Saving Daylight, Losing Lives: The Impact of Daylight Saving Time on Deaths of Despair

This paper estimates the impact of Daylight Saving Time (DST) on deaths of despair (DoD) in the United States. Using Multiple Cause-of-Death Mortality Data from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics from 1979-1988, the effect is identified in two ways: a regression discontinuity design (RDD) that exploits discrete time changes in the Spring and Fall; and a fixed effects model (FE) that is identified with a policy change and a switching mechanism that introduces random variation to DST's start and end dates. This is one of the first attempts to estimate the impact of DST on DoD and is the first to use either identification strategy. The results from both methods suggest that the sleep disruptions during the Spring transition cause suicide rates to rise by 6.25 percent and all DoD to increase by 6.59 percent. There is no evidence for any change in suicide or all DoD during the Fall transition. The contrasting results from Spring to Fall suggest the entire effect can be attributed to disruptions in sleep patterns rather than changes in ambient light exposure.

Racial Discrimination Among Professional Basketball Referees

This paper estimates the magnitude of of racial bias among referees in professional basketball. Previous research in this vein has depended on foul frequency and the overall racial composition of referee crews for their estimates. This paper adds to the literature by exploiting two unique data sets from the National Basketball Association. The first of these identifies the specific referee that makes each foul call. The second reports whether each call and material non-call was correct. The results suggest being black is associated with receiving .103 more fouls by white referees per 48 minutes. If a contest is played between playoff teams, where stakes are higher, the penalty jumps to .221 fouls per 48 minutes. This disparity is driven by white referees holding black players more accountable, rather than them making spurious calls against black players.

The Effect of Minimum Wages on Time Allocation: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties

This paper estimates the impact of increases in the minimum wage on school enrollment, labor force participation, and idleness for people aged 16-19. Using the American Community Survey (ACS) for the years 2005 to 2016, the effect is identified by comparing state border-straddling county pairs in cases where one state unilaterally increases its minimum wage. This strategy represents an improvement over traditional methods used in minimum wage literature because it accounts for heterogeneous local employment trends and observations are not spatially or temporally correlated. The results suggest labor force participation falls while school enrollment rises.