Working Papers

"Evolution of Gains from Racial Integration in the US Marriage Market" (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: Interracial marriages have increased in the US over the past few decades, but the trends are heterogeneous across demographic groups. Who has gained more from marital racial integration, and what drives the differing welfare gains across groups? This paper estimates individual utility gains from marital racial integration that accounts for the heterogeneous evolution of costs of interracial marriage experienced by different races and education groups. To this end, I build a transferable utility matching model and estimate the model for all race-education matchings over the past four decades. The model allows me to define and estimate the type-specific utility gains from marital racial integration by comparing the equilibrium single rates in the observed marriage market with the ones in a completely segregated marriage market. Results show gender and educational asymmetries within race: (i) For non-Hispanic whites and blacks, college-educated men have enjoyed higher utility gains from racial integration than their female counterparts and their lower educated male counterparts; and (ii) for Hispanics and Asians, while women have enjoyed overall higher levels of utility gains than men, women have experienced a larger declining trend in the utility gains compared to men. To understand the drivers for these disparities across gender and education, I implement a novel decomposition method based on quantitative comparative statics. I find that the population changes, including the evolving gender gap in college education and the rise in immigration, explain a large portion of the gender gap in the utility gains for all races except blacks. On the other hand, the changes in marital surplus played a larger role in driving the gender gap for blacks and the education gap for all races.

"Spousal Bargaining Power and the Consumption of Marriage Couples in the US: Evidence from Scanner Data" (with So Yoon Ahn)

Presentations: AASLE 2021, SEHO 2022, Leuven Summer Event - Labor/Family Economics 2022

Abstract: This paper studies how spousal bargaining power affects consumption patterns of married households in the US, using a detailed barcode-level dataset. We use two distribution factors as proxies for spousal bargaining power: (1) spouses’ relative education and (2) spouses’ relative potential wage, which is our preferred distribution factor. As an arguably exogenous measure of bargaining power, our relative potential wage is constructed as a Bartik-style measure of female-to-male wage ratio, exploiting county-level variations in heterogeneous exposure to different industries and state-wide wage growth. We find that the expenditure shares on women’s beauty goods increase and the expenditure shares on alcohol decrease significantly both when the relative education of wives increases and when the relative potential wages of wives increase. These results are consistent with household bargaining explanations. For couples with children, improved women’s household bargaining position is associated with a higher budget share on books, stationery, and school supplies, which are potentially related to investment in children. For singles, we do not find statistically meaningful effects of relative potential wage on any of their consumption outcomes, which strengthens the interpretation that the relative wage only affects couples’ consumption decisions.

Selected Work in Progress

"Geographical Variation in Gains from Racial Integration in the US Marriage Market"

Pre-Doctoral Publication

"Evaluation of the Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education" (with Pietro Biroli, Daniela Del Boca, James J. Heckman, Lynne Pettler-Heckman, Sylvi Kuperman, Sidharth Moktan, Chiara D. Pronzato, and Anna L. Ziff), Research in Economics, 72(1):1-32. (2018)