Research

Working Papers



This paper investigates the effects of early-life exposure to persecution risk on human capital formation and marital sorting, while also analyzing how these effects are influenced by the timing of the exposure during early life. Utilizing the context of China's "class struggle" period, which targeted various classes including landlords, capitalists, and intellectuals, this study demonstrates that individuals who experienced persecution risk during their childhood exhibit lower formal education attainment, reduced cognitive skills, and lower earnings. They are more likely to form marriages with individuals from classes that were previously favored by the regime but having comparatively lower human capital outcomes. Moreover, the study highlights that the most substantial and enduring impacts occur when the exposure to class struggle persecution risk takes place during early childhood.








The health benefits of expansions in Medicaid coverage depend on whether insured patients can find providers. This paper investigates how one important group of providers, Obstetrician-Gynecologists (OB-GYNs) select their practice locations in response to expansions of Medicaid/CHIP coverage to mid-low income pregnant women. Expanding eligibility leads to an overall increase in the total supply of OB-GYNs at the county level, with an inflow of individual OB-GYNs to mid-low income counties. However, in state border counties, expanded eligibility reduces the number of OB-GYNs, as OB-GYNs move to the state with lower eligibility. In keeping with my model, while Medicaid/CHIP eligibility expansions on average increase physician supply, in certain cases, it can reduce access to care as physicians avoid low Medicaid reimbursement rates.




This paper studies the effect of the permanent closure of office-based physician practices on patient healthcare utilization. First we show that the exit rate of office-based physician practices increased in 2020 using data from a nationwide claims database. Treating this as a supply shock to patients, we then show that permanent physician practice closures increase the probability of visiting hospitals, emergency departments and the cost per service. People from areas associated with greater disadvantage (lower income levels, higher shares of minority population, and Medicaid beneficiaries) as well as the elderly are disproportionately affected.




This paper studies the extent to which medical care delays affect infant and maternal health, using medical procedure delay orders (MPDOs) issued by more than thirty US states at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and a nationwide large claims dataset. Fuzzy RD estimates suggest that infants born right after MPDOs are more likely to reduce healthcare visits, miss immunizations, and develop health issues related to the perinatal period, particularly within the first four months of life. Moreover, difference-in-difference results show delayed medical care threatens infant health through maternal health. Newborns delivered by women with pregnancy exposure to MPDOs are more likely to be low birth weight, and women are more likely to develop pregnancy-related health problems after MPDOs are in effect. 




This paper examines the long-term impacts of the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program that promotes medical education and training to local communities. Using an event study strategy, I find the AHEC program expands local health workforce. I then show cohorts with childhood exposure to the AHEC program are less likely to be overweight and have health limitations, report better subjective health, are less depressed, and consume fewer alcohol drinks and cigarettes during adulthood than those without any childhood exposure to the local AHEC. Furthermore, these cohorts are more likely to remain enrolled in school after 16 and pursue a higher education degree. The long-term effects of childhood exposure to the AHEC program are larger among minority population and people with less-educated parents. 




Society increasingly recognizes that individuals often possess multiple identities and that there often exists differential value associated with each specific identity. As a model domain to study individuals with more than one identity, we focus on interdisciplinary dissertators in the United States. Our novel estimation method leverages a two-step process to characterize earnings of interdisciplinary dissertators as functions of the identities (academic fields) they acquire as graduate students. We estimate a first-stage regression of log earnings for monodisciplinarians and then regress log earnings for interdisciplinarians on functions of the first-stage coefficients. Our two-step method provides a framework for parsing and estimating the varied impacts of multiple identities across a wide range of organizational contexts.




Interdisciplinary research is commonly celebrated and encouraged for its ability to address emergent problems but little is known about the people who conduct such work since career-level data has not been broadly accessible. Extant theoretical frameworks generate competing predictions that (a) interdisciplinarians will be rewarded for brokering disparate areas of knowledge or (b) interdisciplinarians will be penalized for deviating from a single disciplinary category or prototype. We draw upon two large datasets covering more than one million dissertations from 1986 through 2016 from the United States as well as a novel linkage of the data and show that (1) interdisciplinary dissertations have become consistently more common and (2) working as an interdisciplinary dissertator tends to be penalized (based on recent years of salary data). More specifically, we find that the distance of topics that are combined in interdisciplinary dissertations is variably important across fields; and, when fields offer relatively high pay (e.g., Business), the penalty appears to be steeper. Our findings suggest a potential conflict of interest between enterprise-level interests to support interdisciplinary research and individual-level experiences of doing interdisciplinary work. Our study contributes to theories regarding the experience of interdisciplinarians across a wide range of organizational environments.




The novelty of this paper is to comparatively study the intergenerational economic mobility in rural and urban China through an exploration of multiple intergenerational transmission mechanisms. Comparing rural and urban households in China, this paper finds lower intergenerational economic mobility in urban areas over the past quarter century (1989 to 2015). Furthermore, using the predicted community average parental human capital and nonhuman capital measures as instruments, the 2SLS estimates show that parental human capital has a bigger impact on child income in rural than urban China, while parental nonhuman capital goods, such as household wealth and social spending, are relatively stronger intergenerational economic transmission mechanisms within the urban households than the rural ones. This paper casts light on the heterogeneous intergenerational economic transmission patterns in China's dual society under the Rural-Urban Household Registration System. Moreover, the existing rural-urban difference of intergenerational economic transmission does not diminish with internal labor migration.




We study how human capital diversification, in the form of double majoring, affects the response of earnings to labor market shocks. Double majors experience substantial protection against earnings shocks, of 56%. This finding holds across different model specifications and data sets. Furthermore, the protection double majors experience is more pronounced when the two majors are more distantly related, highlighting the importance of diverse skill sets. Additional analyses demonstrate that double majors are more likely to work in jobs that require a diverse set of skills and knowledge and are less likely to work in occupations that are closely related to their majors.




The United States rose to become a global leader in scientific research in the early 20th Century. Matching the universe of ProQuest Ph.D. recipients to the full count decennial US Censuses (1850-1940), this paper investigates how access to Ph.D. training developed research manpower in the US during this critical period. Evidence from our event study design suggests that opening one more Ph.D. program during the peak ages of graduate study induces nearly 2 more Ph.D. recipients per 1 million people born in that state. Furthermore, the expansion of Ph.D. programs improved access for minority, immigrant, rural, and lower socioeconomic status families. We also find evidence of a spillover effect from opening new Ph.D. programs on promoting new inventors and improving the quality of patents. 




Youth and adolescents have faced an unprecedented confluence of stressors to their mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study draws on individual-level electronic health records from a large and geographically diverse cohort of primary care patients to examine how the COVID-19 induced labor market shock of Spring 2020 affected mental health among youth ages 12--17. We leverage variation in the impact of the pandemic-induced recession on county-level, sector-specific employment to estimate a series of generalized difference-in-differences models and compare outcomes across counties with more versus less exposure to the pandemic economic shock. Despite an overall decrease in the use of primary care among our study sample, we find that the frequency of primary care visits with positive diagnosis for mental health conditions increased following the pandemic onset, especially among patients in counties with larger pre-pandemic shares of sectors that were most vulnerable to pandemic-induced contractions. We further find that this overall effect is primarily driven by visits for ADHD, anxiety, and affective mood disorders, and among patients with pre-existing mental health diagnoses.




This paper examines the equilibrium effects of the most recent automation technology transition towards industrial robots in the manufacturing industry using the newly collected China Employer-Employee Survey (CEES) data. We correct the endogeneity issue by using the constructed provincial capture of nationwide robotics technology as the instrumental variable for the individual firm's use of industrial robots. The 2SLS estimates show that the use of industrial robots in manufacturing firms awards wage premiums to all types of jobs and workers, meanwhile, also reshapes the employment structure and augments wage inequality within the firm. Moreover, the heterogeneity analysis across education groups, occupation levels, and task contents suggests that the shift in the demand for skill is the mechanism, through which the industrial robots affect the labor market.


Work In Progress