Economics ETDs


Bern Dealy

Publication Date

Fall 12-17-2016


Risky health behaviors including substance abuse and risky sex are a significant contributor to chronic illness in the US. Efficient use of public resources to avert or mitigate the consequences of risky health behaviors requires a better understanding of the overall costs of risky health behavior to society. Additionally, a better understanding of the value and behavioral consequences of programs designed to mitigate the consequences of risky health behavior is needed. This dissertation utilizes a number of unique methodological and empirical tools to examine the consequences of risky sex and drug abuse and the value of policies which seek to avert or mitigate the impact of the consequences. The first study uses a spatial difference-in-difference identification strategy to estimate the impact of clandestine drug lab discovery and decontamination on proximal home values. Results suggest that the discovery of a lab causes nearby home prices to drop significantly, while the decontamination of a lab causes nearby home prices to increase significantly, partially offsetting the impact of discovery. The second and third studies investigate the impacts of behavioral interventions designed to reduce risky sexual behavior, including market and nonmarket costs. Overall the results show that risky-sex behavioral interventions can generate substantial cost-savings. Furthermore, the results show that interventions may affect the willingness to pay to avoid the consequences of risky sexual behavior.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Horn, Brady

Second Committee Member

Berrens, Robert

Third Committee Member

Bohara, Alok

Fourth Committee Member

Bryan, Angela




Risky Health Behavior, Contingent valuation, Hedonic, Economics

Document Type


Included in

Economics Commons