Purdue University Graduate School
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Essays on Labor Economics

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posted on 2021-08-09, 13:41 authored by Andrew R SteckleyAndrew R Steckley
This dissertation is composed of three essays on labor economics. First, I examine the effect of the rapid rise in binge watching on reported crime. I use conditionally exogenous variation in the runtime of newly released Netflix Originals to identify the effect of binge watching on reported crime. I find that binge watching reduces crime contemporaneously and in the first three days that the new content is available. I find no evidence that binge watching reduces total crime reported over a nearly two week period after new content becomes available. Second, I replicate a well-known paper by Card and Dahl (2011) which examines the effect of emotional cues on violent crime. I confirm their baseline result while using their original study design from 1995–2006. I expand on their analysis by expanding the time series of their original data and using new data. I find their baseline result is not robust using out-of-sample data from 2007–2019. Third, I estimate the effect of cell phones on traffic accidents by using the expansion of the Lifeline Assistance Program as an exogenous shock to the stock of cell phones, I use a difference-in-differences quasi-experimental design to find that cell phones causally increase traffic fatalities when those cell phones are made available in states with no restrictions to cell phone use while driving and states that ban texting while driving and require hands-free calling. In addition, I find that additional cell phones have no effect when states have only one restriction on cell phone use while driving—implying that the optimal policy to reduce traffic fatalities is to ban texting while driving.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Economics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Kevin Mumford

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Victoria Prowse

Additional Committee Member 2

Jillian Carr

Additional Committee Member 3

Jinyang Zheng

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