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About Me

I am a PhD candadate in Finance at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). I will be avaialble for interviews during the 2022 AEA/AFA Annual Meeting.

Research Interests

Consumer and Household Finance, Municipal Finance, and Banking.

Recognition

Selected in the Junior Scholars Program of American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) 2021.

Ad hoc Referee

Real Estate Economics, Financial Management, Journal of Multinational Financial Management.

Research Grant

HKUST Office of the Vice President for Research and Development Grant: How Does on-campus residence shapes students? An empirical investigation with lessons for programme design (joint with Sujata Visaria and Kevin Tam).

Working Papers

Know Thyself: Free Credit Reports and the Retail Mortgage Market [Job Market Paper] [Download] [View at SSRN]

Borrowers may overestimate or underestimate their creditworthiness in the absence of precise signals. Credit reports, which contain such signals, became free for consumers since 2005 in the entire U.S., while they had already been free in seven states. A difference-in-differences strategy employing this reduction in the cost of reports shows that mortgage applications and approvals increased, and delinquencies and credit-history related rejections decreased. These findings appear consistent with a mechanism in which high-creditworthiness borrowers enter or stay in the applicant pool whereas low-creditworthiness borrowers exit, leading to an improved pool. Also, mortgage interest rates increased, rendering a supply-driven interpretation unlikely.

Selected Conference Presentations: Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER) 8th Annual Conference ● AREUEA 2021 National Conference ● 2021 Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF) ● University of Texas Austin PhD Student Symposium on Financial Market Policy Development & Research (2020) ● International Banking, Economics, and Finance Association (IBEFA 2021) ● Doctoral Student Consortium Job Market Presentation Session of FMA Annual Conference (2020) ● AFA 2021 PhD Poster Session ● 11th Emerging Markets Finance Conference ● Australasian Finance and Banking Conference (AFBC 2020) ● 5th SDU (University of Southern Denmark) Finance Workshop, 2020 ● PhD Mentoring Day at the 28th Finance Forum 2020, the Annual Meeting of the Spanish Finance Association (AEFIN) ●
Best PhD Disseration Awards: 15th Conference on Asia-Pacific Financial Markets (CAFM) ● 11th Financial Markets and Corporate Governance (FMCG) Conference ●

Do Women Receive Worse Financial Advice [View at SSRN]

Revise and Resubmit at The Journal of Finance
Joint with Utpal Bhattacharya, Sujata Visaria, and Jing Zhao
Trained undercover men and women posed as potential clients and visited all 65 local financial advisory firms in Hong Kong. We find that women are more likely than men to receive advice to buy only individual or only local securities. This effect is significant for financial planners, but not for securities firms. Women who signal that they are highly confident, highly risk tolerant, or have a domestic outlook, are especially likely to receive suboptimal advice. Our theoretical model interprets these patterns as an interaction between statistical discrimination and advisors’ incentives. Taste-based discrimination is unlikely to explain the results.

Selected Conference Presentations: Swedish House of Finance Annual Conference 2020 (Consumer Behavior in Financial Markets) ● AFA 2021* ● The Frontiers in Development policy Conference, Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management* ●
Media Mention: Bloomberg

Polluted Waters and Municipal Finance [View at SSRN]

Joint with Daisy Huang
We show that pollution increases the offering yields of municipal bonds, indicating increased risk. We establish this using a difference-in-differences design, comparing the bonds from U.S. counties revealed to contain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their drinking-water supplies with the bonds from neighboring, unpolluted, same-state counties. The increase was greater for riskier bonds characterized by repayment obligation, ex-ante debt burden, unrated issuance, maturity, and bankruptcy access. The resulting pollution-related investment needs and a reduction in public sector employment and expenditure likely underlie the risk. An instrumental variable-like method utilizing airports as a potential contamination source reaffirms the causal interpretation.

Selected Conference Presentations: 16th Conference on Asia-Pacific Financial Markets (CAFM)* (scheduled) ●
* Presented by co-authors.

Other Information

Pre-PhD Work Experience

Before joining the PhD program, I worked as a VLSI engineer at Freescale Semiconducor (now NXP semiconductor), as a Scientist/Engineer at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and as a Project Finance manager in the power sector at ICICI Bank.

References

Prof. Utpal Bhattacharya (Ph.D. Advisor)
Prof. Abhiroop Mukherjee
Chair Professor, Finance, HKUST
Associate Professor, Finance, HKUST
✉ ubhattac@ust.hk
✉ amukherjee@ust.hk

 

Prof. Sujata Visaria
Prof. Alminas Žaldokas
Associate Professor, Economics, HKUST
Associate Professor, Finance, HKUST
✉ svisaria@ust.hk
✉ alminas@ust.hk