Robin Gong
Job Market Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Curriculum Vitae

Labor Economics, International Trade

Expected Graduation Date:
June, 2019

Thesis Committee:
Nicholas Bloom (Primary)

Pete Klenow

Kyle Bagwell

Hongbin Li


The Local Technology Spillovers of Multinational Firms (Job Market Paper)

This paper identifies the causal impact of U.S. multinationals' technology shocks on their manufacturing subsidiaries and the nearby domestic firms in China. Combining firm-level panel data from both U.S. and China, I match U.S. multinationals to their subsidiaries in China and measure the technology shocks based on the multinationals' patenting activities. I find multinationals' technology shocks improve the output and total factor productivity (TFP) of both their subsidiaries and the domestic firms in the nearby geographic areas. Furthermore, domestic firms' productivity gains mainly attribute to the technology spillovers within-industry and through technological linkages. Last, I study the impact of multinationals' technology shocks on local firms' technology upgrading decisions, and find the shocks stimulate innovation of the more productive firms.

Measuring the Impact of Regulation on Firms (With Constantine Yannelis)

This paper introduces a new measure of firm-level regulation. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we find that more regulation increases labor and capital inputs. Productivity decreases, which is consistent with a model of regulation inducing non-productive investment. We employ two empirical strategies to identify the causal impact of regulation on firms, first, utilizing structural breaks and industry level regulation changes, and second, computing predicted industry level regulation measures as instruments. We conduct an event study using the surprise 2016 US election results. Firms with higher Dodd-Frank exposure exhibited higher returns following an increase in the probability of repeal.

Does Import Competition Induce R&D Reallocation? Evidence from the U.S. (With Rui Xu)

We analyse the impact of rising import competition from China on U.S. innovative activities. Using Compustat data, we find that import competition induces R&D expenditures to be reallocated towards more productive and more profitable firms within each industry. Such reallocation effect has the potential to offset the average drop in firm-level R&D identified in the previous literature. Indeed, our quantitative analysis shows no adverse impact of import competition on aggregate R&D expenditures. Taking the analysis beyond manufacturing, we find that import competition has led to reallocation of researchers towards booming service industries, including business and repairs, personal, and financial services.

Research in Progress

The Impact of Inequality Shocks on Stock Returns: A News-based Approach

This paper introduces a news-based index of inequality-related economic shocks based on the Newsbank database, which covers about 1500 U.S. newspapers in each year. By computing the percentage of newspaper articles mentioning inequality-related keywords, I construct a daily inequality-related news index. I first document a big increase in the index after the financial crisis in 2008, and several jumps after major policy events. I then investigate the stock market response to the inequality-related news, and find industries with higher average wage levels, larger wage gaps, higher market concentration, and more consumer-focused products are more likely to respond negatively to the inequality news in their stock market returns.