I am a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sydney Business School, supervised by Professor Susan Thorp. I am also an associate investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). My research interests are in household finance and public economics, focusing on personal finance decision making and insurance regulation.
I received my Ph.D. in Risk and Insurance at the Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin–Madison (committee: Professors Ty Leverty (chair), J. Michael Collins, Anita Mukherjee, Joan Schmit, Justin Sydnor).
1. “Medicaid and Long-Term Care: The Effects of Penalizing Strategic Asset Transfers” (with Anita Mukherjee) (Journal of Risk and Insurance, forthcoming)
Medicaid provides a critical source of insurance for long-term care, and individuals may strategically offload assets (typically to children) to meet the means-tested eligibility requirement. In this paper, we quantify the extent of such behavior using variation in the penalty for improper parent-to-child transfers induced by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. We estimate difference-in-differences models based on the hypothesis that only individuals with high levels of nursing home risk (high risk) will alter transfers because of the Act. We find that over a two-year horizon, high risk individuals reduced transfers to children on the extensive margin by 11 percent and that the average total amount of transfers decreased by $4,860. The results hold only for coupled respondents. We also conduct a triple-differences analysis to examine heterogeneity with financial literacy and find that even those with a low level of financial literacy responded to the penalty.
Presented at: CEPAR-UNSW Sydney (2019); ARIA Annual Meeting, Chicago (by coauthor Anita Mukherjee, 2018); APRIA-IRFRC Joint Conference, Singapore (2018).
2. “Building Financial and Health Literacy at Older Ages: The Role of Online Information” (with Hessam Bavafa and Anita Mukherjee) (Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2019)
Improving financial and health literacy is an important step in reducing economic vulnerability in older age, yet the means by which individuals accumulate these types of human capital remains an open question. This paper evaluates the impact of online search activities on the levels of financial and health literacy. We find that using the internet for such information increases literacy significantly: doing so frequently (versus not at all) increases financial literacy by 16 percent and health literacy by 12 percent. Our results are robust to alternative measures of financial literacy. They are also robust to an instrumental variable approach using other web skills such as email use to proxy for how individuals use the internet.
Presented at: JCA/FLEC Research Symposium (2019).
Regulation of contracts plays an important role in U.S. financial markets. We estimate the costs of complying with contract regulation by exploiting the rich cross-sectional and time-series variation in regulation in the U.S. property-liability (P/L) insurance industry. We find that the costs of complying with stringent contract regulation are significantly greater than the costs of complying with flexible contract regulation, with the estimate of the difference being 3.1 percent of the general expenses for the average insurer in each line of business and year. Our estimates imply that stringent contract regulation increases expenses in the industry by $1.8 billion per year. The compliance costs are higher in personal lines of insurance. The burden of these costs falls unevenly on insurers, with the regulatory effects isolated to the firms writing less than $5 million in premiums in a line of business per year.
Presented at: SWFA Annual Meeting (2019); University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (2018); Research Blitz, Wisconsin School of Business (2018); ARIA Annual Meeting, Chicago (2018); APRIA-IRFRC Joint Conference, Singapore (2018).
We study whether digital technology streamlines the regulatory process and reduces the costs of complying with regulation. To identify the effect of digital technology on regulatory compliance costs, we leverage a quasi-experimental policy change which mandates the use of an internet-based flow management tool that enables insurers and regulators to exchange policy form and rate ling information. We find that digitization lowers the costs of complying with regulation. The average insurer per line of business and year in the highest quartile regarding the proportion of business under the mandate saves 4.8 percent of general expenses. Our results also suggest a fixed cost of adopting the technology, with larger cost-saving accruing to firms that adopt the new technology more widely.
Presented at: FIRN annual meeting (2019); Australian National University (2019), ARIA Annual Meeting, San Francisco (by coauthor Ty Leverty, 2019); EALE-The Geneva Association Joint Seminar, Milan (2019)
Work in Progress
In this study, we investigate where confusion arises in the mortgage process and how it affects mortgage choice, adopting a decision-making framework based on consumer psychology and marketing literature. We also explore possible interventions to reduce confusion, including the use of mortgage brokers.
2. “Political Uncertainty and Insurance Prices” (with Ty Leverty)
We examine the effects of political uncertainty on insurance prices using the cross-sectional and time-series heterogeneity in the exogenous electoral cycles of US insurance regulators and governors.
Presented at: WRIEC virtual conference (2020); The University of Sydney Finance Discipline Brownbag (2020); SWFA Annual Meeting (2019)
1. “20K now or 50K later? What’s driving people’s decision to withdraw their super?” (with Hazel Bateman, Robbie Campo, David Constable, Isabella Dobrescu, Ailsa Goodwin, Ben Newell, and Susan Thorp), CEPAR Industry Report 2020/1, published by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, 2020.
2. “Reverse Mortgages” (with J. Michael Collins and Anita Mukherjee), entry prepared for the Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging (section: Social Security and Pension Systems), published by Springer, March 2019.
Referee Service & Invited Conference Participation
- Referee, Journal of Pension Economics and Finance
- Referee, Journal of Consumer Affairs
- Ad hoc Referee, The Journal of the Economics of Ageing
- Invited Participant, FMA Doctoral Student Consortium, San Diego, 2018
- Invited Participant, Ph.D. Student Research Symposium, University of Georgia, 2018
- Invited Participant, Price Theory Summer Camp, University of Chicago, 2016
- RMI 300 Principles of Risk Management, teaching assistant for Professors Joan Schmit and Carl Barlett, Wisconsin School of Business, Fall 2018-Spring 2019
- Core course for the Risk Management and Insurance major
- Developed weekly in-class and homework exercise and exam questions
- ACT SCI 300 Actuarial Science Methods I, lecturer, Wisconsin School of Business, Spring 2017
- University-wide Exam P (Probability) review course for undergraduates
- Developed the syllabus, lecture notes, weekly in-class and homework exercise
- GEN BUS 306 Business Analytics I, head teaching assistant for Professors Anita Mukherjee, Hessam Bavafa, and Richard Crabb, Wisconsin School of Business, Fall 2017
- Core course on analytical skills for business undergraduates
- Planned weekly discussion sections and coordinated fellow TAs in teaching
- GEN BUS 306 Business Analytics I, teaching assistant for Professors Anita Mukherjee, Hessam Bavafa, Richard Crabb, and Paul Johnson Jr. (five semesters), Wisconsin School of Business, Spring 2015-Fall 2016
- Received Dean’s letter of recognition for designing and implementing an auto-grading system of case projects for 600+ students each semester
- Developed weekly discussion sections and taught 500+ students in 5 semesters
- Probability (P);
- Financial Mathematics (FM);
- Models for Financial Economics (MFE);
- Life Contingencies and Statistics (3L)
Actuarial Consulting Analyst, Milliman Inc., Shanghai, China, 2013-2014