Professional and Biographical Information

Degrees

Ph.D. (economics), The University of Texas at Austin, 2018
M.S. (economics), The University of Texas at Austin, 2015
A.B. (economics) and Certificate (political economy), Princeton University, 2009

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on the impact of government policies on the macroeconomy, with a particular emphasis on understanding the effects of monetary and fiscal policy on the labor market. I have examined how monetary policy has effects that differ across groups of people, such as workers who have been recently laid off or who are in occupations and industries vulnerable to automation and off-shoring. I have also developed computational methods of solving complex macroeconomic models. I am currently studying the efficacy of government spending policies aimed at reducing unemployment.

Teaching Interests

I teach both introductory and intermediate macroeconomics courses with an emphasis on the answers to two seemingly simple questions: “Why are some countries rich while others are poor?” and “Why do we see strong income and output growth in some periods but stagnation or even decline in others?” An understanding of these two broad topics—long-run growth and short-run fluctuations—provides a strong basis for a deeper examination of issues like inflation, unemployment, money and the banking system, and the macroeconomic consequences of income and wealth inequality. I also teach courses on money and banking and monetary policy that examine related questions in more detail.

Research

Publications:

An Envelope Method for Solving Continuous-Time Stochastic Models with Occasionally Binding Constraints

Published in Economics Letters, Vol. 214, May 2022

I introduce a finite-difference solution method based on the envelope condition in continuous-time stochastic dynamic programming problems. The envelope method is easier to code and, in the presence of occasionally binding constraints, faster and more stable than popular methods based on the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation. As an illustration, I solve a stochastic growth model with irreversible investment. (Published version; Preprint.)

 

Working Papers:

Has Monetary Policy Accelerated Job Polarization?

Since the late 1960s, the share of U.S. employment in occupations involving primarily routine tasks has declined by about 30 percent, a trend that has largely affected workers with a high-school degree but no college. This paper argues that contractionary monetary policy has accelerated this change. In part by disproportionately affecting industries with high shares of routine occupations, contractionary monetary policy shocks lead to large and very persistent shifts away from routine employment. Expansionary shocks, on the other hand, have little effect on these industries. Indeed, monetary policy's effect on overall employment is concentrated in routine jobs. These results highlight monetary policy's role in generating fluctuations not only in the level of employment, but also the composition of employment across occupations and industries.

Are Uncertainty Shocks Expansionary? Evidence from the Michigan Survey of Consumers

This paper introduces new direct measures of uncertainty derived from the Michigan Survey of Consumers. The series underlying these new measures are more strongly correlated with economic activity than many others that are the basis for uncertainty proxies. The survey also facilitates comparison of these measures with response dispersion or disagreement, other commonly used proxies for uncertainty. Dispersion measures have low correlation with the direct measures and often have causal effects of opposite sign, suggesting that they are poor proxies for uncertainty. For the measures based on series most closely correlated with economic activity, positive uncertainty shocks are mildly expansionary.

Gross Worker Flows, Job Loss, and Monetary Policy

This paper examines how monetary policy shocks in the U.S. affect the flows of workers among three labor market categories—employment, unemployment, and nonparticipation—and assesses each flow's relative importance to changes in labor market “stock” variables like the unemployment rate. The full stock-flow accounting reveals that job loss is the largest driver of monetary policy's effects on the labor market and that these fluctuations in job losses generate a composition effect in the stock of unemployed that plays a quantitatively important role in accounting for the dynamics of labor market variables after monetary policy shocks. I develop a New Keynesian model that incorporates these channels and show how a central bank can achieve welfare gains from targeting job loss, rather than output, in an otherwise standard Taylor rule.