Working_papers

Chinese Capital Flight to the US 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 US housing markets, tax revenues 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 wealthy Chinese is not actually different from counterfactual buyers. A drop in rental prices suggests that wealthy Chinese are more likely to rent out their houses and less likely to move into them.

State-Building in Multi-ethnic Societies: Origins of National Identity in Tanzania

This paper examines the state-building process in an important but poorly understood context: the founding of new, multi-ethnic states in post-colonial Africa. We study the Ujamaa reforms in Tanzania in 1970--1981, one of the largest policy experiments in recent history aimed at building national identity and establishing the central state as a legitimate authority. The reforms dramatically altered the nature of public education by changing the content of the curriculum and expanding access to schooling. To implement the reforms, the Tanzanian government used a concurrent policy, known as villagization, which forced much of the country's population to live together in government administrated villages. We combine differences in intensity of villagization across districts with differences across school cohorts, induced by the timing of the policy, to identify the effect of Ujamaa on citizens' attitudes. We show persistent, positive effects on citizens' identification with the nation, as measured both by survey responses and ethnic intermarriage. Treated cohorts are also more likely to express positive views for a strong central state and less likely to question state authority.

The Long-Run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400–1900

This paper provides evidence of the long-run effects of a permanent increase in agricultural productivity on conflict. We construct a newly digitized and geo-referenced dataset of battles in Europe, the Near East, and North Africa from 1400–1900 CE and examine variation in agricultural productivity due to the introduction of potatoes from the Americas to the Old World after the Columbian Exchange. We find that the introduction of potatoes led to a sizeable and permanent reduction in conflict.