“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.


“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.


“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)