chenecon


Chaoran Chen

Photo of Chaoran Chen

Department of Economics

Assistant Professor

Office: Vari Hall, 1034
Phone: 4167362100 Ext: 30106
Email: chenecon@yorku.ca
Primary website: https://sites.google.com/site/chaoransite/


I am currently an Assistant Professor at York University. Before joining York, I received my Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Toronto in 2017 and then taught for two years at the National University of Singapore.

My research interests are in macroeconomics and economic development. My work focuses on understanding the observed cross-country productivity differences through the lens of resource misallocation, structural transformation, and technology adoption, using both general equilibrium models and micro data. I am also interested in incomplete market models and inequality.

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Degrees

Ph.D. Economics, University of Toronto
M.A. Economics, University of Toronto
B. Economics, Fudan University

Research Interests

, Macroeconomics, Growth and Development
Journal Articles

Publication
Year

Capital-Skill Complementarity, Sectoral Labor Productivity, and Structural Transformation
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 116: 103902.
Abstract: In the postwar U.S. economy, labor productivity has been growing faster in the goods sector versus the service sector. This paper argues that this sectoral labor productivity growth gap can largely be explained by the fact that capital intensity also increases faster in the goods sector. I build a two-sector neoclassical growth model in which capital substitutes low-skilled labor but complements high-skilled labor, and the goods sector is more intensive in low-skilled labor relative to the service sector, as observed in the data. As capital becomes more abundant relative to labor along economic growth, low-skilled labor is substituted by capital, leading to faster growth of capital intensity and hence labor productivity in the goods sector. Using a calibrated model, I find that two thirds of the sectoral labor productivity growth gap can be explained by capital accumulation and its interaction with capital-skill complementarity.

2020

Technology Adoption, Capital Deepening, and International Productivity Differences
Journal of Development Economics, 143: 102388
Abstract: I document that cross-country differences in capital intensity are much larger in the agricultural sector than in the nonagricultural sector. To explain this fact, I build a model featuring technology adoption with fixed costs among heterogeneous farmers. More productive farmers operating larger farms pay the fixed cost and adopt a modern capital-intensive technology, while less productive ones choose a traditional labor-intensive technology. The model is calibrated using historical data on farmer adoption of mechanized technology in postwar America. This calibrated model is then employed to perform cross-country comparisons. Incorporating a technology adoption channel not only allows the model to predict substantial differences in agricultural capital intensity between rich and poor countries that an otherwise identical model would fall short in generating, but also improve explanatory power for cross-country agricultural productivity differences by 1.5-fold.

2020

Untitled Land, Occupational Choice, and Agricultural Productivity
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 9(4): 91-121
Abstract: The prevalence of untitled land in poor countries helps explain the international agricultural productivity differences. Since untitled land cannot be traded across farmers, it creates land misallocation and distorts individuals' occupational choice between farming and working outside agriculture. I build a two-sector general equilibrium model to quantify the impact of untitled land. I find that economies with higher percentages of untitled land would have lower agricultural productivity; land titling can increase agricultural productivity by up to 82.5 percent. About 42 percent of this gain is due to eliminating land misallocation, and the remaining is due to eliminating distortions in individuals' occupational choice.

2017


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2020 GS/ECON5110 3.0 A Topics In Macroeconomic Theory LECT


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2021 AP/ECON2450 3.0 M Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory II LECT
Winter 2021 AP/ECON2450 3.0 Q Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory II LECT


I am currently an Assistant Professor at York University. Before joining York, I received my Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Toronto in 2017 and then taught for two years at the National University of Singapore.

My research interests are in macroeconomics and economic development. My work focuses on understanding the observed cross-country productivity differences through the lens of resource misallocation, structural transformation, and technology adoption, using both general equilibrium models and micro data. I am also interested in incomplete market models and inequality.

Degrees

Ph.D. Economics, University of Toronto
M.A. Economics, University of Toronto
B. Economics, Fudan University

Research Interests

, Macroeconomics, Growth and Development

All Publications


Journal Articles

Publication
Year

Capital-Skill Complementarity, Sectoral Labor Productivity, and Structural Transformation
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 116: 103902.
Abstract: In the postwar U.S. economy, labor productivity has been growing faster in the goods sector versus the service sector. This paper argues that this sectoral labor productivity growth gap can largely be explained by the fact that capital intensity also increases faster in the goods sector. I build a two-sector neoclassical growth model in which capital substitutes low-skilled labor but complements high-skilled labor, and the goods sector is more intensive in low-skilled labor relative to the service sector, as observed in the data. As capital becomes more abundant relative to labor along economic growth, low-skilled labor is substituted by capital, leading to faster growth of capital intensity and hence labor productivity in the goods sector. Using a calibrated model, I find that two thirds of the sectoral labor productivity growth gap can be explained by capital accumulation and its interaction with capital-skill complementarity.

2020

Technology Adoption, Capital Deepening, and International Productivity Differences
Journal of Development Economics, 143: 102388
Abstract: I document that cross-country differences in capital intensity are much larger in the agricultural sector than in the nonagricultural sector. To explain this fact, I build a model featuring technology adoption with fixed costs among heterogeneous farmers. More productive farmers operating larger farms pay the fixed cost and adopt a modern capital-intensive technology, while less productive ones choose a traditional labor-intensive technology. The model is calibrated using historical data on farmer adoption of mechanized technology in postwar America. This calibrated model is then employed to perform cross-country comparisons. Incorporating a technology adoption channel not only allows the model to predict substantial differences in agricultural capital intensity between rich and poor countries that an otherwise identical model would fall short in generating, but also improve explanatory power for cross-country agricultural productivity differences by 1.5-fold.

2020

Untitled Land, Occupational Choice, and Agricultural Productivity
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 9(4): 91-121
Abstract: The prevalence of untitled land in poor countries helps explain the international agricultural productivity differences. Since untitled land cannot be traded across farmers, it creates land misallocation and distorts individuals' occupational choice between farming and working outside agriculture. I build a two-sector general equilibrium model to quantify the impact of untitled land. I find that economies with higher percentages of untitled land would have lower agricultural productivity; land titling can increase agricultural productivity by up to 82.5 percent. About 42 percent of this gain is due to eliminating land misallocation, and the remaining is due to eliminating distortions in individuals' occupational choice.

2017


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2020 GS/ECON5110 3.0 A Topics In Macroeconomic Theory LECT


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2021 AP/ECON2450 3.0 M Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory II LECT
Winter 2021 AP/ECON2450 3.0 Q Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory II LECT