Brian Baugh
HLH 425R, PO Box 880490, Lincoln, NE 68588
Work Experience
University of Lincoln - Nebraska (2017-Current) - Assistant Professor of Finance
University of Lincoln - Nebraska (2016-2017) - Lecturer
Ohio State University (2014) - Instructor
Boeing (2006-2009, 2011) - Systems Engineer

Ph.D., Finance, Ohio State University - 2017
M.B.A., Brigham Young University - 2010
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University - 2006

Research Interests
Household Finance, Corporate Finance, Behavioral Finance, Tax.

Published Papers

For years, online retailers have maintained a price advantage over brick‐and‐mortar retailers by not collecting sales tax at the time of sale. Recently, several states have required that online retailer Amazon collect sales tax during checkout. Using transaction‐level data, we document that households living in these states reduced their Amazon purchases by 9.4% following the implementation of the sales tax laws, implying elasticities of –1.2 to –1.4. The effect is stronger for large purchases, where purchases declined by 29.1%, corresponding to an elasticity of –3.9. Studying competitors in the electronics field, we find some evidence of substitution toward competing retailers.

Presented at Israeli Industrial Organization Conference at Tel-Aviv University (
2013*), AEA (2016*), NBER Universities' Research Conference (2016), NBER Public Economics Program (2016), NBER Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth Conference (2016)
, Berkeley Econ (2016).

Abbreviated media coverage: WSJNPR, Bloomberg (123), NYT (12), ForbesReutersTimeBusiness InsiderChicago TribuneSeattle TimesSalon, VOX (12), CSMonitorMotley Fool,  Geekwire).

* Denotes presentation by co-author.

Working Papers

We use account-level data to document that households respond differently to expected transitory cash receipts than to cash payments. Consumers increase consumption spending when they receive tax refunds; however, they do not reduce their spending when they make expected tax payments. The central asymmetry in response and its pattern across liquidity and income levels is consistent with the behavior of rational consumers with liquidity constraints, but this canonical model cannot explain the lack of spending days before arrival of a refund or the lack of spending response to information about taxes around filing.

Presented at Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank Conference (2013), Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank Payments Conference (2013), Whitebox Advisors Graduate Student Conference (2014*), OSU Econ (2013*), WFA (2014 (previous version)), AEA(2015), WFA (2018*).

[Under Review] Elasticity of Household Retailer Choice (with Scott Baker and Lorenz Kueng)

Using transaction-level income and spending data, we demonstrate that households are highly elastic in their choice of individual retailers. For instance, about 30% of short-term marginal spending is done at retailers that the household has never patronized before. The degree of elasticity is asymmetric and varies by industry, size of the firms, characteristics of the customer base, location, and whether a firm is public or private. Because these retailers are not identical, household retailer choice can drive important aggregate trends. We show that the elasticity of household retailer choice has implications not only for entrepreneurship and firm-level competition, but can affect trends in aggregate cash-flow volatility, firm size, profitability, and labor intensity. Moreover, retailer choice is highly dispersed at a household level, with little overlap in retailers across individual households. Most of this dispersion is driven by location and household demographics and not by household income.

This paper examines the effect of restricting payday credit to payday users. Using administrative banking data from over fifteen thousand online payday borrowers, I exploit a natural experiment surrounding a 2013 U.S. Department of Justice initiative known as Operation Choke Point (OCP) that unexpectedly shut down dozens of online payday lenders. Using a difference in differences framework, I find a persistent reduction in payday borrowing of treated households, those with a pre-existing relationship with a lender that is shut down. Relative to control households, treated households reduce borrowing by $91 per month, reduce the number of bounced checks by 14%, reduce the number of overdrafts by 4%, increase consumption by 2%, and exhibit no increase in consumption volatility. The effects are persistent and grow in magnitude over time. A cross-sectional analysis reveals that the positive outcomes following restricted payday loan access are concentrated among the heaviest pre-treatment borrowers. I conclude by analyzing the types of purchases these loans finance and find that approximately half of abnormal spending the week of payday borrowing is spent on predictable categories such as mortgages, car loans, and insurance. Surprisingly, I find evidence of abnormal gambling activity immediately preceding and following payday borrowing.

Presented at Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank Conference (2015), Delaware (2015), Brigham Young University (2015), Fordham (2015), Pepperdine (2015), Nebraska (2015), South Carolina (2016), SMU (2016), GA Tech (2016), Notre Dame (2016), Berkeley Econ (2016), 
WFA (2017).

Media coverage: Bloomberg

When Is It Hard to Make Ends Meet? (with Jialan Wang)

We analyze how predictable variation in the timing of income affects household financial health. Exploiting quasi-random variation in the disbursement of benefits by the Social Security Administration, we document that households are more likely to face financial shortfalls during 35-day versus 28-day pay periods. Households are also more likely to experience shortfalls if they have a greater mismatch between the timing of income and expenditure commitments. These patterns are difficult to reconcile with the lifecycle / permanent income hypothesis. The results suggest that policies and technologies that help consumers align the timing of their income and expenditure streams would improve financial health.

Presented at 
Federal Reserve Board (2017*), NBER Household Finance (2017*), NBER Law and Economics (2017*), SFS Cavalcade (2017*), RRC Meeting (2017*), Social Security Administration (2017*), UC Irvine (2017*), and Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (2018), Midwest Macroeconomics Meeting (2019), WFA (2019).

Media coverage: Tech Crunch

* Denotes presentation by co-author.

Works in Process
Choice-Based Pension Plans and Arbitrary Wealth Accumulation (with Itzhak Ben-David and Isil Erel)

Honors and Awards
2015 - AFA Student Travel Grant
2013 - NBER Household Finance Grant (with Itzhak Ben-David and Hoonsuk Park)

2018 to present - FINA 361H: Honors Finance
2017 to present - FINA 467/867: Options, Futures and Derivative Securities
2014 - BUSFIN 4211: Corporate Finance

Professional Service
Ad-hoc referee: Review of Financial Studies, Review of Economics and Statistics, National Tax Journal, Journal of Banking and Finance, American Economic Journal (Economic Policy).

Dissertation Committee
René Stulz (Chair), Fisher College of Business, OSU
Zahi Ben-David, Fisher College of Business, OSU
Berk Sensoy, Fisher College of Business, OSU
Jonathan Parker, Sloan School of Management, MIT