Megha Patnaik
Job Market Candidate

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


Curriculum Vitae

Labor Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance

Expected Graduation Date:
June 2017

Nick Bloom (Primary):

Shai Bernstein:

Petra Moser:

Isaac Sorkin:


Financing Micro and Small Firms during the Great Recession [Slides] (Job Market Paper)

Awarded the Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship (2015), Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

This paper examines the role of bank lending frictions and the housing-collateral lending channel for small business credit in the US during the Great Recession. I use a new dataset from a leading online accounting software with millions of financial transactions, links to banks, and owner and firm addresses for small businesses. Using the failure of banks and movements in house prices in the business owner's home ZIP code during this period as shocks to credit supply, I find that bank failures are associated with declines in credit for small firms (small businesses with 10 to 250 employees) but not micro firms (those with 2 to 10 employees). In contrast, movements in house prices at the owner's location are positively associated with credit for micro firms but not small firms. The results suggest differences within small businesses in the channels used to overcome asymmetric information. Micro firms may depend more on personal housing collateral and small firms on lending relationships, consistent with the associated costs to lenders.

What Drives Differences in Management? with Nick Bloom, Erik Brynjolfsson , Lucia Foster, Ron Jarmin, Itay Saporta-Eksten & John Van Reenen  

This paper analyzes a recent Census Bureau survey of "structured" management practices in over 30,000 U.S. plants. Analyzing these data reveals enormous variation in management practices across plants, with 40% of this variation being across plants within the same firm. The management index accounts for just under a fifth of the spread of TFP between the 90th and 10th percentiles, a similar fraction to that explained by R&D and over twice as much as explained by IT. We find evidence for four causal "drivers" of management practices: product market competition (e.g. the Lerner index, exchange rate shocks), state business environment (as proxied by "Right to Work" laws), learning spillovers (e.g. proximity to "Million Dollar Plant" openings) and human capital (e.g. proximity to land grant colleges). Collectively these drivers account for about a third of the dispersion of management, suggesting the need to draw upon a wider range of theories to explain the remaining variation.

Tax Lies & Redtape

Weak institutional environments in poor countries lead to low tax compliance, especially for firms where owners have high-powered incentives and managerial control. Using evidence for publicly-traded manufacturing firms in India, this paper shows that when there is continued involvement of the founding family, firms pay about 1.5% less excise tax than in other firms. In addition, firms respond by 0.1% less to an increase in the tax rate compared to non-family firms. Correcting for measurement error, these estimates go up to 3.5% less and a response lower by 0.2% respectively. Though the Indian government is aware of tax evasion, resource constraints prevent perfect enforcement. These family firm tend to be smaller and less productive, indicating that the lower effective tax rates may help them continue to enter the market and produce, instead of being driven out by competition. This diverts resources away from larger, more productive firms and reduces aggregate output and productivity.


Econ 101: Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and the Operation of Privately-held Businesses
Prof. Alex Gould