Corporate Finance, Political Economy, Labor Economics.
1. “The Effect of Childcare Access on Women’s Careers and Firm Performance” with Elena Simintzi and Ting Xu (Presented at the Conference on Finance, Labor, and Inequality 2022)
We study the effect of government-subsidized childcare on women’s career outcomes and firm performance using linked tax filing data. Exploiting a universal childcare reform in Quebec in 1997 and the variation in its timing relative to childbirth across cohorts of parents, we show that earlier access to childcare increases employment among new mothers, particularly among those previously unemployed. Earlier childcare access increases new mothers’ reallocation of careers into more demanding jobs in male-dominated firms, leading to higher earnings and higher productivity. Firms traditionally unattractive to women with children benefit from such reallocation, experiencing higher growth and performance. Our results suggest that childcare frictions hamper women’s career progression and their allocation of human capital in the labor market.
2. “Do Pivotal Politicians Benefit Constituent Companies?” with Sahil Raina
We study how pivotal politicians use their political leverage to benefit constituent firms. U.S. senators from swing states are more pivotal to passing legislation than senators from partisan states when the Senate is controlled by a narrower margin of seats, and we exploit the resulting shift in bargaining power to identify the effects of political leverage on firms. We find that firms located in swing states increase investment, have higher market valuations, and raise more equity when the Senate is relatively balanced. We further find evidence that these positive effects stem from favorable tax and trade policies. Lastly, we conduct an event study around the 2021 Senate runoff elections in Georgia, and find that swing-state firms experienced higher stock returns relative to partisan-state firms following an unexpected even split in the Senate.
3. “The Effects of Voter Partisanship on Economic Redistribution: Evidence from Gerrymandering” with Sahil Raina (An earlier version of this project focusing on SBA lending was presented at the Paris December Finance Meeting 2019, ASU Sonoran Winter Finance Conference 2020, Finance Down Under 2020, Northeastern Finance Conference 2020, WFA Meeting 2020, EFA Meeting 2020)
We study how voter partisanship affects economic redistribution. We model that partisan alignment between voters and their legislative representative reduces the representative’s incentive to serve her constituents’ economic interests. To identify shifts in partisan alignment, we exploit U.S. congressional redistricting and show that partisan gerrymandering produces predictable shifts in district-level voter partisanship. Comparing districts where the gerrymandering party’s candidate narrowly won and narrowly lost the pre-redistricting election, we find representatives insulated by favorable gerrymandering vote more frequently with their party on congressional bills and bring less discretionary federal spending to their districts relative to representatives exposed by unfavorable gerrymandering.
4. “Skilled Foreign Workers and Corporate Investment: Evidence from the H-1B Visa Program” (Presented at the SFS Cavalcade 2017, NFA Meeting 2017, AFA Meeting 2018, Paris December Finance Meeting 2020, CICF Meeting 2021, and EFA Meeting 2021)
I study how access to skilled workers affects corporate investment by examining restrictions on the ability of firms to hire workers through the H-1B visa program. I find that a 2003 reduction in the H-1B visa cap caused firms more reliant on visa workers to significantly lower their investment. Highlighting the importance of immigrants in mitigating labor market frictions, I find the effects are more pronounced for firms that lack access to alternative skilled labor pools and operate in thin labor markets. To address endogeneity concerns, I use historical immigrant enclaves as a plausibly exogenous driver of H-1B dependence, and find that high-immigrant-concentration firms reduced their investment relative to low-immigrant-concentration firms after the cap drop. To further sharpen identification, I exploit a temporal discontinuity in firms’ ability to apply for H-1B visas, and find that narrowly missing the visa application deadline also leads firms to lower investment.
5. “Politics and Hidden Borrowing: Electoral Cycles and State Defined Benefit Pension Plans” (Job Market Paper, Presented at WFA Meeting 2017, Awarded WFA Cubist Systematic Strategies Ph.D. Candidate Award)
I investigate how political incentives affect the policies of public-sector defined benefit (DB) pension plans in the United States. Incumbent Governors with discretion over state DB pension plan policies can borrow through the public pension system in a non-transparent manner by lowering contributions or raising benefits. In election year, the Governor faces the incentive to incur higher “pension deficits” in order to finance policies that improve his/her re-election chances. I document that such pension deficits are systematically higher in the final year of an election cycle, driven largely by election year decreases in governmental contributions. To formalize the intuition behind my findings, I present a stylized principal-agent model in which the key friction is temporary information asymmetry between incumbent politicians and voters regarding public pension policy. Consistent with the model’s predictions, the empirically documented electoral cycle pattern in pension deficits is stronger for pension plans that are more opaque and when gubernatorial elections are more closely contested. I also conduct falsification tests using private-sector DB pension plans in order to rule out alternative explanations for my findings.