Academic Research

Academic Research
My academic research is varied and diverse covering whatever I find intriguing. My primary areas are international and public economics and you can find a complete copy of my CV here.

International Trade:

My paper in the Review of International Economics entitled “Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?” can be found here. There is a longer pre-publication version here. While the WTO does impact trade, it is much smaller than widely believed.

My other primary work in international trade studied the impact of democracy in increasing international trade levels. Appearing in the Journal of International Trade and Economic Development, it found that democracy and the indicators of a democratic society had no impact on increasing trade. I wrote a separate paper based on this paper for the United Nations University focusing on the impact of democracy in Africa on increasing trade levels. Again, this paper found no impact on democracy when considering trade levels.

My most recent work on international trade has developed a theoretical extension of the widely used gravity model into asymmetric trade barriers using corporate tax rates differentials.  Using the novel Baldwin-Taglioni gravity form, Prof. Estelle Dauchy and I find that tax rates have no impact on trade levels between OECD countries.

International Finance and Sovereign Wealth Funds:

My more recent work has focused on international finance and more specifically sovereign wealth funds. My first paper on sovereign wealth funds attempted to ask whether their portfolio of investments was politically biased. This paper has since been republished in a book which you can find here. You can also find the Wall Street Journal article on this research here and the Financial Times article here.

Another more technical paper, considered wether given their large natural resource wealth, how sovereign wealth funds should be investing their surplus capital. This appeared in the International Finance Review. I also contributed a chapter to the book Institutional Money Management: An Inside Look at Strategies, Players, and Practices.

I recently released a short paper on the inflated returns of the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. Nobody outperforms the market by that much for 35 years. How do you run 30 years of surplusesand become one of the most indebted countries in the world? This one doesn’t pass the smell test.

My other and expanding research area in international finance is the cost of political risk. In this paper published in the Journal of Emerging Market Finance, I estimated the impact of elections on CDS pricing and found that it has a statistically and economically significant impact. In other words, elections in emerging market is perceived to significantly increase credit default risk.
Public Economics

I think however, that the work I am personally most proud of is my work in the field of public economics. The work in this field is focused on tax policy and the economics of adoption and abortion. My first paper in this field was published in the Journal of Public Economic Theory and is entitled “A Modest Proposal for a Two Sided Market Clearing Institution Under Asymmetric Supply Constraints with Skewed Pricing: The Market for Adoption and Abortion in the United States“. In short it asks the question: if there are so many families seeking to adopt and there are so many abortions, why don’t the two come together and clear the market?

I wrote a follow up paper entitled “Who Wants to Adopt and Who Wants to Be Adopted: A Sample of American Families and Sub-Saharan African Orphans“. ¬†Along with a colleague Feng Yan, we find that “Given the large number of stable families and the high number of orphan deaths, it seems counterproductive to restrict international adoptions given the significant benefit to both children and families that could be realized.”


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