Do EITC Eligibility Rules Encourage College Enrollment?
      with Ben Ost, Economic Inquiry, 2022
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EITC benefits are substantially more generous for households with more qualifying children, and children ages 19–23 only qualify if they enroll in college. These eligibility rules result in an implicit college attendance subsidy – up to $4000 per year. The maximum subsidy is targeted at households earning approximately $20,000, so it represents a large fraction of both total earnings and net tuition. We find no evidence that college enrollment responds to these substantial financial incentives and can statistically rule out moderate effects.

Job Market Paper

The Effect of the SSI Student Earned Income Exclusion on Education and Labor Supply
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Youth with disabilities face financial constraints to attaining post-secondary education and encounter strong labor market disincentives when considering employment opportunities. Encouraging human capital development through employment and education could help young Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients transition off SSI reliance and improve their long-run economic self-sufficiency. I study the effect of the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), an education- and work-incentive for youth with disabilities receiving SSI benefits. The SEIE enables SSI recipients under age 22 to exempt $1,930 of their monthly earnings from the SSI benefits determination if they are enrolled in school. Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and an event-study design, I compare changes in SSI recipients’ education and labor decisions in the months surrounding the strict age-22 SEIE eligibility cutoff. I find the SEIE causes SSI recipients to increase school enrollment by 8.6 percentage points and increase employment by 8.4 percentage points. The findings suggest that the SEIE helps relax binding financial constraints for SSI recipients to attend college while revealing a substantial preference for employment among these recipients.

Working Papers

SNAP and Food Expenditures: Evaluating California’s Cash-out Policy
      with Erik Hembre and Katherine McElroy
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This paper investigates how Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility affects food expenditures. A 2019 policy change in California granted previously ineligible Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients SNAP eligibility. Using the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we find that after the policy change, affected SSI recipients increased their “food at home” budget share between 2.5 to 4.3 percentage points ($120 to $206 per quarter). The SNAP effect on total food expenditures is dampened by a decrease in “food away from home” which SNAP benefits cannot be spent on.

The Impact of Pro-tenant Policies on Land Rents of Mobile Home Parks

Some states in the United States have enacted pro-tenant policies that aim to decrease the probability of mobile home park owners evicting their tenants without justification. This paper focuses on the resident ownership (RO) policy, which allows park residents to collectively purchase their community as a cooperative. The RO policy may help tenants because it eliminates the possibility that the mobile home park will be redeveloped for another use or sold without the tenants’ consent. However, it may also raise land rents if landlords capitalize this feature into land rent before the park converts into a resident-owned community. This paper studies the effects of the pro-tenant policy on land rent. Results show that RO has a small positive but statistically insignificant effect on land rent. The impact of the RO policy is stronger when residents in rental communities have the freedom of forming a homeowner association and when non-mobile home rental alternatives are more costly.

Research in Progress

Measuring Inequality in Real Time
      with Loujaina Abdelwahed, Richard Cole Campbell, Todd Czurylo, and Jacob Robbins

This project uses novel real-time transaction data from Earnest Research to estimate consumer spending inequality. Using a panel of 6 million households we estimate changes to the distribution of spending, as well as income, and compare these changes to those observed in government surveys. Our results and discussion are publicly available on this website.