Yiming He
PhD Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305


Primary field:
Economic History

Secondary fields:
Urban Economics, Development Economics

Graduation Date:
June, 2021

Curriculum Vitae

Ran Abramitzky (co-primary)

Pascaline Dupas (co-primary)

Melanie Morten

Daniel Fetter

I am on the 2020-2021 job market and will be available for interviews at the ASSA and EEA Virtual Meetings.

Job Market Paper

Does Slum Demolition Affect the Economic Outcomes of the Displaced? Evidence from Victorian England

Does slum demolition affect the economic outcomes of the displaced? I study this question using a natural experiment in England between 1875 and 1900, when slum residents were evicted with short notice and little compensation. Combining archival government records and linked census data, I find that displacement resulted in labor market disruptions 5-10 years afterwards. The displaced were more likely to report having no occupations compared to the non-displaced on the same street. Those who continued working were more likely to switch to different occupations and less likely to be business owners. They switched to occupations of similar social class, suggesting that skill substitutability was high for low-skilled workers. Low housing availability nearby exacerbated labor market disruptions, suggesting that the displaced gave up some local job opportunities when they were forced to move away. The displaced eventually recovered and I do not find evidence that labor market disruptions persisted 15-20 years after displacement.

Work in Progress

Does Land Use Restriction Impede Long-run Urban Development? Evidence from the Ejido System in Mexico

I use a historical land institution in Mexico that outlawed the conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural use to study its unintended consequence on long-run urban development. Between 1917 and 1992, the Mexican government granted more than half of its surface area to the communal land system called ejido. The ejido land could only be used for agricultural production. They could not be transferred or leased out for non-agricultural use. I find that, using a spatial regression discontinuity design, land parcels right inside ejido boundaries were less likely be built-up between 1975 and 1990. The difference became smaller after the 1992 PROCEDE reform that allowed reselling of ejido land parcels. Second, I find that cities that were more surrounded by ejido land grew slower over time, especially after the 1960s when the constraint became more binding. I also find that residents in neighborhoods with more ejido lands lived in more crowded housing of lower quality. The results together suggest that difficulties in acquiring new land impeded urban expansion over time.