Research Interests

My research interests are in digitization, investments, political connections, and information sets with a special focus on how information technology impacts markets.

Working Papers

Job Market Paper

Abstract: I document that online feedback loops, such as search engines, drive customers and revenues to prominent firms. This creates barriers to entry, weakening competition and contributing to rising industry concentration. To identify prominent firms online, I measure centrality in a network of firm websites covering more than 100,000 public and private firms. Industries with firms that are more central become more concentrated and central firms increase their market share during the sample period. This appears to be due to firms' ability to generate revenues. Central firms become more profitable and peripheral firms earn negative risk-adjusted returns and underperform earnings forecasts. Evidence from the COVID-19 shutdown, which drove economic activity online, supports these conclusions. Central firms received the vast majority of the influx of web traffic and had significantly higher returns during the shutdown. My results highlight the difficulties of maintaining competition in an increasingly digital economy.

2021 American Finance Association Meeting (Chicago, IL)

Abstract: We develop the first comprehensive mapping of the revolving door phenomenon in the U.S. by examining the work experience in executive branch agencies of 1,910,150 individuals covering top corporate positions in 373,011 unique firms. We document that the phenomenon is prevalent, with one out of every 15 firms, and one out of every three publicly traded firms, having at least one top employee with prior work experience in U.S. executive branch agencies. On average, former regulators are hired in response to or concomitant with increases in regulation as well as concomitant with more aggressive regulator behavior in the form of a higher incidence of fines. Firms headquartered in more corrupt states, firms seemingly more corruption-prone, and established violators receive benefits in the form of a reduction in the incidence of fines after hiring former regulators from fine-imposing agencies. In contrast, we do not observe other firms receiving benefits on average.

2018 Western Finance Association Meeting (Coronado, CA)

Abstract: Using investor internet access, we show that increased information access leads to decreased geographic bias in retail investor portfolios, although this ultimately harms the portfolio performance. With internet access improving information access, investors must choose whether to focus their attention on local or distant stocks, subsequently increasing or decreasing their geographic bias, respectively. We find that investors are more likely to invest in more distant stocks after starting to trade online. This is especially true for investors from rural areas and the southern region of the U.S. However, online investors are less likely to invest in new industries, increase their trend-chasing behavior, and appear to lose their advantage in local holdings, resulting in decreased Sharpe ratios despite the diversification benefits. The evidence is most consistent with distant stocks grabbing the attention of online investors and distracting them from their competitive advantage. Our findings demonstrate that while information access provides benefits for investors, it can also exacerbate behavioral biases, which places additional responsibility on investors to carefully manage how they use their access.

Works in Progress

Web-Based Peers: Peer Groups for Public and Private Firms

The Evolving Role of Innovation in Mergers and Acquisitions

(with Michael Woeppel)