Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood

American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 106(5): 282-88, 2016

with Raj Chetty, Nathan Hendren, Frina Lin, and Ben Scuderi

We show that differences in childhood environments play an important role in shaping gender gaps in adulthood by documenting three facts using population tax records for children born in the 1980s. First, gender gaps in employment rates, earnings, and college attendance vary substantially across the parental income distribution. Notably, the traditional gender gap in employment rates is reversed for children growing up in poor families: boys in families in the bottom quintile of the income distribution are less likely to work than girls. Second, these gender gaps vary substantially across counties and commuting zones in which children grow up. The degree of variation in outcomes across places is largest for boys growing up in poor, single-parent families. Third, the spatial variation in gender gaps is highly correlated with proxies for neighborhood disadvantage. Low-income boys who grow up in high-poverty, high-minority areas work significantly less than girls. These areas also have higher rates of crime, suggesting that boys growing up in concentrated poverty substitute from formal employment to crime. Together, these findings demonstrate that gender gaps in adulthood have roots in childhood, perhaps because childhood disadvantage is especially harmful for boys.
A Q-Theory of Banks

Under Revision for Review of Economic Studies

with Juliane Begenau, Saki Bigio, and Matias Vieyra

We propose a dynamic bank theory with a delayed loss recognition mechanism and a regulatory capital constraint at its core. The estimated model matches four facts about banks' Tobin's Q that summarize bank leverage dynamics. (1) Book and market equity values diverge, especially during crises; (2) Tobin's Q predicts future bank profitability; (3) neither book nor market leverage constraints are binding for most banks; (4) bank leverage and Tobin's Q are mean reverting but highly persistent. We examine a counterfactual experiment where different accounting rules produce a novel policy tradeoff.
Consolidation on Aisle Five: Effects of Mergers in Consumer Packaged Goods

with Anthony Yu

We study the effects of mergers in the consumer packaged goods industry, a sector that comprises approximately one-tenth of GDP in the United States. We match data on all recorded mergers between 2006 and 2017 with retail scanner data. In comparison to prior work, which focuses on case studies of large mergers, our approach allows us to estimate the effect of a typical merger. Most mergers we study are highly asymmetric (a large firm acquires a much smaller firm) and rarely challenged. By studying these mergers, we provide new evidence on the effects of mergers on prices, quantities, product availability, and exit. On average, mergers lead to a short-run price effect at the target of 1% and declines in total revenue of 7%. These average effects hide substantial heterogeneity across different groups of mergers. Our results highlight the importance of effects not captured in the canonical model, such as effects on consumer surplus through changes in product availability, and through inefficient firms' capital being repurposed by more productive acquirors.