Trade Costs and Global Sourcing: Evidence from Importers' Use of Customs Brokers (Job Market Paper)

Frequent trade disruptions require firms to adjust their supply chains, and intermediary service-providers play a key role in facilitating these adjustments. This paper introduces a new dataset mapping U.S. import transactions to foreign sources, domestic importers, and customs brokers for the first time. As shown in these data, customs brokers expedite shipping, are predominantly used by smaller importers, and are chosen for transactions of lesser value but incurring higher shipping charges. Firms engaging brokers are more likely to shift which countries they source their products from. To better understand this source-switching behavior, I estimate a structural dynamic discrete choice model of supplier switching that yields estimates of switching costs and responsiveness to price and quality. Additionally, using a dynamic difference-in-differences methodology, I analyze how responses to the U.S.--China trade war differed between firms using and those not using customs brokers. The findings suggest that customs brokers play a key role in firms' adaptive sourcing decisions during trade disruptions.

Corporate Influence in Trade Agreements: Approaches Using Machine Learning, with Michelle Lam

This paper studies the evolution of corporate influence over time on trade agreements. We approach this question using a variety of techniques, from traditional indicators to machine learning methods, and find that corporate influence has been increasing over time in trade agreements. A 10% increase in the proportion of Services and Investment topic results in 0.19% to 0.92% increase in trade flows. Next, this paper examines whether trade agreement similarity to multinational corporations' corporate language has a differential effect on trade flows. In both the doc2vec and sentence transformers implementation, multinational corporation language had a broadly negative effect on trade flows, ranging from -0.3% to -1.2%, suggesting that language closely associated with multinational corporations may have a differential dampening impact on trade flows. 

Works in progress

"Trade Disruption and Cyberwarfare: Estimating the Real Effects of Cyberattacks'" with Antonis Kotidis