Working Papers

with Michael Ohlrogge (Stanford)

How do foreclosures affect local outcomes? The traditional way we think about them is through their effects on housing prices, which have well-known effects on macroeconomic outcomes. Here, we provide evidence on a new mechanism through which foreclosures affect economic activity--their effects on uncertainty and bank lending.

with Michael Ohlrogge (Stanford)

Does exposure to foreclosures influence well-being and beliefs about the economy? We provide new causal evidence that exposure to foreclosures during the financial crisis depressed beliefs about the economy and well-being.

with Michael Ohlrogge (Stanford)

Over six million households experienced foreclosure during the financial crisis. Where did they move, how did they fare, and why? First, we create a new longitudinal dataset between 2006 and 2011 from their point of foreclosure to their relocation. Despite significant heterogeneity in mobility outcomes, we find that individuals move to, on average, higher quality locations. Second, we quantify the contributions of (i) local labor market conditions, (ii) local composition effects, and (iii) state foreclosure institutions towards mobility outcomes. Third, we find that the return to moving to another county following foreclosure, relative to census tracts within-county, is 2.3%.

Over a majority of states have adopted right-to-work (RTW) laws. Using licensed micro-data from Gallup between 2008-2017 and within-state variation, the adoption of RTW laws is associated with systematic increases in life satisfaction and economic sentiment. The results are robust to: (i) difference-in-differences comparing union / non-union workers before / after RTW adoption, (ii) re-weighting states using entropy balancing, (iii) controlling for time-varying state confounders coinciding with RTW adoption, and (iv) comparing individuals on opposite sides of state borders. Contrary to conventional wisdom, RTW laws raise employee well-being and sentiment by improving workplace conditions and culture.

Performance pay contracts have become commonplace since the 1970s. This paper investigates how they have shaped the returns to human capital accumulation by calibrating a dynamic life cycle model to the NLSY79.

Do performance pay and fixed wage jobs behave differently over the business cycle? Using the National Compensation Survey (NCS) between 2004 and 2017, we show that performance pay jobs adjust primarily on the intensive margin of compensation per worker, whereas fixed wage jobs adjust on the extensive margin.

with Maury Gittleman (BLS)

We create the first matched sample of cyber security breaches (from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Database, Veris Community, and Department of Health and Human Services) and financial outcomes (from Compustat) at the firm level from 2005-2016. While we are able to document several interesting correlations, our main result is that these publicly reported breaches are inadequate for conducting causal inference because of significant measurement error and sample selection.

with Benjamin Dean (Center for Democracy & Technology)

In partnership with Payscale, I introduce new measurement of corporate culture across firms and quantify how much employees are willing to pay for marginal improvements in corporate culture. Firms invest in culture in part because it raises employee engagement, which feeds into firm performance and outcomes.

with Paige Ouimet & Tim Liu (UNC) and Elena Simintzi (UBC)

In a partnership with Glassdoor, we provide the first comprehensive assessment of non-wage benefits across companies. We match their data with financial information from publicly traded companies and examine the correlation between benefit ratings and firm performance. We also examine the role that selection and incentives play in providing non-wage benefits to attract and motivate different types of workers in the workplace.

with Raj Choudhury & Tarun Khanna (HBS)

How do financial incentives interact with managerial decisions? Using public R&D labs in India as an experimental setting, we show that the introduction of new managers aligned with the "CEO vision" raise the quantity and quality of innovation outcomes.

How beliefs influence economic activity has been a widely debated issue in the discipline for a long time.

Using new data in partnership with Gallup through their U.S. Daily Poll, I exploit high frequency movements in sentiment about economic activity to identify the effects on consumption expenditures. Consistent with an emerging vein of research, I find beliefs about the national state of the economy are heavily influenced by personal experience--exposure to local shocks.

I also show that the effects of these belief shocks are propagated through social ties. Even if a shock does not directly affect a county, it can affect it indirectly by affecting the people who are connected with those in the initial county. The magnitude is roughly a quarter to a third of the direct effect.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I recently finished my doctorates in management science & engineering and economics at Stanford University with a passion for areas of macro/labor/public economics and household finance. I graduated from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (Economics & Mathematics), earning the Spring 2012 Outstanding Graduating Senior for the Department of Economics and college-wide W. P. Carey School of Business, in addition to the Edward Rondthaler and McCord Scholars scholarships, among others. I now serve as an economist on the Council of Economic Advisers, a Digital Fellow at the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy, a Non-Resident Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Cyber Security Project, and a Research Affiliate at the NYU Center for Urban Science and Policy.

My research agenda is largely partitioned into three categories of papers. First, how do individuals and firms respond to large shocks? My work examines the financial crisis, particularly through the lens of foreclosures on home mortgages, as a major shock. Second, how do individuals respond to incentives either from their company or from policy? My work examines the impact that financial and non-wage incentives have on employee behavior and, in turn, firm outcomes. Third, how does increasing technological change affect the labor market and creation / destruction of tasks? My work introduces new measures of information technology (+ other high skilled) jobs, automation, and the emerging challenge posed by cyber security breaches. Much of my research involves partnerships with organizations, such as Glassdoor, Payscale, Microsoft, Gallup, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics just to name a few.

While all these research questions are a big part of my focus, all of my professional pursuits are ultimately rooted within my faith that Jesus is our Savior and Lord. (See the Billy Graham foundation for an exceptional set of resources [http://billygraham.org/] or email me.) My zeal for learning, producing, and serving is driven by a passion for helping others and positively impacting the world in any available opportunity. Though there is much more to learn, my expertise is grounded in a versatile set of quantitative techniques and business experiences that provide me with the insight and tools to help solve multidimensional problems in both industry and academia.

 
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