Working Papers

Build It and They Will Come? US Regional Labor Composition and Readiness to Meet Skill Demand Shocks from CHIPS and Science

Co-Authors: Christophe Combemale & Krishnan Ramayya

Expansionary industrial policies, such as the CHIPS and Science Act, are followed with notable surges in labor demand within the industries they target. In the case of the CHIPS and Science Act, industries such as semiconductor manufacturing experienced significant influxes in financial investment, with $231 billion being committed to Semiconductors & Electronics thus far. Recognizing the imperative to address such labor demand shocks, we propose a novel operational methodology. This methodology, informed by economics, assesses potential supply-demand skill discrepancies, and incorporates factors such as the intertemporal occupational rates of transition and regional wage distributions. By analyzing the skill compositions inherent to industry-related occupations, our approach provides a strategic advantage to policymakers and industry stakeholders, enabling them to identify specific U.S. locales with the requisite skill profiles and potential wage structures. Furthermore, the practical application of our methodology is embodied in the Workforce Insights Tool, which offers comprehensive labor insights. To substantiate the efficacy of our approach, we consider the semiconductor manufacturing industry in the context of the CHIPS and Science Act as a representative case study, exploring diverse strategies for the construction of skill profiles for industry-related occupations.

A working draft is available at

Effect of COVID-19 Border Closures on Domestic Trade Patterns: A Spatial Autoregressive Approach to Estimate the Response of Colombian Trucking Flows

In this paper, I analyze and quantify the effects of exposure to international trade by considering the response in trade flow dynamics that took place within the Colombian domestic trucking network following the spread of COVID-19 and the implementation of spread-mitigation policies. Using transaction-level data on Colombian trucking for 2019 and 2020 along with geospatial trade exposure characteristics data, I implement a panel-data spatial autoregressive (SAR) model estimation to study how trade exposure affected the response of Colombian domestic trucking flows, measured as the value of goods traded between municipalities, to COVID-19 spread mitigation policies. Overall, the results suggest that accounting for spatial autocorrelations is important when conducting trade flow analyses and that the trading role of the municipality prior to COVID-19 did influence how a municipality was affected by COVID-19 and the spread-mitigating policies.

I made the poster below as part of my MS GIS-T capstone submission, and was developed from the paper presented above. This paper is still in-progress.

Exploring Time-Varying Population-Weighted Distance Measures in the Gravity Model Framework

Co-Author: Ian Helfrich

The distribution of population across and within countries naturally relates to the distribution of economic production. In this paper, we explore differences in gravity model estimates of trade that take into account spatial factors of population distributions, introducing a novel measure of geodesic distance between countries using population-weighted centroids as endpoints for bilateral distance measures. Canonical gravity models of international trade have relied on time-invariant measures of bilateral distance between nations, including distance between national capitals, geographic centroids, and weighted centroids based on the N largest population centers. By using annual global population density rasters to identify the spatial tendency of the population, the location of any country’s weighted centroid changes each year. This allows the weighted distance between two countries to change over time and introduces a source of variation into the standard gravity model framework.

Estimating the Role of Trade Intermediaries in Colombia

In this paper, I analyze the role of intermediary firms, defined as firms that engage only in retail or wholesale capacities, in Colombia. Using Colombian transaction-level customs data for 2011 through 2016, I characterize the presence of intermediaries in international trade over time. I find that the distribution of the share of firms and share of values are relatively consistent over time. Gravity’s effect in trade is affirmed in the dynamics of firms’ exports; however, I identify a trend in imports that diverge from the literature, which has predominantly focused on developed countries for empirical estimation. This paper contributes to the literature by presenting a comprehensive overview of the types of firms conducting trade while considering a developing country.