Craig Palsson's Research

My work focuses on how institutions such as property rights and state capacity evolve in developing countries. A lot of this work looks at institutions in Haiti, contributing to our limited knowledge of its economic history.

Another branch of my work looks at the effects of the rapid adoption of smartphone devices and apps. This work includes research on how children get injured more because their parents are on smartphones and Uber’s effect on public transit.


Working Papers


The Intergenerational Effects of Refugee Camps: Haiti, 1937–2009

    tl;dr: Haitian refugee camps that started in 1938 immediately affected land-use and had persistent effects on descendants 70 years later.

State Capacity, Property Rights, and External Revenues: Haiti, 1932–1949 (Revisions requested)

    tl;dr: In response to WWII, Haiti increased its fiscal capacity, which allowed it to increase its legal capacity.

VancUber: The Effect of Ride-Hailing on Public Transportation, Congestion, and Traffic Fatalities (with John Cairncross and Jonathan Hall (Revisions Requested)

    tl;dr: Vancouver banned Uber for 10 years, which lets us observe the long-run effects of Uber on public transit, congestion, and traffic fatalities.



The Medium-Run Effects of a Foreign Election Intervention: Haiti’s Presidential Elections, 2010-2015 Contemporary Economic Policy 40(2): 369-390. 2022

    tl;dr: The international community intervened in Haiti's election after the earthquake, and this intervention probably discouraged voters from participating in 2015.

Small Farms, Large Transaction Costs: Haiti's Missing Sugar (2021) Journal of Economic History, 81(2): 513--548

    tl;dr: Many Caribbean countries started producing sugar in the early 1900s, but Haiti, the once world-leading sugar producer, did not because of its property rights institutions.

Is Uber a substitute or complement to public transit? (with Jonathan Hall and Joseph Price). Journal of Urban Economics 108: 36-50. 2018

    tl;dr: It looks like Uber complements public transit on average, but the effect varies by city.

Smartphones and Child Injuries Journal of Public Economics December 2017; Vol. 156, pp. 200-213

    tl;dr: Smartphones distract parents and their young kids get injured as a result.

Technological change, relative worker productivity, and firm-level substitution: Evidence from the NBA (with Grant Gannaway, Joseph Price, and David Sims) Journal of Sports Economics October 2014; Vol. 15, 5: pp. 478-496

    tl;dr: When the NBA introduced the three-point line, the productivity of centers and forwards increased because guards spread the defense.

What Matters in Movie Ratings? Cross-country Differences in which Content Influence Mature Movie Ratings. (with Joseph Price and Doug Gentile) Journal of Children and Media, February 2014, Vol. 8 , Iss. 3, pp 240-252

    tl;dr: Countries differ in how they restrict movie content for children.

Taxing the Opposition: Cactus League Attendance and the Efficiency of the ‘Cubs Tax,’ (with Michael Davis and Joseph Price) International Journal of Sport Finance, May 2013, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp 157-17

    tl;dr: Cities always choose terrible ways to finance new stadiums.

Ratings and Revenues: Evidence from Movie Ratings, (with Joseph Price and Jared Shores) Contemporary Economic Policy, January 2013, Vol. 31, Issue 1, pp 13-21

    tl;dr: Movies that just barely got an R-rating make less box office revenue than movies that just barely got a PG-13.