Working papers

Time Use and Labor Productivity: The Returns to Sleep (revise & resubmit)
with Jeffrey Shrader
We investigate how the single largest use of time—sleep—affects labor productivity. Motivated by a theoretical model, we provide empirical evidence that sleep is complementary to work in the short run and complementary to home production for non-employed individuals in both the short and long run. Using time use diaries from the United States, we show that later sunset time reduces worker sleep and earnings. After investigating these relationships and ruling out alternative hypotheses, we implement an instrumental variables specification that provides the first causal estimates of the impact of sleep on earnings. A one-hour increase in location-average weekly sleep increases earnings by 1.1% in the short run and 5% in the long run.
Press: WSJ | Huffington Post | Freakonomics | Marketplace | The World Bank | Australian Broadcasting Corporation LA Times NY Magazine Marginal Revolution Washington Post Daily Mail
Regulation-induced pollution substitution
Environmental regulations may cause firms to re-optimize over pollution inputs, leading to unintended consequences. By regulating air emissions in particular counties, the Clean Air Act (CAA) gives firms incentives to substitute: 1) toward polluting other media, like landfills and waterways; and 2) toward pollution from plants in other counties. Before testing these hypotheses, I first use secondary data to evaluate the coverage and accuracy of my primary data set, the EPA Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). I find the TRI data cover the majority of plants in high-emitting industries. Unlike some previous work, I find strong evidence of agreement between TRI emissions and an independent secondary measure. I then use the TRI to examine the effects of CAA regulation on pollution substitution. Regulated plants increase water emissions by 105 percent (72 log points), offsetting 9 percent of air emissions reductions. Regulation of an average plant increases air emissions at unregulated plants within the same firm by 11 percent. This leakage offsets 37 percent of emissions reductions by regulated firms.
with Jamie T. Mullins and Alison Hill
Abstract Applying a hedonic difference-in-differences framework to a census of residential property transactions in New York City 2003-2016.5, we estimate the effects of 3 flood risk signals: 1) the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which increased premiums; 2) Hurricane Sandy; and 3) new FEMA floodplain maps. On average each signal decreases sale prices by approximately 5 percent. Properties for which a signal provides more new information exhibit larger effects: for properties not flooded by Sandy but included in the new floodplain, sale prices fall approximately 12 to nearly 23 percent. Informed by a theoretical model, we decompose our reduced-form treatment effects into the costs of insurance premium changes and updating, finding that new maps (an information signal) induce belief changes broadly comparable to those from insurance reform (a price signal). Using Google data, we document increases in flood-related search intensity coincident with flood risk signals.