Research

with Marianna Kudlyak, May 2020

Using CPS monthly data and high-frequency state-level data from the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, we find that the pandemic layoffs in March-April 2020 were predominately temporary. This is in contrast to job loss during the most recent recessions when most layoffs were permanent. Permanent job loss triggers a protracted re-employment process and is a key factor behind slow recoveries of unemployment. We discuss risks of the pandemic layoffs turning into permanent job loss.


American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, 110 (2020): 535-40

Foreign governments went from owning a tenth of publicly available US Treasury notes and bonds in 1985 to over half in 2008. Recently, foreign governments have reduced their positions. I find foreign official purchases have depressed medium-term yields, despite conventional wisdom pointing toward the long end of the yield curve. To examine effects over the entire yield curve, I embed a structural vector autoregression of macroeconomic variables into an affine term structure model. With segments of the yield curve increasingly determined by international financial markets, it may be more difficult for the Federal Reserve to implement its interest rate policy. Online appendix. Data and code.

Press Coverage: Bloomberg

May 2020

Revision requested, Journal of Monetary Economics

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 search model encompassing three explanations: (1) automation and trade reduced the demand for low-skilled workers; (2) health, welfare, and recreational gaming/computer technology reduced the supply of low-skilled workers; and (3) factors affecting job search, such as online job boards, reduced frictions for high-skilled workers. I find a shift in demand away from low-skilled workers was the leading cause, a shift in supply may have had some effect, and search frictions actually reduced employment inequality.

Press Coverage: The Conversation, CBS News, Middlebury Newsroom, The Middlebury Campus

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.

(1) Population on Easter Island with no agriculture(2) Agriculture with no erosion(3) Agriculture with irreversable erosion

Work in Progress:

"Skill Mismatch Unemployment" with Marianna Kudlyak (FRB San Francisco)

"Understanding Nonresponse in the CPS" with Robert Bernhardt and David Munro (Middlebury)