My research interests lie in the evaluation of policy interventions and their impact on society, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which technology can shape different aspects of our lives. My dissertation focuses on various aspects of how information and telecommunications technologies (ICTs) are transforming our society, reflecting my passion for this topic. To examine the complex relationships between policy, technology, and society, I use a diverse range of econometric techniques in my research, including reduced-form approaches like difference-in-differences and structural methods such as discrete choice demand models and counterfactual simulations. Moreover, I rely on machine learning techniques to uncover hidden patterns and insights that may be missed using traditional statistical analysis alone. My work seeks to offer new perspectives on how policy and technology interact to shape society, while also identifying opportunities for leveraging policy to promote positive change.Research Statement
The internet plays a vital role in everyday life across the world. The US, however, has seen a slowdown in household broadband adoption since 2010, creating a gap between connected and unconnected households usually referred to as the "digital divide". While prior studies have documented how the digital divide is related to income, demographics, and geographic location, this paper takes a different approach and focuses on the mechanisms that could help bridge this gap. To this end, we use a two-stage approach. First, we construct a comprehensive and detailed dataset on household internet usage and prices to estimate broadband demand. Second, we employ the estimated income-dependent demand elasticities to assess multiple counterfactuals aimed at evaluating a number of public policy initiatives, including those recently approved in the Biden Infrastructure Act. We contrast the effectiveness of the policies on three metrics: a) policy costs, b) reduction of the digital divide, and c) and consumer surplus increase. We find that affordability policies (i.e., subsidies) can have a larger impact on decreasing the gap and on increasing consumer surplus vis-à-vis infrastructure deployment policies (i.e., increased coverage or bandwidth).Download paper
We evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the volume and quality of firms' daily usage of remote (video) meeting technologies. While per-firm daily meeting volume (minutes, number of meetings, and total participants) increase significantly (between 15% and 48%), the average meeting is more crowded (+15%), shorter (-30%, or 10 minutes) and of significantly poorer (video/audio) quality (-59%). Firms in the service sector experience the most notable increases in volume usage, while effects on the duration, size and quality of meetings is experienced by firms in all industries.
Network neutrality mandates have been made out either as necessary to ensure a level playing field in online markets or, alternatively, as overly restrictive regulation preventing innovation and investment. However, there is little empirical research on the consequences of data throttling, which becomes legal without network neutrality regulations. Previous research has shown that internet service providers are applying policies to slow down the traffic from some content providers. We combine throughput levels measured for mobile ISPs in the United States with usage data to explore how sensitive users are to such practices. We find no evidence that users change their behavior when faced with throttled data rates.Download paper