My primary research interests include public economics, labor economics, industrial organization, and public policy.
In particular, I am very interested in models of choice and how those models explain behavior modifications resulting from policy change. Future research topics I plan to consider are policy issues in housing, aging, personal savings, lending and insurance decisions.
If you would like a more thorough summary of my research interests, please contact me to request my Research Statement.
Papers in Economics
(also, see "other" for published, peer-reviewed papers outside of economics)
- [Job Market] Housing Demand and Neighborhood Choice with Housing Vouchers
Abstract. One goal of the U.S. housing voucher program, as an alternative to public housing sub- sidies, is to help participants gain access to decent neighborhoods. I find that in a typical implementation of the program, participants in the housing voucher program live in better neighborhoods than public housing residents, but in lower-quality neighborhoods compared to unsubsidized households eligible for the program. I propose and estimate a new model of residential choice and housing demand that respects different budget constraints induced by various housing policies. The model is used to study several possible rental assistance schemes. With respect to crime rates and public school quality, a rental rebate program and a requirement to live in low-poverty neighborhoods would be most effective at improving neighborhood selection. The former would significantly lower program costs, while the later would have to be offset with high levels of compensation including relocation assistance.
- [Revise and Resubmit to Quantitative Economics, with D. Epple and H. Sieg] Estimating a Model of Excess Demand for Public Housing
Abstract. The goal of this paper is to estimate a new model that captures excess demand for public housing
and to quantify the welfare costs associated with failing to maintain
a sufficient supply of public housing communities. We develop a new model that captures excess
demand for public housing in equilibrium. We estimate the
parameters of the model based on a unique panel data
set of low-income households in Pittsburgh. We find that for each
family that leaves public housing there are on average 3.85 families
that would like to move into the vacated unit. Demolitions of existing units increase
the degree of rationing and result in large welfare losses. An unintended consequence of
demolitions is that they increase racial segregation in low income housing communities.
- [Working, with D. Epple and H. Sieg] Public Housing Policies and the Mobility of Low Income Households: Evidence from Pittsburgh
Abstract. The goal of this paper is to study the impact of public housing
policies on the mobility of low income households in a large urban
area. We focus on communities owned and managed by the Housing
Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. Although participation guidelines
and funding are controlled at the federal level, a local housing
authority oversees many implementation issues that influence the
program uniquely, including supply, community and neighborhood
quality, waitlist implementation, and exit opportunities. The empirical analysis is based
on a unique restricted use panel data set that allows us
to follow low income households over a five year period. We find that
heterogeneity in public housing communities is important in explaining
households' decisions to enter and exit the housing assistance
program. The paper also documents the importance of with-in program
transfers. These transfers reflect a combination of desirability,
events planned by the housing authority, and the turn-over rates of
different communities. Tenant-initiated transfers and exits from
public housing allow us to evaluate the relative desirability of
different types of public housing communities. Understanding the link
between community-specific amenities and mobility provides new
insights for the design of better housing policies.
- [Working, with B. Morrow] Effects of public housing on children's school performance.
Dissertation Committee Members