Domestic regulations that impede international trade have become a central concern in contemporary trade negotiations. In this paper, I develop a general-equilibrium framework to analyze the welfare consequences of product regulations and their international harmonization. In my model, raising product standards reduces a negative externality associated with consumption but also increases the marginal and fixed costs of production. When a country sets its product standards non-cooperatively, the effects of standards on other countries' wages and number of firms are not internalized, giving rise to an international inefficiency. I show that the World Trade Organization's non-discrimination principle of national treatment cannot lead to an efficient equilibrium when standards affect the fixed cost of production. I then conduct a quantitative exercise and find that current international cooperation on product standards is still far from complete: welfare losses from abandoning national treatment average 1.44 percent, whereas potential welfare gains from efficient multilateral cooperation average 12.59 percent.       
Political leaders are believed to have substantial influence on economic activities, but the mechanism of such influence is still understudied. This paper examines how political leaders affect the flow of trade between Chinese provinces by exploiting variations created by the regular rotation of senior cadres across provinces. Using several novel datasets that capture the intensity of inter-provincial economic activities , we find that the movement of a provincial secretary, the de facto leader of a province, induces a significant increase in trade volumes between the origin and destination provinces. This effect is especially salient on trade flows from the destination to the origin of the rotation. This finding is corroborated by empirical analysis using various data sources. We then compare the two plausible mechanisms that can explain this pattern---rent seeking and business brokerage---and find evidence in support of the latter.

How does the presence of multilateral institutions affect the sustainability of trade-policy cooperation? Do free-trade agreements make multilateral cooperation less sustainable? Will countries be more likely to deviate from negotiated tariffs when more trade liberalization realizes in the future? All these questions have been studied in theory literature using models that feature repeated games, but have yet to be quantitatively analyzed. In this paper, I propose a methodology to quantitatively characterize countries' equilibrium strategies on tariffs in a widely used repeated-game framework. I then apply this methodology to address these questions from a quantitative perspective. The numerical results computed from a reasonably comprehensive general equilibrium trade model corroborate previous analysis derived theoretically from simpler trade models. However, only free-trade agreements appear to influence the sustainability of trade-policy cooperation with quantitative significance. 

In this paper we use a newly available city-level data set to estimate demand for passenger cars in China. In addition to including geographical variations of car demand, we also use the unique natural experiment setting of Sichuan Earthquake to study the impact of consumer social concern on their purchase behavior and brand country-of-origin effect. Regression results indicate that the philanthropic actions of automakers' home countries do lead to a country-of-origin effect and have a positive spillover on brand image. Moreover, the magnitude of this spillover effect is related to each city's charity behavior.  



Working Progress
“Regulatory Protection and Product Likeness”


Pre-Ph.D. Publications

"Aggregate consumption and debt accumulation: an empirical examination of US household behavior'', Cambridge Journal of Economics, 39(1), 93-112, 2015. (with Yun K. Kim, and Mark Setterfield)


"A theory of aggregate consumption'', European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar, vol. 11(1), pages 31-49, 2014. (with Yun K. Kim, and Mark Setterfield)