Published and Works in Progress
PUBLISHED AND PEER REVIEWED PAPERS
Research Briefs and
A Network of Thrones: Kinship and Conflict in Europe, 1495-1918
With Kevin Cooke
An analysis linking European royal kinship networks, monarchies, and wars to study the effect of family ties on conflict. Random cuts of family ties between monarchs due to death are shown to increase bilateral war frequency and severity. Forthcoming at American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Data and Replication Code Available at ICPSR.
A One Sector Model of Robotic Immiseration
With Jeffrey Sachs and Guillermo Lagarda.
A simple OLG model where automation can lower welfare in the long run through reducing saving and investment. Digitized Labor: The Impact of the Internet on Employment. Edited by Lorenzo Pupillo, Eli Noam and Leonard Waverman.
Understanding and Addressing the Modern Productivity Paradox
With Erik Brynjolfsson and Daniel Rock
In spite of the emergence of cool new technologies—with their enormous industrial potential—the rate of productivity growth in recent years has been disappointingly slow. This modern productivity paradox is a redux of the information technology (IT) productivity paradox of the late 1980s. Paradoxes challenge our assumptions, stimulate innovative research, and lead to improved policy recommendations. On the research side, the current productivity paradox has led to an outpouring of plausible explanations that can be classified into four categories. We list these and then propose a set of ideas to boost growth. MIT Work of The Future Research Brief.
Macroeconomic Effects of Reducing OASI to Payable Benefits: A Comparison of Seven Overlapping Generations Models
With convening authors Jaeger Nelson and Kerk Phillips, others contributing.
Estimation of the economic effects of reducing social security benefits with seven large scale agent based models. Figure displays change in GDP as a result of OASI reform as predicted by the different models. My model is labeled GGM. Macroeconomic Effects of Reducing OASI Benefits: A Comparison of Seven Overlapping-Generations Models , National Tax Journal, 72:4, pp. 671-692
Can Russia Survive Economic Sanctions?
With Guillermo Lagarda.
We find that capital import controls on Russia would dramatically impact domestic welfare, even if Russia seized all foreign assets in response. Asian Economic Papers, Volume 16, Issue 3. Ungated Version
The Impact of Fossil-Fuel Price Regimes on the Demographic and Fiscal Transitions in Russia, USA, China, India, European Union, and Japan-Korea: A Dynamic Life-Cycle Analysis
With Eugene Goryunov, Maria Kazakova, Guillermo Lagarda, Kristina Nesterova, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, and Andrey Zubarev.
As oil prices decrease, Russia will face fiscal challenges. Based on the NBER working paper titled “Simulating Russia’s and Other Large Economies’ Challenging and Interconnected Transitions,” Forthcoming in an anthology edited by Wing Thye Woo.
Modelling Effective Regulation of Facebook
With Avinash Collis
In the face of growing scrutiny from policymakers, the media, and the public, regulators are now considering a number of proposals to ensure platforms do not abuse their market power or restrict the economic benefits of their networks from being more equitably distributed. In a new working paper we published entitled we develop the first quantitative framework for regulators and business leaders to evaluate the societal consequences of changes to market structure, taxation, and platform regulation. Stanford HAI-Digital Economy Lab Research Brief.
Rationing Social Contact During the
COVID-19 Pandemic: Transmission Risks and Social Benefits of US Locations
With Avinash Collis and Christos Nicolaides
We measure the relative transmission reduction benefit and social cost of closing 26 categories of US locations. From February to March 2020, there were larger declines in visits to locations that our measures indicate should be closed first.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 30, 2020 117 (26) 14642-14644; first published June 10, 2020
Interdependence and the Cost of Uncoordinated Responses to COVID-19
With final authors Dean Eckles and Sinan Aral, others contributing
We measure the welfare loss due to unpriced social distancing externalities and lack of coordination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jul 2020, 202009522; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2009522117
Ranking How National Economies Adapt to Remote Work
With Sarah Bana and Rodrigo Solares
How easily will different countries adapt to remote work? There is an offsetting effect from more developed countries having better internet quality and fewer children at home, and yet, on the other hand, demanding more personal services and occupations that require physical contact. Sloan Management Review, June 18, 2020.
Boosting Business Value by Reducing COVID-19 Transmission Risk
With Avinash Collis and Christos Nicolaides
Our research measuring the value-risk proposition of different business openings offers insights and strategies for how to minimize pandemic transmission risk. Sloan Management Review
WORKS IN PROGRESS
How To Govern Facebook: A Structural Model for Taxing and Regulating Big Tech
With Avinash Collis.
We construct and illustrate an approach for modeling digital platforms. The model allows for heterogeneity in elasticity of demand and heterogeneous network effects across different users. We paramaterize our model using a survey of over 70,000 US internet users on their demand for Facebook. Link to working paper.
ROBOTS ARE US: SOME ECONOMICS OF HUMAN AUTOMATION
With Laurence Kotlikoff, Guillermo Lagarda and Jeffrey Sachs,
Will smart machines do to humans what the internal combustion engine did to horses– render them obsolete? If so, can putting people out of work or, at least, good work leave them unable to buy what smart machines produce? Our model’s answer is yes, under certain circumstances. NBER Working Paper 20941. 10 minute presentation at the NBER Economics of AI Conference. Reject and Resubmit at Journal of the European Economic Association.
Identifying the Multiple Skills in Skill Biased Technical Change
With Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis MacCrory, and George Westerman.
We use a novel-to-the-economics-literature unsupervised machine learn-ing technique, iterated exploratory factor analysis, to characterize occupations by the importance of eight endogenously derived orthogonal skills.These factors have clear interpretations and intuitive relationships to the wage distribution. We measure the relationship of each of these factors to wage and employment growth, directly and as mediated by IT usage.
THE PARADOX OF OPENNESS: EFFICIENCY VS. EXPOSURE OF APIS
With Jonathan Hersh, Guillermo Lagarda and Marshall Van Alstyne.
Using proprietary data from a major API tools provider, we explore the impact of API use on firm value and operations. We find evidence that API use increases market capitalization and lowers R&D expenditure. Reject and Resubmit at Management Science.
ROBOTS: CURSE OR BLESSING? A BASIC FRAMEWORK
With Jeffrey Sachs and Guillermo Lagarda.
Do robots raise or lower long run economic well-being? On the one hand, any technological innovation must push out the Pareto possibility frontier. On the other, labor replacing technologies shift investments away from machines that complement labor, potentially lowering wages and further lowering saving and investment. In an overlapping generations model with an automatable and non-automatable sector, we clarify how short-term increases in consumption enabled by robots may lead to long-term immiseration.
DIGITAL ABUNDANCE AND SCARCE GENIUS: IMPLICATIONS FOR WAGES, INTEREST RATES, AND GROWTH
With Erik Brynjolfsson.
Digital labor and capital can be reproduced much more cheaply than its traditional forms. But if labor and capital are becoming more abundant, what is constraining growth? We posit a third factor, ‘genius’, that cannot be duplicated by digital technologies. NBER Working Paper 25585.
DO LABOR DEMAND SHIFTS OCCUR WITHIN FIRMS OR ACROSS THEM? NON-ROUTINE BIASED TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, 2000-2016
With Daniel Rock and Guillermo Lagarda.
Using LinkedIn resume records, BLS OES data, and Compustat employee counts, we estimate occupational employment for publicly traded US firms from 2000 through 2016. We find that faster employment growth among firms that disproportionately employ non-routine workers is the most important cause of SBTC, followed by within firm occupational mix rebalancing.
Corporate Profit Works in Progress
70 Years of US Corporate Profits
With Simcha Barkai.
We extend Barkai (2016a) and measure capital costs and profits over the period 1946–2015. The profit share is declining from 1946 to the early 1980s and has been increasing since. As a share of gross value added, profits today are higher than they were in 1984, but lower than their value in the years after World War II. Alternative measures of profits show similar trends.
Simulating Business Cash Flow Taxation: An Illustration Based on the Better Way Corporate Tax Reform
With Laurence Kotlikoff and Guillermo Lagarda. NBER Working Paper 23675.
The U.S., according to some measures, has one of the highest marginal effective corporate tax rates (METRs) of any developed country. Yet the tax collects less than 2 percent of GDP. This paper studies the impact of replacing the U.S. corporate tax with a Business Cash Flow Tax (BCFT).