My research is in public finance and economic history. I am especially interested in the evaluation of infrastructure projects, regional economic development, public good provision, and fiscal federalism issues. My dissertation studies the impact of U.S. highway constructions in the Interwar years.
Interwar Highways and the Demise of the General Store(Job Market Paper) PDF
Abstract In the 1920s, the U.S. federal government strongly encouraged state highway construction with its Federal-Aid Highway program, as a result of which state highway spending increased dramatically. The same decade saw a 36 percent decline in general stores. The paper offers evidence that these two developments were related: that a one standard deviation greater highway spending reduced the number of general stores by 9 to 22 percent. General stores in rural communities and more sparsely populated counties exhibited the greater sensitivity to highway spending. My results speak to the decline of rural trade center during the early twentieth century and suggest that changes in transportation infrastructure literally and figuratively altered the landscape of the American economy.
JEL Code: N72, H43, H54, R4
Are PILOTs Property Taxes For Nonprofits? with James R. Hines Jr. and Jill R. Horwitz, NBER Working Papers 21088, resubmitted to The Journal of Urban Economics. PDF
Abstract Nonprofit charitable organizations are exempt from most taxes, including local property taxes, but U.S. cities and towns increasingly request that nonprofits make payments in lieu of taxes (known as PILOTs). Strictly speaking, PILOTs are voluntary, though nonprofits may feel pressure to make them, particularly in high-tax communities. Evidence from Massachusetts indicates that PILOT rates, measured as ratios of PILOTs to the value of local tax-exempt property, are higher in towns with higher property tax rates: a one percent higher property tax rate is associated with a 0.2 percent higher PILOT rate. PILOTs appear to discourage nonprofit activity: a one percent higher PILOT rate is associated with 0.8 percent reduced real property ownership by local nonprofits, 0.2 percent reduced total assets, and 0.2 percent lower revenues of local nonprofits. These patterns are consistent with voluntary PILOTs acting in a manner similar to low-rate, compulsory real estate taxes.
WORK IN PROGRESS
When A Social Planner Meets A Leviathan: Optimal Taxation Under Hybrid Government
The Effect of Interwar and Interstate Highways on Local Economy: 1920 to 2000