Macroeconomics, Public Economics, Behavioral Economics.
The Cost of Uncertainty about the Timing of Social Security Reform (with Aspen Gorry and Sita Slavov).
Summary: It is public information that Social Security needs to be reformed in order to keep the program solvent. Benefits must be cut, taxes must increase, or some combination of the two. However, households face uncertainty about the exact timing and structure of reform, and this uncertainty imposes costs because it distorts consumption and saving decisions. In this paper we compute the welfare losses from uncertainty about Social Security reform. We find that low-income households bear a disproportionate share of the costs of uncertainty about reform.
Summary: The purpose of this paper is to show that time-inconsistent preferences can serve as a justification for a social security program as long as households face a spread between the interest rates on borrowing and lending. The inclusion of this friction, in isolation, is analytically and quantitatively sufficient to generate this result.
Commitment and Welfare (with Scott Findley).
Summary: Welfare analysis in behavioral economics (e.g., hyperbolic discounting) is controversial. In this paper we attempt to resolve some of the controversy and help to build a firmer philosophical foundation for behavioral welfare analysis.
Time Inconsistency and Retirement Choice (with Scott Findley). Economics Letters, forthcoming.
Social Security is NOT a Substitute for Annuity Markets (with Nick Guo and Roozbeh Hosseini). Review of Economic Dynamics, 2014.
Roosevelt and Prescott Come to an Agreement (with Nick Guo). Macroeconomic Dynamics, 2014.
Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Time-Inconsistent Policies (with Nick Guo). Journal of Mathematical Economics, 2014.
Discount Functions and Self-Control Problems (with Scott Findley). Economics Letters, 2014.
Time Inconsistency and Retirement Planning (with Scott Findley). Economics Letters, 2013.
Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Social Security: Revisited in Continuous Time. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 2011.
Optimal Irrational Behavior (with James Feigenbaum and Emin Gahramanov). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2011.
Optimal Irrational Behavior in Continuous Time (with James Feigenbaum). Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 2010.
Short-Term Planning and the Life-Cycle Consumption Puzzle (with David Aadland). Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 2007.
Fixed Endpoint Optimal Control (with Saket Pande). Economic Theory, 2005.