Updated June 2017


Assistant Professor, Southern Methodist University, Fall 2012—present

Visiting Scholar, George Washington University, Fall 2015


Steering committee member, Midwest International Economics Group


    Ph.D. in Economics, Johns Hopkins University, July 2012

    M.A. in Economics, Johns Hopkins University, October 2007

    M.Phil. in Economics, first class honors, Monash University, Australia, May 2006

    B.Econ, first class honors, Monash University, Australia, November 2003

    B.Acc, Monash University, Australia, November 2002


    International Trade, Applied Econometrics, Game Theory


    Are global trade negotiations behind a fragmented world of "gated globalization"?, with Santanu Roy (Southern Methodist University). Journal of International Economics, 2017, 108, 117-136. Abstract

    We show that global trade negotiations can prevent global free trade. In a simple model where global tariff negotiations precede sequential Free Trade Agreement (FTA), we show FTA formation can expand all the way to global free trade in the absence of global tariff negotiations but global free trade never emerges when global tariff negotiations precede FTA formation. This result arises precisely because global tariff negotiations successfully elicit concessions from negotiating countries. Moreover, global tariff negotiations can produce a fragmented world of "gated globalization" where some countries form FTAs eliminating tariff barriers among themselves while outsiders continue facing higher tariffs. Read more »

    Free Trade Agreements as dynamic farsighted networks. Economic Inquiry, 2017, 55(1), 31-50. Abstract

    In the presence of multilateral negotiations, are Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) necessary for, or will they prevent, global free trade? I answer this question using a dynamic farsighted model of network formation among asymmetric countries. Ultimately, FTAs prevent global free trade when there are two larger countries and one smaller country but FTAs can be necessary for global free trade when there are two smaller countries and one larger country. The model provides insights into the dynamics of recent real world trade negotiations and recent results in the literature on the empirical determinants of trade agreements. Read more »

    On the different geographic characteristics of Free Trade Agreements and Customs Unions, with Halis M. Yildiz (Ryerson). Journal of International Economics, 2016, 103, 213-233. Abstract

    Casual observation reveals a striking phenomenon of Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs): while Customs Unions (CUs) are only intra-regional, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are inter and intra-regional. Using a farsighted dynamic model, we endogenize the equilibrium path of PTAs among two close countries and one far country. Rising transport costs mitigate the cost of discrimination faced by the far country as a CU non-member and diminish the value of preferential access as a CU member. Thus, sufficiently large transport costs imply an FTA is the only type of PTA that can induce the far country's participation in PTA formation. Unlike CU formation, FTA formation can induce participation because FTAs provide a flexibility benefit: an FTA member can form further PTAs with non-members but a CU member must do so jointly with all existing members. Hence, in equilibrium, CUs are intra-regional while FTAs are intra- and inter-regional. Read more »

    Could tariffs be pro-cyclical?, with Maia Linask (U of Richmond). Journal of International Economics, 2016, 103, 124-146. Abstract

    Conventional wisdom says tariffs are counter-cyclical. We analyze the relationship between business cycles and applied tariffs using a disaggregated product-level panel dataset covering 72 countries between 2000 and 2011. Strikingly, and counter to conventional wisdom, we find that tariffs are pro-cyclical. Further investigation reveals this pro-cylicality is driven by the tariff setting behavior of developing countries; tariffs are acyclical in developed countries. We present evidence that pro-cyclical market power drives the pro-cyclicality of tariffs in developing countries, providing further evidence of the importance of terms of trade motivations in explaining trade policy. Read more »

    Domestic political competition and pro-cyclical import protection, with Maia Linask (U of Richmond), Review of International Economics, 2016, 24(3) 564-591. Abstract

    Governments, especially in developing countries, routinely practice binding over- hang (i.e. setting applied tariffs below binding WTO commitments) and frequently move applied tariffs for given products up and down over the business cycle. Moreover, applied tariffs are pro-cyclical in developing countries. We explain this phenomenon using a dynamic theory of lobbying between domestic interest groups. Applied tariffs are pro-cyclical when high-tariff interests (e.g. import-competing industries) capture the government: these groups concede lower tariffs to low-tariff interest groups (e.g. exporting firms or firms using imported inputs) during recessions because recessions lower the opportunity cost of lobbying and thereby generate stronger lobbying threats. Read more »

    An empirical analysis of trade-related redistribution and the political viability of free trade, with Dann Millimet (Southern Methodist University), Journal of International Economics, 2016, 99, 156-178. Abstract

    Even if free trade creates net welfare gains for a country as a whole, the associated distributional implications can undermine the political viability of free trade. We show that trade-related redistribution -- as presently constituted -- modestly increases the political viability of free trade in the US. We do so by assessing the causal effect of expected redistribution associated with the US Trade Adjustment Assistance program on US Congressional voting behavior on eleven Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between 2003 and 2011. We find that a one standard deviation increase in expected redistribution leads to an average increase in the probability of voting in favor of an FTA of 1.8 percentage points. Although this is a modest impact on average, we find significant heterogeneities; in particular, the effect is larger when a representative's constituents are more at risk or the representative faces greater re-election risk. Read more »

    Costly distribution and the non–equivalence of tariffs and quotas, with Maia Linask (U of Richmond), Public Choice, 2015, 165(3), 211-238. Abstract

    When governments impose a quota or tariff on imports, it is well known that the resulting rents and revenues trigger costly rent-seeking and revenue-seeking activities, which are welfare- reducing and may be economically more significant than the efficiency losses resulting from the quota/tariff-induced resource reallocation. Repeated interaction among firms can eliminate wasteful rent- and revenue-seeking expenditures through cooperation. We show that while aggregate outcomes are equivalent under tariffs and quotas if cooperation arises, the conditions under which cooperation arises differ by policy. This difference arises because a firm must incur additional cost to physically import and distribute the goods associated with additional quota licenses, whereas there is no such cost when it comes to consuming additional tariff revenue. Thus, quotas and tariffs are non-equivalent. We provide a simple sufficient condition under which cooperative elimination of rent-seeking under quotas is easier than cooperative elimination of revenue-seeking under tariffs and therefore a quota is the optimal policy whenever the optimal policy admits cooperation.

    Revisiting the link between PAC contributions and lobbying expenditures, European Journal of Political Economy, 2015, 37, 86–101. Abstract

    Unfortunately, data on campaign contributions of PACs (political action committees) in the US does not contain the PACs issues of concern. Additionally, while recent US lobbying data details the issues of concern for an interest group, it does not detail the Congressional representatives lobbied by the interest group. Using the 1997–98 Congressional cycle, earlier work showed PACs engaging in lobbying and campaign contributions account for the vast majority of such political money even though they represent a small minority of all PACs. Using an expanded time period, I show this is a systematic feature of the US political system and how it allows construction of a novel dataset that decomposes representative-specific contributions across issues as well as issue-specific lobbying expenditures across representatives. Further, I show this decomposition can qualitatively affect results regarding the relationship between political money and Congressional voting behavior on trade policy. Read more »


    Dynamic formation of Preferential Trade Agreements: The role of flexibility. Revised & Resubmitted to Canadian Journal of Economics. Abstract

    In practice, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) outnumber Customs Unions (CUs) by a ratio of 9:1. Nevertheless, the literature traditionally views CUs as optimal for members because CU members coordinate external tariffs. I show that a dynamic FTA flexibility benefit can help explain the prevalence of FTAs: individual FTA members have the flexibility to form their own future FTAs whereas CU members must jointly engage in future CU formation. Under asymmetry, even arbitrarily small degrees thereof, FTAs emerge in equilibrium if and only if the FTA flexibility benefit outweighs the CU coordination benefit. Read more »

    Contesting an International Trade Agreement, with Matt Cole (Cal Poly) and Ben Zissimos (U of Exeter). Abstract

    A new political economy framework that models conflicting lobbying interests and inherent uncertainty surrounding Trade Agreement ratification. Read more »

    Good jobs, bad jobs: what's trade got to do with it?, with Dann Millimet (Southern Methodist University). Abstract

    Using US local labor markets between 1990 and 2010, we analyze the heterogeneous impact of rising trade exposure on employment growth of "good" and "bad" jobs. Three salient findings emerge. First, rising local exposure to import competition, via falling US tariffs or rising Chinese import penetration, reduces (increases) employment growth of bad (good) jobs. Conversely, improved local access to export markets, via falling foreign tariffs, increases (reduces) employment growth of bad (good) jobs. Second, falling US tariff protection is substantially more important, economically and statistically, than rising Chinese import penetration. Third, globalization generates occupational polarization but not job polarization. Read more »

    Heterogeneous job polarization in the US, with Dann Millimet (Southern Methodist University). Abstract

    We investigate job polarization in the US. Significant heterogeneity is found across sectors, with the tradable goods sector exhibiting anti-polarization. This is consistent with the theoretical trade model of Grossman and Maggi (2000). Read more »

    Dynamic farsighted networks with endogenous opportunities of link formation. Abstract

    I present a three player dynamic network theoretic model where players are farsighted and asymmetric. Unlike the previous literature that imposes an exogenous protocol governing the order of negotiations, I allow the identity of the players who form a link in a given period to depend endogenously on player characteristics. Importantly, I show how this can give different predictions regarding attainment of the complete network relative to models with an exogenous protocol. Regardless of whether the complete network is efficient, a key dynamic trade off drives whether the complete network is attained in my model. A pair of players (insiders) may form a link with each other but, even though link formation is always myopically bene.cial, each insider then refuses subsequent link formation with the third player (outsider) because the eventual attainment of the complete network makes each insider worse off relative to the insider–outsider network. Read more »


    Phase out tariffs, phase in trade?, with Tibor Besedes (Georgia Tech) and Tristan Kohl (U of Groningen)

    Tariff phaseouts in US bilateral Free Trade Agreements, with Shushanik Hakobyan (Fordham) and Tristan Kohl (U of Groningen)

    Structural transformation and labor mobility over the life cycle, with Masha Brussevich (Purdue) and Mike Sposi (Dallas Fed)

    Tariff bindings and Prefrential Trade Agreements, with Moise Nken (Ryerson) and Halis M. Yildiz (Ryerson)

    Antidumping and Reciprocity, with Paola Conconi (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Maurizio Zanardi (Lancaster University)


    2017: U of Indiana

    2016: FGV-EESP (Sao Paulo School of Economics), Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, U of Oklahoma, Southern Economic Association, Fall Midwest Trade Meetings

    2015: Georgia Tech, Ryerson University, Washington & Lee University, University of Richmond, George Washington University, USITC, Spring Midwest Trade Meetings, Fall Midwest Trade Meetings, Asia Pacific Trade Seminars, SAET conference, UECE Lisbon Meetings in Game Theory and Applications, Washington DC Junior Trade Study Group

    2014: KU Leuven Workshop on Trade Agreements, Spring Midwest Trade Meetings, Silvaplana Workshop in Political Economy, Kansas State University, Texas Theory Camp

    2013: LSU Conference on Networks, Australasian Trade Conference, Monash University, University of New South Wales, Ryerson, Spring Midwest Trade Meetings, Fall Midwest Trade Meetings

    2012: CIRANO Workshop on Networks in Trade and Finance, Fall Midwest Trade Meetings, Texas Theory Camp, Southern Methodist University, College of William and Mary, U of Memphis, SAIS Bologna

    2011: European Economic Association Meetings, Stony Brook Game Theory Festival Workshop on Game Theory in Trade and Development, Asia Pacific Trade Seminars, Western Economic Association, Public Economic Theory Conference, Spring Midwest Trade Meetings

    2010: Eastern Economic Association


    Primary Instructor

    International Trade (PhD), Southern Methodist University

    International Trade (Undergraduate), Southern Methodist University

    Econometrics (Undergraduate), Johns Hopkins University

    Econometrics (online, Masters), Johns Hopkins University

    Elements of Macroeconomics (Undergraduate), Johns Hopkins University


    American Law and Economics Review, American Political Science Review, B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, Canadian Journal of Economics, Contemporary Economic Policy, Economic Inquiry, Economic Record, Economics & Politics, Empirical Economics, European Economic Review, European Journal of Political Economy, International Economic Review, International Review of Economics & Finance, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Journal of International Economics, Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Public Choice, Review of International Economics, Review of International Organizations, Review of World Economics, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Southern Economic Journal, World Trade Review