Research


Employment Inequality: Why do the Low-Skilled Work Less Now?  December 2018

Low-skilled prime-age men are less likely to be employed than high-skilled prime- age men and the differential has increased since the 1970s.  I build a labor search model encompassing three explanations: (1) factors increasing the value of leisure, like welfare or recreational gaming/computer technology, reduced the supply of low-skilled workers; (2) automation and trade reduced the demand for low-skilled workers, and (3) factors affecting job search, like online job boards, reduced frictions for high-skilled workers.  I find a demand shift away from low-skilled workers in the leading cause, while a supply shift had little effect, and search frictions actually reduced employment inequality. 

[The Conversation] [CBS News]


Impact of Foreign Official Purchases of U.S.Treasuries on the Yield Curve, November 2016 

Foreign governments went from owning 10 percent of publicly held U.S. Treasury debt in 1985 to over 50 percent in 2008. Recently, foreign governments have reduced their Treasury positions. This paper employs a Gaussian affine term structure model, augmented with macro variables, to test whether purchases of Treasuries by foreign governments have effected U.S. interest rates. The advantage of using a term structure model is it allows us to examine the impact of shocks over the entire yield curve, as opposed to a single maturity. To identify shocks to foreign official purchases of Treasuries, I embed a structural vector autoregression of macroeconomic variables in the model. I find foreign official purchases have shifted the entire yield curve down with the largest impacts on the 2-year Treasury yield


“Agroecology of an Island Economy,” with Jon M. Conrad (Cornell University). Land Economics 87.3 (2011): 403-411.

Ecologists and anthropologists have had a long-standing interest in the settlement and evolution of isolated islands, particularly Easter Island. The open access model is often used to describe the evolution of a human population and its resource base. Unfortunately, an open access model, with spiral convergence to a steady state, is inappropriate for island dynamics where the human population peaks and then goes into permanent decline. We develop more appropriate two-state and three-state models. The non-autonomous version of the three-state model, which collapses to the stable two-state model, produces dynamics that are more consistent with the history of Easter Island.






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