I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. I study international economics and urban economics. My research interests include the geographic distributions of human capital, industries, and occupations. At Booth, I teach Managing the Firm in the Global Economy.
A growing literature suggests that high-income countries export high-quality goods. Two hypotheses may explain such specialization, with different implications for welfare, inequality, and trade policy. Fajgelbaum, Grossman, and Helpman (JPE 2011) formalize the Linder hypothesis that home demand determines the pattern of specialization and therefore predict that high-income locations export high-quality products. The factor-proportions model also predicts that skill-abundant, high-income locations export skill-intensive, high-quality products. Prior empirical evidence does not separate these explanations. I develop a model nesting both hypotheses and employ microdata on US manufacturing plants' shipments and factor inputs to quantify the two mechanisms' roles in quality specialization across US cities. Home-market demand explains as much of the relationship between income and quality as differences in factor usage.
We provide measures of ethnic and racial segregation in urban consumption. Using novel user-generated online data, we estimate how spatial and social frictions influence restaurant visits within New York City. Transit time plays a first-order role in consumption choices, so consumption segregation partly reflects residential segregation. Social frictions also have a large impact on restaurant choices: individuals are less likely to visit venues in neighborhoods demographically different from their own. While spatial and social frictions jointly produce significant levels of consumption segregation, we find that restaurant consumption in New York City is only half as segregated as residences. Consumption segregation owes more to social than spatial frictions.
Leading empiricists and theorists of cities have recently argued that the generation and exchange of ideas must play a more central role in the analysis of cities. This paper develops the first system of cities model with costly idea exchange as the agglomeration force. The model replicates a broad set of established facts about the cross section of cities. It provides the first spatial equilibrium theory of why skill premia are higher in larger cities and how variation in these premia emerges from symmetric fundamentals.
What determines the distributions of skills, occupations, and industries across cities? We develop a theory to jointly address these fundamental questions about the spatial organization of economies. Our model incorporates a system of cities, their internal urban structures, and a high-dimensional theory of factor-driven comparative advantage. It predicts that larger cities will be skill-abundant and specialize in skill-intensive activities according to the monotone likelihood ratio property. We test the model using data on 270 US metropolitan areas, 3 to 9 educational categories, 22 occupations, and 19 industries. The results provide support for our theory's predictions.
This course studies international economics from the perspective of the firm. Its objective is to equip students with analytical tools to understand the organizational, financial, and legal issues facing firms doing business across borders.