John McLaren

Department of Economics
University of Virginia
(Contact Info)


Hi, there. I'm an economist with interests in international trade, economic development, political economy, and industrial organization. Lately I've been doing work on the dynamics of labor market adjustment to trade shocks; implications of worker mobility costs for trade and trade policy; globalization and risk; media bias and media mergers; and the economics of civil war in the Third World.

I really, really apologize for hardly ever updating this page. I’ll be more attentive to it in the future. Honest.

Here is my cv (updated February 2020).

Here is my modest contribution to COVID-19 research:

(1) "Racial Disparity in COVID-19 Deaths: Seeking Economic Roots with Census data. "

Abstract. This note seeks the socio-economic roots of racial disparities in COVID-19 mortal- ity, using county-level mortality, economic, and demographic data from 3,140 counties. For all minorities, the minority's population share is strongly correlated with total COVID-19 deaths. For Hispanic/Latino and Asian minorities those correlations are fragile, and largely disappear when we control for education, occupation, and commut- ing patterns. For African Americans and First Nations populations, the correlations are very robust. Surprisingly, for these two groups the racial disparity does not seem to be due to differences in income, poverty rates, education, occupational mix, or even access to healthcare insurance. A significant portion of the disparity can, however, be sourced to the use of public transit.

(2) "Effects of reduced workplace presence on COVID-19 deaths: An Instrumental-variables approach" (co-authored with outstanding student Su Wang.

Abstract. Numerous government policies have attempted to keep workers out of the workplace, on the assump- tion that this will lower the transmission of COVID-19. We test that assumption, measuring the effect of aggregate workplace absence on US COVID deaths at the county level through August. Instrumenting with an index of how many local workers pre-pandemic can work from home, based on differences in county occupational mix, we find no effect of workplace absence until mid-May, then a sharply rising effect. By August, moving 10 percent of a county's workers from the workplace would lower deaths there by two thirds one month later.

Recent publications:

"The Political Economy of Commercial Policy." Chapter 2 in the forthcoming Handbook of Commercial Policy, edited by Kyle Bagwell and Robert Staiger, 2016, Elsevier.

Looking for Local Labor-Market Effects of NAFTA.” Joint with Shushanik Hakobyan, Review of Economics and Statistics 98:4, October 2016.

(Working Paper.)

Trade Policy and Wage Inequality: A Structural Analysis with Occupational and Sectoral Mobility.” Joint with Erhan Artuc, Jounrnal of International Economics 97, 2015.

When is it Optimal to Delegate: The Theory of Fast-track Authority.” Joint with Levent Celik and Bilgehan Karabay, American Economic Journals: Microeconomics August 2015.

Media Mergers and Media Bias with Rational Consumers.” Joint with Simon Anderson, Journal of the European Economics Association 10:4, August 2012.

“Pareto-Improving Firing Costs?” Joint with Bilgehan Karabay. European Economic Review 55:8, December 2011.

"Recent Findings on Trade and Inequality." Joint with Ann Harrison and Margaret McMillan. Annual Reviews of Economics Volume 3, September 2011.

“A Structural Empirical Approach to Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: An Application to Turkey” (Joint with Erhan Artuç). In Guido Porto (ed.)(2010), Adjustment Costs and Adjustment Impacts of Trade Policy, World Bank.

Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: A Structural Empirical Approach.” Joint with Erhan Artuç and Shubham Chaudhuri. American Economic Review, June 2010.

Trade, Offshoring, and the Invisible Handshake.” Joint with Bilgehan Karabay; Journal of International Economics 82:1 (2010).

Working papers:

"Globalization and Labor Market Dynamics." (Prepared for Annual Review of Economics.)

"Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?" (Joint with Gihoon Hong.)

"Some Simple Analytics of Trade and Labor Mobility." (Joint with Erhan Artuc and Shubham Chaudhuri.)

"FDI and Inequality in Vietnam: An Approach with Census Data." (Joint with Myunghwan Yoo.)

Selected Annotated Bibliography.

List of papers with abstracts.

World's Best Undergraduate Trade Textbook!

My undergraduate textbook, International Trade: Analysis of Globalization and Policy, was published by Wiley in October 2012. You can read the preface here. I’m pretty excited about the project because I’ve got a fairly innovative approach to teaching the material that has been very successful in the classroom. Here's the cover:

I found that photo of the giant freighter at sunset myself. Nice, right?

Amazon link.

The book's page at Wiley.

Go to the University of Virginia home page

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Last Modified: 10/05/16