Working papers

Place-based Policy, Migration Barriers, and Spatial Inequality

This study quantifies the effects of place-based tax incentives and easing migration barriers on spatial inequality in Vietnam. I construct a dynamic spatial general equilibrium model incorporating firm dynamics, occupational choices, migration, congestion, and agglomeration. Leveraging policy variations and model-consistent equations, I identify firm entry elasticity and changes in migration costs. The place-based policy increases economic activity and welfare in targeted areas despite compromising public services. The household registration reform has a small impact on spatial welfare inequality. Combining migration cost reductions to central provinces with tax incentives to disadvantaged ones mitigates welfare losses and reduces spatial inequality more effectively than each policy alone.

Why Does the Sex Ratio at Birth Rise? Evidence from Vietnam

(with Ngoc T. Nguyen)

This study connects Vietnam’s elevated sex ratio at birth (SRB) to the 2001 US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement. Our model incorporates three major factors that influence SRB: income, relative returns based on the child’s sex, and fertility. The model presents twelve predictions, which are tested using large-scale repeated cross-sectional and panel surveys in a difference-in-difference design. The results indicate that mothers who experience larger tariff reductions tend to have a stronger preference for sons, work more, and desire fewer children. These findings suggest that fertility is the main driver of the elevated SRB. Overall, this paper highlights the interplay between cultural norms, maternal income, childcare, and fertility, revealing the unexpected demographic impact of trade policies.