Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Brad Humphreys

Committee Member

Bryan McCannon

Committee Member

Jane Ruseski

Committee Member

Ann Hibbert


The opening chapter covers the impact of the Olympic Games on employment growth. The Olympics Games stand as the largest sporting event in the world. The Games include approximately 200 countries during the Summer Olympic Games and 90 countries competing in the Winter Games, each occurring once every four years. Potential host cities fiercely compete to host the games under the guise of economic prosperity. Event promoters claim substantial economic benefits, such as employment growth, to be had from hosting these costly games. This paper examines the impacts of the Olympic Games on employment growth rates using a synthetic control approach. Results show transitory increases in employment growth rates following a county being awarded the Olympic Games in Fulton County, GA and Salt Lake County, UT. A decrease in employment growth rate appears in Los Angeles County, CA due to being awarded the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. Results suggest that potential hosts should proceed with caution when considering hosting the Olympic Games.

Chapter two investigates the prominence of wage discrimination in the National Basketball Association (NBA) using free agent signings from 2011-2017. Free agent signings allow us to better capture the determinants of players' wages, a limitation of the previous NBA wage discrimination literature. Using the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition and weighted linear regression models, we find that black athletes are paid significantly less than their counterparts. In addition, weighted quantile regressions show evidence of the presence of consumer discrimination in the league. This is observed through the result that black players with high audience visibility experience a larger racial wage gap; moreover, this gap is positively related to the share of white population of the MSA where the player is employed.

In the final chapter, I explore the impact of legalization of marijuana on risky consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Utilizing BRFSS data and a differences-in-differences approach with entropy balancing, results indicate that individuals in states that introduce legal recreational marijuana experience a decrease in risky behaviors. Legal states experience a decrease in the overall use of alcohol, drinking and driving, and smokeless tobacco use. Legalization can weed out risky behaviors involving alcohol and tobacco, indicating that marijuana represents a substitute for alcohol and smokeless tobacco. No significant changes in cigarette smoking occurs following legalization.

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Economics Commons