Journal Articles

Policy Writing

Working Papers

  • “Examining racial bias in police dispatch: Evidence from Columbus, Ohio” (Job Market Paper)

  • “Exploring Alternative Models of 911 Response to Mental/Behavioral Health Crises: Evidence from Columbus, Ohio” (with Leah Bevis, Jennifer L Hefner, Steve David, and Pejmon Noghrehchi)

    We evaluate the effectiveness of two widely adopted police response models for mental/behavioral health crises in the US: Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for police, and co-response (joint police + non-police response) programs. Despite their widespread adoption, no rigorous evaluation has measured the impact of either model on crisis outcomes. In Columbus, Ohio we conduct such an evaluation by: (1) Using police dispatch data to examine the causal impact of crisis response by CIT-trained officers or by Mobile Crisis Response (MCR) teams vis-à-vis standard police response, and (2) Conducting interviews with individuals who have recently called 911 for a behavioral health crisis to evaluate their experience with standard police and/or MCR teams, and elicit their opinions about improved crisis response models. The quantitative analysis addresses endogeneity of triaged response via two-stage-least squares strategies that exploit quasi-random variation in officer precinct/shift assignments and in MCR capacity to answer calls. We find that while MCR teams spend more time handling crisis calls and generally improve the experience of response for those in crisis, they do not improve call disposition or service linkages. Preliminary results suggest that CIT training also has little meaningful effect on outcomes. Interviews reveal significant heterogeneity in the quality of police response to mental health crises, and variation even in the quality of MCR response. Our research indicates that both CIT training and co-response may be less impactful than policymakers wish to believe.

  • “Food Price Subsidies & Nutrition in India: Is Less Targeting More?” (with Leah Bevis and Tanvi Rao)

    India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) is the largest food-based social safety net in the world, and many in India argue that it should be universalized rather than targeted based on household income. We use a natural experiment to ask whether universalizing PDS in the Indian state of Odisha improved access to PDS entitlements and ultimately women’s health. In 2008, the Odisha government simultaneously increased PDS entitlements and universalized access to the PDS in the particularly poor Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) region. In the rest of the state, the government increased PDS entitlements for poor households in an equivalent manner, but did not universalize PDS. We exploit this variation in reform implementation and and find that while universalization had little effect on women’s health (BMI) in above poverty line households, it improved health in below poverty line households. We also examine the mechanisms that drive these improvements in health.