Job Market Paper

Lead Pipe Information and Housing Prices: An Analysis in Washington, DC

Abstract: In 2016, the Water and Sewer Authority of Washington, DC released an online map that contains information on lead service lines (LSLs) for all properties in the district. Using the release as a natural experiment, this paper estimates the effect of the new information on prices of properties with and without LSLs. Recent literature has found that housing lead reduction policies such as remediation mandates have significant price effects. In DC, while the map’s release was followed by a marked increase in requests for water lead tests, neither a difference-in-differences model nor a repeat sales model captures a significant divergence between housing prices of the two types of properties after the release, implying the housing market response to the information was limited.

Working Papers

Marriage Penalty and the Decision to Marry: Same-Sex Couples After U.S. v. Windsor

Abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on U.S. v. Windsor in June 2013 compelled the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned same-sex marriages, including for tax purposes. The switch in the income tax filing status for same-sex couples implied that the marriage penalty or subsidy that came with joint filing became a legitimate concern for couples making a marriage decision. Using repeated cross-sectional data, I find that lesbian couples who had more to gain (or less to lose) from marriage were more likely to marry after the Supreme Court ruling. No comparable effect is found for gay couples.

Partisanship of Elected County Coroners and Reported Covid-19 Deaths (with Matthew Isbell)

Abstract: The politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has raised ques- tions about the integrity and accuracy of death reporting, particularly in jurisdictions with elected, partisan coroners. Using mortality data from the CDC and manually collected data on county-level death certification systems and coroner party affiliation where applicable, we examine the parallel systems of appointed medical examiners and elected coroners and investigate the effect of partisanship on reported COVID-19 deaths. Cross-sectional comparisons do not seem to suggest counties with coroners report fewer deaths than those with medical examiners, and difference-in-differences specifications reveal limited evidence of a statistically significant but not economically meaningful effect of partisanship on reported COVID death counts.