Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Scott J. Adams

Committee Members

Karla Bartholomew, Antonio Galvao, John Heywood, Ehsan Soofi


Homeschooling, School Shooting, Texting Ban


This dissertation consists of three essays. In the first essay I study the effect of texting bans on fatal accidents on roadways. Since 2007, many states passed laws prohibiting text messaging while driving. Using vehicular fatality data from across the United States and standard difference-in-differences techniques, bans appear moderately successful at reducing single vehicle, single occupant accidents if they are universally applied and enforced as a primary offense. Bans enforced as secondary offences, however, have at best no effect on accidents. Any reduction in accidents following texting bans is short-lived, however, with accidents returning to near former levels within a few months. This is suggestive of drivers reacting to the announcement of the legislation only to return to old habits shortly afterward. The second chapter studies the effect of homeschooling on child health. Homeschooling, which is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, has received some attention by researchers, but there has been no study of the potential health benefits. Given that homeschooled children receive more close supervision and guidance from parents, and perhaps are less exposed to communicable illnesses, a benefit is possible. By adopting different identification strategies and using the Parent and Family Involvement (PFI) data from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for 2003 and 2007, I find that homeschooled children are healthier compared with their counterparts who go to public or private school. The effect is most pronounced for children between 8 to 12 years old. Finally, in the third essay, as a note, I study the effect of school shootings in the United States on private and public school enrollment. I find that school shootings are followed by a 10%t of school shootings in the United States on private and public school enrollment. The effects are most pronounced following shootings in nonurban areas, which is consistent with their more intense media coverage.