Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
The Ohio State University
I am an associate professor of economics in the Division of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. My research interests are mostly in areas of applied microeconomics, including international trade, environmental economics, and economic development. Much of my work has focused on China, but I maintain a portfolio of projects related to contemporary policy debates in the United States. My work on China has spanned rural economic development, food safety, sustainability, innovation and intellectual property, as well as China's domestic labor markets. My US-based projects have included topics related to law and international trade, election systems and voter turnout, and environmental governance.
My teaching reflects my research interests. In addition to the basic theory courses, I teach upper-level courses on the Chinese economy and international economics. I also teach a course on ethics and economics, where we study the many points of intersection between neoclassical economic theory and normative ethics.
In addition to the ongoing projects described below, I am interested in developing new projects related to voluntary environmental certifications, international trade and exchange rate policy, and the economy of Taiwan.
I am currently working on two projects related to China's domestic economy, and one related to environmental governance in the US. The latter project examines the effects of environmental disasters on corporate reputations. We use the BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster as a case study to see how large are the negative reputational effects of such disasters and how long these effects persist. We also see the extent to which a disaster associated with one firm (BP) spills over to the reputation of other firms in the same industry. Finally, we plan to investigate the relationship between these reputational shocks and firm financial performance.
My two China-based projects are both related to the allocation of capital and labor in China's domestic markets. One project examines patterns of employment polarization in China related to the automation of routine manual tasks and substitution of capital for labor due to rising real wages. We find evidence of polarization at the bottom of the wage/skill distribution, due to the movement of workers out of traditional manufacturing jobs and into unskilled labor or self-employment. We find no evidence of polarization at the upper end of the wage/skill distribution.
The other project examines the implications of financial-market imperfections for labor and capital misallocation in China. Private firms in China face credit constraints that limit the efficient use of capital. We show that provinces with low capital market distortions are more likely to have higher wages and lower rental rates of capital and therefore receive labor migration and experience net capital outflow. Our results imply that there are large potential efficiency gains from financial market reform in China.
In my current position, I have taught the following undergraduate courses:
TECON 200 - Introduction to Microeconomics
TECON 201 - Introduction to Macroeconomics
TECON 210 - Ethics and Economics
TECON 332 - Rise of East Asia
TECON 361 - China's Rise and its Global Economic Implications
TECON 425 - Contemporary Issues in International Political
TECON 441 - International Economics
TECON 461 - Current Issues in the Chinese Economy
TECON 480 - PPPA Capstone Seminar
In addition to my academic work, I serve on the board of the World Affairs Council of Tacoma. I am also a member of the following professional associations: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, American Economic Association, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, Chinese Economists Society, Western Economics Association International.
I serve as Chair of the Division of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. I am also an elected representative on the UW Graduate School Council and its associated Graduate Policy Committee.