Date of Graduation


Document Type



This dissertation is a collection of essays examining the secondary effects of state and local public policies. The first chapter provides an introduction and outlines the research agenda for the dissertation. Chapter 2 analyzes the effects of the gasoline unit and ad valorem excise taxes on consumption of gasoline by grade. The results show that, while the unit excise tax can cause consumers to substitute toward higher quality (higher octane) gasoline, the opposite effect can also occur as prices rise and the income effect outweighs the substitution effect. Chapter 3 examines the effects of clean indoor air regulations on employment in restaurants. The establishment-level analysis suggests that the employment effects depend largely on the prevalence of smokers in the region. The results explain how previous research, conducted in low smoking rate states, found no effect or even a positive effect on employment, while more recent research has suggested there could be a negative effect. Chapter 4, using establishment-level data from West Virginia as a case study, examines the effects of municipally imposed gross receipts taxes on total and firm employment. The results show that the gross receipts taxes have a negative effect on both total and average firm employment. The results also show that the gross receipts tax’s effect varies widely by industry. Finally, Chapter 5 summarizes the major findings of the previous chapters.