Working papers

Physical vs. Institutional Public Goods Provision: Evidence from China (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: This paper argues that political and market concentration level explains why non-democracies often under-invest in institutional infrastructure and legal capacity. Economic growth challenges this equilibrium and incentivizes rulers to invest in institutional infrastructure complementary to physical infrastructure. Rulers make joint investments to expand market entry and size if they can secure greater rents and preserve institutions favoring concentration. Instrumenting market concentration level with the share of the coal mining industry in local industrial output, the difference-in-differences analysis of Chinese data from 1997 to 2006 shows that the fiscal expenditure ratio of physical to institutional infrastructure rose 42% faster in provinces with market concentration indexes in the top quartile in 2000 (the year before China acceded to the World Trade Organization). The paper also presents a theoretical model proposing that investment in physical infrastructure rises faster than institutional infrastructure when the market concentration level increases.

Protecting Private Property Rights under State Ownership: Evidence from Chinese Occupational Choice

Abstract: My job market paper shows that monopoly matters for investment in institutions? The next question is why. This paper answers why by presenting evidence showing that monopoly is the de facto institution protecting property rights absent a formal one. The data results show that high-skilled workers work for the state sector much less for wage differentials than low-skilled workers but more for rent differentials which can be as high as 26% for high-skilled managers. Better-educated workers join the state sector primarily to earn higher rents.

Work in Progress

Negative Shocks and State Capacity: Evidence from China

Social Norms, Family Institutions, and Political Regimes: Evidence from China