I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Boston University. My research interests include labor markets, human capital and underdevelopment, domestic and international migration, political economy, and urban economics.

My research statement

Job Market Paper

Monopsony for Whom? Evidence from Brazilian Administrative Data

The recent empirical analysis on the extent of monopsony in labor markets has been split. While studies of job separation activity suggest that firms hold high degrees of monopsony power, studies of hiring activity provide comparatively little evidence for monopsony and are generally faced with simultaneity concerns. I leverage uniquely well-suited employer-employee matched administrative data from Brazil to study this discrepancy, looking both at whether firms offer higher wages to their new employees at the times when they are growing more rapidly, and the extent to which workers’ voluntary separation decisions depend on their own wage. The comprehensiveness of the data allow me to address simultaneity concerns through novel “shift-share” style instruments, as well as the inclusion of local labor market fixed effects. Although my results provide clear evidence that labor markets are imperfect even at hiring, they also strongly suggest that firms hold comparatively little monopsony power over their new hires as compared to their existing workers. I discuss the implications of several models that can potentially explain these results.

Working Papers

The Division of Labor and the Labor Market: Are Specialized Worker Skillsets Valued?

Why are there gains from specialization in production? One plausible mechanism is that when workers are no longer required to invest in broad skillsets, they are able to develop their skills more deeply, and in doing so become more productive. A standard model of specialization in the style of Becker and Murphy (1992) suggests two key testable predictions that have received little empirical scrutiny: that highly-skilled individuals will develop more specialized skillsets and be compensated for them, and that more technologically-advanced firms will hire more specialized workers. To test these predictions, I construct occupation-level measures of skill specialization using the U.S. O*NET database and a hierarchical clustering algorithm from the machine learning literature, and I then map these skill measures to rich matched employee-employer administrative data from Brazil. Specialization among production skills is shown to be valuable, and evidence also suggests that workers who are specialized in production skills sort into higher-wage firms. In contrast, specialization in one’s cognitive skills does not predict higher wages, and workers with less specialized cognitive skillsets sort into higher-wage firms. These findings yield new implications for future research on specialization in the labor market.

The Impact of Having a Job at Migration on Settlement Decisions: Ethnic Enclaves as Job Search Networks

Observational evidence has shown that immigrants who choose to locate in enclaves have worse post-migration outcomes than those who locate elsewhere. This suggests that immigrants may be negatively selected into enclaves based on their ability to assimilate or to avoid discrimination. I hypothesize, however, that new immigrants choose to locate in enclaves in part based on their ability to benefit from the pre-existing labor market networks that these enclaves provide. Using detailed survey data from the New Immigrant Survey, I show that immigrants who arrive without job offers are significantly more likely to locate in enclaves, even after accounting for a wide range of pre-migration and time-invariant characteristics. However, I do not find significant evidence of heterogeneous effects of a job offer. This suggests that highly-skilled individuals and low-skilled individuals may benefit similarly from the job search benefits of locating in enclaves.

Work in Progress

  • Circling the Wagons: Do Immigrants Agglomerate in Response to Economic Shocks? (with Sam Bazzi)
  • Migration in Multi-period Citizen Candidate Voting Models (with Ben Solow)