Research Papers

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

Abstract: This paper evaluates the economic implications of climate change in the Philippines. I employ a quantitative spatial equilibrium model wherein rising temperatures and sea-levels disrupt location fundamental amenities and productivities. I allow for heterogenous adaptation among skill groups to incorporate changes in inequality. Taking climate projections at 2100, I estimate aggregate welfare and output to fall by 20% and 14% respectively, with more prominent losses for low-skilled workers. Climate adaptation strategies can attenuate damages by as high as 4 percentage points. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest the viability of coastline protection over the creation of 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 estimate yearly child penalties for parents who conform to traditional, neutral, and modern beliefs concerning a woman's role in the family. All females have their earnings, wages, and hours worked cut by 18-22% in compared to baseline a year before childbirth. I demonstrate that preferences for gender-equal norms do not affect labor performance linearly. Females with neutral gender attitudes have comparable lifetime trajectories compared to traditional mothers, while modern females exhibit smaller long-run penalties. 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 early-life choices that dictate one's future 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)