Research

Research Summary: I have key research interests in development economics and international trade. I am also interested in industrial organisation especially when that intersects with international trade.

I have done some work investigating the possibility that information revelation regarding child and forced labor may affect a country's exports. More recently I have examined what foreign competition may have on small firm's hiring practices. My approach is primarily empirical however I have done some theoretical work. In particular in my "good to be bad" paper, I examine the possibility of low quality firms benefiting from full information in markets exhibiting search frictions.


The Trade Impacts of the Naming and Shaming of Forced and Child Labor

This paper investigates whether the provision of information regarding what foreign goods might be produced with child and forced labor affects imports to the United States. I use three different measures of information revelation: inclusion on the U.S. government's list of goods produced with child or forced labor, a media coverage index and an index composed from reports of the International Labor Organisation. Across all specifications I find no evidence that information provision decreased imports of these goods to the United States. The key policy implication of this finding is that public information strategies without more concrete measures will not act as a large disincentive for countries that export goods made with child and forced labor.

JEL Classification: O11, J81, F14, G14

Keywords: international trade, child labor, forced labor, social labelling

It's good to be bad: A model of low quality dominance in a full information consumer search market (with Stuart Baumann)

This paper examines a consumer search market exhibiting vertically differentiated firms, heterogeneous consumers and endogenous consumer market entry. In an asymmetric information setting high and low quality firms make equal sales and profit in this market. Conversely when there is full information, search frictions induce an unravelling mechanism that leads to a unique refined equilibrium where all consumers approach low quality firms and high quality firms make no sales or profit. This presents a rationale for why low quality firms may disclose their quality and high quality firms may not even when disclosure is costless.

JEL Classification: D82, D83, L15

Keywords: quality disclosure, consumer search

The Effect of Foreign Competition on Family and Network Labour Allocation

This paper examines whether foreign competition affects the reallocation of unpaid and family workers from household businesses to working outside of the family firm. Using a rich panel dataset of Vietnamese enterprises that went through trade liberalisation, we find that import competition leads to the switching of family and unpaid employees from working at the household firm to working externally to the family firm. This response to heightening foreign competition is also greater for less financially stable firms and for the households largely relying on income from the household firm. This finding is consistent with income diversification on the part of households who own firms threatened by import competition. We also explore heterogenous effects among entering and exiting firms as well as industry switchers.

JEL Classification: D22, F16, O12

Keywords: household firms, unpaid labour, family workers, foreign competition

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