Job Market Candidates 2018

Levitt Curriculum Vitae

Fields: Environmental Economics, Political Economy
Advisor: Terry Iverson, Sammy Zahran

Dissertation: Essays on the Regional Effects of Hurricane Katrina

Job Market Paper: Wage effects of a catastrophic disaster: an application of the synthetic control method to hurricane Katrina.

Abstract: Hurricane Katrina led to catastrophic flooding in the city of New Orleans, resulting in a substantial displacement of the city’s population. This displacement precipitated a large disruption in New Orleans’ labor market. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the long-term impacts of this disruption. Using the synthetic control method, I demonstrate a significant and persistent increase in average wages attributable to the disaster. I then investigate the extent to which this increase can be attributable to changes in the sectoral composition of the city. Results suggest that in the first five years following Katrina the proportion of employment in higher paid sectors increased – a result likely driven by the displacement of low-income households. Beginning in 2010, I find the opposite result, in which the proportion of employment in lower paid sectors increased. Although average wages appear to be converging towards their estimated synthetic control, this is largely the result of changes in the sectoral composition of labor, rather than a recovery to the city's pre-Katrina trajectory.

Alex Curriculum Vitae

Fields: International Economics, Political Economy

Advisors: Daniele Tavani, Ramaa Vasudevan

Dissertation: Terms of Trade and Productivity Constraints as Determinants of Export-Led Growth: Implications for Development Policy

Job Market Paper: Terms of Trade: Price-competitiveness Matters

Abstract: Tests of the balance of payments constrained growth model typically focus on income elasticities of demand in the traded sector. The role of price-competitiveness is treated as negligible and often neglected. This paper presents alternative specifications for the terms of trade in conventional import and export demand equations. I show that by taking into consideration the export prices of foreign competitors and prices of domestic substitutes for imports, terms of trade becomes far more relevant in determining import and export demand and the corresponding equilibrium growth rates in a Keynesian framework. The results suggest policy combinations for developing economies given the absence of domestic substitutes for import goods and the dependence on exports as a source of foreign currency.


Roberts Curriculum Vitae

Fields: Political Economy, Public Economics, Regional Economics
Advisor: Anita Pena
Dissertation: How Families Dealt with the Great Recession: Grandparent Childcare and Debt

Job Market Paper: Recession vs. Policy Shock: 2008, Medicare Part D and Grandparent Childcare

Abstract: Many studies have found grandparent provided childcare (GPCC) is of higher quality on average than center-based care, and that the availability of childcare itself increases the labor force participation rates of women. This has led to this investigation into the influence of income and wealth on the supply of GPCC. Using restricted-use data from the Health and Retirement Survey, this investigation focuses on labor income, household wealth, age, health factors, family size, and period dummies to understand how the 2008 recession affected GPCC provision. This study is the first of its kind to include state fixed-effects. Results suggest that there is no difference between the recession and recovery periods, but that work income and wealth are significant predictors; albeit with small magnitude. Sub-sample regressions run by sex and coupled status suggest that work income influences female GPCC decisions but not male, and influences coupled respondents more than single. Finally, using a propensity score matching method, the effect of Medicare Part D on providing any GPCC is derived. However, limits to the data leaves this effect ambiguous.