Chinese Capital Flight to the U.S. Real Estate Market

Wealthy foreign real estate buyers have increased rapidly over the past few decades. Of particular note are those from China; in 2016 alone, Chinese buyers were the source of over 100 billion USD of outflows to real estate markets worldwide. In this paper, we investigate the effect that these wealthy Chinese buyers have on local U.S. housing markets, local governments and residents. Using a novel instrument, we demonstrate that an increase in the share of wealthy Chinese buyers in a locality causes an increase in house price growth. As a result of this increased growth, local governments benefit from increased property tax revenues but do not see a drop in sales tax revenues, suggesting that the vacancy rate for Chinese-owned properties is no different from that of counterfactual buyers. A drop in rental prices suggests that wealthy Chinese buyers are more likely to rent out their houses and less likely to move into them.

Digital Networks and the Diffusion of Political Movements

We exploit the staggered introduction of 3G mobile internet in Africa to examine the effect of new communication technologies on the spread of political unrest in and across countries. We design a novel empirical strategy that allows us to separate the direct effect of mobile internet on unrest from spillovers. We find that digital communication networks lead to the spread of unrest independent of physical distance. Preliminary evidence suggests that social media constitute an important channel.