Macro-, labor, and public economics

Working Papers

Long Shadow of Racial Discrimination History: Evidence from Housing Covenants of Minneapolis, (Job Market Paper) with Aradhya Sood and Kevin Ehrman-Solberg

This paper studies the effect of racially-restrictive covenants prevalent during the early-to-mid 20th century on present-day socioeconomic outcomes such as house prices and racial segregation. Racial covenants were sale deeds that prohibited the sale or renting of a property to specific religious and ethnic minorities. Using a newly created geographic data set of over 30,000 historical property deeds (1910-1955) from Hennepin County in Minnesota and a fuzzy regression discontinuity around the unanticipated 1948 Supreme Court ruling that made racially-restrictive covenants unenforceable, we document that racial covenants have had time-persistent effects and have significantly affected the socioeconomic geography of Minneapolis and adjoining areas. In particular, we document that houses that were covenanted have on average 4 - 15% higher present-day house prices compared to houses that were not covenanted. We also find that census blocks with larger share of covenanted lots have smaller black population and lower black home ownership rates.

Labor Market Conditions and Optimal Disability Insurance, (Work in Progress)

Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) is one of the largest federal programs with an annual expenditure of more than $100 billion paid out to 10.1 million Americans in 2017. The number of DI applicants and awardees increase during downturns and these applicants tend to be healthier than applicants during booms. Despite the size and importance of the program, research on DI has not accounted for its macroeconomic effects on labor force participation and unemployment rates. In this paper I build a life-cycle directed search model to match salient features of the labor market and disability insurance: multiple states, expiring unemployment benefits, disability insurance, human capital depreciation, idiosyncratic match productivity, and aggregate labor productivity shocks. I calibrate my model to match unemployment data between 1990-2018 and the Great Recession.

Characterizing Labor Markets Using Revealed Preference, (Working Paper, draft coming soon)

What do workers movements across occupations tell us about the the evolution of occupational requirements over time? I borrow from the machine learning literature to rank occupational similarity by worker flows across occupations. My ranking system results in a similar ranking as the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). I assess how these movements have changed overtime to project employment changes.