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.

(773) 834-5458

Chicago Booth, Room 380
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

NBER | Google Scholar | RePEc

TradeDiversion.net | @TradeDiversion

The Determinants of Quality Specialization

Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Why do high-income countries export high-quality goods: home demand or factor abundance? 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.

A Spatial Knowledge Economy

August 2016 (with Don Davis) [Revised & resubmitted, American Economic Review]

We develop 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.

How Segregated is Urban Consumption?

September 2017 (with Don Davis, Joan Monras, and Eduardo Morales)
[Revised & resubmitted, Journal of Political Economy]

We measure ethnic and racial segregation in urban consumption using Yelp reviews of NYC restaurants. Spatial frictions cause consumption segregation to partly reflect residential segregation. Social frictions also matter: individuals are less likely to visit restaurants in neighborhoods demographically different from their own. Nonetheless, restaurant consumption in New York City is only about half as segregated as residences. Consumption segregation owes more to social than spatial frictions.

The Comparative Advantage of Cities

March 2017 (with Don Davis)

What determines the distributions of skills, occupations, and industries across cities? We develop a theory that 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. Data on US cities, education groups, occupations, and industries are consistent with our theory's predictions.

The Spatial Structure of Endowments, Trade, and Inequality: Evidence from the Global Climate

Work in progress (with Solomon Hsiang and Kyle Meng)

We show that simply reshuffling the spatial arrangement of endowments among trading partners can affect global welfare inequality. In standard trade models, an increase in the spatial correlation of productivities amplifies dispersion in economic outcomes by increasing the correlation between productivity and the gains from trade. We explore this result empirically in the context of global agricultural trade over 1961-2013 by exploiting an exogenous global spatial reorganization of productivities induced by the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. As predicted, we find that higher spatial correlation in cereal yields increases welfare inequality. Climate-change projections for 2099 that incorporate this general-equilibrium effect exhibit 50% greater global welfare inequality than standard partial-equilibrium projections, with higher welfare losses across most African, South American, and many Asian countries.


Written coverage

Letters, etc


Managing the Firm in the Global Economy

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.