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Published and Works in Progress

Publications : Welcome
Publications : Publications


Research Briefs and

Published Essays


A Network of Thrones: Kinship and Conflict in Europe, 1495-1918

July 2019

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.  American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,  VOL. 13, NO. 3, July 2021. Data and Replication Code Available at ICPSR. AEA Research Highlight Summary


The Efficiency of US Public Space Utilization During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 2020

With Avinash Collis and Christos Nicolaides

We evaluate the efficiency of US social distancing policy, extending our analysis in 'Rationing Social Contact'. We find that policymaking failed to be efficient in any sense. Risk Analysis. 22 September 2021.  


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

November 2020

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


How to solve the puzzle of missing productivity growth

May 2021

With Erik Brynjolfsson and Daniel Rock

We take stock of the latest research and identify four potential reasons why productivity growth is slowing. Besides examining each of these four explanations, we sketch what policymakers can do to reverse this trend, reduce income inequality, and make the United States more competitive. Brookings Tech Stream: Tomorrow's tech policy conversations today


Macroeconomic Effects of Reducing OASI to Payable Benefits: A Comparison of Seven Overlapping Generations Models

December 2019

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?

Fall 2017

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

August 2017

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

October 2020

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


Policy Strategies for Harnessing the Productivity Potential of AI in the U.S. 

May 2021

With Erik Brynjolfsson and Daniel Rock

Despite the emergence of new machine learning technologies capable of diagnosing diseases, understanding speech, or recognizing images, the enormous economic potential of many digital goods and services remains largely untapped. In this brief, we propose a set of policy recommendations that could increase productivity growth, make the U.S. more competitive, and reduce income inequality.. Stanford HAI Policy Brief



May 2022

A review of the analysis of the West's options in sanctioning Russia, based on my time in Moscow with the Gaidar Institute. War on the Rocks


Rationing Social Contact During the

COVID-19  Pandemic: Transmission Risks and Social Benefits of US Locations

June 2020

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

July 2020

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:


Ranking How National Economies Adapt to Remote Work

June 2020

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

September 2020

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



Simulating the future of global automation, its consequences, and evaluating policy options

October 2021

With Victor Yifan Ye

Despite clear economic benefits of new digital technologies, slow median wage growth has led many to worry that these new technologies are failing to deliver for the average worker. This column describes our model of global automation and technological change, which we use to study the long-term consequences of these trends. VoxEU




How To Govern Facebook: A Structural Model for Taxing and Regulating Big Tech

July 2020

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

July 2019

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

July 2019

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.


How APIs Create Growth by Inverting the Firm

August 2021

With Jonathan Hersh and Marshall Van Alstyne.

Using proprietary data from ProgrammableWeb and a major API tools provider, we visualize the development of the API network and the impact of API use on firm values. We find evidence that API use increases market capitalization through 'inverting the firm'. Resubmitted at Management Science. SSRN Link. Subsumes "The paradox of openness: exposure and efficiency from APIs"



Robots, Curse or Blessing? A Basic Framework

January 2019

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.


November 2020

With Avinash Collis and Christos Nicolaides


We find a negative effect of Hospital IT intensity on county deaths from COVID-19, after many confounders are controlled for. The relationship exists in instrumented specifications as well. We investigate the mechanism, and find a role for faster learning at tech-intensive hospitals, consistent with rapidly evolving best practices. Posted on SSRN Under review.


Digital Abundance and Scarce Genius: Implications for Wages, Interest Rates, and Growth

March 2019

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: Routine Biased Technical Change 2000-2016

January 2019

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.


Simulating Endogenous Global Automation

October 2021

With Victor Yifan Ye, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Guillermo Lagarda

This paper develops a 17-region, 3-skill group, overlapping generations, computable general equilibrium model to evaluate the global consequences of automation. In our baseline scenario, automation has a moderate effect on regional outputs and a small effect on world interest rates. However, it has a major impact on inequality, both wage inequality within regions and per capita GDP inequality across regions. NBER Working Paper

Publications : Publications
Publications : Publications
Publications : Publications

Corporate Profit Works in Progress


70 Years of US Corporate Profits

April 2018

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

August 2017

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).


Simulating the Republican "United Framework" Tax Reform Plan

October 2017

With Laurence Kotlikoff and Guillermo Lagarda.

Figure from The Economist showing US corporate tax revenues over time

Publications : Publications
Publications : Publications
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