Welcome! I am an assistant professor in economics at the University of Toronto, with cross-appointment at UTSC Management and the Rotman School of Management. My research interest lies in urban economics, economic geography, international trade, and development economics.
Job market paper, awarded UEA Prize for Best Student Paper (Honorable Mention) and EMUEA Kraks Fond Prize (Runner-Up), 2019
Abstract: Many countries have land-use regulations to preserve farmland for food security reasons. In this paper, I show that such regulations can distort economic activity across sectors and locations at a substantial cost to aggregate welfare in developing countries during urbanization. I study a major policy restricting farm-to-urban land conversion in China - the Farmland Red Line Policy - to provide causal evidence on the impact of land-use regulation on local development measured by GDP and population growth. The policy imposes a barrier to urban land development, the strength of which depends on exogenous local geographical features. I show that a greater barrier significantly reduces urban land supply, lowers GDP, and decreases population. To understand the aggregate impact of the policy, I develop a quantitative spatial equilibrium model that features endogenous land-use decisions. According to the model, the policy causes an excess supply of farmland and an under-supply of urban land, and the extent of such land misallocation varies across locations due to their local geographical features. In the constrained equilibrium, the spatial and sectoral mobility of workers implies that land misallocation leads to labor misallocation. The calibrated model reveals that the welfare of workers would have been 6% higher in 2010 if the policy had not been implemented. Moreover, a cap-and-trade system that achieved the same aggregate level of farmland would have been far less costly in terms of welfare. The results suggest that fast-growing economies in developing countries need to design land-use policies carefully, as the welfare costs of poorly designed policies can be substantial.
In the post-Internet era, does being around with more active researchers in the workplace increase one's innovation activity? This paper tests the impact of team size on one's publication output among US university economists from 1996 to 2011. I construct a database of affiliation and publication history for all US university economists using the publication information from the Scopus Database. University funding revenue from government appropriation and private gifts is used as an instrument for the total number of economists at a university. I find that a 10% increase in team size raises one's publication on top-5 economic journals by 30%. Moreover, the team size effect disappears once crossing the affiliation border: having more economists in a nearby affiliation does not affect one's output. Finally, increasing chances to coauthor with colleagues when being part of a larger team helps explain the team size effect.
Work in Progress
Expansion of High-Speed Railways and Firm Export: Evidence from China, with Lin Tian
Black-and-Smelly Water Campaign and the Housing Market Responses, with Qianyang Zhang
Land-Use Regulation and Industry Specialization
I serve as an instructor at the University of Toronto-Scarborough for the following courses:
- Fall 2020, Theory and Practice of Regression Analysis
I served as a teaching assistant at Columbia University for the following courses:
- Spring 2019, The Global Economy, TA for Professor Ronald Miller
- Fall 2018, International Trade, TA for Professor Waseem Noor
- Spring 2017, Economics of New York City, TA for Professor Donald R. Davis
- Fall 2016, Intermediate Macroeconomics, TA for Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin
- Spring 2016, Economics of Money and Banking, TA for Professor Tri Vi Dang
- Fall 2015, Economics of Money and Banking, TA for Professor Perry Mehrling