Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D. (economics), The University of Texas at Austin, 2018
M.S. (economics), The University of Texas at Austin, 2015
A.B. (economics) and Certificate (political economy), Princeton University, 2009

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on the impact of government policies on the macroeconomy, with a particular emphasis on understanding the effects of monetary and fiscal policy on the labor market. I have examined how monetary policy has effects that differ across groups of people, such as workers who have been recently laid off or who are in occupations and industries vulnerable to automation and off-shoring. I have also developed computational methods of solving complex macroeconomic models. I am currently studying the efficacy of government spending policies aimed at reducing unemployment.

Teaching Interests

I teach both introductory and intermediate macroeconomics courses with an emphasis on the answers to two seemingly simple questions: “Why are some countries rich while others are poor?” and “Why do we see strong income and output growth in some periods but stagnation or even decline in others?” An understanding of these two broad topics—long-run growth and short-run fluctuations—provides a strong basis for a deeper examination of issues like inflation, unemployment, money and the banking system, and the macroeconomic consequences of income and wealth inequality. I also teach courses on money and banking and monetary policy that examine related questions in more detail.



An Envelope Method for Solving Continuous-Time Stochastic Models with Occasionally Binding Constraints

Published in Economics Letters, Vol. 214, May 2022

I introduce a finite-difference solution method based on the envelope condition in continuous-time stochastic dynamic programming problems. The envelope method is easier to code and, in the presence of occasionally binding constraints, faster and more stable than popular methods based on the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation. As an illustration, I solve a stochastic growth model with irreversible investment. (Published version; Preprint.)


Working Papers:

The Role of Household Uncertainty in U.S. Business Cycles:  Evidence from the Michigan Survey of Consumers

This paper introduces new measures of household uncertainty from the Michigan Survey of Consumers and new methods of identifying uncertainty shocks from qualitative survey data on sentiment using sign restrictions on impulse responses. Household uncertainty shocks explain almost none of the variance of measures of real activity in the U.S. Moreover, the endogenous response of household uncertainty is unimportant in the transmission of other macroeconomic shocks to the real economy. I conclude that household uncertainty plays essentially no role in U.S. business cycles. By contrast, I do find some evidence of more important roles for household confidence and firm uncertainty.

The New Keynesian Price Puzzle

The "price puzzle''—a short-run increase in prices in response to higher interest rates—is a common feature of estimated responses to monetary policy shocks. In this paper, I show that it is also a robust prediction of the New Keynesian model: nearly all equilibria consistent with common identifying assumptions and estimates of interest rate responses result in a price puzzle. Although these results imply that exogenously higher interest rates can increase inflation in the short run, the model nevertheless always recommends raising rates endogenously to lower inflation after non-monetary shocks. This result calls into question the practice of inferring causal effects of endogenous policy changes from responses to exogenous policy shocks.

Has Monetary Policy Accelerated Job Polarization?

Since the late 1960s, the share of U.S. employment in occupations involving primarily routine tasks has declined by about 30 percent, a trend that has largely affected workers with a high-school degree but no college. This paper argues that contractionary monetary policy has accelerated this change. In part by disproportionately affecting industries with high shares of routine occupations, contractionary monetary policy shocks lead to large and very persistent shifts away from routine employment. Expansionary shocks, on the other hand, have little effect on these industries. Indeed, monetary policy's effect on overall employment is concentrated in routine jobs. These results highlight monetary policy's role in generating fluctuations not only in the level of employment, but also the composition of employment across occupations and industries.

Gross Worker Flows, Job Loss, and Monetary Policy

This paper examines how monetary policy shocks in the U.S. affect the flows of workers among three labor market categories—employment, unemployment, and nonparticipation—and assesses each flow's relative importance to changes in labor market “stock” variables like the unemployment rate. The full stock-flow accounting reveals that job loss is the largest driver of monetary policy's effects on the labor market and that these fluctuations in job losses generate a composition effect in the stock of unemployed that plays a quantitatively important role in accounting for the dynamics of labor market variables after monetary policy shocks. I develop a New Keynesian model that incorporates these channels and show how a central bank can achieve welfare gains from targeting job loss, rather than output, in an otherwise standard Taylor rule.

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