I am a PhD candidate on the job market during the 2015-16 academic year. For more information on my research and interests, please see my CV and my personal website.
Job Market Paper
Although TV advertising for traditional cigarettes has been banned since 1971, advertising for electronic cigarettes remains unregulated. The effects of e-cigarette ads have been heavily debated by policymakers and the media, though empirical analysis of the market has been limited. To analyze the question, I leverage access to county-level sales and advertising data on cigarettes and related tobacco products, along with detailed data on the consumption behavior of a panel of households. I exploit a discontinuity in advertising along television market borders to present descriptive evidence that suggests that e-cigarette advertising reduces aggregate demand for traditional cigarettes. Analyzing household purchase data, I find that individuals reduce their consumption of traditional cigarettes after buying e-cigarettes, further suggesting that the products are substitutes. I then specify a structural model of demand for cigarettes that incorporates addiction and allows for heterogeneity across households. The model enables me to leverage the information content of both datasets to identify variation in tastes across markets and the state dependence induced on choice by addiction. I show how the model can be estimated linking both datasets in a unified estimation procedure. Using the demand model estimates, I evaluate the impact of a proposed ban on e-cigarette television advertising. I find that in the absence of e-cigarette advertising, demand for traditional cigarettes would increase, suggesting that a ban on e-cigarette advertising may have unintended consequences.
Joint with Harikesh Nair and Pedro Gardete. The standard paradigm in the empirical literature treats consumers as passive recipients of advertising by firms and ignores the fact that in many cases consumers may actively choose whether to consume an ad or not. Becker and Murphy (1993) recognized this aspect of demand for advertising and argued that in many cases demand for advertising and demand for products may be linked by complementarities in joint consumption. We leverage access to an unusually rich dataset that links the TV ad consumption behavior of a panel of consumers with their product choice behavior over a long time horizon. We first show that the data suggests an active role for consumer choice of ads, and for complementarities in joint demand. To interpret the patterns in the data, we fit a structural model for both products and advertising consumption that allows for such complementarities. Interpreting the data through the lens of the model enables a precise characterization of the treatment effect of advertising under endogenous non-compliance. To further illustrate the value of the model, we compare advertising, prices and consumer welfare to a series of counterfactual scenarios motivated by the “addressable” future of TV ad-markets in which targeting advertising and prices on the basis of ad-viewing and product purchase behavior is possible. We find that both profits and net consumer welfare may increase, suggesting that it may be possible that both firms and consumers are better off in the new addressable TV environments.