Social Interactions and Smoking Initiation

This paper explores the role of social interactions on a youth’s decision to begin smoking. Specifically, we estimate the effect of cigarette taxes during early childhood on beginning smoking later in adolescence in a discrete-time hazard model. These taxes do not directly affect children but may change the prevalence of smoking among parents, older relatives, or other adults. We find that a $0.25 cigarette tax increase during childhood decreases smoking initiation by 12.

The Effect of Education Spending on Student Achievement

Opportunities to estimate the causal effect of school spending on student achievement are infrequent and have been based, almost entirely, on variation in spending from large school finance reforms. Property values also affect school spending through both local property tax revenue and the level of state aid provided to each school district. However, little is known about the effect property values have on student achievement through their impact on school revenue.

Traditional Public School District Resources and Charter School Competition

In this study, we explore the effect of education spending on school quality. Using the results of over ten years of property tax elections in a regression discontinuity framework we estimate the effect of two types of spending (capital and instructional) on two types of quality measures (direct measures through student test scores and indirect measures through capitalization and school choice). Preliminary results suggest that districts narrowly passing a capital bond (general levy) increase subsequent capital outlays (instructional expenditures).