Research Reports


Education for Your Health!

Christopher R. Bollinger

The health of the people of Kentucky is of high concern for policymakers and citizens alike. Individuals want to live healthy, productive lives, while policymakers recognize that chronic illnesses cost the state in myriad ways. In this brief, we examine the link between educational attainment and health outcomes. We focus on two groups of health outcomes. The first are behavioral and include choices: tobacco use, alcohol use, obesity, and exercise. The second group are outcomes highly associated with these behaviors: heart attack, angina, stroke, and diabetes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that these four diseases may cost Kentuckians over $5 billion annually in lost days at work and medical bills. Our simulations suggest that if Kentucky were to achieve education levels comparable to the U.S., we could reduce those costs by nearly $200 million per year.

Student Loan Debt: The Devil is in the Details

Christopher R. Bollinger

Student loan debt has received a great deal of attention on in the popular press recently. However, the statistics and data that are frequently presented fail to fully capture the complexity of student loans and student debt. This brief presents a more complete picture of student loan debt, examining not only average debt of student borrowers, but presenting a full assessment of the distribution of debt and the types of schools.

A Measure of the Economic Impact of Keeneland Racing and Sales on Lexington-Fayette County

Christopher R. Bollinger

Keeneland is an important Lexington Institution. This report shows that Keeneland draws individuals into Fayette County who spend money not only at Keeneland but in the city itself. We measure the economic impact of this spending on the local economy. For our initial study, we considered spending by patrons at the 2014 Fall Meet, the September Yearling Sale and the November Breeding Stock Sale. Based upon these findings, we were also able to assess the impact of the Spring Race Meeting, January Horses of All Ages Sale and the April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2015

Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress, James M. Sharpe


The Changing Nature of Manufacturing

Christopher R. Bollinger

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2014

Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress

The Replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge: Tolls, Commuting Patterns and Economic Activity in Northern Kentucky

Christopher R. Bollinger, Derrick Jenniges

In this report, we investigate the impact of proposed tolls levied on users of the replacement for the Brent Spence Bridge, including impacts on commuting patterns and overall economic activity in Northern Kentucky. Overall, consistent with economic literature, the economic impact of the improved bridge will be positive and the toll, while slightly mitigating that impact, is likely to have only small effects on commuting patterns, trucking and retail and food service industries.

  • We estimate that the net impact of the new bridge and the toll under our estimated likely scenarios would reduce commuter traffic by less than 2%, and possibly increase traffic by 1%.
  • We estimate that the net impact of the new bridge and the toll under our likely scenarios would decrease trucking by less than 3% for trips made over the bridge: only a portion of overall trucking in the region.
  • Our results suggest that while there may be some over-river shopping in Northern Kentucky, there are also consumers in Northern Kentucky shopping in Cincinnati: while the toll may reduce trips, it is unlikely to have an impact on retail or accommodation and food service in the region.
  • We were also asked to investigate the impact of the Davis-Bacon act on the overall cost of the bridge. We find that the construction costs may be 10 to 15% higher due to Davis-Bacon wage requirements.


Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2013

Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress