Working papers

Why Do We Procrastinate? Present Bias and Optimism
with Zachary Breig and Matthew Gibson

A large body of research has shown that procrastination can have significant adverse effects on individuals, including lower savings and poorer health. Such procrastination is typically modeled as the result of present bias. In this paper we study an alternative: excessively optimistic beliefs about future demands on an individual's time. Our experimental results refute the hypothesis that present bias is the sole source of dynamic inconsistency, but they are consistent with optimism. These findings offer an explanation for low takeup of commitment and suggest that personalized information on past choices can mitigate procrastination.

Fear of Risk Hinders Science Investment
with Richard Carson, Jordan Louviere, Sally Sadoff, and Joshua Graff Zivin

Expectations and Adaptation to Environmental Risks

Climate change is expected to have large, negative effects on the global economy. Adaptation by individuals and firms will determine, in part, how much damage ultimately occurs. This paper introduces a method for estimating forward-looking adaptation based on changes in expectations about the weather, provides conditions under which public forecasts provide good measures for these expectations, and formalizes identification of ex ante adaptation using ex post observations. To apply the method, I build a novel dataset of El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecasts and estimate adaptation by North Pacific albacore harvesters to ENSO-driven climate variation. The results show that, in this setting, nearly all of the effect of climate variation can be controlled through adaptation. Detailed, firm-level data allows for exploration of mechanisms, showing that vessels primarily adapt by timing entry into the fishery.

Press coverage: Washington Post

Work in progress

Labor Market Adjustment to News
with Mitch Downey and Nelson Lind

Revealing Abatement Costs from Permit Banking Behavior
with Sylwia Bialek


Assessing the Rationale for the U.S. EPA’s Proposed ``Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science’’ Rule with Madison Condon and Michael Livermore (Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, accepted)

Time Use and Labor Productivity: The Returns to Sleep
with Matthew Gibson
(Review of Economics and Statistics, 2018)

Forecasting in the Presence of Expectations
with Roy Allen and Joshua Graff Zivin
(The European Physical Journal: Special Topics, 2016)

Discount Window Stigma During the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis
with Olivier Armantier, Eric Ghysels, and Asani Sarkar
(Journal of Financial Economics, 2015)
Winner of the WFA Award for the Best Paper on Financial Institutions and Markets

Lit Reviews, Policy Papers, and Other Writing

Translating the Terrestrial Mitigation Hierarchy to Marine Megafauna Bycatch
with EJ Milner-Gulland, Serge Garcia, William Arlidge, Joseph Bull, Anthony Charles, Laurent Dagorn, Sonya Fordham, Joshua Graff Zivin, Martin Hall, Niels Vestergaard, Chris Wilcox, and Dale Squires
(Fish and Fisheries, 2018)

Temperature Extremes, Health, and Human Capital
with Joshua Graff Zivin
(The Future of Children, 2016)

Financial Amplification Mechanisms and the Federal Reserve’s Supply of Liquidity During the Financial Crisis
with Asani Sarkar
(Economic Policy Review, 2010)