• “Skyscrapper Height and the Business Cycle: Seperating Myth from Reality” with Jason Barr and Bruce Mizrach forthcoming in Applied Economics.

    Abstract: This paper is the first to rigorously test how skyscraper height and output co-move. Because builders can use their buildings for non-rational or non-pecuniary gains, it is widely believed that height competition occurs near the business cycle peaks. This would suggest that extreme building height is a leading indicator of GDP, since the tallest buildings are likely to be completed at or near the peak of a cycle. To test these claims, first we look at both the announcement and completion dates for record breaking buildings and find there is very little correlation with the business cycle. Second, cointegration and Granger causality tests show that while height and output are cointegrated, height does not Granger cause output. These results are robust for the United States, Canada, China, and Hong Kong.

  • Housing Adequacy Gap for Minorities and Immigrants in the U.S.: Evidence from the 2009 American Housing Survey” with Amarendra Sharma” forthcoming in the Journal of Housing Research April 2014.

    Abstract: Home adequacy for different groups in the U.S. has not been adequately studied. Using the data from the national level American Housing Survey for the year 2009and logit model, this paper finds that there is a significant adequacy difference for Blacks and Hispanics when compared to whites in the U.S. However, that is not the case for immigrants relative to the natives. We also find that then naturalization improves housing adequacy among immigrant homeowners, whereas, the female headed households have a significantly higher home adequacy than that of the male headed households. Similar to the homeownership findings, this paper highlights that the public policies should aim to narrow the home adequacy gap between whites and minorities and encourage naturalization to improve adequacy among immigrant homeowners.

  • Immigrant-Based Networks and the U.S. Bilateral Trade: Role of Immigrant Occupation” forthcoming in the International Trade Journal April 2014.

    AbstractThis study establishes that immigrants’ occupation is an important indicator of the quality and effectiveness of immigrants’ network in trade creation with their home-country. Using a sample of 63 U.S. trading partners that constitute the major immigrant sending countries over the years 1991 – 2000 and using instrumental variable estimation this paper finds that the immigrant trade elasticity varies with the share of the immigrants in various occupation groups. The share of professional immigrants significantly increases the immigrant trade elasticity for all types of trade due to their ability to effectively use their network for trade creation. This effect is strongest for the Rauch’s differentiated imports where the immigrant specific home country information and immigrant demand for goods play a key role in increasing trade. In contrast, immigrants in service occupations do not have a significant effect on the immigrant trade elasticity for all types of goods and immigrants in the laborer group only have an effect on the imports of the differentiated goods. This paper highlights that the immigrants’ effect on trade is not identical across all types of immigrants but it varies with the type of immigrants’ occupation and trade

  • Direct and Dual Elasticities of Substitution under Non-homogenous Technology and Nonparametric DistributionIndian Growth and Development Review, November 2013.

    AbstractThis paper revisits the derivation and properties of the Allen-Uzawa and Morishima elasticities. To assess the effect of price change on input, the paper estimates a translog cost function and to assess the effect of quantity change on price, the paper estimates the translog distance function using the data on Swiss economy. The paper estimates Allen-Uzawa and Morishima elasticity both under homogenous and non-homogenous technology using the Swiss dataset of one aggregate gross output and four inputs (resident labor, non-resident labor, imports, and capital) over 1950-1986. Elasticities are reported and compared at the mean as well as explored by looking at the range and nonparametric distribution. This paper shows that constant returns to scale are can switch from complements to substitutes or vice versa when one moves away from the mean of the sample. The equality of the nonparametric elasticity distributions under homogenous vs non-homogenous technology is rejected in all cases except one.

  • Immigrant Homeownership and Immigration Status: Evidence from Spain” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes Review of International Economics, January 2013.

    AbstractBecause of the many advantages of homeownership for immigrants and for the communities where immi- grants reside, a variety of countries have implemented policies that facilitate immigrant homeownership. Although these policies hinge on immigration status, the link between immigration status and homeowner- ship is yet to be carefully explored. Using a recent survey of immigrants in Spain, we find that permanent residents from the EU15 enjoy the highest homeownership rates, even after accounting for a wide range of individual and family characteristics known to impact housing ownership. Permanent residents from countries outside the EU15, temporary residents and undocumented immigrants are, respectively, 12, 29, and 33 percentage-points less likely to own a home than permanent residents from the EU15. Overall, the findings highlight the differences in homeownership by immigrant status, possibly reflecting differences in cultural adaptation and integration across immigrants in the host country.

  • Immigrant Networks and the U.S. Bilateral Trade: Role of Immigrant Income,” in Gil S. Epstein and Ira N. Gang (ed.) Migration and Culture (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Volume 8), Emerald Publishers, Dec 2010.

    Abstract –  This chapter examines the role of immigrant networks on trade, particularly through the demand effect. First, we examine the effect of immigration on trade when the immigrants consume more of the good that is abundant in their home country than the natives in a standard Heckscher–Ohlin model and find that the effect of immigration on trade is a priori indeterminate. Our econometric gravity model consisting of 63 major trading and immigrant-sending country for the United States over 1991–2000. We find that the immigrants income, mostly through demand effect has a significant negative effect on U.S. imports. However, if we include the effect of the immigrant income interacted with the size of the immigrant network, measured by the immigrant stock, we find that higher immigrants income lowers the immigrant network effect for both U.S. exports and imports. This we find in addition to the immigrants stock elasticity of 0.27% for U.S. exports and 0.48% for U.S. imports. Capturing the immigrant assimilation with the level of immigrant income and the size of the immigrant enclave this chapter finds that the immigrant network effect on trade flows is weakened by the increasing level of immigrant assimilation.

  • Is the Downturn in Maquiladora Employment Cyclical or Structural,” with Jim Gerber  Indian Growth and Development Review,  Spring 2010.

    Abstract The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of cyclical and structural factors on the decline of maquiladora employment. In addition to the US industrial production, the cyclical factors examined are relative Mexican US wages, the Mexican exchange rate relative to the US, and US foreign direct investment (FDI). The paper also explores the effect of competition from China, a structural effect, on the decline of maquiladora employment. From the VEC maquila employment model this paper finds that in addition to the strong effect of US industrial production on the maquila employment, there exist significant short- and long- run effects of Mexico US exchange rate and Mexican wages relative to USA on maquila employment. The sectoral (SUR) model shows that competition from China has a bigger adverse effect on relatively labor-intensive good and commodities which are cheaper to transport (such as textiles) over more bulky transportation goods.

  • Social Networks and Their Impact on the Employment and Earnings of Mexican Immigrants” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Demography, Nov 2007.

    Abstract –  We examine the impact of different types of social networks on the wages earned by unauthor- ized and legal Mexican migrants during their last U.S. trip. Familial ties raise unauthorized and legal migrants’ hourly wages by an average of 2.6% and 8%, respectively, and friendship ties increase their wages by 5.4% and 3.6%, correspondingly. Furthermore, family ties seem to comparatively favor legal migrants in terms of earnings, raising their wages by approximately 0.9% more than for similar unau- thorized migrants. These results underscore the potentially important role of social networks in raising Mexican migrants’ earnings, particularly among unauthorized migrants. By increasing the returns to migration, social networks may provide a stimulus to continued emigration.

  • Suicide Bombing As a Strategic Instrument of Protest: An Empirical Investigation” with Dipak K. Gupta, Terrorism and Political Violence December 2005.

    Abstract Using twice-yearly data from 1991 to 2003, we analyze the incidents of suicide attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad within Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Given the exploratory nature of the question, we have first estimated the relevant coefficients by using a Quasi-Maximum Likeli- hood Ratio and then checked their robustness by reestimating the model with the help of a Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) as an interrelated system. The results indicate that the two groups deliberately use suicide bombings as strategic weapons within the larger Israeli-Palestinian political milieu. With the Western world locked in an armed struggle with the militant extremists of Islam based on mil- lenarian ideologies, this study emphasizes the need to develop appropriate analytical capabilities to distinguish among terrorist groups and their motivations, ideologies, and tactics.

  • Immigration and International Trade: a Semiparametric Empirical Investigation”  Journal of International Trade and Economic Development March 2005.

    Abstract This paper examines the effect of immigration on the US trade flows. The model hypothesizes that immigration facilitates international trade with home countries by lowering transaction costs. Immigrants also demand products from their country of origin and thus stimulate trade. Using a panel data set we estimate a dynamic semiparametric fixed-effect model. The immigrant stock, a proxy for transaction costs, enters the model non-parametrically, whereas other variables enter the model log- linearly, as implied by the gravity model of international trade. To estimate this semiparametric model, we develop a new instrumental variable estimator with desirable asymptotic properties. The results indicate that the immigration effect on imports is positive for both finished and intermediate goods, but the effect on exports is positive only for finished goods. The findings supports the hypothesis that for finished goods where country specific information is crucial for trading, immigrants have a pro trade effect for both US imports and US exports. This pro trade effect of the information and knowledge carried by the immigrants is not observed for the US exports in the intermediate goods. Immigrants also have a strong demand effect both for the consumer and intermediate imports.

  • Impact of Immigration on Prenatal Care Use and Birth Weight: Evidence from California in the 1990’s” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes American Economic Review-Papers and Proceedings May 2003
  • Investigating Hispanic Under Representation in Managerial and Professional Occupations” with Andrew Moellmer and Waldo Lopez-Aqueres, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science 2003.

    Abstract –  In this article, the authors examine Hispanic underrepresentation in managerial and pro- fessional occupations on the basis of human capital deficiencies, economic and spatial barriers,and the lack of mentoring resources. UsingPublicUseMicrodataSamples data, the authors find that there is a 6% chance of Hispanics working as a manager or a professional over other professions, whereas the same probability is 32% for non- Hispanic Whites. Also, the most important explanatory variable affecting the chances of being a manager or professional for Hispanics is fluency in English, whereas years of education are most important for non-Hispanic Whites.

  • Semiparametric Panel Data Estimation: An Approach to Immigrant Homelink Effect on U.S. Producer Trade Flows” with Aman Ullah, in the Handbook of Applied Econometrics and Statistical Inferences, Marcel Dekker, 2001.
  • Parametric and Semi-Parametric Estimation of the Effect of Firm Attributes on Efficiency: The Electricity Generating Sector in India” with Madhu Khanna and Aman Ullah, Journal of International Trade and Economic Development,  1999.

    Abstract A stochastic frontier cost function is estimated using panel data for the electricity generating industry in India. The impact of distributional and functional form assump- tions on technical inefficiency and the sources of inefficiency are investigated by using maximum likelihood, GLS and semi-parametric-GLS approaches and by incorporating firm-specific inefficiency effects in the cost function itself. Average inefficiency in the electricity generating industry in India is found to be high by all three methods. The estimate predicted by the maximum-likelihood approach is, however, lower tban that predicted by the other two methods. This could be due to the distriblJtional assumptions made under the maximum likelihood method. Public ownership and low capacity utilization are found to be significant determinants of inefficiency in the electricity generating industry in India.