I am a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University. I received my Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota and my M.A. in Economics from the New Economic School.

My research focuses on applied macroeconomics, firm dynamics, labor economics and business cycles.

Email             vladimir.smirnyagin@yale.edu

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The Impact of Aggregate Fluctuations on Superstar Business Formation

Job market paper. This version: December 2020. Older version available as Bank of England Staff Working Paper 846

Abstract: Using U.S. Census data, this paper documents that firms which eventually become large are not started in recessions, and that financial conditions are critical for the formation of high-profile businesses. A standard firm dynamics model requires both the ability of enterprises to choose their target size at birth and financial frictions in order to account for the data. In the estimated model, financial frictions slow the rate at which high-profile businesses grow disproportionately; this discourages such firms from entering during recessions. Government policy which stimulates business entry yields sizable welfare improvements; gains are larger if the policy targets high-profile firms.

Abstract: Using a dataset on U.S. establishments and their firm affiliations, we document a cross-sectoral propagation of import competition from China ("China shock") through firms' internal networks. The employment of an establishment in one industry is negatively affected by the China shock hitting other industries in which establishments within the same firm operate. This indirect propagation mechanism works toward both manufacturing and non-manufacturing establishments. Our finding holds after controlling for sectoral or regional shocks affecting the establishment's own industry or location. We demonstrate the macroeconomic significance of this finding by showing that the indirect propagation mechanism is preserved at the sector level.

Cyclical Labor Income Risk 

with Makoto Nakajima (FRB of Philadelphia)

This version: July 2019 (first draft June 2018). Also available as Minneapolis Fed Working Paper 22

Abstract: We investigate cyclicality of variance and skewness of household labor income risk using PSID data. There are five main findings. First, we find that head’s labor income exhibits countercyclical variance and procyclical skewness. Second, cyclicality of hourly wage is muted, suggesting that head’s labor income risk is mainly coming from volatility of hours. Third, younger households face stronger cyclicality of income volatility than older ones, although the level of volatility is lower for the younger ones. Fourth, while the second earner helps lowering the level of skewness, it does not mitigate the volatility of household labor income risk. Meanwhile, government taxes and transfers are found to mitigate the level and cyclicality of labor income risk volatility. Finally, among heads with strong labor market attachment, cyclicality of labor income volatility becomes weaker, while cyclicality of skewness remains.

Uncertainty Driven Entry and Exit Over the Business Cycle

This version: April 2019 (first draft September 2017)

Abstract: This paper explores the aggregate implications of countercyclical macroeconomic volatility. First, by drawing on data of publicly traded U.S. firms, I find that both the investment rate and the probability of investment spikes decrease as macroeconomic volatility rises, with this effect weakening as firms age. Second, to rationalize empirical patterns, I build an uncertainty regime-switching general equilibrium model of investment with capital adjustment costs and firms' entry and exit. In the model, mature firms are close to their long-run productivity, and therefore, do not respond strongly to heightened uncertainty. Conversely, young firms are far away from their long-run productivity, and prefer to "freeze" their investment decisions during volatile times. Finally, in contrast to existing literature, I show that the entry/exit margin can be quantitatively important, especially during high-uncertainty episodes such as the Great Recession.


Works in Progress


The Growing Importance of Universities for Patenting and Innovation

with Todd Schoellman (FRB of Minneapolis)

First draft soon

Abstract: We develop a panel dataset covering university R&D expenditures and patents at the MSA-year level for 379 MSAs spanning the years 1972-2016. We document a growing link between the two since 1980. Along the extensive margin, the patent advantage for MSAs with a major research university doubled. Along the intensive margin, the elasticity of MSA patents with respect to local university R&D more than doubled. We view the growing spillovers from universities to nearby inventors as evidence of growing spillovers from basic research. The timing of the change is consistent with an important role for the Bayh-Dole Act, which made it possible for inventors (rather than the government) to patent federally funded inventions. The Act greatly increased licensing of patents, suggesting a possible mechanism for the spillover.


Productivity, Business Cycles, and Trade: Evidence from Chile

with Diana Van Patten (Princeton)


Returns to Scale and Markups: Micro-level Decomposition Using Administrative Data

with Jay Hyun (HEC Montréal), Daisoon Kim (NC State University) and Yoonsoo Lee (Sogang University)