The Effect of Fraternity Moratoriums on Alcohol Offenses and Sexual Assaults

Pre-print draft here.

Journal link here.

Forthcoming: Journal of Human Resources

Abstract: I exploit variation in timing from 44 temporary university-wide halts on all fraternity activity with alcohol (moratoriums) across 37 universities over 2014-2019. I construct a novel data set, merging incident-level crime logs from university police departments to provide the first causal estimates of the effect of moratoriums on reports of alcohol offenses and sexual assaults. In particular, I find robust evidence that moratoriums decrease alcohol offenses by 26%. Additionally, I find suggestive evidence that moratoriums decrease reports of sexual assault on the weekends by 29%. However, I do not find evidence of long-term changes once the moratorium is lifted.

Working Papers

The Effect of ShotSpotter Technology on Police Response Times (with Toshio Ferrazares)

Job Market Paper

Download the most recent version of the paper here.

Abstract: ShotSpotter is an acoustic gunfire detection technology utilized by police departments in over 150 cities world-wide with the intention of rapidly dispatching police officers to violent crime scenes in an effort to reduce gun violence. In Chicago, this amounts to approximately 70 instances per-day whereby officers are immediately dispatched to hypothesized sounds of gunfire. However, this allocation diverts police resources away from confirmed reports of 911 emergencies, creating delays in rapid response—a critical component of policing with health and safety implications. In this paper, we utilize variation in timing from ShotSpotter rollouts across Chicago police districts from 2016-2022 to estimate the causal effects of ShotSpotter on 911 emergency response times that are designated as Priority 1 (immediate dispatch). Using comprehensive 911 dispatch data from the Chicago Police Department, we find that ShotSpotter implementation causes police officers to be dispatched one-minute slower (23% increase) and arrive on-scene nearly two-minutes later (13% increase). Moreover, these effects are driven by periods with fewer police on-duty and times of day with larger numbers of ShotSpotter-related dispatches. Consequently, when responding to emergency calls, police officers’ success rate in arresting perpetrators decreases by approximately 9%, with notably large decreases in arrests for domestic battery (14%).

Works in Progress

Gunshot Noise and Birth Outcomes (with Anna Jaskiewicz)

Gun violence is ubiquitous across the United States, with gun-related deaths reaching an all-time high in 2021. The prevalence of gunfire results in loud and potentially stress-inducing sounds, which may adversely affect critical stages of in-utero development. However, gunfire is largely unreported, creating a unique challenge for researchers to understand its consequences. In this paper, we mitigate this shortcoming by leveraging data from ShotSpotter—an acoustic gunshot technology which uses an array of sensors placed on city structures to detect the sound of gunfire. We combine this unique data source with the universe of births in San Francisco over a four-year period (2016-2020), each matched to a mother’s residence. Using the variation in gunfire detections from ShotSpotter at the census-block level, we employ a difference-in-differences methodology and find that gunshot noise creates substantial decreases in gestation lengths, resulting in an increase in preterm deliveries. These effects are driven entirely by times of the day when civilians are awake, and are particularly concentrated among mothers with low levels of education. These results suggest that gunshot noise is a major factor contributing to the income inequities in pregnancy outcomes.

Police Shift Changes and Use-of-Force

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