Research Papers

Economic Consequences of Climate Change: Evidence from the Philippines [Job Market Paper]

Abstract: This paper evaluates the welfare and distributional implications of climate change in the Philippines using a quantitative spatial equilibrium model. The model allows for costly trade and migration, with rising temperatures and sea-levels impacting locations through disruptions to their amenities and productivities. The model highlights how high and low skill workers may adapt differently to climate change, leading to changes in inequality among groups. Taking the model to a climate future in the year 2100, I simulate what will happen to the economy in its new long-run steady state. Aggregate welfare and output losses are respectively 18% and 21%, with losses being more prominent for low-skilled workers. However, large-scale adaptation strategies can attenuate initial losses by as high as 7% due to gains achieved by low-skilled workers. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest the viability of coastline protection over a costly place-based policy of generating a new metropolitan area inland.

Gender Norms and Child Penalties [paper]

Abstract: I utilize the attitudes module of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to explore how gender norms held at a very young age influence labor market outcomes into adulthood. Following an event-study design, I estimate yearly child penalties for parents who conform to traditional, neutral, and modern beliefs about a woman's role in the family. While all mothers have their earnings, wages, and hours worked cut by roughly 18-22% in comparison to their baseline levels a year before childbirth, long-run gender gaps are smaller among women who do not align with traditional gender norms. However, a key insight from this paper suggest that proclivity to gender-equal norms do not a affect labor outcomes linearly. This is exhibited by my findings that females with neutral gender attitudes have comparable lifetime trajectories to that of traditional mothers. Only mothers with modern gender norms have shown some success in reducing their child penalties starting around the time their firstborn turns five. I supplement my main results by presenting some correlations between gender attitudes, educational investment and occupational sorting. All in all, my findings reflect that gender norms perpetuate through decisions linked to one's success in the labor market.


Place-based Preferential Tax Policy and Industrial Development: Evidence from India’s Program on Industrially Backward Districts (with Rana Hasan and Yi Jiang)

Journal of Development Economics, 2021

Abstract: We evaluate a tax-exemption program initiated by the Indian government in 1994 to promote manufacturing in districts designated as industrially backward on the basis of a continuous gradation score that reflected district characteristics in early 1990s. Employing a regression discontinuity design, we find that the program led to a significant increase in firm entry and employment, especially in light manufacturing industries of the better-off backward districts in the short run. However, this was partly driven by spatial displacement of economic activity from neighboring districts that narrowly missed qualifying for the program. ​Further, we do not find the effects of the program to persist after it ended.

Urban Agglomeration Effects in India: Evidence from Town Level Data (with Rana Hasan and Yi Jiang)

Asian Development Review, 2017

Abstract: Combining multiple data sets for India, we estimate the elasticity of wages with respect to town population and density between 1% and 2%, which is smaller than estimates in the literature based on district-level analysis. We also find that the employment share of firms with 10 or more workers—which typically describes firms that operate in the formal sector—is positively associated with city population and negatively associated with city density. Town characteristics such as infrastructure availability, geographic location, educational services, and industrial structure also play a role in explaining city productivity and the presence of relatively large firms. Overall, we interpret our results to suggest that there is scope to realize more fully urbanization's potential by addressing issues related to urban planning, infrastructure, and public service delivery, as has been emphasized previously by observers of Indian urbanization.

Work in Progress

Slums and Neighborhood Dynamics: Evidence from Manila (with Alex Rothenberg)