My research interests are in Household Finance and International Macroeconomics. My job market paper investigates how consumption smoothing by households varies over the business cycle. In other papers, I explore the macroeconomic implications of allowing individuals to choose the location of their work in response to infection risk, and the role of financial inclusion in consumption smoothing for developed and emerging economies.
I will be available for interviews at the 2020 EEA meeting, and the 2021 ASSA/AEA meeting. I expect to graduate in 2021.
JOB MARKET PAPER
This paper investigates how consumption smoothing by households varies over the business cycle. As recessions are characterized by higher cross-sectional wage dispersion than expansions, we focus on how consumers respond to wage shocks. We compute the relative contribution of two channels of consumption smoothing: (1) labour supply and (2) savings and borrowing. Our novel identification strategy exploits variation in hours worked and consumption to wage changes over the business cycle and is applied to U.S. household panel data. We find that the contribution of labour supply to consumption smoothing increases during recessions whereas the role of savings falls. These findings are robust to including additional insurance channels such as government transfers, and spousal labour supply. We formalize this empirical observation through a standard life-cycle model augmented with multiple asset-types (liquid and illiquid) and an aggregate state variable that affects wage dispersion. The key mechanism is that the agents adjust their portfolio towards more liquid relative to illiquid assets during recessions. This strengthens the income effect on labour supply against a permanent wage shock, leading to it being used more as a consumption smoothing channel in recessions.[GO TO PAPER]
We outline a macro-pandemic model where individuals within occupations can select into working from home or in the market. Market work increases the risk of infection. Occupations differ in the ease of substitution between market and home work, and in the risk of infection. We examine the evolution of a pandemic in the model as well as its macroeconomic and distributional consequences. The model is calibrated to British Columbian data to examine the implications of shutting down different industries by linking industries to occupations. We find that endogenous choice to self-isolate is key: it reduces the peak infection rate by 2 percentage points even without policy mandated lockdowns. Risk aversion generates a large drop and slow recovery. The model also produces widening consumption inequality, a fact that has characterized COVID-19. [GO TO PAPER]
Does improving access to financial institutions always facilitate aggregate consumption smoothing? I document new empirical evidence that emerging economies with better access to banks are worse at consumption smoothing, whereas developed economies with better access to banks are better at consumption smoothing. This result is robust to alternative measures of domestic and international financial access and controlling for level of income. A simple one-good small open economy model supplemented with trend shocks and financial access heterogeneity is calibrated to match business cycle moments of developed and emerging markets. The model can qualitatively account for the change in the ratio of consumption volatility to income volatility to financial access for both developed and emerging economies, as seen in the data. A two-sector extension of the model captures the non-targeted business cycle moments too. [GO TO PAPER]
WORK IN PROGRESS
TEACHING ASSISTANT (Ph.D. Course)
- ECON 602 Ph.D. Macroeconomics (2019)
TEACHING ASSISTANT (Undergraduate Courses)
- ECON 456 International Macroeconomics and Finance (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- ECON 302 Intermediate Macroeconomics (2016, 2017, 2018)
- ECON 102 Principles of Macroeconomics (2017, 2018)
COURSE MATERIAL PREPARATION
- Applied Econometrics material prepared for website “Data with Stata”, to be used in undergraduate economics research course (2019).