Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Joshua C Hall

Committee Co-Chair

Brian J Cushing

Committee Member

Donald j Lacombe

Committee Member

Amanda L Ross

Committee Member

Matt E Ryan


This dissertation is a collection of essays examining issues related to low-income communities and criminal behavior. The first chapter of this dissertation provides an introduction to policies used to aid disadvantaged communities and marginalized populations. It also provides an outline of the research agenda of the dissertation as a whole. Chapter 2 examines the role of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) in attracting new businesses and employment to low-income communities. This federal tax credit program was designed to increase investment in eligible communities by offering private investors a federal-income tax credit in exchange for investment. The results suggest that the program did attract new businesses and employment to these areas, primarily in the FIRE and services industries. Chapter 3 empirically analyses the relationship between tattoo visibility and recidivism for ex-offenders. I construct two measures of visibility, which are dependent on workplace attire. The results from this chapter suggest that inmates with visible tattoos are more likely to return to prison and do so faster and more often than inmates with less-visible tattoos. Chapter 4 examines whether distance between an offender's residence and incarceration facility affects recidivism. Results from OLS regressions and survival analysis both suggest that as distance increases, offenders are less likely to return to prison in the future. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings in chapters 2 through 4 and discusses related future projects in these areas.