Research

Published: September, 2018
John Garen

This report examines the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) test scores for Kentucky students for the roughly 25-year time span from the 1990s forward, as well as changes in funding (inclusive of state, local, and federal) of K-12 in the Commonwealth during that period.  Changes in the racial gap in test scores is also examined, along with the gap between the scores of students from low-income families and students from other families. 

Published: September, 2018
Harris, Troske & Yelowitz

To encourage savings among workers without access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, several states have proposed defaulting workers into state-run individual retirement accounts known as Auto-IRAs. Plans such as OregonSaves automatically enroll workers and by default increase their contributions over time. Given low opt-out rates, these policies have the potential to increase retirement savings for workers without access to employer-sponsored plans.

Published: May, 2018
Steven Gordon

The federal government transfers considerable sums to local governments in the form of intergovernmental grants. With the exception of health and welfare programs, most intergovernmental grants to local governments are classified as discretionary spending. In its annual appropriations process, Congress decides how funding for discretionary spending will be broken up among the various agencies, but more detailed decisions about specific uses of funds are left to the executive branch.

Published: May, 2018
Charles Courtemanche, James Marton, Benjamin Ukert, Aaron Yelowitz, Daniela Zapata

This paper examines the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – which substantially increased insurance coverage through regulations, mandates, subsidies, and Medicaid expansions – on behaviors related to future health risks after three years. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and an identification strategy that leverages variation in pre-ACA uninsured rates and state Medicaid expansion decisions, we show that the ACA increased preventive care utilization along several dimensions, but also increased risky drinking.

Published: September, 2017
Charles Courtemanche, James Marton, Benjamin Ukert, Aaron Yelowitz, Daniela Zapata

This research sheds new light on the effects of the Affordable Care Act. During the first two years of the ACA access to health care increased but health outcomes and behaviors remained unchanged, according to findings by Institute Director Yelowitz with coauthors Courtemanche, Marton, Ukert and Zapata. With efforts at the national level to repeal and replace the ACA this research suggests that though access to care may decrease, health outcomes are unlikely to change.

Published: September, 2017
Steven Gordon, John Garen, J. R. Clark

Only one in five Americans trust the United States government to do the right thing most of the time. This is down from three in four Americans in the 1960s. What has led to the erosion of trust? Gordon, Garen and Clark find that the growth in government by politicians who are currying the favors of special interests may play a large role.

Published: September, 2017
David Bradshaw

Dr. Bradshaw explores today’s political, social and moral divides with reference to the works of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Finding that behind these ideas are destructive forms of thinking and feeling, Bradshaw argues that to unify requires returning to the classical disciplines imbedded in Plato, Aristotle and the Christian ideal of educating the passions.

Published: September, 2017
David Barrus, Frank Scott

Kentucky spent over $590 million between 2005 and 2007 on asphalt paving projects. Barrus and Scott analyzed companies’ choices to bid and how much to bid in that period to explore the affect that varying levels of competition had on the price the Commonwealth paid. With a majority of contracts attracting only one bidder these projects cost the Commonwealth between 9.3% and 16.5% more than projects with additional bidders.

Published: August, 2017
Pinky Rusli, Xinlei Zhao, David A. Ziebart

As technology becomes more complex, business transactions and accounting standards both become more complex. But do accounting standards need to match the complexity of business transactions? Rusli, Zhao and Ziebart find that accounting standards can be simpler if they rely on market-established prices of relevant assets.

Published: July, 2017
James S. Fackler, Randall E. Parker

The Great Depression may have been preventable. Using a formalized policy rule instead of relying on the Federal Reserve’s discretionary policy decisions, may have prevented the country’s worst economic crisis. Fackler and Parker analyze what could have happened if the country had adopted Irving Fisher’s recommendations in 1930.

Published: July, 2017
Felipe Thomaz, Leonce Bargeron, John Hulland, Chad Zutter

How do corporations—who balance making sales today and planning for the future—respond to regulatory change? Thomaz, Bargeron, Hulland, and Zutter’s study provides evidence that legislative changes, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, can significantly affect a corporation’s priorities. The passage of Sarbanes-Oxley incentivized U.S. corporations to focus more on reaping the immediate gains from marketing rather than investment in research and development.

Published: July, 2017
Christopher P. Clifford, Jesse A. Ellis, William C. Gerken

Why do hedge fund investors feel confident that their money is in good hands despite lax government regulation? Reputation. Clifford, Ellis, and Gerken’s research find strong, market-based incentives for fund managers to hire reputable directors to monitor their funds. And while managers are looking for reputable directors, directors are looking for high quality funds to work for—creating mutual interests for close monitoring and honest dealing.

Published: June, 2017
Michael W. Faulkender, Kristine W. Hankins, Mitchell A. Petersen

Does the U.S. tax code push corporations to save more cash abroad? While the desire to fund future investment encourages domestic corporate savings, lower international tax rates encourage U.S. corporations—especially those with intensive research and development programs—to save larger amounts of cash abroad, according to this research by Faulkender, Hankins, and Petersen.

Published: June, 2017
Aaron Yelowitz

Dr. Yelowitz’s research explores the unintended consequences and individual incentives that arise when the government sets up health insurance markets outside of the free enterprise system. Following the Affordable Care Act expansion, the integrity of the Kentucky Medicaid program may be at risk. This first look finds that 38 percent of Kentucky’s new Medicaid enrollees were not eligible for the program in 2014, according to data from the American Community Survey.