“Insurance Coverage, Provider Contact, and Take-Up of the HPV Vaccine” Accepted at the American Journal of Health Economics

“Drivers Licenses for Unauthorized Immigrants and Auto Insurance Coverage” (with Taylor Mackay and Bing Yang Tan) 2021 Contemporary Economic Policy 39(1): 107-125

“The Effects of Minimum Wages on Low‐Skilled Immigrants’ Wages, Employment, and Poverty” (with Joseph J. Sabia) 2019 Industrial Relations 58(2): 275-314

Working Papers

“How Important is the Structure of School Vaccine Requirement Opt-Out Provisions? Evidence from Washington, DC’s HPV Vaccine Requirement” Revisions Requested at Journal of Health Economics 

Recent increases in vaccine-preventable diseases have led policymakers to reconsider the scope of vaccine requirement exemptions. Yet eliminating these provisions is politically difficult. Beginning in 2009, sixth grade girls in Washington, DC were required to receive the HPV vaccine or submit a one-time opt-out form. In 2014, the requirement was expanded to all students grades 6-12, and those not vaccinating were required to opt-out annually. I show that the movement from a one-time opt-out provision to an annual requirement increased the probability that teen girls in Washington, DC initiated HPV vaccination by 12 percentage points. Teen boys were 20 percentage points more likely to be vaccinated. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest 83 fewer cases of cancer and over $500,000 in reduced cancer costs for students enrolled during the 2017/2018 year. In generalizing these results to other states, effect sizes even one-tenth the size of my most conservative estimate would imply meaningful reductions in the nationwide incidence of HPV-related cancers and over $500 million in national health care savings.

“The Effect of E-Verify Laws on Crime” (with Andrew Dickinson, Taylor Mackay, and Joseph J. Sabia) IZA Discussion Paper No. 12798, Revised and Resubmitted to Industrial and Labor Relations Review

E-Verify laws, which have been adopted by 23 states, require employers to verify whether new employees are eligible to legally work prior to employment.  In the main, these laws are designed to reduce employment opportunities for unauthorized immigrants, reduce incentives for their immigration, and increase employment and earnings for low-skilled natives. This study examines whether the labor market effects of E-Verify laws generate important spillovers on crime.  Using agency-by-month data from the 2004 to 2015 National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), we find that the enactment of E-Verify is associated with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in property crimes involving Hispanic arrestees, an effect driven by universal E-Verify mandates that extend to private employers.  Supplemental analyses from the Current Population Survey (CPS) suggest that E-Verify-induced increases in employment of low-skilled natives of Hispanic descent and outmigration of younger Hispanics are important channels.  We find no evidence that crime was displaced to nearby jurisdictions without E-Verify or that violent crime was impacted by E-Verify mandates.  Moreover, neither arrests of white nor African American adults were affected by E-Verify laws.  The magnitudes of our estimates suggest that E-Verify laws generated $491 million in social benefits of reduced crime to the United States.

“E-Verify Mandates and Unauthorized Immigrants’ Access to Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance”  Revisions Requested at the Southern Economic Journal

Over the last two decades, state and local governments have adopted policies requiring employers to electronically verify (E-Verify) the work eligibility of their new hires, in an effort to disrupt unauthorized immigrants’ access to the formal labor market. These E-Verify mandates previously enjoyed bipartisan support, and the Trump administration has identified a nationwide E-Verify mandate as an immigration policy priority. I show in this paper that state E-Verify mandates are associated with a 5 percentage point reduction in the probability that likely-unauthorized immigrants are employed and a 2 percentage point reduction in the probability that they have employer-sponsored insurance. However, these changes are limited to one period after implementation. In all remaining periods, the relationships are not distinguishable from zero. I show that this pattern can be explained by selective outmigration of otherwise unemployed and uninsured likely-unauthorized immigrants. By preventing unauthorized immigrants from moving to a more favorable policy environment, a nationwide E-Verify mandate would likely further limit unauthorized immigrants’ access to private health insurance.

“Immigration Enforcement and Infant Health”  (with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes and Yang Song) IZA Discussion Paper No. 13908

The past two decades have been characterized by an unprecedented increase in interior immigration enforcement and heightened stress due to fears of family separation and loss of income among undocumented immigrants. Using vital statistics on infant births from the National Center of Health Statistics for the 2003 through 2016 period and a difference-indifferences design, we compare the health outcomes of infants with likely undocumented mothers before and after the intensification of immigration enforcement within U.S. counties. We find that intensified enforcement, especially during the third trimester, increases the likelihood of low birth weight (<2500 grams). We also present suggestive evidence that the effect could be driven by heightened stress and fears associated to police based enforcement during pregnancy. The findings underscore the importance of current immigration policies in shaping the birth outcomes of many American children.

Work in Progress

“Negative Social Comparisons and Health Behaviors: Evidence from Beauty Pageants” (with Christopher S. Carpenter)

“Effects of State Restrictions on Indoor Tanning on the Indoor Tanning Market and Tanning-Related Behaviors” (with Christopher S. Carpenter and Michelle Marcus)