Faculty & Research

Rodrigo Adao

Rodrigo Adao

Assistant Professor of Economics

Rodrigo Adao’s primary field of interest is international trade, and the focus of his research is the effect of globalization on welfare and inequality. His research has been published in the American Economic Review and The Quarterly Journal of Economics. Additionally, he serves as Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and as associate editor in the Journal of International Economics.

Adao earned a PhD in economics from MIT, as well as a BA and MA in economics from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

Prior to joining Booth, he was a research scholar at the Becker-Friedman Institute and an IES Research Fellow at Princeton University. Adao was also a featured speaker on the Review of Economic Studies Tour.

 

2020 - 2021 Course Schedule

Number Title Quarter
33501 International Commercial Policy 2020  (Autumn)
33650 Workshop in Macro and International Economics 2021  (Spring)

New: International Trade and Earnings Inequality: A New Factor Content Approach
Date Posted: Dec  17, 2020
We develop a new factor content approach to study the impact of trade on inequality. Our analysis generalizes the theoretical results of Deardorff and Staiger (1988) and improves on past empirical implementations of these results. Combined with unique administrative data from Ecuador, our approach yields measures of individual-level exposure to exports and imports, for both capital and labor income, as well as estimates of the incidence of such exposure across the income distribution. We find that international trade raises earnings inequality in Ecuador, especially in the upper-half of the income distribution. However, the drop in inequality experienced by Ecuador over the last decade would have been less pronounced in the absence of trade.

New: Aggregate Implications of Firm Heterogeneity: A Nonparametric Analysis of Monopolistic Competition Trade Models
Date Posted: Nov  17, 2020
We measure the role of firm heterogeneity in counterfactual predictions of monopolistic competition trade models without parametric restrictions on the distribution of firm fundamentals. We show that two bilateral elasticity functions are sufficient to nonparametrically compute the counterfactual aggregate impact of trade shocks, and recover changes in economic fundamentals from observed data. These functions are identified from two semiparametric gravity equations governing the impact of bilateral trade costs on the extensive and intensive margins of firm-level exports. Applying our methodology, we estimate elasticity functions that imply an impact of trade costs on trade flows that falls when more firms serve a market because of smaller extensive margin responses. Compared to a baseline where elasticities are constant, firm heterogeneity amplifies both the gains from trade in countries with more exporter firms, and the welfare gains of European market integration in 2003-2012.

New: Technological Transitions with Skill Heterogeneity Across Generations
Date Posted: Jan  03, 2020
Why are some technological transitions particularly unequal and slow to play out? We develop a theory to study transitions after technological innovations driven by worker reallocation within a generation and changes in the skill distribution across generations. The economy’s transitional dynamics have a representation as a q-theory of skill investment. We exploit this in two ways. First, to show that technology-skill specificity and the cost of skill investment determine how unequal and slow transitions are by affecting the two adjustment margins in the theory. Second, to connect these determinants to measurable, short-horizon changes in labor market outcomes within and between generations. We then empirically analyze the adjustment to recent cognitive-biased innovations in developed economies. Strong responses of cognitive-intensive employment for young but not old generations suggest that cognitive-skill specificity is high and that the supply of cognitive skills is more elastic ...

New: Spatial Linkages, Global Shocks, and Local Labor Markets: Theory and Evidence
Date Posted: Feb  12, 2019
How do shocks to economic fundamentals in the world economy affect local labor markets? In a framework with a flexible structure of spatial linkages, we characterize the model-consistent shock exposure of a local market as the exogenous shift in its production revenues and consumption costs. In general equilibrium, labor outcomes in any market respond directly to the market's own shock exposure, and indirectly to other markets shocks exposures. We show how spatial linkages control the size and the heterogeneity of these indirect effects. We then develop a new estimation methodology — the Model-implied Optimal IV (MOIV) — that exploits quasi-experimental variation in economic shocks to estimate spatial linkages and evaluate their counterfactual implications. Applying our methodology to US Commuting Zones, we find that difference-in-difference designs based on model-consistent measures of local shock exposure approximate well the differential effect of international trade shocks across ...

New: Spatial Linkages, Global Shocks, and Local Labor Markets: Theory and Evidence
Date Posted: Feb  06, 2019
How do shocks to economic fundamentals in the world economy a?ect local labor markets? In a framework with a flexible structure of spatial linkages, we characterize the model-consistent shock exposure of a local market as the exogenous shift in its production revenues and consumption costs. In general equilibrium, labor outcomes in any market respond directly to the market’s own shock exposure, and indirectly to other markets shocks exposures. We show how spatial linkages control the size and the heterogeneity of these indirect e?ects. We then develop a new estimation methodology - the Model-implied Optimal IV (MOIV) - that exploits quasi-experimental variation in economic shocks to estimate spatial linkages and evaluate their counterfactual implications. Applying our methodology to US Commuting Zones, we ?nd that di?erence-in-di?erence designs based on model-consistent measures of local shock exposure approximate well the di?erential e?ect of international trade shocks across CZs, ...

New: Shift-Share Designs: Theory and Inference
Date Posted: Aug  21, 2018
We study inference in shift-share regression designs, such as when a regional outcome is regressed on a weighted average of observed sectoral shocks, using regional sector shares as weights. We conduct a placebo exercise in which we estimate the effect of a shift-share regressor constructed with randomly generated sectoral shocks on actual labor market outcomes across U.S. Commuting Zones. Tests based on commonly used standard errors with 5% nominal significance level reject the null of no effect in up to 55% of the placebo samples. We use a stylized economic model to show that this overrejection problem arises because regression residuals are correlated across regions with similar sectoral shares, independently of their geographic location. We derive novel inference methods that are valid under arbitrary cross-regional correlation in the regression residuals. We show that our methods yield substantially wider confidence intervals in popular applications of shift-share regression ...


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