I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
My work lies at the intersection of Public Finance and Behavioral Economics.
You can download my CV here.
Check out my better half's website here.
FINAL "Who Really Benefits From Consumption Tax Cuts? Evidence From a Large VAT Cut in France" with Dorian Carloni (CBO). AEJ: Economic Policy, February 2019. NBER Working Paper No. 23848. Vox Summary, IPP Policy Brief, featured in Alternatives Economiques, Le Figaro, France 2, France 3, Liberation.
Revised "What Goes Up May Not Come Down: Asymmetric Incidence of Value Added Taxes" with Dorian Carloni (CBO), Jarkko Harju (VATT) and Tuomas Kosonen (LIER).
Revised and Resubmitted, Journal of Political Economy. NBER Working Paper No. 23849.
Featured in Les Echos, L'Express, Capital, LCI, Ouest France, BFM.
This paper shows that prices respond more to increases than to decreases in Value-Added Taxes (VATs). First, using two plausibly exogenous VAT changes, we show that prices respond twice as much to VAT increases than to VAT decreases. Second, we show that this asymmetry results in higher equilibrium profits and markups and, therefore, benefits mainly firm owners. Third, we show that the asymmetry persists several years after the VAT changes take place. Fourth, we document additional empirical features of this asymmetry that are inconsistent with standard incidence models. Fifth, using all VAT changes in the European Union from 1996 to 2015, we find similar levels of asymmetry for most commodities in the economy and across most EU countries. Using a survey of firm managers, we provide possible explanations for our empirical findings.
Revised “How Taxing Is Tax Filing? Using Revealed Preferences to Estimate Compliance Costs.” NBER Working Paper No. 23903. Slides
Featured in the LA Times, Le Figaro, Time, the Blade, Quartz, NPR, Washington Post, the Economic Report of the President and the NBER Digest.
This paper uses a quasi-experimental design to estimate the cost of filing taxes. Using US tax returns, I observe how taxpayers choose between itemizing deductions and claiming the standard deduction. Taxpayers forgo large tax savings to avoid compliance costs, which provides a revealed preference estimate of such costs. I show that costs increase with income, consistent with an opportunity cost of time explanation. These estimates suggest substantial costs of filing federal income taxes, significantly larger than previously estimated using surveys.
NEW "Do Value-Added Taxes Affect International Trade Flows? Evidence From 30 Years of Tax Reforms" with Alisa Tazhitdinova (UCSB) and Lior Bar-El.
This paper uses all Value Added Tax (VAT) changes across all EU Member States from 1988 to 2016 to estimate the effect of VATs on trade flows. We find small elasticities of trade flows with respect to VATs, in spite of some of the VAT changes being substantial. Our estimates imply that trade flows respond much less to VATs than to tariffs. This finding holds across different time periods, countries and types of reforms. Our results imply that VATs are unlikely to distort trade flows.
NEW "Are Taxes Turning Humans Into Machines? Using Payroll Tax Variation to Estimate the Capital-Labor Elasticity of Substitution." with Jarkko Harju (VATT).
This paper provides a quasi-experimental estimate of the micro capital-labor elasticity of substitution. We use a discontinuity in the average payroll tax rate to show that firms decrease both labor and capital when experiencing higher payroll tax rates. We argue that this is consistent with Leontief production functions, implying a micro capital-labor elasticity of substitution of zero. Using a conceptual framework to aggregate micro elasticities, we estimate a macro capital-labor elasticity of substitution of 0.17. Our finding sheds new light on the role of the substitution of labor with capital in the fall of labor shares and on the fiscal externalities imposed by payroll taxes.
"Should I Stay Or Should I Go? The Migration Patterns of High-Skilled Workers: Evidence From Alumni Databases."
This paper uses a novel dataset to provide new series on the international migration of high skilled workers educated in France from 1944 to 2012. I use alumni databases to track the location of graduates from leading French post- secondary institutions. The proportion of high skilled individuals working in France has been steadily decreasing from 1944 to 2004. Recent years have seen an increase in the percentage of graduates staying in France in contradiction with the view that high taxes and administrative costs have been leading high skilled workers to leave France.