Working Papers / Projects in Progress 

 "Unpacking the Impacts of a Youth Behavioral Health Intervention: Experimental Evidence from Chicago " (previous Job Market Paper) with Kelly Hallberg. 

Abstract:  Racial disparities in violence exposure and criminal justice contact are a subject of growing policy and public concern. We conduct a large-scale, randomized controlled trial of a six-month behavioral health intervention combining intensive mentoring and group therapy designed to reduce criminal justice and violence involvement among Black and Latinx youth in Chicago. Over 24 months, youth offered the program experienced an 18 percent reduction in the probability of any arrest and a 23 percent reduction in the probability of a violent-crime arrest. These statistically significant impacts, with smaller magnitudes, continue to persist up to 3 years post randomization. To understand how this intervention changes youth behavior given arrests are the result of both civilian and police behavior, we implement a novel method of classifying arrests to isolate the criminal justice contact over which youth have more control. Using text from arrest narratives, we create a supervised machine learning algorithm that determines if an arrest was initiated more or less at the discretion of police. We find that the program's impacts are concentrated in arrests where officers have less discretion in initiating contact, while having little impact on more discretionary contact arrests (e.g. a young person exhibiting “suspicious” behavior). A supplementary analysis of traffic and street stops, over which police have substantial discretion, finds that the youth program does not reduce the probability of being stopped by police. Our findings suggest the effects of the program are being driven by changes in youth behavior itself, not through avoiding police contact. 

“Providing Intensive Wraparound Supports for Disengaged Chicago Youth: A Randomized Evaluation” with Max Kapustin and Max Lubell 

"The Impact of Free Prison Communication Technology in Prison: An Evaluation of Ameelio" with Ashna Arora, Panka Bencsik, and Omair Gill

An extended abstract describing this multi-year research project is available here

“The Causal Effects of Unconditional Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from a U.S. County” with Alex Bartik, Sarah Miller, Elizabeth Rhodes, and Eva Vivalt

“The Causal Effects of Unconditional Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from a U.S. City” with Alex Bartik, Sarah Miller, Elizabeth Rhodes, and Eva Vivalt

“Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Homeless Families: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial” with John Eric Humphries and Stephen Stapleton

“Impact of Alternative Schools in Chicago on Student Outcomes” with Monica Bhatt and Farah Mallah


After Citizens United: How outside spending shapes American democracy; with Carlo Prato and Stephane Wolton 

Electoral Studies, Volume 67, October 2020, 102190

We study the political consequences of lifting restrictions on the funding of groups engaging in outside spending (e.g., independent political advertising) in elections. Theoretically, we assume that outside spending changes the salience of candidate-specific attributes relative to their party labels. Empirically, we employ a difference-in-differences design that exploits the removal of state-level restrictions on the funding of outside spending mandated by the federal-level rulings in both Citizens United and v. FEC. We find strong evidence that these regulatory changes increase the electoral success of Republican candidates, thereby leading to more ideologically conservative legislatures. We find no effect on polarization. Consistent with our theory, the size of our estimated effects depends on the power of labor unions and the alignment of business interests with the Republican party.

Press: Monkey Cage post,, The Ezra Klein Show 

Pre-Doctoral Publications

“Immigrants’ Access to Financial Services & Asset Accumulation” with Una Okonkwo Osili and Anna Paulson. In Handbook of the Economics of International Migration, Volume 1, Chapter 8, edited by Barry R. Chiswick and Paul W. Miller, 2015.