Last site update: 3/26/2019

I am an assistant professor of economics at UCLA.  My research interests are in urban economics, real estate and real estate finance, the economics of digitization, and applied microeconomics more broadly.

Working Papers:

What it's about: We use Yelp data to estimate a model of Bayesian learning about restaurant quality.  We use the model to argue that faster learning in denser neighborhoods leads to higher restaurant quality, as low quality restaurants exit faster and high quality restaurants are more likely to survive. 

The Sharing Economy and Housing Affordability: Evidence from Airbnb (with Kyle Barron and Davide Proserpio) -- revise and resubmit, Marketing Science
What it's about: Using a comprehensive dataset of Airbnb listings from the whole United States, we assess the impact of home-sharing on residential house prices and rental rates.  
Press: CityLab, WSJ

What it's about: We use a directed search model to show how the housing market responds to an interest rate shock through both transaction prices and liquidity.  The implication is that the house price response does not fully capture the underlying change to the valuation of housing.

What it's about: We study the biases that result from ignoring credit constraints in revealed preference models.  We use a dataset that merges housing transactions with buyer credit reports to demonstrate the bias in willingness-to-pay for school quality.

What it's about: I use the 2008 conforming loan limit (CLL) increases to study the effect of credit availability on house prices.  I use the original asking price of a home-for-sale as a non-parametric estimate for the likelihood that it will be purchased with a loan in the range affected by the CLL increases.

(replaces previous papers on continuous workout mortgages)
What it's about: I develop an equilibrium model of housing and mortgage markets where house prices, mortgage interest rates, and leverage ratios are determined endogenously.  Counterfactuals related to mortgage credit availability and mortgage contract design are explored.  General equilibrium effects are shown to be important.

Published Papers:

Measuring Mortgage Credit Availability: A Frontier Estimation Approach (with Elliot Anenberg, Aurel Hizmo and Raven Molloy) -- forthcoming in Journal of Applied Econometrics
What it's about: We construct a new measure of mortgage credit availability, the "loan frontier", that can be interpreted as the maximum mortgage amount obtainable by a borrower of given characteristics.  

Can More Housing Supply Solve the Affordability Crisis? Evidence from a Neighborhood Choice Model (with Elliot Anenberg) -- forthcoming in Regional Science and Urban Economics (Special Issue on Housing Affordability)
What it's about: We estimate a neighborhood choice model and show that the rental rate response to new housing supply is low, and thus marginal reductions in supply constraints alone are unlikely to meaningfully reduce rent burdens.  The reason for this result appears to be that rental rates are more closely determined by the level of amenities in a neighborhood - as in a Rosen-Roback spatial equilibrium framework - than by the supply of housing.

Life Insurance and Life Settlements: The Case for Health-Contingent Cash Surrender Values (with Hanming Fang) -- Journal of Risk and Insurance (2018)
What it's about: We characterize equilibrium life insurance contracts with endogenous surrender values.  We show that in an environment where policyholder incomes are increasing and in which there are random bequest shocks, positive cash surrender values will not be chosen in equilibrium.  In the presence of a life settlement market, however, health-contingent cash surrender values can be welfare improving.

Information Technology and Product Variety in the City: The Case of Food Trucks (with Elliot Anenberg) -- Journal of Urban Economics (2015)
What it's about: Using the food truck industry as the setting, we show how information technology can complement consumption variety in cities by reducing spatial information frictions associated with locally produced goods.

What it's about: Using a novel dataset that matches house for-sale listings to housing transactions, we provide new evidence about the magnitude and the mechanisms behind the effect of foreclosures on nearby property values.