Job Market Paper

"The Welfare Consequences of Incoming Remote Workers on Local Residents"

(Previously titled "Move in and Get Paid? The Welfare Consequences of Remote Worker Relocation Programs")

Abstract: This paper explores the impact of an influx of high-skilled remote workers on local residents in destination cities. Dozens of U.S. municipalities have recently implemented Remote Worker Relocation Programs that provide cash incentives to remote workers who relocate to their city. Using Tulsa Remote as a case study—the largest and the earliest such program funded by a non-profit organization—and employing an event study design, I find that the program was effective in attracting remote workers but had offsetting effects on local employment across sectors. The local service sector saw growth, while the wholesale trade sector experienced a decline likely due to local residents’ sector switching behavior. To assess the overall and distributional effects of this kind of policy, I build and estimate a structural equilibrium model that takes into account workers’ sector choices with a nonemployment option. The program slightly improves the average welfare of local residents primarily due to higher wages and a greater variety of local goods. This compensates for increased rents and prices for local goods. However, nonemployed and low-skilled renters in the tradable sector are adversely affected. Finally, when a Remote Worker Relocation Program is financed by local taxes, the average net benefit of the program is substantially reduced depending on the retention of remote workers.

Grants Received: Russell Sage Foundation Dissertation Research

Media Coverage: Cardinal News, Business Insider

Presented at: 2021 Wisconsin Economics Association Conference, 2022 MEA Annual Conference, 2022 WEAI Conference, 2022 UEA North American Meeting, 2022 SMU-Jinan Conference on Urban and Regional Economics, LERA@ASSA 2023 Meeting (LERA Best Papers III: The Changing Geography and Nature of Work), UEA Summer School 2023, SITE 2023, 2023 Remote Work Conference (video), 2023 UEA North American Meeting, 2023 KAEA Job Market Conference (Awarded KAEA Best Job Market Paper), 2023 SEA, 2024 ASSA-AREUEA


Presented at: PAA 2022 Annual Conference (poster), MEA 2022 Annual Conference, SOLE 2022

Abstract: We use the introduction of Seattle's local minimum wage to investigate the geographic effects of highly-targeted, city-level minimum wages on establishment entry and exit decisions. We explicitly consider the spillover effects of Seattle's minimum wage on business entry and exit decisions in the surrounding areas, in addition to the main effect. We use an event study framework to estimate these effects on two low-wage industries: hospitality and retail. We find strong, statistically significant spillover effects on establishment entries at the census block level in the hospitality and retail sectors 1-2 years after Seattle's minimum wage is announced relative to establishment churn before the minimum wage announcement. The estimated spillover effects are positive, implying an increase in the number of establishments entering the areas surrounding Seattle after the announcement of the minimum wage. There is a corresponding decline in entries for both sectors in Seattle itself. Our findings on exits are inconclusive. Both spillover and main effects are more concentrated in retail. We estimate our effects using a novel data set containing a full census of establishments with precise locations for businesses in the state of Washington. Our findings suggest that spillover effects on neighboring areas should be considered to holistically assess the impacts of city-level minimum wages. 

Media Coverage: HealthLawProf Blog

Abstract: We show that the opioid crisis slows transitions to employment from unemployment and non-participation. We identify the effect of the opioid crisis from cross-state variation in triplicate prescribing regulations, which produced long-lasting reductions in opioid use by reducing the initial distribution of the blockbuster opioid OxyContin. Difference-in-differences estimates show that triplicate regulations induce unemployed and non-participating workers in triplicate states to return to employment about 10 percent faster than workers in non-triplicate states. These estimates imply a 1.1 percentage point higher level of employment in steady state. 

Work in Progress

"Wages, Task Type Amenity, and Job Mobility"

Presented at: 2022 MEA Annual Conference

Abstract: This paper aims to study the importance of task type amenity in workers’ utility and in their job switching decisions. I use the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study exploiting stated preference data about task type. I find some descriptive evidence that task type amenity matters in workers’ job choosing decisions. I then set up a dynamic and partial equilibrium model of wages, task type amenity, and mobility decisions with search frictions to estimate the joint distribution of job match quality for wages and job match quality for task type amenity. Workers face about 1.5 times greater dispersion in task type match quality than that in wage match quality, which implies that task type amenity should not be neglected in workers’ utility. Additionally, job match quality for wage and job match quality for task type amenity are positively correlated on the distribution.

"Does Health Insurance Reduce Consumption Risk?" (with Anita Mukherjee and Daniel W. Sacks)

Funded by: Retirement and Disability Research Center 

Abstract: We investigate the impact of health insurance on consumption by leveraging the variation arising from state-level decisions regarding Medicaid expansion in 2014. The effect of health insurance on consumption is ex-ante ambiguous due to the presence of unpaid medical debt and option to receive charity care directly from healthcare providers. Using a combination of difference-in-differences and changes-in-changes specifications, our study finds that there is no statistically significant effect of this health insurance expansion on consumption, even at the lower end of the consumption distribution. This research contributes to the existing knowledge on the insurance value of Medicaid expansion.