Research

A prestigious firm garners fame for its innovative products, and attracts the most talented workers.  Access to this pool of talent allows the firm to continue innovating.  A manager freezes hiring and cuts back spending upon hearing gloomy economic news. Many business leaders across the country respond similarly, fueling the very recession which they fear.

Both of these examples illustrate the power of positive feedback mechanisms.  Understanding the role that such mechanisms play within our economy is a major goal of my research.  Shedding light on this topic necessitates both the use of empirical methods, such as econometric analysis, and theoretical techniques such as general equilibrium modeling.

Papers
  • The Contractionary Effects of Bad Economic News (Accepted, JMCB)
    Reconstructs the delivery of pessimistic economic news across the United States at county level resolution; finds empirical evidence that the presence of such news can inhibit hiring and deepen a recession.
    • Online appendix
    • Data (.zip, 261 MB; this is a condensed version of the data, sufficient to replicate my tables. For the full data-set, which is over 8GB in size, please contact me.)

  • Fear Itself: How Risk Averse Firms can Make Demand Shocks Bite (Submitted to JEDC)
    DSGE models with risk averse consumers are known to exhibit counter-intuitive behavior: in such models, an increase in economic uncertainty often leads to a boom, not a bust.  By positing that firms are risk averse, the model outlined in this paper can reverse this pathological effect, generating realistic demand-driven recessions.

  • The Paralysis Justification and A Unifying Approach to Municipal Restructuring (Accepted, Boston College Law Review)
    With Samir Parikh
    Analyzes municipal bond data, presenting evidence that states with more generous debt adjustment policies aren't punished by higher borrowing costs.  Argues that such policies should be implemented in states whose cities are on the fiscal brink.
Working Papers
  • The Life Cycle of Innovative Firms
    Do prestigious firms gain an advantage by being able to hire the most talented workers?  This paper uses matched employer-employee data to track talented workers as they move from firm to firm, and estimates the impact of this flow of talent on employer outcomes.
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