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I am a PhD student in Economics at Princeton University. Concurrently, I am a Dissertation Fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, as well as a Young Fellow at the National University of Singapore.

I work in empirical industrial organization. I apply tools from market design to study urban economics and the economics of digitization.

I am on the job market in the 2022-2023 academic year. I will be available for virtual interviews at the 2022/2023 AEA meetings.

Download my CV here.


Working Papers

(Click on paper descriptions to see abstracts)

Urban Economics


(JMP) The dynamic allocation of public housing: Policy and spillovers
  • Joint work with Andrew Ferdowsian and Luther Yap.
  • Previously circulated as “Market design, subsidies and supply: Towards efficient and equitable public housing”
  • Presented at:
    • 2022: National University of Singapore Business School; 17th CIREQ PhD Students’ Conference; 50th American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) National Conference
    • 2021: 15th North American Meeting, Urban Economics Association; Summer School in Urban Economics, Urban Economics Association; Young Economist Symposium; 9th Warwick Economics PhD Conference
  • Accepted at the AREUEA International Conference in Dublin (2022)

We consider the design of a large-scale public housing program where consumers face dynamic tradeoffs over apartments rationed via lotteries and prices. We show, theoretically and empirically, that changing rules complements increasing supply. First, we present a motivating example in which supplying more housing leads households to strategically delay their applications. By waiting for “better” developments arriving tomorrow, households forgo mediocre developments available today, resulting in more vacancies. Turning to the data from the mechanism, we formulate a dynamic choice model over housing lotteries and estimate it. Under the existing mechanism, we find that increasing supply fails to lower wait times. However, when a strategyproof mechanism is implemented, vacancies and wait times fall, but prices on the secondary market rise. Under this new mechanism, building more apartments lowers wait times and reduces the upward pricing pressure on the secondary market.

Urban transit infrastructure and inequality: The role of access to non-tradable goods and services
  • Joint work with Brandon Joel Tan.
  • Presented at (by coauthor or self): Land Transport Authority of Singapore; 2021 NBER Summer Institute in Urban Economics

Since low-income workers are overwhelmingly employed in non-tradable sectors, in response to transit expansion, changes in consumption travel patterns induce a spatial re-organization of low-income jobs in the city, with important implications for inequality. We develop an urban spatial model with heterogeneous worker groups, incorporating travel to consume non-tradable goods and services. The model is estimated using detailed farecard and administrative data from Singapore. After the Downtown Line was built, we find large welfare gains for high-income workers, but near zero for low-income workers. All workers benefit from improved access to consumption opportunities, but jobs in the low-income non-tradable sector move to less attractive workplaces. If we abstract away from consumption travel, we underestimate the line’s effect on inequality by a factor of five. Furthermore, the resulting model fails to capture the spatial re-organization of low-income jobs in the city.

Build to order: Endogenous supply in centralized mechanisms
  • Joint work with Andrew Ferdowsian and Luther Yap.
  • Presented at (by coauthor or self): 2021 Stony Brook International Conference on Game Theory

How should the supply of public housing be optimally curated? Queuing mechanisms in the literature treat the supply of goods as exogenous. However, in practice, designers can often control the inflow of goods as well. We study a dynamic matching model based on the Singaporean housing allocation process. We show that endogenous supply radically changes the nature of the optimal mechanism. In this mechanism, a key feature is that under-demanded housing is overproduced relative to the static benchmark. Though competition leads to a decrease in efficiency when supply is exogenous, competition instead improves matching when supply is endogenous. Competition can be artificially generated through increasing the thickness of the market by batching applications. We show that doing so is a key feature of the optimal mechanism when the planner places a high weight on match quality.

Economics of Digitization


Entry into two-sided markets shaped by platform-guided search
  • Joint work with Leon Musolff.
  • Awarded the Rising Star Paper Prize at the 20th International Industrial Organization Conference (2022)

We evaluate the problem of firms that operate platforms matching buyers and sellers, while also selling goods on these same platforms. By being able to guide consumer search through algorithmic recommendations, these firms can influence market outcomes, a finding that has worried regulators. To analyze this phenomenon, we combine rich novel data about sales and recommendations on Amazon Marketplace with a structural model of intermediation power. In contrast to prior literature, we explicitly model seller entry. This feature enables us to assess the most plausible theory of harm from self-preferencing, i.e. that it is a barrier to entry. We find that recommendations are highly price elastic but favor Amazon. A substantial fraction of customers only consider recommended offers, and recommendations hence noticeably raise the price elasticity of demand. By preferring Amazon’s offer, the recommendation algorithm raises consumer welfare by approximately US$4.5 billion (since consumers also prefer these offers). However, consumers are made worse off if, as a consequence, the company raises prices by more than 7.8%. Furthermore, we find no evidence of consumer harm from self-preferencing through the entry channel. Nevertheless, entry matters. The algorithm raises consumer welfare in the short and medium run by increasing the purchase rate and intensifying price competition. However, these gains are mostly offset by reduced entry in the long run.

Work in Progress

Urban Economics


Teaching

In 2013, I was a substitute teacher in Biology and Chemistry for 9th and 10th-graders at a top high school in Singapore. From 2014 to 2016, I served as a Residential Peer Mentor in Calculus at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Most recently, my teaching experiences at Princeton span a research seminar for public policy students and intermediate microeconomic theory for sophomores. For the latter, in 2020 and 2021, I was a teaching assistant for ECO 300 (“Microeconomic Theory”) and ECO 310 (“Microeconomic Theory: A Mathematical Approach”), taught by Dr. Andrea Wilson and Professor Can Urgun. Among in-person classes, my average instructor rating was 4.74/5, against a course average of 4.55/5. Detailed course evaluations are available upon request.

In my classes, I strongly encourage active student participation and discussion. My pedagogical style emphasizes visual aids and collaborative work. By the end of each class, my students can articulate what they have taken away from their time with me, as well as how this material can be applied beyond the classroom.


References

Prof. Adam Kapor
Department of Economics
Princeton University
+1 (609) 258-7354
akapor [at] princeton.edu

Prof. Kate Ho
Department of Economics
Princeton University
+1 (609) 258-4032
kate.ho [at] princeton.edu

Prof. Stephen Redding
Department of Economics
Princeton University
+1 (609) 258-4016
reddings [at] princeton.edu

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