Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Ana María Herrera

Second Advisor

Dr. William Hoyt

Abstract

While the long run productivity of federal highway infrastructure spending has been well researched, their short run effects and effects on income inequality. This dissertation explores those under-researched unconventional effects.

In the first chapter, I investigate the effects of federal infrastructure grants on income inequality. I find that grants reduce inequality in both recipient and neighboring states. The reduction is driven by greater income among the bottom three income quintiles. I explore two mechanisms using person level data and find that the reduction in inequality is attributable to higher income for low-skilled workers and workers working in low-skilled industries.

In the second chapter, I investigate the role of implementation lags in the ARRA. I find that the employment effects after six months were nearly twice as high in short lag counties compared to long lag counties. However, these effects quickly fade. I find no evidence of implementation lags impacting employment after one year.

In the third chapter, I examine the effect of the business cycle on completion times of federally financed transportation infrastructure projects. I find that projects that begin construction during periods of economic slack are completed more quickly, suggesting an alternative mechanism for state dependent fiscal multipliers.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.326

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