Benjamin W. Cowan

School of Economic Sciences
Washington State University
103E Hulbert Hall
Pullman, WA 99164
Tel: 509/335-2184

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: HE
NBER Affiliation: Research Associate
Institutional Affiliation: Washington State University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2019Mobile Money and Healthcare Use: Evidence from East Africa
with Haseeb Ahmed: w25669
This paper uses a difference-in-difference framework to estimate the effects of mobile money transfer technology (MMT) on healthcare usage in the face of negative health shocks. We use survey data from 2013-16 with quarterly observations on about 1,600 households of 10 villages in the Kisumu region of Western Kenya. We find evidence that MMT, likely through greater ease of informal borrowing, helps households increase utilization of formal healthcare services in terms of visits to a clinic, consultation and medication expenditures in comparison with the non-users of this technology.
September 2017March Madness: NCAA Tournament Participation and College Alcohol Use
with Dustin R. White, Jadrian Wooten: w23821
We examine the impact of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on college students’ drinking behavior using a nationally representative sample of American institutions. While success in intercollegiate athletics may augment the visibility of a university to prospective students and thereby benefit the school, it may also have a negative effect on the current student body by influencing risky behavior, especially the consumption of alcohol commonly associated with game day festivities. Using the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (CAS), we find that a school’s participation in the NCAA Tournament is associated with a 30% increase in binge drinking and a 9% increase in self-reported drunk driving by male students at that school. The results suggest that this increase is not...

Published: Dustin R. White & Benjamin W. Cowan & Jadrian J. Wooten, 2019. "MARCH MADNESS: NCAA TOURNAMENT PARTICIPATION AND COLLEGE ALCOHOL USE," Contemporary Economic Policy, vol 37(3), pages 449-461. citation courtesy of

The Effects of Graduation Requirements on Risky Health Behaviors of High School Students
with Zhuang Hao: w23803
Previous studies have shown that years of formal schooling attained affects health behaviors, but little is known about how the stringency of academic programs affects such behaviors, especially among youth. Using national survey data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), we study the effects of mathematics and science high-school graduation requirements (HSGR) on high school students’ risky health behaviors--specifically on drinking, smoking, and marijuana use. We find that an increase in mathematics and science HSGR has significant negative impacts on alcohol consumption among high-school students, especially males and non-white students. The effects of math and science HSGR on smoking and marijuana use are also negative but generally less precisely estimated. Our resu...

Published: Zhuang Hao & Benjamin W. Cowan, 2019. "The Effects of Graduation Requirements on Risky Health Behaviors of High School Students," American Journal of Health Economics, vol 5(1), pages 97-125.

May 2017The Cross-Border Spillover Effects of Recreational Marijuana Legalization
with Zhuang Hao: w23426
We examine the spillover effects of recreational marijuana legalization (RML) in Colorado and Washington on neighboring states. We find that RML causes a sharp increase in marijuana possession arrests in border counties of neighboring states relative to non-border counties in these states. RML has no impact on juvenile marijuana possession arrests but is rather fully concentrated among adults. Using separate data on self-reported marijuana use, we show this is accompanied by an increase in use in neighboring states relative to non-neighboring states. We do not find conclusive evidence that marijuana sale/manufacture arrests, DUI arrests, or opium/cocaine possession arrests in border states are affected by RML.
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