Kevin Hoan Nguyen
Ph.D. Candidate

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

Curriculum Vitae

Labor Economics, Public Econonomics
Applied Microeconomics

Expected Graduation Date:
June, 2017


Caroline Hoxby (Primary):

Mark Duggan:

Paul Oyer:

Melanie Morten:


Compulsory Connectedness: The Effects of Australia's Mandatory Participation Program (Job Market Paper)

Disconnected youth—those who are neither in school nor work—are especially vulnerable and their persistent disconnection is costly to society. This paper studies a unique Australian reform implemented in the 2000s that introduces a period of what I call "compulsory connectedness". The policy targets those most likely to become disconnected by requiring individuals, up to age 17, to participate in approved modes of education, training, and employment for a minimum of twenty-five hours per week. Exploiting the variation in the timing of implementation of the reform across states, I provide the first empirical test of the causal impact of the program on labor market and crime outcomes, as well as youth disconnection dynamics. Using tax return data, I find that the program increases earnings, and reduces the probability that an individual receives government income support. Analysis of crime data provides suggestive evidence that the program reduces youth offender rates. The policy also raises reconnection rates for those who become disconnected during post-program years. Taken together, the results suggest that the compulsory connectedness model alleviates the youth disconnection problem substantially.

The Perils of Youth Income Support

In some countries, unemployment benefits for youth require no prior employment experience. This is the case for Australia, and prior to 2012, unemployed youth under 21 could receive the Youth Allowance, while those over 21 could receive the Newstart Allowance, which was more generous. Exploiting the increase in the age of eligibility for the Newstart Allowance from 21 to 22 in 2012, I explore the implication of this type of income support on youth's unemployment spell and other labor market outcomes. Results using the Household Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data suggest large responses of labor supply to the levels of the benefit. I argue that generous youth income support that is unconditional on prior employment experience can be detrimental to long-term labor market outcomes.

One-hit Wonder or Superstardom? The Role of Technology Format on Billboard's Hot 100 Performance (with Jerry Lao)

Changes in the technology format of popular music distribution are nothing new. Vinyl records and cassette tapes disappeared in the 1990s, CDs faded out in the 2000s, and digital downloads began their decline in the 2010s to make way for streaming subscriptions and on-demand radio. We use data from Billboard's Hot 100, a weekly ranking of the most popular songs in the United States, to investigate the impact of technology format changes on the popularity characteristics of these songs. We find that the transition from CD to digital impacts popularity characteristics significantly. The digital technology format reduces the cost of releasing a single, which allows established artists to crowd out the Hot 100 by virtue of their reputation. Faster feedback mechanisms and "social learning" lead to the emergence of "one-week wonders" – i.e., songs charting on the Hot 100 for only a week before disappearing.

Copyright and the Allocation of Talent—Evidence from the Romantic Period (with Megan Macgarvie and Petra Moser)

This paper exploits a shift towards longer terms of copyright protection in Britain in 1814 to examine whether—starting from low levels of protection—shifts towards stronger copyright terms may change who becomes a writer. We create two new data sets. The first is the set of payments to authors for copyright of their literary works, using digital depository of archival records of British fiction works, and microfiche records of the archives of the House of Longman. The second data set that we compile contains records for British writers active between 1790 and 1830, including information on authors' list of literary works, education, marital status, and occupations, as well as the occupations of the authors' fathers. Using the payment data set, we find a substantial increase in payments to authors after 1814. Analysis on the author data suggests that shifts towards stronger copyright terms substantially attracted men, who needed to earn an income to provide for their families, to the profession of writing. It also indicates an increase in entry by authors from lower social classes