Job Market Paper
“The City-Wide Effects of Tolling Downtown Drivers: Evidence from London’s Congestion Charge” (2020).Best Student Paper Honourable Mention, 2020 Urban Economics Association Virtual Meeting This paper studies the effects of London England’s Congestion Charge on regional traffic, commuting, and economic activity’s spatial distribution. In 2003, London began tolling drivers to enter its central business district on workdays and this policy immediately reduced downtown traffic. I measure exposure to tolled traffic throughout London’s regional road network and show that the policy also reduced rush-hour traffic on radial roads leading downtown. I then use London’s Congestion Charge as a natural experiment to identify ensuing effects on commuting by car and public transit. Reduced form estimates show that traffic decreases both the number of commuters and their driving rates at the margin. In a quantitative spatial model, the effect on the number of commuters suggests that endogenous location choices, wages, and rents influence the congestion charge’s equilibrium effects, so I use a model with endogenous traffic externalities and mode choice for policy analysis. Simulations suggest that London’s Congestion Charge increases driving rates among untolled commuters, disproportionately benefits low-skill workers, and gives the region’s commuters £32 million in annual benefits. These effects on traffic and welfare are limited by commuters’ location and mode choices, which are sufficiently traffic-elastic that London’s Congestion Charge induced demand for untolled suburban roads. —BibTeX— —Alternative File Host—
“National Transportation Networks, Market Access, and Regional Economic Growth” (2020) Revise and resubmit, Journal of Urban Economics. This paper estimates interregional transportation’s effect on local economic activity by studying the Interstate Highway System. To estimate transportation’s effects on county employment and wages, I develop a new instrumental variables strategy: isolating market access growth caused by incidental connections to rural counties. I find that through market access highways increased employment, had small and delayed wage effects, and that instruments correct for downward bias. A structural model interprets reduced-form results as agglomeration and congestion forces strengthening after 1980. Counterfactual simulations suggest that Interstates’ effects were highly heterogeneous and that additions to early Interstate plans were less valuable than the system’s core.
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Work in progress
“The Marginal External Cost of Traffic in Greater London” (Please contact for draft). This paper estimates time costs of rush-hour road traffic in London England. To identify causal effects, I merge web-scraped travel times with Greater London’s traffic monitoring network and compare across time of day at each road link. Results indicate that London’s average travel time cost elasticity of traffic is similar to existing quasi-experimental estimates on average and smaller on high-capacity motorways. I also show that time cost elasticities are largest in the morning, that goods delivery vehicles have the largest marginal effect on travel speeds, and that traffic erodes travel time reliability. Aggregating across road links with a simple partial equilibrium model suggests that London’s traffic has an annual deadweight loss of £477 million.
Selected pre-doctoral research
“The Effects of Police on Crime in Canadian Cities.” (2017) with Milagros Palacios.
“The Impact of Land-Use Regulation on Housing Supply in Canada.” (2016) with Kenneth P. Green, Steve Lafleur, and Josef Filipowicz. Fraser Institute.