Recent Papers

All of my completed papers since I became a Research Associate at the NBER in 2008 my be found here: National Bureau of Economic Research

For a description of published work and the themes around which that work is organized, please visit my Research Narrative page.


On What States Do Prices Depend? Answers from Ecuador (with Craig Benedict and Anthony Landry). February 2017.

Abstract. An important challenge for macroeconomics is to understand the reasons that retail prices change infrequently and the implications of this pricing behavior for economic welfare and allocative efficiency. This paper develops a menu cost model of pricing in which retail firms intermediate trade between manufacturers of goods and final consumers. In particular, retail firms purchase manufactured goods in a competitive global market and employ workers to sell the goods in retail outlets at a markup over marginal cost. An important facet of our analysis is that the labor-cost share of retail production differs across goods in the consumption basket. Consequently, firms with different cost structures will change prices by different amounts and at different frequencies despite facing a common menu cost. This allows us to account for some of the cross-sectional differences observed in the frequency of price changes across goods. We apply this model to Ecuador to take advantage of a rich database of monthly retail prices of more than 200 goods and services across 12 Ecuadorian cities. Ecuador is also an interesting case study for menu cost pricing because it underwent a number of dramatic changes in inflation and exchange rate regimes, with a currency crisis and hyperinflation followed by adoption of the US dollar as the unit of account.

Did the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Help Those Most in Need? A County-Level Analysis. (with Nam Vu). October 2017.

Abstract.


 

The International Diffusion of the Automobile from 1913 to 1940 (with Dong Cheng, Hyunseung Oh and Hakan Yilmazkuday ” mimeo, May 2018.

Abstract.


Accounting for Real Exchange Rates Using Micro-Data (with Anthony Landry). Early vintage: NBER Working Paper No. 17812, February 2012.

Abstract.


Microeconomic Sources of Real Exchange Rate Variation (with Chris I. Telmer). Early vintage: NBER Working Paper No. 17978, April 2012. Working paper version

Abstract.

We provide three sets of variance decompositions on microeconomic international relative price data. The first shows that the overall distribution of absolute deviations from the Law of One Price (LOP) is dominated by cross-sectional variation in long-term averages, not by time-series variation around the long-term averages. The second shows that time-series variation in changes in LOP deviations is dominated by idiosyncratic, goods-specific variation, not by aggregate variation such as that arising from nominal exchange rates. The third shows that time-series and cross-sectional variance are connected across goods. Goods that exhibit high cross-sectional variance also exhibit high time-series variance. Moreover, when this connection is made conditional on the tradeability of a goods, a two-factor structure
for the goods-specific cross-section is revealed. We argue that this factor structure, in addition to our other variance decompositions, is informative for the construction of models that can synthesize the micro and macroeconomic behavior of relative prices.

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