I am a postdoctoral research associate in Consumer Finance at the University of Sydney Business School, supervised by Professor Susan Thorp. 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). 

Curriculum Vitae


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).

Working Papers

1. “Compliance Costs of Contract Regulation” (with Ty Leverty)

Regulation of contracts plays an important role in U.S. financial markets. We estimate the costs of complying with the regulation of contracts 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).

2. “Does Technology Adoption Save Regulatory Compliance Costs?” (with Ty Leverty)

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: Australian National University (2019), ARIA Annual Meeting, San Francisco (by coauthor Ty Leverty2019); EALE-The Geneva Association Joint Seminar, Milan (2019)

3. “Medicaid and Long-Term Care: Do Eligibility Rules Impact Asset Holdings?” (with Anita Mukherjee) (revise and resubmit, Journal of Risk and Insurance)

Medicaid provides a critical source of insurance against the rising costs of long-term care, and individuals may strategically offload assets (typically to children) to meet the means-tested eligibility requirement. Yet, evidence on such behaviors is limited. In this paper, we quantify the extent of strategic transfers using variation in the penalty for improper 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 self-reported 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 10 percent and that the average total amount of transfers decreased by $1,700. We do not find any evidence that people adjusted real estate holdings in response to the DRA. We also conduct a triple-differences analysis to examine various forms of heterogeneity. We find that the reduction in transfers comes from high risk individuals who are less financially literate, suggesting that more financially sophisticated households either have other mechanisms to shield assets or are not sensitive to Medicaid eligibility.

Presented at:  UNSW Sydney (2019 scheduled); ARIA Annual Meeting, Chicago (by coauthor Anita Mukherjee, 2018); APRIA-IRFRC Joint Conference, Singapore (2018).

Work in Progress

“Elections and Insurance Rate Regulation” (with Ty Leverty)

We test the economic theory of regulation by examining whether elections affect the regulation of insurance prices in the U.S. property-liability (P/L) insurance market.

Other Work

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
  • 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

Teaching Experience
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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

Actuarial Exams
  1. Probability (P);
  2. Financial Mathematics (FM);
  3. Models for Financial Economics (MFE);
  4. Life Contingencies and Statistics (3L)

Industrial Experience

Actuarial Consulting Analyst, Milliman Inc., Shanghai, China, 2013-2014