Summary

I am a doctoral candidate in the strategy unit at Harvard Business School. My main area of interest is in the intersection of technology, organizational economics, and strategy. In my job market paper, I construct a novel dataset to explore the impact of broadband adoption on within-firm wage inequality. In related, ongoing work, I examine the determinants of firm hierarchy in startups. In a second stream of research, I study regulation and public policy. My research has been accepted at the Journal of Financial Economics and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Slate, and Bloomberg.

I am on the academic job market in fall 2017, and expect to graduate in May 2018.

Job Market Paper

Touring an ice cream factory in Brazil.

Who benefits from the adoption of technology in the workplace? To explore, I combine worker-level wage data with information on broadband adoption by Brazilian firms to estimate the effects of broadband on wages. Overall, wages increase roughly 2.5% following broadband adoption. Consistent with the theory of skill-biased technological change, wages increase the most for workers engaged in non-routine cognitive tasks; returns are negative for routine cognitive tasks. There is no effect of broadband adoption on wages for either routine or non-routine manual tasks. Both new hires and the firm's existing employees benefit from broadband adoption, which indicates broadband's effects are not driven only by better recruitment of new employees. Additionally, I estimate the effect of broadband on selected quantiles of the within firm wage distribution and find evidence that within firm wage inequality increases following broadband adoption.

Draft forthcoming.

Research

  • What Makes the Bonding Stick? A Natural Experiment Involving the U.S. Supreme Court and Cross-Listed Firms (with Amir N. Licht, Jordan I. Siegel, and Xi Li)
    Accepted at Journal of Financial Economics

    On March 29, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled its intention to geographically limit the reach of the U.S. securities antifraud regime and thus differentially exclude U.S.-listed foreign firms from the ambit of formal U.S. antifraud enforcement. We use this legal surprise as a natural experiment to test the legal bonding hypothesis. This event nonetheless was met with positive or indifferent market reactions based on matched samples, Brown-Warner, and portfolio analyses. These results challenge the value of at least the U.S. civil liability regime, as currently designed, as a legal bonding mechanism in such firms.

  • The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy (with Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra)
    R&R at Journal of Public Economics

    There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. This effect increases with the number of fatalities. Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Our estimates suggest that the per-death impact of mass shootings on bills introduced is about 80 times as large as the impact of individual gun homicides in non-mass shooting incidents. Third, when looking at enacted laws, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. A mass shooting increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75% in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.

  • Handgun Waiting Periods Reduce Gun Violence (with Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra)
    R&R at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Handgun waiting periods are laws that impose a delay between the initiation of a purchase and final acquisition of a firearm. By creating a “cooling off” period, waiting periods might reduce the incidence of gun violence in cases where the buyer was motivated to purchase a firearm due to a transitory emotional state (e.g., anger). We estimate the impact of waiting periods on gun deaths, exploiting all changes to state-level policies in the Unites States since 1978. We find that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by roughly 16%. We provide further support for the causal impact of waiting periods on homicides by exploiting a natural experiment resulting from a federal law in 1994 that imposed a temporary waiting period on a subset of states.

  • How and When Does Hierarchy Emerge in Firms? (with Megan Lawrence)
    Submitted

    Despite understanding that formal structure within firms is crucial for maintaining coordination and control as young firms grow, relatively little is systematically known about the initial formation of hierarchy in firms. By exploiting access to a dataset of all employees within all firms in Brazil between 2004 and 2014, we test and find support for factors that may contribute to the genesis of middle management using theories developed regarding information processing, initial founding conditions, and external environmental conditions. We also capture hires into specific functional areas and find that established theories are less predictive of the emergence of specialized managers. Above all, the size of the firm appears to have the strongest effect on the emergence of hierarchy in young firms.

  • Citizens' Perceptions and the Disconnect Between Economics and Regulatory Policy (with Jonathan Baron and William T. McEnroe)
    In Regulatory Breakdown: The Crisis of Confidence in U.S. Regulation. Ed. Cary Coglianese. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

    Economic theory is clear about the advantages and disadvantages of various ways of regulating negative externalities, such as command and control, cap and trade, taxation, subsidies, and tort law. Yet public policy rarely follows the recommendations that follow from the theory. For example, the standard recommendations for reducing CO2 emissions involve carbon taxes or some form of cap and trade, but discussions of "realistic" ways to reduce emissions in the U.S. have involved mileage standards, command and control regulation of power plants, and tax subsidies for energy efficiency. In democracies such as the U.S., policies must have at least some public support. Citizens' limited understanding of the economics of regulation can lead to lack of support for optimal policies. In studies on the World Wide Web, we document some failures, and some successes, of ordinary citizens to think through the economics of alternative policies. Among other issues, we examine understanding of the secondary effects of taxation vs. subsidies, and understanding of the role of limited information (on the part of polluters, or governments) in the choice between command-and-control regulation and tort law or taxation.

Teaching

  • Teaching Fellow, Economic Analysis of Public Policy
    Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Case Study Sessions (Summer 2016 and Summer 2017)
    Program for Research in Markets & Organizations