The Economic Effects of Trade Policy Uncertainty
We study the effects of unexpected changes in trade policy uncertainty (TPU) on the U.S. economy. We construct three measures of TPU based on newspaper coverage, firms' earnings conference calls, and aggregate data on tari rates. We document that increases in TPU reduce investment and activity using both firm-level and aggregate macroeconomic data. We interpret the empirical results through the lens of a two-country general equilibrium model with nominal rigidities and firms' export participation decisions. In the model as in the data, news and increased uncertainty about higher future ...
Learning and the Value of Trade Relationships
This paper quantifies the value of importer-exporter relationships. We show that almost 80 percent of U.S. imports take place in pre-existing relationships, with sizable heterogeneity across countries, and show that traded quantities and survival increase as relationships age. We develop a two-country general equilibrium trade model with learning that is consistent with these facts. A model-based measure of relationship value explains survival during the 2008-09 crisis. Knowledge accumulated within long-term relationships is quantitatively important: wiping out all memory from previous ...
Do long-haul truckers undervalue future fuel savings?
The U.S. federal government enacted fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy trucks for the first time in September 2011. Rationales for using this policy tool typically depend upon frictions existing in the marketplace or consumers being myopic, such that vehicle purchasers undervalue the future fuel savings from increased fuel efficiency. We measure by how much long-haul truck owners undervalue future fuel savings by employing recent advances to the classic hedonic approach to estimate the distribution of willingness-to-pay for fuel efficiency. We find significant heterogeneity in ...
The Welfare Costs of Misaligned Incentives: Energy Inefficiency and the Principal-Agent Problem
In many settings, misaligned incentives and inadequate monitoring lead employees to take self-interested actions contrary to their employer's wishes, giving rise to the classic principal-agent problem. In this paper, I identify and quantify the costs of misaligned incentives in the context of an energy efficiency appliance replacement program. I show that contractors (agents) hired by the electric utility (the principal) increase their compensation by intentionally misreporting program data to deliberately authorize replacement of non-qualified refrigerators. I provide empirical estimates of ...
Business Dynamics in the National Establishment Time Series (NETS)/Leland Crane, Ryan Decker
Business microdata have proven useful in a number of fields, but the main sources of comprehensive microdata are subject to significant confidentiality restrictions. A growing number of papers instead use a private data source seeking to cover the universe of U.S. business establishments, the National Establishment Time Series (NETS). Previous research documents the representativeness of NETS in terms of the distribution of employment and establishment counts across industry, geography, and establishment size. But there exists considerable need among researchers for microdata suitable for ...
Downskilling: changes in employer skill requirements over the business cycle
Using a novel database of 82.5 million online job postings, we show that employer skill requirements fell as the labor market improved from 2010 to 2014. We find that a 1 percentage point reduction in the local unemployment rate is associated with a roughly 0.27 percentage point reduction in the fraction of jobs requiring at least a bachelor?s degree and a roughly 0.23 percentage point reduction in the fraction requiring five or more years of experience. This pattern is established using multiple measures of labor availability, is bolstered by similar trends along heretofore unmeasured ...
Asymmetric firm dynamics under rational inattention
We study the link between business failures, markups and business cycle asymmetry in the U.S. economy with a model of optimal firm exit under rational inattention. We show that the model's predictions of lagged, counter-cyclical and positively skewed markups together with counter-cyclical exit rates are consistent with the empirical evidence. Moreover, our model uncovers a new mechanism that links information processing with the business cycle. It predicts counter-cyclical attention to economic conditions consistent with survey evidence.
Changing Business Dynamism and Productivity : Shocks vs. Responsiveness
The pace of job reallocation has declined in all U.S. sectors since 2000. In standard models, aggregate job reallocation depends on (a) the dispersion of idiosyncratic productivity shocks faced by businesses and (b) the marginal responsiveness of businesses to those shocks. Using several novel empirical facts from business microdata, we infer that the pervasive post-2000 decline in reallocation reflects weaker responsiveness in a manner consistent with rising adjustment frictions and not lower dispersion of shocks. The within-industry dispersion of TFP and output per worker has risen, while ...
Entrepreneurship and State Taxation
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the economy, yet there exists little well-identified research into the effects of taxes on startup activity. Using recently developed county-level data on startups, we examine the effect of states' corporate, personal and sales tax rates on new firm activity and test for cross-border spillovers in response to these policies. We find that new firm employment is negatively?and disproportionately?affected by corporate tax rates. We find little evidence of an effect of personal and sales taxes on entrepreneurial outcomes. Our results are robust to changes in ...
Pay, Employment, and Dynamics of Young Firms
Why do young firms pay less? Using confidential microdata from the US Census Bureau, we find lower earnings among workers at young firms. However, we argue that such measurement is likely subject to worker and firm selection. Exploiting the two-sided panel nature of the data to control for relevant dimensions of worker and firm heterogeneity, we uncover a positive and significant young-firm pay premium. Furthermore, we show that worker selection at firm birth is related to future firm dynamics, including survival and growth. We tie our empirical findings to a simple model of pay, employment, ...