Research Interests

Household Finance, Behavioral Finance, Social Networks, Law/Politics and Finance


Local financial development causes long-lasting improvements in consumer financial health. We use credit panel data and variation in financial development across Native American reservations caused by Congressionally imposed differences in court enforcement of civil contracts. Young consumers on reservations with more financial activity more quickly engage in formal credit markets, an effect that leads to greater long-run financial health.

"Can Leverage Constraints Make (Some) Investors Better Off?"

SFS CavalcadeEFA 

Finalist for best paper award in Asset Pricing at the 2015 SFS Cavalcade

R&R, Journal of Financial Economics

Retail traders perform worse when they apply more leverage to their trades. Evidence of a causal relation comes from comparing the effects of CFTC regulation capping the maximum permissible leverage available to U.S. retail traders to unregulated European traders. I furnish evidence that traders escalate commitments to trading mistakes when the stakes are elevated via the use of leverage.

"YOLO: Mortality Beliefs and Household Finance Puzzles" (w/ Kristian Myrseth and Raphael Schoenle

WFANBER - SI (HF)SFS Cavalcade, LBS - EWFC, IDC - Herzliya 13th Annual Conference

Norman Award Grant for creative projects in the Social Sciences,

Media: Wall Street Journal: Pro, MarketWatch, Kiplinger, Bloomberg

Webinar for the Retirement Income Industry Association 

R&R, Journal of Finance

Subjective mortality beliefs flip from underestimation to overestimation over the life-cycle, thereby affecting consumption/savings decisions. A run-of-the-mill life-cycle model calibrated to subjective mortality beliefs can explain under-saving while young and under-consumption while retired. We provide evidence that the salience of causes-of-death is the primary source of mortality belief distortions over the life-cycle. 

"Politicizing Consumer Credit" (w/ Pat Akey and Stefan Lewellen)

WFA, EFAASU Winter Conference, IDC - Herzliya 14th Annual Conference

Consumer credit access falls when local politicians gain power. We use changes in Senate sub-committee leadership to identify the effect on consumer credit outcomes. Increased political power reduces the propensity for sub-prime and minority consumers in the state to obtain credit. The effects are strongest in counties with politically active financial institutions and constituencies that make fewer campaign contributions.  

"Facebook Finance: How Social Interaction Propagates Active Investing" (w/ David Simon)


Media: Wall Street Journal, Quartz, The Street

The patterns of communication between traders supports the growth of active strategies. Using novel data from a social network linked to individual investment accounts, traders broadcast their own successes, while recipients trade more when their peers perform well.

Selected Works in Progress

"Awareness of the Adverse Selection Problem in Retail Markets: A Field-Experiment on a Discount Brokerage" w/ Juhani Linnainmaa, FRA Early Ideas Session

"The Anatomy of Financial Frictions: New Evidence from Private Firms" w/ Jamie BrownTony Cookson, and Ivan IvanovFRA Early Ideas Session