Abstract: The advent of the HIV/AIDS crisis transformed the desirability of committed heterosexual relationships. This paper employs a difference-in-differences approach to investigate the impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis on marriage rates. By using HIV/AIDS death rates as a proxy for HIV incidence, the study exploits county-level variations in HIV/AIDS mortality and finds that counties with higher HIV/AIDS death rates experienced larger gains in marriage rates in the early years of the epidemic. Estimates suggest that the virus increased marriage rates by approximately 0.9% in the early years of the virus (1981-1988).

Working Papers

Abstract: The introduction of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) in 1995, transformed the prognosis of an HIV infection from a death sentence to a manageable chronic health condition. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, this paper exploits spatial variation in HIV/AIDS incidence at the time HAART treatment was introduced and finds that, in addition to reducing HIV/AIDS deaths, the introduction of HAART led to a disproportionate decrease in suicide rates for groups most affected by the virus. Estimates suggest that HAART saved approximately 756 men aged 25 to 44 from suicide each year following its introduction.

Abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges made same-sex marriage legal in all states. We estimate the effect of this landmark ruling on the mortgage demand of same-sex couples. Using data on the near universe of mortgage applications, we employ a difference-in-differences estimation strategy that compares the mortgage demand of same-sex and different-sex couples, before and after the ruling. We find that the ruling increased the mortgage demand of same-sex couples relative to different-sex couples by 12% in states where same-sex marriage was previously unavailable. Interestingly, we also estimate a 15% increase in the mortgage demand of same-sex couples in states that had already legalized same-sex marriage prior to the ruling. This suggests that the federal Supreme Court ruling brought greater certainty to same-sex couples, even in states where same-sex marriage was already legal. Our results emphasize the importance of federal Supreme Court rulings over and above similar state-level legislation in shaping outcomes of vulnerable populations.

Works in Progress