Welcome, I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University.
I’m on the 2021-2022 job market.
I’m currently working on collusive behavior, principal-agent problem, COVID-19, and Medicaid expansion.
PhD in Economics, 2022 (Expected)
Iowa State University
MS in Economics, 2017
BA in Economics, 2015
We examine effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment losses across metropolitan area status and population size. Non-metropolitan and metropolitan areas of all sizes experienced significant employment losses, but the impacts are much larger in large metropolitan areas. Employment losses manifest as increased unemployment, labor force withdrawal, and temporary absence from work. We examine the role of individual and local area characteristics in explaining differing employment losses across metropolitan status and size. The local COVID-19 infection rate is a major driver of differences across MSA size. Industry mix and employment density also matter. The pandemic significantly altered urban economic activity.
This paper examines effects of state Medicaid Expansion via the Affordable Care Act on the self-employed. We first examine impacts on the probability of self-employment and find no significant effect. We then examine the probability of having health insurance and the type of coverage for self-employed persons. Medicaid expansion increased overall health insurance coverage rates, with especially large impacts for the unincorporated self-employed. Medicaid expansion also increased the probability of Medicaid coverage as expected, but there is evidence of crowd out of other types of coverage. Impacts on health insurance rates of the self-employed also strengthened over time.
COVID-19 disrupted economic activity throughout the United States in 2020. The employment losses were less severe in rural areas than in urban areas. Both rural and urban areas experienced partial employment recovery in subsequent months but were still significantly worse off through December 2020 than before the pandemic.
In ready-mixed concrete (remicon) industry characterized by both substantial transportation costs and perishability of remicon, it is crucial for remicon firms to maintain a stable supply of cement when they face demand uncertainty. This paper investigates the impact of remicon demand uncertainty on vertical integration between remicon firms and cement firms. Empirical results show that the share of vertically integrated remicon plants is higher in geographic local markets faced with a high demand uncertainty. The result suggests that vertical integration between remicon and cement firms are resulted from reducing transaction costs due to demand uncertainty.
Immigrant entrepreneurs are critical to regional and national economies. Immigrants in the USA have higher self-employment rates than natives, and immigrants have made outsized contributions as founders of numerous highly successful firms. However, we document that immigrant self-employment rates vary considerably across areas of the USA. Our main measure is the percentage of immigrant workers in an area who are self-employed; i.e., the self-employment rate for the foreign-born. Areas with colder winter temperatures have especially low self-employment rates among their immigrant populations compared to other areas of the USA. This relationship holds for numerous sub-samples of immigrants and is not driven by any particular group. The relationship persists after controlling for numerous individual and local area characteristics. Immigrant entrepreneurs appear to be especially forward-looking and responsive to warmer January temperature as a locational amenity. The results have important implications about the location choices of immigrant entrepreneurs.
This study investigates the impact of cheap talk on price in a repeated Bertrand oligopoly experiment. Participants are placed in three-person bidding groups where the lowest bid wins. During the first 10 rounds, participants are not allowed to communicate with each other. All three-person groups show decreasing market prices in the first 10 rounds. We then play another 20 rounds where participants can text with one another using an instant message system. Some groups were allowed to text before every round, some to text before every other round, some to text every third round, some to text every fourth round, and some to text only every fifth round. When texting is allowed, All groups attempt to collude to raise the price after being allowed to text. Whether they are successful depends on the combination of how often they can text and whether all three participants actually text.
COVID-19 created major disruptions for young people including health concerns, school closures, reduced social opportunities, and a wilting economy. We examine the effect of COVID-19 on high school completion in the United States. We find that high school completion rates increased considerably in 2020 compared to previous years. We investigate various mechanisms and find that worse employment conditions were the driving force. The lower opportunity costs of schooling because of the pandemic recession encouraged more young people to complete high school. The pandemic created extensive problems in education, but fortunately it did not reduce overall high school completion rates.
Food production and distribution is essential for human well-being, but the food sector has experienced a number of difficulties maintaining worker health and productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. We examine employment status changes of persons recently employed in the U.S. food sector with a focus on food manufacturing and grocery stores. We find that the pandemic significantly reduced the probability of continued active employment for previous workers in both food manufacturing and grocery stores. Individual-level analysis confirms that the COVID-19 infection rate in an individual’s local labor market is a strong and significant factor. The employment changes are not just due to unemployment during facility closures. Previous workers increasingly exit the labor force as the severity of the COVID-19 infection rate in their local area worsens. The considerable risk of infection drives many previous food sector workers to stop working altogether. Maintaining worker health and safety is essential for a stable food supply.
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