top of page
Working papers
Empirical works
Immigration, Robots and American Life

[Abstract] Foreign labor represents a growing fraction of risky occupations that appear to be close substitutes of industrial robots. I investigate how dependency on immigrants interacted with robot adoption shaped a workplace injury risk in high-hazard sectors. Associating a wave of unskilled immigrants and workplace injuries across U.S. industries during 1992-2019, I find that immigrant workers substantially replaced native fatalities by crowding out natives out of risky jobs. Associated with cross-industry investment of industrial robots, I also find that robot installation dramatically reduced injury risk, but the aggregate nationwide risk remains unabated from poor investments to riskier labor- intensive sectors (e.g. agriculture and construction). Then, I test a hypothesis that immigration inflow impeded the automation and preserved an injury risk for remaining laborers, including natives. Over-dependency on foreign labor may preserve the risky technology generating a social cost (e.g., disabilities; usage of opioids).

"Climate Change and Outdoor Labor Market: the Rise of Dropouts of Adult Males"

[Abstract] Since 1970s, male labor force participation in developed economies has ubiquitously declined for a half century. I argue that global warming fueled dropouts of prime-aged males, by harming the males' traditional advantage of working outdoors. Interacting regional prevalence of outdoor jobs and rich regional variations of climate change computed from granular weather data across U.S. Commuting Zones during 1970-2019, I find that 10 more hot days (i.e., mean temperature of 75F and above) in a decadal baseline on average generated 200,000 dropouts, with limited transition to an indoor sector. Climate change accounted for 5-10% of increased dropouts of prime-aged males during the period, with far smaller effects on females, only accounting for 3-5% of outdoor workers. The effect is higher if hot days are non-rainy and humid; if a male is younger; if his family income is large; if he lives with spouses and parents; if his house has an residential air conditioner and/or TV set. I find climate change hurt compensating wage differentials of working outdoors, after controlling for aging survivors' demographics. The finding suggests that climate change exacerbates economic inequality within adult males across regional labor markets.

[Abstract] The aging economies facing secular labor shortage are bound to respond by admitting foreign labor or by adopting labor-saving technology. This paper proposes that inflows of regional foreign labor guides the adoption of automation. I develop a task-based framework, in which tasks are optimally allocated across robots, and domestic or foreign labor. Then, I semi-parametrically recover cross-factor substitution schedules from a series of commuting zone-level immigration elasticities on economic outcomes, which are estimated using a 1940 ethnic settlement pattern. The dynamic model predicts that immigration's impact on wages between 1980 and 2015 could be reversed by including effects from immigration-induced adjustments of automation. I find that low-skilled immigration alone reduces routine occupation native wage, but raises wages in the long run by retarding the adoption of automation, resulting in enhanced domestic welfare. Finally, I find that a universal basic income policy targeted to U.S. citizens will boost dependence on automation and foreign labor by upshifting routine occupation native wages.

Earlier theoretical works
Using a Soft Deadline to Counter Monopoly (R&R at Journal of Industrial Economics)

[Abstract] A monopolist often exploits a hard deadline to raise their commitment power. I explore whether a group of buyers can employ a soft deadline to counter the monopoly. Using a simple durable goods monopolist model under a deadline, I show that the buyers’ imperfect commitment to an earlier exit may elicit a compromise from the monopolist and generate the buyers’ premium. The soft deadline partially restores the price discrimination dynamics of Coase conjecture, which is previously canceled out by the hard deadline. The overall efficiency exhibits an inverted-U shaped curve with respect to the buyers’ commitment intensity, where the benefits from earlier agreements are traded off against breakdown costs.

Deadline Credibility, Protracted Trades and Market Efficiency (Under review)

[Abstract] Many real-world negotiations are chronically protracted until deadlines, but deadlines are costly in generating separations. Must all deadlines be perfectly credible in one-on- one market trades? To refine the institutional role of deadlines, I theoretically propose a mechanism of an imperfectly credible pre-deadline to facilitate the agreement. Employing a seller–buyer dynamic bargaining model with a deadline, I analytically show a possibility that the complementary pre-deadline elicits earlier agreements without triggering separa- tions and, consequently, enhances the market efficiency. Under a well-designed threat of separation, the seller is tempted to discount a price as intertemporal price discrimination and the buyer is more likely to compromise right before the pre-deadline, as the pricing resembles an ultimatum. The results of a laboratory experiment broadly support the mech- anism’s efficacy.

Work in Progress
Climate Change and the Demise of Marriage of the Millennials
Climate Change and Declining Labor Share (with Xincheng Qiu)
Singularity, Seniority and Productivity: Evidence from Japanese Chess Grandmasterships: 1968-2022      (with Hideo Owan and Takuya Takahashi)
bottom of page