MIGUEL MORIN (PH.D., COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY)
Miguel Morin is interested in the understanding the effects of technological progress on labour markets. Miguel’s research combines modern theoretical methods in macroeconomics with a strong economic history background.
In a recent theoretical project, he investigated the phenomena of jobless recoveries by considering the impact of technology diffusion. Miguel argues that firms have use recessions as an opportunity to fire workers, invest in technology, and increase productivity. To support this hypothesis Miguel’s main research efforts have been dedicated to analysing, historically, the impact of different waves of technological progress on labor market outcomes. This is based on archival work, unearthing new data sources for both the 19th century and the Great Depression. By way of example, Miguel has digitized a plant-level dataset from the US Census of Manufactures for the 1930s. Using this unique dataset, he finds that cheaper electricity in the 1930s led firms to decrease employment, increase productivity, and increase capital intensity. In his current work, he will extend his investigation to the 19th century. Using business records of textile firms during the 19th century and insights from the history of steam power, he will assess whether the adoption of steam technology led to effects on the labor market similar to electricity in the 1930s or IT at the turn of the century.
In another line of research, Miguel is interested in assessing the effects of public policy on firms performance during periods of crisis. His focus is on government spending policy and the survival of firms during the Great Depression. Again based on archival work, he aims at linking manufacturing plants in the 1930s to their owner's demographic characteristics from the Census of Population, as well as to bank failures by county from the FDIC (the bank regulator). He will also use tools from Geographic Information Systems – mapping infrastructure investment in the United States - and the Census of Manufactures to examine the effect on local labor markets and to measure the fiscal multiplier during the Great Depression.