As of August 2023, please email msll[at]umich[dot]edu for a draft.

Implications of Zoning for Urban Gentrification in New York City

This paper estimates the effect of the sweeping rezoning program initiated by the Bloomberg administration in New York City from 2002 to 2013. Using an instrumental variable strategy incorporating regime change from the 1961 Zoning Ordinance, this paper finds a 10% increase in the floor area ratio (a physical change), defined as the building floor area to the lot size, decreases price per square foot by 1.7% and a 10% increase in the maximum floor area ratio (a policy change) results in a 2.4% decrease in price. The paper uses a spatial general equilibrium model to quantify the aggregate impact of the rezoning policy on low- and high-skilled workers. Counterfactual analysis finds that as a result of the Bloomberg rezoning, GDP increases and price per square foot for residential floorspace drops, contrasting with an increase in residential segregation and increases in welfare only for high-skilled workers.

The Impact of Trade on Development: Evidence from Pastoralist Practices on the Ancient Silk Road joint with Mos Laoprassorn

This paper studies the long-term effect of trade on development. We approach this question in the context of the ancient Silk Road, examining whether the locations along the highland Silk Road continue to be relatively more developed than other locations in the highland region along the Inner Asia Mountain Corridor that were not on the ancient Silk Road. We proxy for modern development using high-resolution satellite imagery. To provide a causal effect between proximity to the Silk Road and modern development, we adopt a novel instrumental variable, using a simulated seasonal mobility pattern of the nomadic pastoralists from Frachetti et al. (2017) as an instrument for the locations of the Silk Road sites. We find a significant and robust positive relationship between proximity to Silk Road sites and modern development measures; an increase in the distance to the Silk Road by one standard deviation decreases the night lights intensity by 10.0%. Based on the elasticity of night lights with respect to GDP in the literature, this corresponds to a decrease in GDP of about 4.1%-9.7%.

Corporate Influence in Trade Agreements: Approaches Using Machine Learning joint with Dyanne Vaught

This paper studies the evolution of corporate influence over time on trade agreements and its impact on trade flows. We approach this question using a variety of techniques, from traditional indicators to machine learning methods, and find that corporate influence has been increasing over time in trade agreements. A 10% increase in the proportion of Services and Investment topic in the trade agreements results in 0.19% to 0.92% increase in trade flows. Next, this paper finds that to multinational corporate language has a differential effect on trade flows. Using deep learning methods to score similarity, a 10% increase in similarity to multinational corporation language has a negative effect on trade flows, ranging from -0.3% to -1.2%.