Research

Publications

Policy Briefs

Book Reviews

  • Review of The Midas Paradox: Financial Markets, Government Policy Shocks, and the Great Depression by Scott Sumner, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 77, No. 2, p. 615 - 616.
  • Review of The Great Recession: Market Failure or Policy Failure? by Robert Hetzel, Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 30, No. 2, p. 251 - 254.
  • Review of Deliberating American Monetary Policy by Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 75, No. 1, p. 283 - 285.

Working Papers

Fun Stuff

  • "An Interest Group Theory of University Efficiency" - Chronically under-funded niche products at a university are the Pareto efficient outcome of an interest group selection process.
  • "On the Absence of September Surprises" - Why do so many stories break in the month before an election? From the perspective of a political campaign, the motivation seems clear: the campaign wants to do damage to their opponent at a stage when their opponent has little time to response or counter-punch. But what about reporters? Would a reporter ever hold a story until October? The knee-jerk answer would seem to be 'no.' If you have a good story, you would want to run with it before anyone else does. However, in this paper I develop a model in which the reporter has to balance a trade-off. On the one hand, the reporter wants to print the story as soon as possible to gain the first-mover advantage. On the other hand, news shocks unrelated to the reporter's story will occur in the run-up to the election. These could be positive or negative shocks from the reporter's perspective. A series of positive news shocks (i.e. news that increases the value of the story) would make the story more valuable later. I show that a reporter facing this trade-off will likely wait some period of time before publishing the story. In fact, using some numerical simulations, I demonstrate a scenario in which a reporter who has a story on July 1st only publishes the story before October with probability 0.45. (This one is so fun, that I'm developing it into a bigger project with Brian Albrecht)
  • "A Real Option View of the Nickel Coke" - For 73 years, the price of a 6.5 oz. Coca-Cola (mmm, Coca-Cola) was a nickel. Why did this price last so long? What can the literature on investment decisions teach us about the nickel Coke? I argue that the option theory of investment can help us to understand why the price of Coke remained a nickel for so long.
  • "Labor Market Middlemen and the Minimum Wage as Collective Bargaining" - Why do minimum wages exist? Despite a vast literature on the effects of the minimum wage on employment, relatively little has been written on why minimum wages exist. In this paper, I attempt an explanation that focuses on the role of wage bargaining, middlemen, and transaction costs.
  • "There's No Such Thing as the Zero Lower Bound" - The conventional wisdom is that the zero lower bound is a floor on the nominal interest rate. This is based on static reasoning regarding relative rates of return on cash and what are typically interest-bearing assets. I use a really simple model of an individual that has to choose when to switch from holding a deposit to holding cash. I show that there is indeed a lower bound on the nominal interest rate, but that it is below zero -- even when the cost of storing cash is approximately zero.

Other Writing

  • A Review of Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century (a revised version for a general audience appears in National Review)

Awards

Recent Presentations

  • "The Riksbank, Emergency Finance, Policy Experimentation, and Sweden's Reversal of Fortune", AIER Sound Money Project Annual Meeting, July 2018.
  • "The Riksbank, Emergency Finance, Policy Experimentation, and Sweden's Reversal of Fortune", Texas Tech University, March 2018
  • "Monetary Policy and the Interest Rate: Reflections on Allan Meltzer's Contributions to Monetary Economics", Reflections on Allan Meltzer's Contributions to Monetary Economics and Public Policy, Philadelphia, January 2018
  • "Nominal GDP Targeting and the Taylor Rule on an Even Playing Field", Wayne State University, April 2017
  • "Is Forward Guidance Effective? Indirect Evidence from the Speeches of Fed Presidents", Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 2016
  • "Nominal GDP Targeting and the Taylor Rule on an Even Playing Field", Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 2016
  • "Interest Rates and Investment Coordination Failures", APEE Conference, April 2016
  • "The Monetary Transmission Mechanism: Is the Interest Rate Enough?", APEE Conference, April 2016
  • "An Evaluation of Friedman's Monetary Instability Hypothesis", APEE Conference, April 2016
  • "Interest Rates and Investment Coordination Failures", Georgia Southern University, December 2015
  • "Money, Liquidity, and the Structure of Production", Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 2015
  • "Interest Rates, Policy Uncertainty, and Investment", Mississippi State University, September 2015
  • "Nominal GDP Targeting and the Taylor Rule on an Even Playing Field", Should Central Banks Target Nominal GDP? Conference, West Virginia University, April 2015
  • "Money, Liquidity, and the Structure of Production", UC-Irvine, April 2015
  • "The Bullionist Controversy: Theory and New Evidence", Rhodes College, February 2015
  • "The Bullionist Controversy: Theory and New Evidence", George Mason University, February 2015
  • "An Examination of Friedman's Monetary Instability Hypothesis", Society for Economic Measurement Conference, University of Chicago, August 2014