Thesis Corner: Ellen Knowles

Welcome to Thesis Corner with Ellen Knowles!

Q: What was your thesis about?
For my thesis, I looked at how homeowners are able to apply pressure on local governments to restrict the quantity of housing through zoning. From there, I looked at how this affects the rental prices of multi family units.

Q: How did you pick your topic?
I heard about this issue while listening to a Planet Money podcast and found it interesting.

Q: What were your results?
I found that there was a positive correlation between the amount of political pressure homeowners place on local governments and the rental prices of multi family units.  One of my regressions showed that, as homeowner pressure went up by an index point of one, the price of a 1,000 square foot apartment increased $109 per month, which is equivalent to $1,308 per year.

Q: Did any of your results surprise you?
I was surprised by how little my control variables accounted for the differences in price. If I were to expand on my thesis I would like to find better control variables.

Q: What advice would you give to upcoming seniors?
My advice would be to listen to podcasts, read articles, and go through old notes to find questions that interest you early on in the process.  Don’t worry if you don’t have question going into class the first day, but do start working earlier rather than later.  Also, I would say to make sure to find your data as soon as possible.

Q: What was your favorite and least favorite part of writing your thesis?
My favorite part of writing my thesis was getting to hear about everyone else’s theses all semester long and working with Matt Warning, my thesis professor. My least favorite part of my writing my thesis was the process of finding my data.


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