Job Market Paper

The Impact of Partisan Politics on Policing Practices and Personnel Composition: Evidence from North Carolina's Sheriff's Offices (with Samuel Krumholz)

We study the impact of partisan leadership on traffic stop policing behaviors and personnel turnover in North Carolina. Using a difference-in-differences design that leverages sheriff turnovers, we find that offices with a Democrat-to-Republican sheriff turnover rather than a Democrat-to-Democrat transition experience an increase in Black drivers’ share of traffic stops by 3.2 percentage points, a 13.5\% increase compared to baseline. A shift of focus from traffic safety to potential investigation in conducting traffic stops is also found: the share of traffic stops for moving traffic violations decreased by 8.8 percentage points, a 16.6\% decrease compared to the baseline. The change of the relative focus on different types of traffic stops results in racially disparate impact and contributes to 16% of the increased black drivers’ share associated with Democrat-to-Republican sheriff turnovers. In addition, Democrat-to-Republican turnovers increase the search rate for black drivers in moving traffic violation stops without a decrease in hit rates. With such policy preferences changes, officers not aligned with new sheriffs' party affiliation are 7.2 percentage points more likely to leave the public sector than their aligned peers, leading to a 6.2 percentage point increase in the share of Republican officers in D-to-R sheriff's offices. These results suggest that partisan leadership can impact frontline policing racial disparities and the representation of law enforcement officers.



Curriculum and National Identity: Evidence from the 1997 Curriculum Reform in Taiwan (with Ming-Jen Lin and Tzu-Ting Yang | Forthcoming at the  Journal of Development Economics)

This paper examines the causal effects of textbook content on individuals' national identity, by exploiting a curriculum reform that introduced a new perspective on Taiwan's history for students entering junior high school after September 1997. Using a repeated nationally representative survey and a regression discontinuity design, we show that students exposed to the new textbooks were more likely to hold exclusive Taiwanese identity rather than dual identity (i.e. Taiwanese and Chinese). The effect was greater for academic track students and those living in neighborhoods where fewer people identify as Taiwanese. In addition, our results suggest that the new curriculum had little impact on people's political preferences related to Taiwan independence. Finally, we find that the probability of reporting as Taiwanese among old textbook readers converges with that of people reading new textbooks in the long run since the perspectives of old textbooks are in conflict with the recent social trends.

Work in Progress

Disparate Impact of Social Safety Net Inclusion on Internal Migrants in Indonesia

Discussion of targeting the poor mostly focuses on the performance of specific methods on the general population, while the performance across groups are rarely examined. This project examines the performance of the proxy-means-testing (PMT) algorithms across internal migrants and locals in Indonesia. Using the same household expenditure sample and household characteristic variables, I reproduce the PMT algorithm adopted by Indonesian central government. I find that conditional on the same true household expenditure level, the PMT algorithm over-predicts internal migrants expenditure comparing to locals. Zooming in to the poor households the central government aims to target, whose expenditure lies in the bottom 25% of the population, the PMT algorithm's over-prediction results in an 8 percentage points increase of exclusion error for migrants than locals. Preliminary analysis indicates that among the PMT variables, household head education and occupation, and residential neighborhood characteristics contribute the most to the over-prediction bias. Future steps will explore whether local labor and residential markets function differently for locals and migrants and how these differences contribute to the PMT algorithm biases. 

Informal Taxation and Patronage Politics: Evidence from Electoral Cycles in Indonesian Villages

This paper studies the impact of electoral incentives on frontline public finance enforcement. I examine in Indonesian villages electoral cycles of a series of public finance instruments to which local politicians have different degrees of discretion: formal land and building tax collection, rice subsidy provision, and informal tax collection. I find no electoral cycles in the general population in all three instruments.