[email protected]
Placement Director: Claudia Goldin
Graduate Student Coordinator: Nicole Tateosian
[email protected]
[email protected]
Office Contact Information
University of Chicago
5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-2688 (office)
617-921-0547 (mobile)
Undergraduate Studies:
AM, Statistics, Harvard University, 2001
AB, Economics, Harvard College, summa cum laude, 2001
Graduate Studies:
Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University, 2005
Thesis Title: “Essays in Applied Microeconomics”
Thesis Committee and References:
Professor Edward L. Glaeser (chair)
[email protected]
Professor Lawrence F. Katz
[email protected]
Professor Andrei Shleifer
[email protected]
Department of Economics
Littauer Center, North Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Primary fields: Applied Microeconomics, Political Economy
Secondary field: Industrial Organization
Current Positions:
Becker Fellow, Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory, University of Chicago
Faculty Research Fellow, Labor Studies, National Bureau of Economic Research
Teaching Experience:
Fall, 2004
Freshman Seminar, Harvard University
Teaching Fellow for Professor Lawrence H. Summers
Honors, Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships:
National Science Foundation Grant SES-0617658 (with Matthew Gentzkow)
Russell Sage Foundation Small Grant in Behavioral Economics (with Dan Benjamin)
Institute for Humane Studies, Humane Studies Fellowship
Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences, Dissertation Completion Grant
Honors, Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships (continued):
Chiles Foundation Fellowship
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship
Job Market Paper:
“What Drives Media Slant? Evidence from U.S. Daily Newspapers” (with Matthew Gentzkow)
We construct a new index of media slant that measures whether a news outlet’s language is more similar to
a congressional Republican or Democrat. We apply the measure to study the market forces that determine
political content in the news. We estimate a model of newspaper demand that incorporates slant explicitly,
estimate the slant that would be chosen if newspapers independently maximized their own profits, and
compare these ideal points with firms’ actual choices. Our analysis confirms an economically significant
demand for news slanted toward one’s own political ideology. Firms respond strongly to consumer
preferences, which account for roughly 20 percent of the variation in measured slant in our sample. By
contrast, the identity of a newspaper’s owner explains far less of the variation in slant, and we find little
evidence that media conglomerates homogenize news to minimize fixed costs in the production of content.
“Media Bias and Reputation” (with Matthew Gentzkow). Journal of Political Economy 114(2): 280-316,
April 2006.
A Bayesian consumer who is uncertain about the quality of an information source will infer that the source is of higher
quality when its reports conform to the consumer’s prior expectations. We use this fact to build a model of media bias
in which firms slant their reports toward the prior beliefs of their customers in order to build a reputation for quality.
Bias emerges in our model even though it can make all market participants worse off. The model predicts that bias
will be less severe when consumers receive independent evidence on the true state of the world, and that competition
between independently owned news outlets can reduce bias. We present a variety of empirical evidence consistent
with these predictions.
“Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values” (with Edward L.
Glaeser and Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto). Quarterly Journal of Economics 120(4): 1283-1330, November
Party platforms differ sharply from one another, especially on issues with religious content, such as abortion or gay
marriage. Given the high return to attracting the median voter, why do vote-maximizing politicians take extreme
positions? In this paper, we find that strategic extremism depends on an intensive margin where politicians want to
induce their core constituents to vote (or make donations) and the ability to target political messages towards those
core constituents. Our model predicts that the political relevance of religious issues is highest when around one-half of
the voting population attends church regularly. Using data from across the world and within the United States, we
indeed find a non-monotonic relationship between religious extremism and religious attendance.
“Media, Education, and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World” (with Matthew Gentzkow). Journal of
Economic Perspectives 18(3): 117-133, Summer 2004.
Recent surveys in the United States and the Muslim world show widespread misinformation about the events of
September 11, 2001. Using data from 9 predominantly Muslim countries, we study how such beliefs depend on
exposure to news media and levels of education. We find that overall intensity of media use and level of education
have at best a weak correlation with beliefs, while particular information sources have strong and divergent effects.
Compared to those with little media exposure or schooling, individuals watching Arab news channels or educated in
schools with little Western influence are less likely to agree that the September 11 attacks were carried out by Arab
terrorists. Those exposed to media or education from Western sources are more likely to agree. Belief that the attacks
were morally justified and general attitudes toward the US are also strongly correlated with source of information.
These findings survive controls for demographic characteristics and are robust to identifying media effects using
cross-country variation in language.
Publications (continued):
“Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital.” Review of
Economics and Statistics 88(2): 324-335, May 2006.
“Is there a Daily Discount Rate? Evidence from the Food Stamp Nutrition Cycle.” Journal of Public
Economics 89(2-3): 303-325, February 2005.
“Why Have Americans Become More Obese?” (with David M. Cutler and Edward L. Glaeser). Journal of
Economic Perspectives 17(3): 93-118, Summer 2003.
“The Benefits of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction” (with Edward L. Glaeser). Tax Policy and the
Economy 17: 37-82, August 2003.
“Urban Growth in the 1990s: Is City Living Back?” (with Edward L. Glaeser). Journal of Regional Science
43 (1): 139-165, February 2003.
“City Growth: Which Places Grew and Why” (with Edward L. Glaeser). In Redefining Urban and
Suburban America: Evidence from Census 2000, Vol. 1, edited by Bruce Katz and Robert E. Lang.
Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
“Cities and Warfare: The Impact of Terrorism on Urban Form” (with Edward L. Glaeser). Journal of
Urban Economics 51(2): 205-224, March 2002.
Working Papers:
“Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia” (with Nava
Ashraf and James Berry). Draft, October 2006.
The pricing of health products in the developing world has become a center of controversy among policymakers, with
important implications for the efficient targeting of social programs more generally. A key issue in this debate is
whether higher purchase prices lead to more intensive product use and, therefore, greater health benefits. We present
results from an experiment in Lusaka, Zambia, designed to test whether charging more for a home water purification
solution results in more use of the product. Our methodology separates the screening effect of prices (charging more
changes the mix of buyers) from the causal effect of prices (charging more stimulates greater use for a given buyer).
We find that higher prices screen out less intensive users of the product. High prices do not cause greater product use
than low prices for a given buyer, but there is some evidence that the act of paying increases use. Our estimates imply
that positive prices may be optimal even if maximizing use is the sole objective.
“Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study” (with Matthew Gentzkow).
NBER Working Paper No. 12021, February 2006.
We use heterogeneity in the timing of television’s introduction to different local markets to identify the effect of
preschool television exposure on standardized test scores later in life. Our preferred point estimate indicates that an
additional year of preschool television exposure raises average test scores by about .02 standard deviations. We are
able to reject negative effects larger than about .03 standard deviations per year of television exposure. For reading
and general knowledge scores, the positive effects we find are marginally statistically significant, and these effects are
largest for children from households where English is not the primary language, for children whose mothers have less
than a high school education, and for non-white children. To capture more general effects on human capital, we also
study the effect of childhood television exposure on school completion and subsequent labor market earnings, and
again find no evidence of a negative effect.
“A ‘Memory-Jamming’ Theory of Advertising.” Draft, May 2006.
“Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections” (with Daniel Benjamin). NBER Working Paper No.
12660, November 2006.
“Who is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences” (with Daniel Benjamin). Draft, May
“Does Prison Harden Inmates? A Discontinuity-based Approach” (with M. Keith Chen). Draft, May 2006.