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
||Workshop in Macro and International Economics
||Applied Macroeconomics: Heterogeneity and Macro
Food, scuba diving, snowboarding
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: Housing Wealth Effects and Retail Prices
We document a causal response of local retail prices to changes in house prices, with elasticities of 15%-20% across housing booms and busts. Retailers' marginal costs do not vary systematically, so higher retail prices reflect higher markups. Consistent with this, effects are larger in zip codes with many homeowners. 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 channel for business cycle models: positive wealth shocks cause households' price sensitivity to fall, leading firms to increase markups.