Research

I do empirical research, with interests in industrial organization, environmental and energy economics.  A detailed research statement can be downloaded here (link to pdf).

Job Market Paper

“Industry Dynamics with Learning Externalities: Hydraulic Fracturing,” (2017)

Draft: (click here for pdf)

Abstract: I model the interaction between dynamic decision making and social learning about new technologies in determining industry learning and development. Learning about new technologies is an important factor in economic growth, and, as I demonstrate, its presence as an externality can have significant implications for the development of nascent industries. I consider the empirical setting of hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota, where firms continue to learn about optimal use of the fracturing technology and detailed data published by regulators enables social learning. I model the role of this learning externality on agents’ decisions to drill shale oil wells, a real option optimal stopping problem. The learning externality gives rise to a dynamic free-riding problem: the possibility of profitably learning from others’ wells incentivizes rational agents to wait longer than if they were myopic. I estimate a structural model of this industry, and consider the effects of alternative policies on the industry’s learning path through counterfactual simulations.

Working Papers

“Learning by Viewing? Social Learning, Regulatory Disclosure and Firm Productivity in Shale Gas,” with T. Robert Fetter, Christopher Timmins, and Douglas H. Wrenn (2017)

Draft: (coming soon)

Abstract: Firms can learn about new technologies from other adopters, though they do not always exploit this form of social learning. We examine whether shale gas operators took advantage of environmentally-focused disclosure laws to learn from competitors and improve productivity; with this information, we evaluate the claim that chemical disclosure rules expose valuable trade secrets. We exploit an unusual regulatory episode in Pennsylvania that allows us to see chemical inputs prior to public disclosure. Using detailed data on well-level inputs and outputs, we study how the change in disclosure regime affected operators’ chemical use and well productivity.

Works in Progress

“Private and Public Incentives for Testing: Evidence from Stents,” with Allan Collard-Wexler, Matthew Grennan and Robert Town (2016)

“The Impact of the Fracking Boom on Rents in Pennsylvania,” with Lucija Muehlenbachs, Elisheba Spiller and Christopher Timmins (2016)