How has the expansion of e-commerce over the past decade affected labor markets? Utilizing the variation of state legislation on e-commerce sales tax collection -the Amazon Tax- which reduced out-of-state e-commerce retailers’ price advantage, I find declines in employment and wages in e-commerce complementary sectors, such as warehousing and last-mile transportation. In the retail sector, I observe declines in local employment and the number of establishments. Effects in retail are heterogeneous by sub-sector. While big box retail employment increases, other brick-and-mortar retail employment decreases. As the Amazon Tax may induce brick-and-mortar retailers to incorporate online channels, I analyze changes in retail occupational structure. In non-urban areas, I find an increase in the share of office and service occupations and a decrease in the share of sales and related occupations. Through a general equilibrium model, I find that these results are consistent with an economy in which consumers substitute e-commerce purchases for big box purchases, which leads to the crowding out of other brick-and-mortar retail.
We document systematic differences in connection speeds, prices for basic broadband service, and home internet access between American Indian Reservations and neighboring areas. Consistent with past studies, we find large raw tribal gaps in these broadband outcomes. Regression techniques and Oster (2019)'s method reveal that traditional cost factors, similar to those used in FCC's Connect American Cost Model, fully explain the price gap but explain only a fraction of the tribal gaps in access and connection speeds. Income differences are strong predictors on internet access but do not affect the tribal gap in connectivity. We conclude with a discussion of the factors specific to Indian County that might drive the unexplained gap in access and connectivity.
Group Dynamics and Party Switching: Evidence from Argentina’s Roll Calls (pdf)
Political parties are the nexus between voters and politicians. Legislative party switching not only distorts the representativeness of electoral results but also threatens the stability of the democratic system by obfuscating the electorate. In order to design policies that restore the representativeness of the political system, it is paramount to understand the determinants behind legislators’ behavior. Using a novel dynamic panel data set, constructed by collecting more than 420,000 votes from Argentina’s House of Representatives, this paper studies party switching and group dynamics. This work estimates the relevance of individual and party characteristics as well as peers effects, power configuration and the possibility of remaining independent inside the Chamber as key features of legislator’s decision to switch. I find that party switching is an interdependent decision that relies more on same party peer effects than in different party peer effects. Ideological Distance, loyalty to party leaders, power of the party and the legislative cycle are important determinants of party switching. Moreover, increasing reputation costs of party switching is less effective at preventing it than promoting a transparent electoral process. By exploring the motives behind the switch, I find that party switchers have a higher probability of improving their ballot position compared to non switchers, suggesting that office seeking legislators have higher incentives to switch. Additionally, party switchers changed their voting behavior in the period close to their switching meeting, whereas non-switchers’ behavior was not affected by same party switches. Lastly I find that both office seeking and ideology seeking motivations affect the decision of a legislator to switch in their term.
Establishment’s Responsiveness to Shocks: the Case of the Great Recession (with Eliza Forsythe)