Research

WORKING PAPERS

“Migration, Demand for College Education and Technology-Induced Urban Inequalities” (Job Market Paper, the paper is available upon request)

Abstract: The skill-biased technical change empirical literature has been silent regarding two key channels of labor supply, migration and demand for college education, through which technology increases divergence in incomes, skills, and productivity across urban areas. Using patents as a measure of skill-biased technical change, I shed new light on technology-induced spatial inequalities. Instrumental variables estimations show that from 2005 to 2015 the local demand for college education played a greater role in explaining skill divergence between U.S. urban counties. I find positive relationships between urban income divergence and specific skill-biased technological changes, including computer and data processing, telecommunications, and automation.

“Another Look at How Public Universities Make Enrollment Decisions” (with Nattanicha Chairassamee)—Reviewers Invited, Journal of Public Economics (the paper is available upon request)

Abstract: Previous studies have used the total number of students to investigate the enrollment decisions of public universities. We propose a new paradigm as to how public universities maximize their utility of enrollment and education quality by considering tuition fees as another sources of the university revenues. Empirically, our results indicate a strong cross-subsidy effect of non-residents tuition fee on resident enrollment in public universities. Neither revenues nor expenditures affect the graduation rate of students enrolled in universities, and most students graduate within 6 years. We do find that the non-resident exchange students can crowd out resident enrollment in public universities.

“The Effect of Metropolitan Technological Progress on the Non-Metropolitan Labor Market: Evidence from U.S. Patents” (with Mark D. Partridge, the paper is available upon request)

Abstract: While urban technological progress exerts a positive effect on rural development through knowledge spillovers, it also raises the competitive advantage of urban firms over rural firms in product market competition. Urban technology also affects the rural labor market through brain drain. Using county-level data, we find an increase of 326 distance-weighted urban patent counts is roughly associated with an increase of 3.37 percent in the rural unemployment rate or a reduction of 1.33 percent in the employment-to-population ratio. Our basic calculation indicates that between 2005 and 2015, urban technological progress was associated with a relative loss of about 2.5 million rural jobs.

“The Technological Effects of Urban Regions on Labor Markets of Rural Regions”—Reviewers Invited, Journal of Rural Studies (the papers is available upon request)

Abstract: The technological effects of innovative regions on lagging regions’ labor markets have not been yet well understood, especially in the urban-rural context. While, through knowledge spillovers, urban technology can increase rural jobs, it can also reduce rural employment by raising the competitive advantage of urban firms over rural firms in product market competition. The progress in urban technology also exerts an ambiguous effect of brain drain on the rural labor market. Without fully accounting for these adverse effects, policies aiming at increasing regional employment by technological advancement might have undesirable outcomes. This article introduces a theoretical model that consolidates the endogenous growth theory and the spread-backwash concept. The model yields insight to understand the interactions between high-technology and lagging regions.

WORKS IN PROGRESS

“The Dynamic Effects of Minimum Wage on the U.S. Labor Market over the Business Cycles”

“Inside the Black Box of Skill-biased Technical Change and Urban Inequality: Evidence from U.S. Patents”

“Why Are Brand Name Drugs Expensive?”

“The Impact of Offshoring on U.S. Local Labor Markets” (with Nattanicha Chairassamee)

“The Changing Fortunes of Rural America and Small Cities” (with Mark Partridge, Sydney Schreiner, and Seung-Hun Chung)