Research

Works In Progress

Demand for Affordable Care Act Plans

In Progress

Authors: Maria Polyakova and Stephen P. Ryan

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The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Military Retention Incentives and Occupation-Specific Mortality Hazards

In Progress

Authors: Michael Greenstone, Kyle Greenberg, Stephen P. Ryan, and Michael Yankovich  

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Working Papers

Delivering Education to the Underserved through a Public-Private Partnership Program in Pakistan

Working Papers

Revise and resubmit, Review of Economics and Statistics NBER Working Paper W23870. Link to paper: [PPRS_Jan31_2020.pdf] Abstract: Governments are increasingly partnering with the private sector to improve the delivery of education. We evaluate an innovative program that enlisted local entrepreneurs to open and operate new schools in 200 randomly selected, underserved villages in Sindh, Pakistan. School […]

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Moment Forests

Working Papers

We propose a new methodology, moment forests, that allows parameters in a broad class of moment-based models to vary across groups of observations on the basis of observable characteristics. Leveraging a generalization of classification trees, the estimator first assigns observations to disjoint subgroups sharing common parameters, and then estimates an empirical model within each group. We prove the uniform consistency of this estimator and show that standard rates of convergence apply to the second stage estimates under weak regularity conditions. We showcase our approach by estimating heterogeneous treatment effects in a regression discontinuity design in a development setting.

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Subsidy Targeting with Market Power

Working Papers

In-kind public transfers are commonly targeted based on observable characteristics of potential recipients. This paper argues that when the subsidized good is provided by imperfectly-competitive firms, targeting can give rise to a “demographic externality,” creating unintended redistribution of surplus and distorting efficiency. We illustrate this mechanism empirically in the context of means-tested subsidies for privately-provided […]

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Published Papers

A Simple Estimator for the Distribution of Random Coefficients

Published Papers

We propose a simple mixtures estimator for recovering the joint distribution of parameter heterogeneity in economic models, such as the random coefficients logit. The estimator is based on linear regression subject to linear inequality constraints, and is robust, easy to program, and computationally attractive compared to alternative estimators for random coefficient models. For complex structural […]

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Evaluating Wireless Consolidation Using Semiparametric Demand Estimation

Published Papers

The US mobile phone service industry has dramatically consolidated over the last two decades. One justification for consolidation is that merged firms can provide consumers with larger coverage areas at lower costs. We estimate the willingness to pay for national coverage to evaluate this justification for past consolidation. As market level quantity data are not […]

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Heterogeneity and the Dynamics of Technology Adoption

Published Papers

We estimate the demand for a videocalling technology in the presence of both network effects and heterogeneity. Using a unique dataset from a large multinational firm, we pose and estimate a fully dynamic model of technology adoption. We propose a novel identification strategy based on post-adoption technology usage to disentangle equilibrium beliefs concerning the evolution […]

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Identification and Estimation of a Discrete Game of Complete Information

Published Papers

We discuss the identification and estimation of discrete games of complete information. Following Bresnahan and Reiss (1990, 1991), a discrete game is a generalization of a standard discrete choice model where utility depends on the actions of other players. Using recent algorithms to compute all of the Nash equilibria to a game, we propose simulation-based […]

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Incentives Work: Getting Teachers to Go to School

Published Papers

We use a randomized experiment and a structural model to test whether monitoring and financial incentives can reduce teacher absence and increase learning in India. In treatment schools, teachers’ attendance was monitored daily using cameras, and their salaries were made a nonlinear function of attendance. Teacher absenteeism in the treatment group fell by 21 percentage […]

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Linear Regression Estimation of Discrete Choice Models with Nonparametric Distributions of Random Coefficients

Published Papers

The short version of our QE paper. Authors: Patrick Bajari, Jeremy Fox, and Stephen P. Ryan American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 97, No. 2, May 2007, pp. 459–63. (link)

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Machine Learning Methods for Demand Estimation

Published Papers

We survey and apply several techniques from the statistical and computer science literature to the problem of demand estimation. To improve out-of-sample prediction accuracy, we propose a method of combining the underlying models via linear regression. Our method is robust to a large number of regressors; scales easily to very large data sets; combines model […]

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Market-based Emissions Regulation and Industry Dynamics

Published Papers

Authors: Meredith Fowlie, Mar Regaunt, and Stephen P. Ryan Abstract: We assess the static and dynamic implications of alternative market-based policies limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the US cement industry. Our results highlight two countervailing market distortions. First, emissions regulation exacerbates distortions associated with the exercise of market power in the domestic cement market. Second, emissions “leakage” […]

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Selection on Moral Hazard in Health Insurance

Published Papers

We use employee-level panel data from a single firm to explore the possibility that individuals may select insurance coverage in part based on their anticipated behavioral (“moral hazard”) response to insurance, a phenomenon we label “selection on moral hazard.” Using a model of plan choice and medical utilization, we present evidence of heterogenous moral hazard […]

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Subsidy Design in Privately-Provided Social Insurance: Lessons from Medicare Part D

Published Papers

Note: Formerly titled “The Welfare Effects of Supply-Side Regulations in Medicare Part D.” Authors: Francesco Decarolis, Maria Polyakova, Stephen P. Ryan Abstract: The efficiency of publicly-subsidized, privately-provisioned social insurance programs depends on the interaction between strategic insurers and the subsidy mechanism. We study this interaction in the context of Medicare’s prescription drug coverage program. We find […]

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The Costs of Environmental Regulation in a Concentrated Industry

Published Papers

The typical cost analysis of an environmental regulation consists of an engineering estimate of the compliance costs. In industries where fixed costs are an important determinant of market structure, this static analysis ignores the dynamic effects of the regulation on entry, investment, and market power. I evaluate the welfare costs of the 1990 Amendments to […]

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The Random Coefficients Logit Model is Identified

Published Papers

The random coefficients multinomial choice logit model, also known as the mixed logit, has been widely used in empirical choice analysis for the last thirty years. We prove that the distribution of random coefficients in the multinomial logit model is nonparametrically identified. Our approach requires variation in product characteristics only locally and does not rely […]

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