Theses Doctoral

Essays in Welfare Economics and Public Finance

Husted, Lucas

This dissertation studies the effects that government spending has on the well-being of individuals and on community-level economic outcomes. The first chapter examines federally funded disaster relief with the aim of explicitly quantifying the role that the government has in propping up labor markets after large storms that damage and destroy communities.

The next two chapters are about welfare. The second chapter uses administrative data from the state of Michigan to study one of the largest, and most sudden, changes to a cash welfare program in the country's history. The aim of this piece is to quantify the holistic impact of losing welfare on the financial well-being of the affected mothers. The final chapter revisits one of the most consequential welfare-to-work experiments of the late 20th century with modern empirical tools to determine whether work-first retraining programs or remedial coursework benefit the marginal welfare participant more in the long-run.

Together these essays highlight the role that the federal government plays in the lives of its citizens when they are at their most vulnerable. It is the hope of the author that economists and policymakers can use the conclusions herein when considering and drafting future programs that aim to assist those at the margin of society or those who will suffer the consequences of catastrophic climate disasters.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2027-04-06.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Black Youngblood, Sandra
Best, Michael Carlos
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 13, 2022