Paul Niekamp

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics | Vanderbilt University


"Economic Conditions and Sleep". Health Economics. 2018;1-6.

Working Papers

Good Bang for the Buck: Effects of Rural Gun Use on Crime [Job Market Paper]
This paper provides the first estimates of the effect of rural recreational gun use on crime. Each year, more than 10 million Americans, comprising 18% of all American gun owners, use firearms to hunt deer during restricted dates. Hunting proponents argue that long guns are not positively associated with violent crime, while the sheer magnitude of hunter activity requires this hypothesis be tested to inform gun policy design. My empirical strategy exploits variation across states in opening dates of firearm-based deer hunting seasons, which create larger increases in gun use than any other policy in existence. Combining daily crime data with deer hunting seasons spanning 20 years and 21 states, I estimate that the start of firearm season is associated with a 300% increase in long gun prevalence. Despite this enormous increase in gun use, I find no evidence of an increase in violent crime. I estimate the elasticity of violent crime with respect to recreational long gun use to be between -0.01 and +0.0003. Moreover, I estimate that alcohol-related arrests of juvenile males fall by 22% and narcotic offenses fall by 15% at the start of hunting season, suggesting that firearm hunting may have positive externalities via reducing risky juvenile male behavior.

“Bakken Out of Education to Toil in Oil”
Using novel datasets from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) and North Dakota University System (NDUS), I study the effects of the North Dakota oil boom on high school graduation rates and post-graduation outcomes of seniors in North Dakota high schools using an event-study design. The oil boom sharply increased wages and employment in core-oil counties. Surprisingly, high school graduation rates of schools in core-oil counties did not decrease relative to schools in non-oil counties for either males or females. However, high school seniors responded to the oil boom by decreasing 4-year college enrollment rates by 23%. Notably, college enrollment rates also decreased for females. Estimates suggest that males and females became more likely to enter the workforce while male military enrollment rates decreased.

Work in Progress

"Deer in the Headlights: The Consequences of Hunting Regulations on Car Accidents"

“Effects of Recreational Deer Hunting Season on Alcohol Use and Abuse: Evidence from Canada” with Christopher S. (Kitt) Carpenter and Casey Warman