Working Papers

Abstract: Using aggregate and plant-level data, I document that in the manufacturing sector, (i) richer countries tend to have more managers per plant, (ii) bigger plants have more middle managers, (iii) managers in bigger plants earn more on average, and (iv) plants hire more managers as they grow. I develop a model where plants hire more middle managers with higher wages to increase their span-of-control. I find that when size-dependent distortions decrease the mean plant size from the U.S. to South Korea, the output declines by 16.5% and the number of managers per plant falls by 41.1%.

Bribery, Plant Size and Size Dependent Distortions (September 2022 version, R&R at Journal of Development Economics)

Abstract: This paper documents that small plants spend a higher fraction of their output on bribery than big plants. I develop a one-sector growth model in which size-dependent distortions, bribery opportunities, and different plant sizes coexist. Two sets of exercises are conducted to quantify the interplay of size-dependent distortions and bribery. First, the model is calibrated to generate the plant size distribution of the U.S., by assuming the U.S. is free of distortions. Counterfactual exercises show that size-dependent distortions become less distortionary in the presence of bribery opportunities since plants are able to avoid distortions by paying larger bribes. Second, the model parameters are calibrated with distortions and bribery opportunities using Turkish data. The inferred level of distortions is sizable for all plants. The removal of distortions can have a substantial effect on both the output and the mean plant size which could increase by 63.6 and 82.5 percent, respectively.

Working Progress

Rules and Regulations, Managerial Time and Economic Development (first version coming soon!)

joint with Gustavo Ventura

Abstract: We document that senior plant managers in less-developed countries spend more time dealing with government rules and regulations than their counterparts in richer countries. We interpret these facts through the lens of a span-of-control model with a managerial hierarchy, in which top managers run heterogeneous production plants, employing other managers as well as production workers. The model implies that increasing the time burden on top management leads to equilibrium changes in wages, occupational sorting, the size distribution of production plants and ultimately, to a reduction in aggregate output. These consequences hold even when the time burden is symmetric across all plants. We find that increasing the burden on managers' time from the levels observed in Denmark to the levels observed in Argentina reduces aggregate output by about 1/3 and mean plant size by nearly 6 employees. Overall, our results contribute to rationalizing differences in plant size and output across countries via a channel hitherto unexplored in the literature.

Fading Away Informality by Development (first version coming soon!)

Abstract: This paper documents that (i) richer countries have smaller informal, unregistered, plants in terms of employment on average and (ii) informal plants operate at lower levels of productivity than formal plants. Then, I develop a model with incomplete tax enforcement where informality can occur at the tails of the ability distribution. Hence, both agents with the lowest ability and agents with abilities slightly lower than those of formal managers exist in the informal sector. When the economy develops through improvements in aggregate technology, informal agents at the margin choose to be workers and formal managers due to higher wages and better technology, which decreases informal mean size. Quantitative results indicate that when the aggregate technology level is disciplined to account for informal mean plant size across countries, it can explain 31.6% of income per capita differences on average.


joint with Orhan Torul

The Journal of Economic Inequality,  2020, 18 (2), 239–259.

[Working Paper][Interactive]

Abstract: We investigate the evolution of Turkey’s wage, income and consumption inequalities using a cross-country comparable methodology and the Turkish Statistical Institute’s Household Budget Survey and the Survey of Income and Living Conditions micro data sets. Turkey’s wage, income and consumption inequalities all exhibit downward time trends over the 2002-2016 period. This observation aligns well with the rapid minimum wage growth over the period. While wage inequality estimates display strong countercyclicality, income and consumption inequalities exhibit rather acyclical time-series movements. While recent education premium estimates of Turkey are similar to those in the early 2000s, estimates of recent gender and experience premiums, as well as residual wage inequality are lower. Income and consumption inequality estimates exhibit similar time trends with moderate level differences, and these trends are robust to the choice of inequality metrics.