Is Human Trafficking the Dark Side of Economic Freedom?

March, 2016

Economic freedom has increased living standards worldwide. Concurrent with such gains are rising concerns about potential human costs associated with free markets. This paper uses data on human trafficking and anti-trafficking policies, in conjunction with a measure of economic freedom, to examine whether free markets exacerbate or attenuate the incidence of human trafficking and policies designed to combat it. We do not find evidence suggesting that economic freedom is associated with human trafficking. In addition, our results suggest that economically free countries are more likely to enact and enforce policies to fight human trafficking.

Nutritional Efficiency Wages and Unemployment

September, 2014

We modify the standard nutritional efficiency wage model to allow for the fact that employers can directly provide calories to their workers rather than paying a higher wage to induce employees to spend more on their own caloric consumption. We derive the various theoretical outcomes that are possible depending on the assumptions about the transaction costs of directly providing calories. We argue that in most real-world situations the ability of employers to directly provide calories undermines the traditional efficiency wage theory as a cause of equilibrium unemployment.

Find the article online at Oxford Journals.

Does Immigration Impact Institutions?

April, 2015

The economics literature generally finds a positive, but small, gain in income to native-born populations from immigrants and potentially large gains in world incomes. But immigrants can also impact a recipient nation’s institutions. A growing empirical literature supports the importance of strong private property rights, a rule of law, and an environment of economic freedom for promoting long-run prosperity. But little is known about how immigration impacts these institutions. This paper empirically examines how immigration impacts a nation’s policies and institutions. We find no evidence of negative and some evidence of positive impacts in institutional quality as a result of immigration.