All Publications

Issue Brief

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.

PDF: PDF icon Student Loan Debt- The Devil is in the Details.pdf

Research Report

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.

PDF: PDF icon A Measure of the Economic Impact of Keeneland Racing and Sales on.pdf

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.
PDF: PDF icon The Replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge.pdf

Export Strength and Opportunities for Kentucky Industries
Christopher R. Bollinger, Derrick Jenniges

This project's primary goal is to quantify export strengths and opportunities in Kentucky industries. We measure export strength as the relative dollar value of exports per worker in four digit industries using U.S. dollar value of exports per worker as the base. Tables were prepared for total exports and a selection of 50 countries representing 98.5% of Kentucky exports and 93.2% of U.S. exports. In addition to the export index, a measure of industry strength based upon labor and comparisons to regional competitor states is provided. 

  • Industries with a low index value, either overall or for specific countries, present opportunities for exports as they reflect low exports relative to the rest of the country and controlling for industry strength and overall U.S. exports of that industry to that country.
  • Industries with a low industry strength index may be opportunities for Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet intervention. These smaller industries may lack resources necessary to establish trading agreements. Broad intervention on the part of the Cabinet may overcome this lack of resources and lead to higher exports and industry growth.
  • Some focus on the dollar value of exports per worker is warranted and these data are provided for the U.S. as a whole. These industries may present opportunities for high dollar value exports, which can lead to higher wages for workers.
PDF: PDF icon Export Strength and Opportunities for Kentucky Industries.pdf

Kentucky Annual Report

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2015
Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress, James M. Sharpe PDF: PDF icon Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2015.pdf

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2014
Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress PDF: PDF icon Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2014.pdf

Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2013
Christopher R. Bollinger, William H. Hoyt, David Blackwell, Michael T. Childress PDF: PDF icon Kentucky Annual Economic Report 2013.pdf