I am a fourth-year PhD student in economics at MIT, with research interests in public finance, urban economics, and labor economics. I served as a Staff Economist at the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers from May 2021 to May 2022.
Transfer receipt in the U.S. is voluntary, generating "self-targeting" through selective take-up among the eligible. Who self-targets, and what are the implications for social welfare? We find that, across eight transfers, recipients have lower consumption and lifetime incomes on average than eligible nonrecipients with similar current incomes. Overall, these voluntary transfers provide 50 to 75 percent more to the consumption-poorest and lifetime-poorest than would automatic transfers that are distributionally equivalent by income. We use our results to quantify the social trade-off between voluntary and automatic transfers. The social benefits of self-targeting appear to equal or exceed the social costs of ordeals, with significant welfare losses if some transfers were made automatically.
We show that Covid-19 illnesses and related work absences persistently reduce labor supply. Using an event study, we estimate that workers with week-long Covid-19 absences are 7 percentage points less likely to be in the labor force one year later compared to otherwise-similar workers who do not miss a week of work for health reasons. Our estimates suggest Covid-19 absences have reduced the U.S. labor force by approximately 500,000 people (0.2 percent of adults) and imply an average labor supply loss per Covid-19 absence equivalent to $9,000 in earnings, about 90 percent of which reflects losses beyond the initial absence week.
In many cities, incentives and regulations lead developers to integrate low-income housing into market-rate buildings. How cost-effective are these policies? I study take-up of a tax incentive in New York City using a model in which developers trade off between tax savings and pre-tax income. I estimate the model using policy variation and microdata on all development from 2003 to 2015. The citywide marginal fiscal cost is $1.6 million per low-income unit. Differences in neighborhoods, not developer incidence, explain the cost premium over other housing programs. Weighing costs against external estimates of neighborhood effects, I find middle-class neighborhoods offer "opportunity bargains."
We assess the welfare consequences of occupational licensing for workers and consumers. We estimate a model of labor market equilibrium in which licensing restricts labor supply but also affects labor demand via worker quality and selection. On the margin of occupations licensed differently between U.S. states, we find that licensing raises wages and hours but reduces employment. We estimate an average welfare loss of 12 percent of occupational surplus. Workers and consumers respectively bear 70 and 30 percent of the incidence. Higher willingness to pay offsets 80 percent of higher prices for consumers, and higher wages compensate workers for 60 percent of the cost of mandated investment in occupation-specific human capital. Welfare effects appear more favorable in occupations in which licensing is more common.
We exploit a natural experiment to study discrimination in elections. In Illinois Republican presidential primaries, voters vote for delegates bound to presidential candidates, but delegates' names convey information about their race and gender. We identify discrimination from variation in vote totals among delegates bound to the same presidential candidate and who face the same voters. Examining delegate vote totals from 2000 to 2016, we estimate nonwhite delegates receive 9 percent fewer votes. We find essentially no gender discrimination. Negligible incentives for statistical discrimination, costs to preferred presidential candidates, and heterogeneity are consistent with an interpretation of this behavior as taste-based.
The first official published input-output table for the U.S., covering 192 industries and constructed by Wassily Leontief and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I found this document, to my knowledge lost for many years, in the Harvard University Archives in July 2019. I thank David Atkin for financial support to preserve and digitize these documents.