Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Applied Economics

First Advisor

Robert P. Inman


In Chapter 1, I model a public official’s decision to choose corruption as a function of local investigative reporting efforts by journalists, showing that the marginal effect of a decline in investigative reporting on corruption convictions is ambiguous and depends on the current level of reporting. I then use newspaper entry and exit to estimate the impact of reporting on corruption convictions in U.S. states. I find evidence that journalism is a net deterrent for state officials, but I find no evidence of an effect for federal or local officials. In Chapter 2, I look at how social norms affect decisions pertaining to risk. I use a difference-in-differences approach to estimate the impact that religious affiliation has on loan-to-value ratios in new mortgages using county-level U.S. data. I find that increased levels of religious affiliation are associated with decreased loan-to-value ratios, controlling for income, race, and loan attributes.

Included in

Economics Commons