Benjamin Hyman

Benjamin Hyman
  • Applied Economics Doctoral Student

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3620 Locust Walk
    3301 Steinberg Hall Dietrich Hall
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: applied microeconomics, international trade and labor markets, public economics, urban economics

Links: CV

Research

Education:

Ph.D. Applied Economics, UPenn (Wharton), May 2018 (expected)
M.S. Applied Economics, UPenn (Wharton), 2014
M.C.P. Urban and Regional Planning, MIT, 2011
B.A. (Honors) International Relations — Political Economy, USC, 2008

Research Papers:

“Can Displaced Labor Be Retrained? Evidence from Quasi-Random Assignment to Trade Adjustment Assistance” Job Market Paper (SSRN)

Presented at: NBER Trade and Labor Markets conference, October 2017

The extent to which workers adjust to labor market disruptions in light of increasing pressure from trade and automation commands widespread concern. However, surprisingly little is known about efforts that deliberately target the adjustment process. This project studies 20 years of worker-level earnings and re-employment responses to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)—the United States’ largest and longest standing public incentive program for retraining. I estimate causal effects from the quasi-random assignment of TAA cases to investigators of varying approval leniencies. Using employer-employee matched Census data on 300,000 displaced workers, I find large initial returns to TAA. Ten years out, TAA-trained workers have $50,000 higher cumulative earnings, driven by both higher incomes and greater labor force participation. Yet annual returns fully depreciate after ten years. TAA appears to have no effect on formal education, and decaying returns are restricted to states with low training durations. Combined with evidence that effects are driven by training rather than transfer components of TAA, this suggests that the program augments transient rather than permanent human capital. Returns are further concentrated in the most disrupted regions, where workers are more likely to switch industries and move to labor markets with better opportunities in response to training—consistent with adjustment frictions.

“When Do Firms Go Green? Comparing Price Incentives with Command and Control Regulations in India”  (with Ann Harrison, Leslie Martin, and Shanthi NatarajNBER Working Paper #21763

India has a multitude of environmental regulations but a history of poor enforcement. Between 1996 and 2004, India’s Supreme Court required 17 cities to enact Action Plans to reduce air pollution through a variety of command-and-control (CAC) environmental regulations. We compare the impact of these regulations with the impact of changes in coal prices on establishment-level pollution abatement, coal consumption, and productivity growth. While both CAC regulations and higher coal prices resulted in improved air quality, they operated through different channels. CAC regulations primarily increased the share of large establishments investing in pollution control equipment, and reduced the entry of new establishments. In contrast, higher coal prices reduced the intensive margin of coal use within all establishments, with price elasticities similar to those found in the United States. In terms of productivity, CAC regulations imposed a much higher cost on large establishments. Although CAC regulations were effective at increasing the number of large polluters that invest in “end-of-pipe” treatments, we provide evidence that price-based policies reduced the use of inputs with negative externalities across all firms.

“Imported Inputs and Productivity Spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment” 
Please Email for Draft

This paper considers how input market liberalization affects host country productivity spillovers from multinational corporation (MNC) investments. The standard “Backward Linkage” measure used to estimate technology and learning spillovers to local upstream suppliers—pioneered by Javorcik (2004) and replicated across several influential papers—implicitly assumes domestic and foreign firms share the same input structure. I show that this assumption constitutes an omitted variable bias of imported inputs in TFP spillover estimation. Using a novel Colombian firm panel that isolates imported from domestic inputs, mean backward linkage productivity spillovers reduce in half when the share of locally sourced inputs is adjusted to reflect MNCs’ observably higher propensity to import inputs. However in some industries, productivity spillovers increase in response to the adjustment. I demonstrate that the sign and magnitude of this bias are proportional to the elasticity of substitution between imported and domestic inputs. The results highlight how input market liberalization can have important feedback effects on local productivity spillovers from MNCs.

Works-in-Progress:

“Tax Credit Instruments and Labor Market Outcomes: Do Targeted Incentives Outperform Lotteries?”

States continue to attract employers with location-based tax credits.  In an effort to reduce inframarginal (i.e. wasteful) tax expenditures, some states have attempted to target these incentives to firms most likely to relocate.  I exploit two natural policy experiments in California to study the efficacy of these incentives under both targeted and untargeted assignment mechanisms. Prior to 2013, California awarded tax credits in part via a randomized lottery, but the state has since switched to a targeted formula that ranks firms based on their likelihood of exiting the state absent the subsidy. Because the formula uses a score cutoff to assign tax credits, I can compare results from the lottery to those from a regression discontinuity design around this acceptance threshold, implicitly testing whether states can identify marginal-mover firms a priori. Combining state administrative data on the universe of tax credit applicants with Census Bureau microdata, I can estimate effects on employer relocation, local employment, firm revenue and implied tax revenue.

Note: Project approved for analysis with U.S. Census Bureau confidential microdata (April, 2016), and by State of California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (May, 2016)

References:

Gilles Duranton (Co-chair)
Dean’s Chair in Real Estate
Department Chair
Professor of Real Estate
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Phone: (215) 898-2859
Email: duranton@wharton.upenn.edu
Ann Harrison (Co-chair)
William H. Wurster Professor of Multinational Management, Professor of Business Economics & Public Policy
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Phone: (215) 746-3132
Email: annh@wharton.upenn.edu

Fernando Ferreira

Associate Professor of Real Estate,
Business Economics & Public Policy
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Phone: (215) 573-7181
Email: fferreir@wharton.upenn.edu

Jessie Handbury

Assistant Professor of Real Estate
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Phone: (215) 573-7903
Email: handbury@wharton.upenn.edu

Benjamin Keys

Assistant Professor of Real Estate
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Phone: (215) 746-1253
Email: benkeys@wharton.upenn.edu


Other Research Experience:

– Research Assistant for Santosh Anagol (Wharton) and Thomas Fujiwara (Princeton)
– Research Associate for Michael Greenstone (MIT), Rohini Pande (Harvard), Nick Ryan (Harvard), Anant Sudarshan (Harvard). Mumbai, India, 2011-12
– Research Associate at J-PAL (MIT Poverty Action Lab), Pilot Program for Market-Based Emissions Trading Scheme in India. Mumbai, India, 2011-12
– Author of “Open-Source GIS Tutorial for Applied Economists: Application – Quantifying the Externality Costs of Pollution Diffusion” (Created for J-PAL, July, 2013) Video Tutorial | PDF Tutorial | R Code | Tutorial Materials
– Research Assistant, Private Council for Competitiveness (Consejo Privado de Competitividad), Bogotá, Colombia, 2010 – 2011

Refereeing Service: Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Public Economics

Grants, Awards, Fellowships:

– Special Sworn Status, U.S. Census Bureau (April 2016 – April 2021)
– Kauffman Dissertation Fellow ($20,000)
– Lincoln Land Institute Lowell Harriss Dissertation Fellow ($10,000)
– Wharton Public Policy Initiative Ibrahim Family Fellow ($12,000)
– Mack Institute for Innovation Research Grants ($23,500 cumulative)
– J-PAL North America Project Development Grant ($5,000)
– Wharton Doctoral Education Fellowship, 2013 – Present
– MIT Caroll Wilson Award for International Research ($7,000)

Conferences Attended:

– Oct. 2017: NBER Trade and Labor Markets Conference
– July 2017: NBER Summer Institute (Labor Studies & Urban/Real Estate)
– Jan. 2016: AEA Annual Meetings, San Francisco, CA
– Nov. 2015: Frontiers in Urban Economics, Columbia University
– July 2015: Price Theory Workshop, Becker Friedman Institute, Univ. of Chicago
– July 2014: CIBER Globalization of Innovation Conference, Duke (Fuqua)
– May 2014: Handbook of Urban & Regional Economics (Vol. 5), Wharton School
– Oct. 2013: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Community Development Research Forum

  • Benjamin Hyman, Can Displaced Labor be Retrained? Evidence from Quasi-Random Assignment to Trade Adjustment Assistance.

    Abstract: The extent to which workers adjust to labor market disruptions in light of increasing pressure from trade and automation commands widespread concern. However, surprisingly little is known about efforts that deliberately target the adjustment process. This project studies 20 years of worker-level earnings and re-employment responses to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)—the United States’ largest and longest standing public incentive program for retraining. I estimate causal effects from the quasi-random assignment of TAA cases to investigators of varying approval leniencies. Using employer-employee matched Census data on 300,000 displaced workers, I find large initial returns to TAA. Ten years out, TAA-trained workers have $50,000 higher cumulative earnings, driven by both higher incomes and greater labor force participation. Yet annual returns fully depreciate after ten years. TAA appears to have no effect on formal education, and decaying returns are restricted to states with low training durations. Combined with evidence that effects are driven by training rather than transfer components of TAA, this suggests that the program augments transient rather than permanent human capital. Returns are further concentrated in the most disrupted regions, where workers are more likely to switch industries and move to labor markets with better opportunities in response to training—consistent with adjustment frictions.

  • Benjamin Hyman (Work In Progress), Tax Credit Instruments and Labor Market Outcomes: Do Targeted Incentives Outperform Lotteries?.

    Abstract: States continue to attract employers with location-based tax credits.  In an effort to reduce inframarginal (i.e. wasteful) tax expenditures, some states have attempted to target these incentives to firms most likely to relocate.  I exploit two natural policy experiments in California to study the efficacy of these incentives under both targeted and untargeted assignment mechanisms. Prior to 2013, California awarded tax credits in part via a randomized lottery, but the state has since switched to a targeted formula that ranks firms based on their likelihood of exiting the state absent the subsidy. Because the formula uses a score cutoff to assign tax credits, I can compare results from the lottery to those from a regression discontinuity design around this acceptance threshold, implicitly testing whether states can identify marginal-mover firms a priori. Combining state administrative data on the universe of tax credit applicants with Census Bureau microdata, I can estimate effects on employer relocation, local employment, firm revenue and implied tax revenue.    

  • Benjamin Hyman, Imported Inputs and Productivity Spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment.

    Abstract: This paper considers how input market liberalization affects host country productivity spillovers from multinational corporation (MNC) investments. The standard “Backward Linkage” measure used to estimate technology and learning spillovers to local upstream suppliers—pioneered by Javorcik (2004) and replicated across several influential papers—implicitly assumes domestic and foreign firms share the same input structure. I show that this assumption constitutes an omitted variable bias of imported inputs in TFP spillover estimation. Using a novel Colombian firm panel that isolates imported from domestic inputs, mean backward linkage productivity spillovers reduce in half when the share of locally sourced inputs is adjusted to reflect MNCs’ observably higher propensity to import inputs. However in some industries, productivity spillovers increase in response to the adjustment. I demonstrate that the sign and magnitude of this bias are proportional to the elasticity of substitution between imported and domestic inputs. The results highlight how input market liberalization can have important feedback effects on local productivity spillovers from MNCs.  

  • Ann Harrison, Benjamin Hyman, Leslie Martin, Shanti Nataraj (2015), When Do Firms Go Green? Comparing Price Incentives with Command and Control Regulations in India, National Bureau of Economic Research - Working Paper 21763.

    Abstract: India has a multitude of environmental regulations but a history of poor enforcement. Between 1996 and 2004, India's Supreme Court required 17 cities to enact Action Plans to reduce air pollution through a variety of command-and-control (CAC) environmental regulations. We compare the impact of these regulations with the impact of changes in coal prices on establishment-level pollution abatement, coal consumption, and productivity growth. While both CAC regulations and higher coal prices resulted in improved air quality, they operated through different channels. CAC regulations primarily increased the share of large establishments investing in pollution control equipment, and reduced the entry of new establishments. In contrast, higher coal prices reduced the intensive margin of coal use within all establishments, with price elasticities similar to those found in the United States. In terms of productivity, CAC regulations imposed a much higher cost on large establishments. Although CAC regulations were effective at increasing the number of large polluters that invest in "end-of-pipe'' treatments, we provide evidence that price-based policies reduced the use of inputs with negative externalities across all firms.

Teaching

Wharton – Ubran Fiscal Policy: BEPP-230/773; FNCE 230-770; REAL-230/770 (MBA and Undergaduate)
– Teaching Assistant for Professor Robert Inman (Spring, 2016; Fall, 2016)

Wharton – Managerial Economics: MGEC 611/612 (Intermediate Microeconomics and Game Theory for MBAs)
– Teaching Assistant for Professors Matthew Friedman, Corrine Low, and Michael Sinkinson (teaching reference), (Fall, 2014)

MIT – Microeconomics and Urban Economics for Planners:  (Intermediate Microeconomics and Urban Economics for Masters in City Planning (MCPs), Department of Urban Studies and Planning)
– Tutor for Professor Frank Levy (Fall, 2011)

Activity

Latest Research

Benjamin Hyman, Can Displaced Labor be Retrained? Evidence from Quasi-Random Assignment to Trade Adjustment Assistance.
All Research