via Webex

Tuesday February 22, 2-3pm
Jamein P. Cunningham
Assistant Professor , Department of Policy Analysis and Management and the Department of Economics, Cornell University


“The Impact of Affirmative Action Litigation on Police Killings of Civilians”
Abstract: Although research has shown that court-ordered hiring quotas increase the number of minority police officers in litigated cities, there has been little insight into how workforce diversity, or lack thereof, may impact police violence. Using an event-study framework, we find that the threat of affirmative action litigation reduces police killings of non-white civilians in the long-run. In addition, we find evidence of lower arrest rates for non-white civilians and more diverse police departments 25 years after litigation. Our results highlight the vital role that federal interventions have in addressing police behavior and the use of lethal force.

Tuesday March 8, 12-1pm
Oyebola M. Okunogbe
Economist, World Bank Development Research Group, World Bank

Recording available upon request.  Please email

“Becoming Legible to the State: The Role of Detection and Enforcement Capacity in Tax Compliance”
Abstract: Tax revenue in many low-income countries is inadequate for funding government investment in infrastructure and public services. This paper examines two dimensions of low state capacity that hinder tax collection: the inability to ascertain the tax base (detection capacity) and the inability to enforce unpaid liabilities (enforcement capacity). A randomized experiment with Liberian property owners finds that using identifying information from a newly developed property database to alert property owners that their noncompliance has been detected quadruples the tax payment rate, but only when the notice includes details on the penalties for noncompliance. A second experiment finds a further increase in compliance from signaling greater enforcement probability to delinquent property owners. These results highlight the importance of investments in both detection and enforcement capacity.


Thursday April 21, 2-3pm
Amanda Deerfield 
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, St. Mary’s College of Maryland


“Entrepreneurship and Regulatory Voids:  The Case of Ridesharing”
Abstract: Formal institutions, e.g., regulations, are considered crucial determinants of entrepreneurship, but what enables regulatory change when there is a regulatory void, meaning entrepreneurship clashes with existing regulations? Drawing on public choice theory, we hypothesize that regulatory freedom facilitates the introduction of legislation to fill such voids. We test this hypothesis using unique data documenting the time for ridesharing to become legalized at the state level across the United States following its local (and often illegal) rollout. Results suggest states with greater regulatory freedom passed ridesharing legislation quicker, highlighting an underappreciated way that extant regulatory freedom facilitates the accommodation of entrepreneurship.

Fall 2021 Seminar Series

Via Webex

“School-Based Healthcare and Absenteeism: Evidence from Telemedicine”
Sarah Komisarow (Duke University)
Tuesday, September 21, 12:00pm EST

“Effect of Health Insurance Premium Changes on Labour Supply: Evidence from Rwanda”
Emmanuel Nshakira-Rukundo (University of Bonn)
Thursday, October 28, 10:00am EST

“Do Police Make Too Many Arrests?”
Felipe Goncalves (University of California, Los Angeles)
Wednesday, November 17, 2:00pm EST

“Environmental Justice and Oil & Gas Development in Colorado”
Katherine Dickinson (Colorado School of Public Health, CU Anschutz)
Tuesday, December 7, 2:00pm EST

Spring 2021 Seminar Series

Via Webex

“Understanding Climate Damages: Consumption Versus Investment”
Stephie Fried (Arizona State University)
Friday, February 19, 11:00 am

“A New Method to Value Amenities with High-Frequency Data: Evidence from Crime in Chicago”
Marcus Casey (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Thursday, March 4th, 3:00 pm

“American or Not American? The Role of Race, Immigration and Partisanship in Shaping Attitudes about Disaster Assistance in the United States”
Isabella Alcañiz (University of Maryland)
Wednesday, March 24, 2:00 pm

“Omnia Juncta in Uno: Foreign Powers and Trademark Protection in Shanghai’s Concession Era”
Maggie X. Chen (George Washington University)
Friday, April 9, 12:00pm
Recording available upon request.

“Dirty People Doing Dirty Work: The Role of Power and Context in Cleaning Toilets”
Ghazal Mir Zulfiqar (Lahore University of Management Sciences)
Thursday, April 22, 10:00am

Hosted by the Department of Economics, the School of Public Policy, and the Center for Social Science Scholarship.