Robert Ulbricht

Assistant Professor of Economics
Boston College

Phone: +33 (561) 128-771
Email: ulbricht@bc.edu

Office: Maloney 385A

Address:
Department of Economics
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Working Papers

Mismatch Cycles, with Isaac Baley and Ana Figueiredo

We build an equilibrium model of the labor market with directed search, multidimensional sorting, learning about skills, and aggregate shocks. We use use the model to study the dynamics of skill mismatch over the business cycle. During recessions, highly mismatched jobs are destroyed but also created. The patterns are consistent with direct evidence from the NLSY79 and O*NET.

Robust Predictions for DSGE Models with Incomplete Information, with Ryan Chahrour

We study the quantitative potential of business cycle models with information frictions. We offer predictions that are robust across all possible private information structures that agents may have. We find that confidence-shocks can explain up to 51% of U.S. business cycle fluctuations.

Endogenous Uncertainty and Credit Crunches, with Ludwig Straub

R&R at Review of Economic Studies

We develop a theory of endogenous uncertainty where uncertainty is caused by financial distress. Because uncertainty reinforces financial distress, temporary shocks can lead to "funding freezes" where firms are persistently cut off from external funding.

Dynamic Oligopoly Pricing: Evidence from the Airline Industry, with Caspar Siegert

We explore how pricing dynamics in the European airline industry vary with competition and document patterns that are consistent with intertemporal price discrimination.

The main ideas of this paper are now subsumed by the papers "Endogenous Uncertainty and Credit Crunches" and "Endogenous Second Moments"


Publications

Accepted at Review of Economic Studies

We develop a quantitative theory of repeated political transitions driven by revolts and reforms. The model generates a process of political transitions that looks remarkably close to the data.

Endogenous Second Moments: A Unified Approach to Fluctuations in Risk, Dispersion and Uncertainty, with Ludwig Straub

Journal of Economic Theory, 183, September 2019, pp. 625-660.

The cross-sectional dispersion of output, employment, and Solow residuals becomes countercyclical if capital and labor are gross complements. The mechanism accounts for a significant share of the empirical cyclicality in second moments, without the need for "volatility"-shocks. Additional applications use the same mechanism to explain endogenous fluctuations in risk and uncertainty.

Theoretical Economics, 11(1), January 2016, pp. 253-278.

I study a model of delegated search. The distribution of search revenues is unknown to the principal and has to be elicited from the agent. Moreover, the search process is unobservable, requiring search to be self-enforcing. The second-best is implemented by a menu of simple bonus contracts.


Current Teaching