Audrey Guo
Job Market Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Curriculum Vitae

Primary: Public Economics, Labor Economics
Secondary: Health Economics

Expected Graduation Date:
June 2019

Thesis Committee:
Mark Duggan (Co-Primary):

Nick Bloom (Co-Primary):

Luigi Pistaferri:

Raj Chetty:

Job Market Paper

The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Taxation on Multi-Establishment Firms
This paper investigates whether and to what extent state-level differences in business taxes influence the location decisions and labor demand of multi-establishment firms. In the United States each state administers its own unemployment insurance (UI) program, and cross-state variation leads to significant differences in the UI tax costs faced by employers in different states. Leveraging the existing locations of multi-state manufacturing firms for identification, I find that high tax plants were more likely to exit during economic downturns, and less likely to hire during the recovery. Moving a plant's outside option from a high tax state to a low tax state would increase its likelihood of exit by 20% during the Great Recession. These findings suggest that UI taxes may contribute to jobless recoveries and additional misallocation in the economy.


Veterans' Labor Force Participation: What Role Does the VA's Disability Compensation Program Play?
(with Courtney Coile and Mark Duggan) American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings (2015)
Press Coverage: The Economist

Working Papers

To Work for Yourself, for Others, or Not At All? How Disability Benefits Affect the Employment Decisions of Older Veterans (with Courtney Coile and Mark Duggan) R&R, Journal of Public Economics
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation (DC) program provides disability benefits to nearly one in five military veterans in the US and its annual expenditures exceed $60 billion. We examine how the receipt of DC benefits affects the employment decisions of older veterans. We make use of variation in program eligibility resulting from a 2001 policy change that increased access to the program for Vietnam veterans who served with "boots on the ground" in the Vietnam theater but not for other veterans of that same era. We find that the policy-induced increase in program enrollment decreased labor force participation and induced a substantially larger switch from wage employment to self-employment. This latter finding suggests that an exogenous increase in income spurred many older veterans to start their own businesses. We estimate that one in four veterans who entered the DC program due to this policy change left the labor force, estimates in the same range as those from recent studies of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

Are Health Care Consumers Forward-Looking? (with Jonathan Zhang) R&R, Journal of Health Economics
How do health care consumers dynamically optimize their medical utilization under non-linear insurance contracts? Our paper tests the neoclassical prediction that a fully forward-looking agent only responds to their expected end-of-year price. Our unique identification strategy studies families during the year of childbirth who will likely satisfy their annual deductible, thereby knowing their expected end-of-year price. We find that during the year of a childbirth, fathers increase medical spending by 11% per month after their deductible is satisfied, rejecting the null of fully forward-looking consumers; this myopia translates to a 21-24% decrease in total annual medical spending, relative to the counterfactual of fully forward-looking behavior.

Work in Progress

Outsourcing, Occupational and Industrial Concentration (with Nick Bloom and Brian Lucking)
We use data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau to investigate the concentration of firms, occupations, and industries over time. We find strong evidence for increased concentration of firms in terms of a secular decrease in the number of occupations and industries in which firms are active. The mean number of 5-digit occupations per establishment has fallen from 6.5 to 5.5 since 2000, with the top 3 occupations now accounting for over 85% of total establishment employment. Firm employment and payroll is increasingly concentrated in a few core industries. We argue that the rise of outsourcing and pressure on firms to focus on their core competencies is driving this concentration of activities within firms. Finally, we argue this could play a role for the rising segregation of employees by income and education across firms.