Research

A regularly updated summary of my publications, working papers, and works-in-progress.

Working Papers

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Commercial Bank Competition, Riegle-Neal, and Dodd-Frank

This paper uses a linear systems of equations approach to model and test the effects of two major pieces of legislation, one a significant regulation and the other a major deregulation, on the degree of monopoly power in the U.S. banking market over the period 1984-2016.

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Autocracy: Naked and Veiled

Among the world's autocrats, some wear their autocratic nature proudly whereas others go to great lengths to feign the existence of true republican institutions. This paper, drawing on case studies of Iran and Saudi Arabia, offers a theory of why, giving a central role to the degree of security from fellow elites that an autocrat enjoys at the moment of state formation.

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Declared War and American Victory: A Search for Effective Commitment

Over the last seventy years, the United States has abandoned its longstanding practice of formally declaring war. It has also seen a dramatic decrease in the success of its military efforts over this period. This paper posits a link between the two, viewing declarations as a commitment device that links legislators' reputations to the outcomes of wars.

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The Role of Moral Hazard in the Housing Boom and Bust

Considerable talk has been heard as to the role of moral hazard in the most recent American housing boom and bust, but to date no paper has thoroughly explored the nature of its workings and the role that policy played in fostering moral hazard. This paper sets out to fill that void.

Crises as Precursors to the Foundings of Central Banks

The notion that currency suffered either from market failure or inherent instability before central banks has been thoroughly challenged by existing literature. As this paper notes, however, many major central banks did emerge in times of crisis. Were these benevolent attempts at stabilization or political opportunism?

Strategic Considerations of Monetary Policy in Civil War

What happens to the currency when a nation is divided in half by civil war? What strategic considerations influence secessionists' choice of whether to keep their old currency or create a new one? Can currency manipulation be used as a strategic weapon in this context? This paper offers a primer on such questions.

Works in Progress

 

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A Search for Bubbles in the 2010s

After a decade of near-zero interest rates, considerable speculation has been made as to the possible existence of bubbles in various sectors of the U.S. economy. Using a time series GSADF test, this paper will test for evidence of asset bubbles in four sectors: housing, stock markets, education, and automobiles. (Available soon)

Conditional vs. Unconditional Surrender: An Economic Perspective

In conflict and peace studies, the political preference for conditional surrenders as a merciful means of resolving warfare goes back at least a century. This paper contends that, contrary to its appearances of mercy, a general tendency exists in the history of warfare for conditional surrenders to lead to prolonged and recurrent conflict between two combatants and for unconditional surrenders to precede lasting peace. This phenomenon is explained by framing surrenders as contracts which, to be effective, must correspond to the property and relative strengths of combatants. (Available soon)

Is There a Public Choice Theory of the Great Recession?

Anderson, Shughart, and Tollison's 1988 paper "A Public Choice Theory of the Great Contraction" provided significant evidence countering the Friedman-Schwartz (1963) "mistake theory" of the 1929 Great Contraction, introducing an interpretation of that episode as created by political and bureaucratic incentives to support Fed member banks at the expense of non-member banks. In studies of the 2007-2009 Great Recession, however, mistake theories have again assumed the forefront of analysis. Challenging that approach, this paper applies an analogous test to the Great Recession, using panel data to determine whether the same process found by Anderson, Shughart, and Tollison can be said to have occurred in that episode. (Available soon)