Works in Progress

Public transportation networks connect poor urban households in food deserts to grocery options and nutritious food. This paper examines how the exit of public transit options in an urban food desert affects a household's access to and utilization of grocery stores over drug and dollar stores, as well as the healthfulness of the foods these households purchase. I contribute an original data set of all transportation network changes across 138 cities in the U.S. over the period 2008-2019. This is combined with UPC codes of all consumer packaged goods bought by tens of thousands of urban households over the same period. The exit of public transportation options in an urban food desert is associated with a significant decrease in the number of yearly trips households make to grocery stores and an increase in the number of yearly trips made to drug and dollar stores. Further, households that experience such an exit subsequently buy fewer healthy foods and more unhealthy foods. The results from this research suggest that maintaining public transit infrastructure is an important public policy concern and that cuts to public transit networks directly impact urban households' access to nutritious food.

Police Violence Under Community Policing Reform with Jessica LaVoice

Over the past five years, there has been increased focus on police conduct due to various incidents of police brutality and the use of fatal force. The tension between police officers and the community poses new challenges, especially with regard to policing in minority communities. We study how various policing strategies effect both crime rates and measures of police violence. One such strategy, referred to as community policing, promotes organizational strategies that support the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques. A community policing approach allows police and citizens to frequently interact with each other for reasons other than criminal investigation, including to provide information and assistance to people in need, offer youth education, and coordinate community outreach efforts. This strategy seeks to address the causes of crime and to reduce fear of social disorder through problem-solving strategies and police-community partnerships. We examine the effect of community policing on crime by measuring the impact of receiving a community policing grant from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services department on crime rates from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. We also establish a framework to analyze the impact of community policing on police violence. Preliminary evidence shows that receiving a community policing grant reduces crime rates over the following three years.

Reproductive Health Choices under Political Uncertainty

I provide a descriptive analysis of the impact of political changes on contraceptive choices among women. Over the period 2012-2021, a number of political changes have affected reproductive access both nationwide and in the three states in this study, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Relevant political changes at the federal level include the election of Donald Trump in 2016, the appointment and public judiciary hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in October of 2018, and the death or Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020. Each of these instances had significant news coverage and relevance to the reproductive healthcare landscape. Additionally, states have enacted specific policies that expand or restrict reproductive rights over this period. I use confidential patient data from Planned Parenthood locations to study changes in contraceptive use following these political changes. I find that women pursue Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) at a 4% higher rate following the election of Donald Trump. I do not find parallel increases for the other federal political upheavals. I also find a decrease in the use of LARC following the enactment of progressive policies in Vermont and Maine.