All Publications

Research Report

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

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

How to Raise State Revenue without Raising Taxes
Christopher R. Bollinger

A positive relationship exists between educational attainment and earnings, which has been well established in the literature through multiple studies. This, in turn, influences the revenues generated for the state of Kentucky through the personal income tax. We predict even the modest change of increasing Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree holders by 1% would increase revenue by $37 million. Kentucky loses between $300 million and $500 million in state tax revenues every year because our educational attainment is lower than the national average.

PDF: PDF icon How to Raise State Revenue without Raising Taxes.pdf

Education Pays Everywhere!
Christopher R. Bollinger

Economists and other researchers have long demonstrated the relationship between education and earnings. In this brief, we focus on the relationship between educational attainment and earnings in the state of Kentucky. Our results, in many ways, are unsurprising, as the old ad campaign said, “Education Pays.” What may be surprising is that we demonstrate that education pays not only in the big cities of Lexington and Louisville, but also in the more rural parts of the state, such as eastern Kentucky and western Kentucky.

PDF: PDF icon Education Pays Everywhere!.pdf

Want a Job? Get a College Degree
Christopher R. Bollinger

While it is well known that a positive relationship exists between educational attainment and earnings for those who are in the labor market, an important part of how education impacts the well-being of families in Kentucky is the access to employment that it provides. In this brief, we examine the relationship between education and two measures of employment status: unemployment and labor force participation. What we find is quite striking: not only do those with higher education experience less unemployment, they are far more likely to be participating in the labor market. Education leads to better access to employment.

PDF: PDF icon Want a Job? Get a College Degree.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