All Publications

Research Report

Kentucky School Districts as Educational Bright Spots
Michael T. Childress

Every year a select group of Kentucky school districts perform better than expected on measures of educational achievement. These measures include things like the percentage of elementary students who achieve proficiency or distinguished in reading, or the proportion of less‐advantaged middle school students who show a similar level of competency on the math assessment. Understanding the reasons for better‐than‐expected performance is fundamentally important. While our analysis does not address the question of why students perform better than expected, our results can be used to inform further inquiry on that question. Our work is best viewed as a statistical sieve designed to narrow the list of candidate districts worthy of closer examination. By subjecting a school district to closer scrutiny, one can gain a sense of confidence about identifying the constellation of factors facilitating exceptional performance.

PDF: PDF icon Childress_Bright Spots Among Kentucky School Districts.pdf

An Evaluation of How Repealing West Virginia's Prevailing Wage Law Affected the Cost of Public Construction
Michael W. Clark, Kenneth Tester

This study compared school construction costs before and after the 2015 changes to the prevailing wage laws in West Virginia. The study uses data provided by the School Building Authority of West Virginia (SBA). The data suggests that school construction costs increased in the years prior to the legislative changes and decreased after. Comparing projects bid with and without prevailing wages since 2013 suggests construction costs per square foot decreased by 7.3 percent since the removal of the wage requirement. However, the magnitude of the decrease depends on the time-period examined and the individual schools included in the analysis. States that border West Virginia did not experience similar decreases in the costs of school construction during this time.

PDF: PDF icon WV_Prevailing_Wage_Report.pdf

The Economic Impacts of Land Use Policies in Lexington, Kentucky
Christopher Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, Michael W. Clark

Every five years, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Planning Commission adopts a comprehensive plan detailing goals and objectives that guide the city’s land use planning. Maintaining the city’s urban service area and preserving its rural and agricultural areas are integral parts of this plan. Within the urban service area, land is zoned to permit various types of urban uses such as residential, commercial, and industrial use. Land outside the urban service area is subject to several land use policies designed to preserve the rural characteristics of these areas. This report examines the effects of Lexington’s land use policies and specifically its urban service area.

PDF: PDF icon LBAR_Report.pdf

Kentucky Annual Report

2019 Kentucky Annual Economic Report
Michael T. Childress

This report is one of the important ways that the Center for Business and Economic Research fulfills its mission as specified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS 164.738) to examine various aspects of the Kentucky economy. The analysis and data presented here cover a variety of topics that range from an economic forecast for Kentucky in 2019 to a broad presentation of factors affecting the economy.

PDF: PDF icon 2019 Kentucky Annual Economic Report.pdf

2018 Kentucky Annual Economic Report
Christopher R. Bollinger, William Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress

This report is one of the important ways that the Center for Business and Economic Research fulfills its mission as specified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS 164.738) to examine various aspects of the Kentucky economy. The analysis and data presented here cover a variety of topics that range from an economic forecast for Kentucky in 2018 to a broad presentation of factors affecting the economy.

PDF: PDF icon Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2018.pdf

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2017
Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress PDF: PDF icon Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2017.pdf

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2016
Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress PDF: PDF icon Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2016.pdf

Issue Brief

Kentucky's Educational Performance & Points of Leverage
Michael T. Childress

This issue brief explores the links between obstacles students face and educational outcomes.

PDF: PDF icon Kentuckys Educational Performance & Points of Leverage.pdf

The Effects of Education across the Kentucky Economy
Christopher R. Bollinger

The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) (Gatton College, University of Kentucky) was commissioned by Kentucky’s Council for Postsecondary Education to examine the implications of education across the Kentucky economy. This study used data on Kentuckians from the American Community Survey (ACS), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The focus on Kentucky is unique, as most studies of this kind have used only national data. The results have allowed us to examine how education is related to important outcomes related to the Kentucky economy. These studies have also allowed for the unique opportunity to examine and compare the impact of education within different regions of the Commonwealth.

PDF: PDF icon The Effects of Education across the Kentucky Economy.pdf

Crime and Punishment and Education
Christopher R. Bollinger, Bethany L. Paris

Crime impacts the lives of Kentuckians in myriad ways. It has direct costs to victims and indirect costs through property values and business activity. Citizens and policymakers alike desire to reduce and limit crime. In this brief, we investigate the link between crime rates in Kentucky’s counties and the aggregate level of education. Perhaps surprisingly, higher education, and specifically the percent of the population with a Bachelor’s degree, is associated with lower crime. We find that increasing educational attainment in Kentucky to the U.S. levels could reduce the costs of crime by over $3 million annually.

PDF: PDF icon Crime and Punishment and Education.pdf