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Publications

Discussion Paper
Abstract

We use matched employer-employee data from Sweden to study the role of the firm in affecting the stochastic properties of wages. Our model accounts for endogenous participation and mobility decisions. We find that firm-specific permanent productivity shocks transmit to individual wages, but the effect is mostly concentrated among the high-skilled workers. The pass-through of temporary shocks is smaller in magnitude and similar for high- and low-skilled workers. The updates to worker-firm specific match effects over the life of a firm-worker relationship are small. Substantial growth in earnings variance over the life cycle for high-skilled workers is driven by firms. In particular, cross-sectional wage variances by age 55 are roughly one-third higher relative to a scenario with no pass-through of firm shocks onto wages.

Discussion Paper
Abstract

We examine the effects of international trade in the presence of a set of domestic distortions giving rise to informality, a prevalent phenomenon in developing countries. In our quantitative model, the informal sector arises from burdensome taxes and regulations that are imperfectly enforced by the government. Consequently, smaller, less productive firms face fewer distortions than larger, more productive ones, potentially leading to substantial misallocation. We show that in settings with a large informal sector, the gains from trade are significantly amplified, as reductions in trade barriers imply a reallocation of resources from initially less distorted to more distorted firms. We confirm findings from earlier reduced-form studies that the informal sector mitigates the impact of negative labor demand shocks on unemployment. Nonetheless, the informal sector can exacerbate the adverse welfare effects of economic downturns, amplifying misallocation. Last, our research sheds light on the relationship between trade openness and cross-firm wage inequality.

Quarterly Journal of Economics
Abstract

More than two million U.S. households have an eviction case filed against them each year. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels are increasingly pursuing policies to reduce the number of evictions, citing harm to tenants and high public expenditures related to homelessness. We study the consequences of eviction for tenants using newly linked administrative data from two major urban areas: Cook County (which includes Chicago) and New York City. We document that prior to housing court, tenants experience declines in earnings and employment and increases in financial distress and hospital visits. These pre-trends pose a challenge for disentangling correlation and causation. To address this problem, we use an instrumental variables approach based on cases randomly assigned to judges of varying leniency. We find that an eviction order increases homelessness and hospital visits and reduces earnings, durable goods consumption, and access to credit in the first two years. Effects on housing and labor market outcomes are driven by impacts for female and Black tenants. In the longer run, eviction increases indebtedness and reduces credit scores.

Discussion Paper
Abstract

We study a dynamic contribution game where investors seek private benefits that are offered in exchange for contributions and a single, publicly-minded donor values project success. We show that donor contributions serve as costly signals that encourage socially-productive contributions by investors who face a coordination problem. Investors and the donor prefer different equilibria but all benefit in expectation from the donor’s ability to dynamically signal his valuation. We explore various contexts in which our model can be applied and delve empirically into the case of Kickstarter. We calibrate our model and quantify the coordination benefits of dynamic signaling in counterfactuals.

Discussion Paper
Abstract

We analyze the welfare impact of a monopolist able to segment a multiproduct market and offer differentiated price menus within each segment. We characterize a family of extremal distributions such that all achievable welfare outcomes can be reached by selecting segments from within these distributions. This family of distributions arises as the solution to the consumer maximizing distribution of values for multigood markets. With these results, we analyze the effect of segmentation on consumer surplus and prices in both interior and extremal markets, including conditions under which there exists a segmentation benefiting all consumers. Finally, we present an efficient algorithm for computing segmentations.

Discussion Paper
Abstract

We characterize the bidders' surplus maximizing information structure in an optimal auction for a single unit good and related extensions to multi-unit and multi-good problems. The bidders seeks to find a balance between participation (and the avoidance of exclusion) and efficiency. The information structure that maximizes the bidders surplus is given by a generalized Pareto distribution at the center of demand distribution, and displays complete information disclosure at either end of the Pareto distribution.

Journal of Political Economy
Abstract

We analyze sorting in a frictional labor market when workers and jobs have multidimensional characteristics. We say that matching is positive assortative in dimension (jk) if workers with higher endowment in skill k are matched to a job distribution with higher values of attribute j in the first-order stochastic dominance sense. Crucial for sorting is a single-crossing property of technology. Sorting is positive between worker-job attributes with strong complementarities but negative in other dimensions. Finally, sorting is based on comparative advantage: workers sort into jobs that suit their skill mix rather than their overall skill level.

Journal of Political Economy
Abstract

Which information structures are more effective at eliminating first- and higher-order uncertainty and hence at facilitating efficient play in coordination games? We consider a learning setting where players observe many private signals about the state. First, we characterize multiagent learning efficiency, that is, the rate at which players approximate common knowledge. We find that this coincides with the rate at which first-order uncertainty disappears, as higher-order uncertainty vanishes faster than first-order uncertainty. Second, we show that with enough signal draws, information structures with higher learning efficiency induce higher equilibrium welfare. We highlight information design implications for games in data-rich environments.

Discussion Paper
Abstract

Why do the prices of some products change little during business cycles while the prices of others vary wildly and tend to rise during economic booms and fall during recessions? In particular, why do the prices of some products not fall or fall only a little when the demand for them declines dramatically. It is not surprising that in highly competitive industries prices fluctuate with shifts in demand and supply, but what explains the stability of prices in markets where firms have more direct control of prices? These questions are central to an understanding of business cycles, and good answers would also help us predict how prices will behave.

Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Abstract

Commitment to the behaviorist approach to utility theory, to the usefulness of mathematics in economic analysis, and to equalization of the marginal utility of income as a principle of just taxation brought Irving Fisher and Ragnar Frisch to attempt to measure the marginal utility of income and led them to collaborate in forming the Econometric Society and sponsoring the establishment of the Cowles Commission, institutions advancing economic theory in connection to mathematics and statistics, and led Frisch to pioneer an axiomatic approach to utility and microeconomic theory.