Summary

Touring an ice cream factory in Brazil.
I am an assistant professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. My main areas of interest are organizational economics, public policy, and technology. My research is published in PNAS and the Journal of Financial Economics. My work has been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, NPR, The Atlantic, Slate, and Bloomberg.

Research

  • Handgun Waiting Periods Reduce Gun Deaths (with Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra)
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114, no. 46 (November 14, 2017): 12162–12165
    Open Access Article from PNAS

    Handgun waiting periods are laws that impose a delay between the initiation of a purchase and final acquisition of a firearm. We show that waiting periods, which create a "cooling off" period among buyers, significantly reduce the incidence of gun violence. We estimate the impact of waiting periods on gun deaths, exploiting all changes to state-level policies in the Unites States since 1970. We find that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%. 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.

  • What Makes the Bonding Stick? A Natural Experiment Testing the Legal Bonding Hypothesis (with Amir N. Licht, Jordan I. Siegel, and Xi Li)
    Journal of Financial Economics. 129, no. 2 (August 2018): 329–356
    View on Journal Website  |  View on SSRN

    We use a U.S. Supreme Court case, Morrison v. National Australia Bank (2010), as a natural experiment to test the legal bonding hypothesis. By decreasing the potential liability of U.S.-listed foreign firms, particularly due to class action lawsuits, Morrison arguably eroded their legal bonding to compliance with disclosure duties. Nevertheless, we find evidence of an increase or insignificant change in share values. Tests of longer-run effects of the legal event indicate that foreign firms' disclosure quality and likelihood of facing enforcement actions remained stable, as did investors' revealed preferences for trading on US markets. These results go against the legal bonding hypothesis but are consistent with reputational bonding and with market-based accounts of US cross-listing. Our results may contribute to ongoing debate about civil enforcement of securities laws through class actions.

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

    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 extent of media coverage. Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Third, when looking at bills that were actually enacted into law, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. The annual number of laws that loosen gun restrictions doubles in the year following a mass shooting in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature, nor do we find a significant effect of mass shootings on the enactment of laws that tighten gun restrictions.

  • The Effect of the Internet on Wages
    Download Latest Draft

    Who benefits from technology adoption 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 2.3 percent following broadband adoption. Consistent with the theory of biased technological change, wages increase the most for workers engaged in non-routine cognitive tasks and returns are negative for routine cognitive tasks. There is no effect of broadband adoption on wages for either routine or non-routine manual tasks. 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. Both new hires and the firm's existing employees benefit from broadband adoption, which indicates that broadband's effects are not driven only by better recruitment of new employees.

  • Coordination Costs and the Emergence of Hierarchy in Young Firms (with Megan Lawrence)

    We have long known that organizational design choices have a significant impact on a firm's processes and performance. However, most knowledge about organizational structure comes from settings with static or already established structures. We propose and find evidence that coordination costs influence the development of organizational structure. Using a dataset of employees in all new Brazilian firms from 2003 to 2014, we find that factors associated with a greater need for coordination and with a lesser ability to coordinate amongst the founding team are associated with a greater likelihood of adopting a formal structure. These results contribute to our understanding of the role of organizational structure in coordinating knowledge and highlight one mechanism by which founding conditions influence a young firm's evolution and capabilities.

  • Internal Inducements and Resource Redeployment in Multi-Business Firms (with Jasmina Chauvin)

    The theory of resource redeployment suggests that multi-business firms create value by reallocating non-financial resources across businesses in response to inducements. We develop a new theoretical distinction between external inducements — advantages in returns to a resource created by changes in the external environment — and internal inducements, advantages in returns created by processes within the firm. Using two examples of internal inducements, learning-by-doing and knowledge transfer, we explain the different empirical and practical implications of internal and external inducements. We then provide the first direct observation of internal resource redeployment in a large sample of multi-business firms and show that redeployment is an empirically significant phenomenon. Several descriptive characteristics of redeployment align with key tenets of the theory, but we also uncover patterns that are difficult to explain solely with prior theories of inducements, supporting our argument that internal inducements are another potential driver of redeployment and competitive advantage in multi-business 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.
    View on JSTOR

    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

  • Business Strategy (MGMT 420)
    UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Teaching Fellow, Economic Analysis of Public Policy (API 102A)
    Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government