Faculty & Research

Joseph S. Vavra

Assistant Professor of Economics

Phone :
1-773-834-0959
Address :
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Joseph Vavra, Assistant Professor of Economics, studies macroeconomics and monetary economics, labor, and computational economics. In his recent research he argues that monetary policy is less effective during volatile recessions. He also has work studying how durable consumption responds to stimulus, and how prices respond to exchange rate movements.

Vavra holds multiple degrees (Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A.) all in economics from Yale University. Additionally, he earned a B.A. (magna cum laude) in math, mathematical economic analysis, and statistics from Rice University.

In addition to Vavra’s teaching fellow and research assistant positions, he has experience working as an intern at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. His interests outside of economics include scuba diving, food, and travel.

 

2014 - 2015 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
33040 Macroeconomics 2015 (Winter)
33650 Workshop in Macro and International Economics 2015 (Winter)
33949 Applied Macroeconomics: Heterogeneity and Macro 2015 (Winter)

Other Interests

Food, scuba diving, snowboarding

 

Research Activities

My research interests are in empirical macroeconomics, business cycles and monetary policy, with a particular focus on the implications of microdata for aggregate phenomenon and on whether the same policies may have different effects if engaged during different phases of the business cycle.

REVISION: House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices
Date Posted: Nov  19, 2014
We use detailed micro data to document a causal response of local retail prices to changes in house prices, with elasticities of 15%-20% across housing booms and busts. We provide evidence that our results are driven by changes in markups rather than by changes in local costs. We argue that this markup variation arises when increases in housing wealth reduce households' demand elasticity, and firms raise markups in response. Consistent with this wealth channel, price effects are larger in zip codes with many homeowners, and non-existent in zip codes with mostly renters. In addition, shopping data confirms that house price changes have opposite effects on the price sensitivity of homeowners and renters. Our evidence has implications for monetary, labor and urban economics, and suggests a new source of markup variation in business cycle models.