Macro-, labor, and public economics

Working Papers

Long Shadow of Racial Discrimination History: Evidence from Housing Covenants, with Aradhya Sood and Kevin Ehrman-Solberg

Abstract: Racial covenants were clauses in property deeds that prohibited the sale or renting of a property to specific religious and ethnic minorities. 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. Using a newly created geographic data on over 120,000 historical property deeds with information on racial covenant use from Hennepin County, Minnesota, we exploit the unanticipated 1948 Supreme Court ruling that made racially-restrictive covenants unenforceable. We employ a regression discontinuity around the ruling to document the causal and time-persistent effects of racial covenants on present-day socioeconomic geography of Minneapolis and its suburbs. In particular, we document that houses that were covenanted have on average 7% higher present-day house values compared to properties which were not covenanted. We also find a 1% increase in covenanted houses in a census blocks reduces Black residents by 14% and reduces Black home ownership by 19%.

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.