Haas Scholars

Laura Rambo

Prison Projects as Economic Panaceas? Testing the Claim that has Influenced Policy for Decades

The American mass incarceration boom, beginning in the 1970s, targeted poor rural areas, planned as a recession-proof economic development strategy to bolster local economies. While existing research fails to corroborate these claims, nothing has been published since the Great Recession of 2008. Laura’s research will close this gap. She will use a quantitative case-control approach to examine the economic impacts of carceral expansion projects in rural counties in California, Texas, and New York, through 2020. This project will use linear regression methods to identify causal relationships between building spaces of confinement and subsequent microeconomic variations. Laura’s research will contribute to public policy development, with the intent of providing economic evidence to support the claim that mass incarceration is more than just a humanitarian crisis, but also an economically excessive strategy.

  • Major: Economics
  • Mentor: David Card, Economics