Research

  • “Did Income Tax Cuts Lead to More Deaths on the Highways?”

Abstract: Between 2007 and 2009, state and local government’s revenue from mostly taxes fell by almost $100 billion in real terms. The declining revenue and surging demand for public services such as Medicaid, education and unemployment insurance led to widening budget shortfalls for state governments of over half a trillion dollars (Leachman et al. 2015). Even though states can issue debt to fund budget gaps, the severity and uncertainty of the Great Recession prompted states to implement across-the-board cuts in public services. Using data on 48 contiguous states from 2000 through 2015, this paper leverages the quasi-experimental variation in state income tax cuts around the Great Recession period to identify the causal relationship between income tax cuts, state appropriation towards highways and traffic fatalities. Applying a difference-in-differences methodology with case control matching strategy, the results demonstrate that states implementing a permanent tax cut decreased highway expenditures, both in the short run and long run, by a range of 9.5 percent to 13.5 percent annually. Concurrently, traffic fatalities increased 6 percent on average relative to states with no tax cuts in place. The findings suggest that in light of dwindling funding from traditional sources for highways and the simultaneous increase in dependence on income tax revenue, declining highway expenditure can significantly worsen traffic safety.

Working Papers:

  • “Are Free Tuition Policies Working? Examining the Impact of County and State Level ‘Place-based’ Promise Scholarship on Post-secondary Student Outcomes.”

Abstract: While state support for students intending to pursue higher education has existed for long, rising net tuition and stagnant real income growth have led to many Americans consider college education a luxury. To break this barrier, Tennessee introduced the first statewide ‘place-based Promise Scholarship’ in 2014 – a last-dollar scholarship that guarantees to eliminate tuition and fees for in-state community colleges. Due to its broad-based approach (no income or merit requirements), the Program became a success amongst the host of Promise Scholarships across USA and was soon rolled out in ten other states within the next 4 years. However, many counties already had ‘place-based Promise Scholarships’ in existence. Therefore, using synthetic control approach and utilizing institution level data from IPEDS and individual level data from American Community Survey, this paper shall examine the effectiveness of broad-based, place-based Promise Scholarship programs at the county and state level in terms of post-secondary student outcomes – enrollment, retention rate and graduation within 150% of the normal time.


  • “Impact of Local Community Pressure on Corporate Environmental Management Effort.”

Abstract: The Chemical Manufacturing Industry has been under the scanner of EPA for long. EPA considered two sub-sectors (industrial organics and chemical preparations sectors) in the Chemical Manufacturing Industry as priority sectors for monitoring their discharges in the late 1990s. Furthermore, wastewater data disaggregated by 4-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code revealed that four of the ten most polluting sub-sectors operated in the Manufacturing sector in 2008 (EPA, 2011). While the importance of stakeholders in influencing firms’ environmental behavior is known, pressure exerted by communities residing near these polluting firms and the consequent change in environmentally beneficial production technologies remain to be examined empirically. Spanning the years 1999, 2000 and 2001, an exclusive survey data on regulated facilities as part of the NPDES Program is exploited to determine the direct and indirect impact of local community pressure on the environmental management of Chemical Manufacturing firms engaged in emitting pollution.

Work in Progress:

  • “Impact of Distracted Driving Laws on pedestrian fatalities.”

Publications:

Chowdhury, Sarahat Salma, and Sifat Adiya Chowdhury. "Microfinance and Women Empowerment: A Panel Data Analysis using Evidence from Rural Bangladesh." International Journal of Economics and Finance 3, no. 5 (2011): 86-96. Paper

Conference Presentations:

  • “Did Income Tax cuts Lead to more Deaths on the Highways?,” Southern Economic Association 88th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 2018; Missouri Valley Economic Association 55th Annual Conference, Memphis, Tennessee, 2018; Department of Economics Department Speaker Series (scheduled), University of Kansas, 2019
  • “Are Free Tuition Policies Working? Examining the Impact of County and State-level ‘Place-based’ Promise Scholarship on post-secondary student outcomes,” Southern Economic Association 89th Annual Meeting (scheduled), Fort Lauderdale, FL , 2019; Missouri Valley Economic Association 56th Annual Conference, Kansas City, Missouri, 2019

Academic Presentations:

  • 2019: Applied Microeconomics Reading Group Monthly Series: Evaluation of the paper "Passage to America: University Funding and International Students," by Bound, John, Breno Braga, Gaurav Khanna, and Sarah Turner
  • 2018: "Overview of Social Welfare Programs in the US." (End of semester presentation)
  • 2017: Overview of the paper: "Game Theory in Economics and Beyond," by Larry Samuelson
  • 2017: "Social Security Disability Programs and Initial Allowance Rates: A Study of the Causes for Variation in Initial Allowance Rates Across States." (End of semester presentation)
  • 2017: Applied Microeconomics Department Reading Group Monthly Series: Overview of the paper "Where Have All the Workers Gone?" by Alan B. Krueger

Awards:

  • 2019 Graduate Student Paper Award, Southern Economic Association 89th Annual Meeting 2019
  • 2019 Edmund Learned Graduate Research Summer Scholarship ($2,500), Department of Economics, KU
  • 2018 Summer Graduate Research Assistant, Dietrich Earnhart, Department of Economics, KU
  • 2018 Graduate Student Conference Travel Fund ($1,000), Department of Economics, KU
  • 2016 Charles Oswald Summer Research Scholarship ($2,500), Department of Economics, KU