PUBLICATION

“Can Social Media Rhetoric Incite Hate Incidents? Evidence from Trump’s “Chinese Virus” Tweets”

Journal of Urban Economics. Published Version. Corresponding Author, Joint with Andy Cao and Jason M. Lindo.

Abstract: We investigate whether Donald Trump’s “Chinese Virus” tweets contributed to the rise of anti-Asian incidents. We find that the number of incidents spiked following Trump’s initial “Chinese Virus” tweets and the subsequent dramatic rise in internet search activity for the phrase. Difference-in-differences and event-study analyses leveraging spatial variation indicate that this spike in anti-Asian incidents was significantly more pronounced in counties that supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election relative to those that supported Hillary Clinton. We estimate that anti-Asian incidents spiked by approximately 4200 percent in Trump-supported counties compared to an increase of approximately 200 percent in Clinton-supported counties.

WORKING PAPERS

“Early Grade Retention Harms Adult Earnings” (Job Market Paper)

Revise and Resubmit to the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

Abstract: This paper provides the first causal evidence of the effects of grade retention on the labor market outcomes using Texas’ policy of retaining third graders who fail a reading test. The fuzzy regression discontinuity design estimates show that third-grade retention significantly reduces adult earnings. Although the policy aims to improve academic achievement, the results demonstrate that third-grade retention lowers high school graduation rates without improving college outcomes and aggravates absenteeism and violent behavior.

“Lead in the Air: Unraveling the Long-Term Impacts of Lead Exposure” (Joint with Graduate Student, Thao Duong)

Abstract: We examine the long-term impact of early childhood lead exposure on earnings and educational outcomes, as well as the underlying mechanisms. Leveraging a unique natural experiment—the decline in the use of leaded gasoline in piston-engine aircraft post 9/11—we find that even minor reductions in lead levels lead to significant improvements in earnings for individuals aged 23 to 29 who were students in grades 4 to 8 at the time of exposure. Additional findings indicate that these reductions also positively affect test scores and high school graduation rates, and increase post-secondary education enrollment, but do not significantly alter behavioral outcomes.

“The Impact of English Proficient Reclassification on Long-Term Educational and Earnings Outcomes” (Joint with Graduate Students Yayun Chen and Sijia Zhang)

Abstract: Despite the fact that one in ten U.S. students is an English learner, the long-term effects of English Learner (EL) status on life outcomes remain largely unexplored. While existing research provides inconsistent findings on short-term outcomes like test scores and high school graduation, the long-term impacts on earnings and post-secondary education are notably under-studied. This paper fills this critical knowledge gap by leveraging data from the Texas Education Research Center, which links educational histories to labor market outcomes. Exploiting a quasi-random variation at the ‘advanced high’ cutoff in reading tests—a prerequisite for reclassification—the Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design reveals that students achieving English proficiency by grade 3 experience a substantial increase in earnings at age 25, as well as improved high school graduation rates.

WORK IN PROGRESS

“The Impact of Principal-Student Ethnic Match: Evidence from Grade Promotion Decisions”

“The Impacts of Light and Noise Exposure on Human Capital Formation: Evidence from Wind Farm Operation” (Joint with Graduate Student, Thao Duong)

“The Lifelong Impact of Pre-Kindergarten Education” (Joint with Graduate Student, Maya Mikdash, Data Approved)

“Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Role of Alternative Education” (Joint with Graduate Student, Maya Mikdash)