So Yoon Ahn

Ph.D., Department of Economics, Columbia University

Primary Fields: Labor Economics, Family Economics, Applied Microeconomics
Secondary Fields: Development Economics, Gender Economics

  My new webpage is:

Job Market Paper

  Matching Across Markets: Theory and Evidence on Cross-border Marriage
      Job Market Paper

      Vickrey Prize for the best 3rd year paper (runner-up)
      Wueller Prize for the best pre-dissertation proposal (runner-up)

Abstract: Matching theory suggests that a demographic shock that shifts marriage market conditions should affect all men and women, not just the group impacted by the shock. This paper uses data on cross-border marriages in East Asia to evaluate these equilibrium effects. It exploits two events that dramatically changed the volume of marriage migration between Vietnam and Taiwan: the rapid emergence of matchmaking firms in the late 1990s, and a tightening of entry visas in Taiwan in 2004. I show that the number of marriage migrants significantly affects the matching patterns and intra-household allocations of local people in both countries. For instance, when marriage migration becomes easier and thus more common, a larger number of less well-educated Vietnamese women emigrate; and those who stay in Vietnam benefit from more control over household expenditures. This purely equilibrium phenomenon takes place even though only a small percentage of Vietnamese women of marriageable age emigrate. My results suggest that changes in trade and immigration policies can have far-reaching implications on marital outcomes and women's bargaining power.

Ongoing Projects

  Improving Job Matching Among Youth [Slides] (draft coming soon)

      with Rebecca Dizon-Ross and Benjamin Feigenberg

Abstract: Do inaccurate expectations of job seekers about their competitiveness contribute to poor job matching in developing countries? We utilize the largest online job portal in the Middle East and North Africa region to evaluate the effect of an intervention providing information about own competitiveness to job applicants. Providing information about the relative fit of an applicant's background for a particular job causes job seekers to apply for jobs that are better matches given their background. The effects of information are the largest among entry-level workers with higher levels of education, who generally face the highest unemployment rates in the region. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that changes over time in demand for skills in the job market may lead to inaccurate expectations that hinder labor market matching. Improving the efficiency of online job search may be particularly welfare-enhancing in the Middle East and North Africa region given that the young, highly-educated subpopulation that faces the greatest labor market hurdles also has the highest level of internet connectedness.

Assimilation of Marriage Migrants: Evidence from South Korea (preliminary results available upon request)

Abstract: This paper studies economic assimilation of female marriage migrant using a rich dataset on more than 70,000 marriage migrants in Korea, one of the largest bride hosting country. Consistent with the previous literature on the role of intermarriage on assimilation, marriage migrants catch up with their native counterparts relatively well in terms of earnings and labor hours. The marriage migrants catch up monthly earnings of native women after 10 years of migration. Overall, conditional on education, it is hard to find evidence of discrimination against marriage migrants. In contrast, intra-household decision-making power cannot be caught up even after 15 years of migration. In particular, in terms of decision-making on daily expenditures, only 40% of marriage migrants who spent more than 15 years in South Korea made the decisions themselves, whereas more than 60% of native women made decisions themselves. The results show that migrant women can be particularly vulnerable within the households even when they perform well in the labor market.

Gender Wage Gap and Consumption Patterns: Evidence from Scanner Data


  Introduction of Online Sponsored-Link Auction Theory

      with Yeon-Koo Che and Jinwoo Kim, Korean Journal of Economics (2011)

Abstract: This paper introduces the theory of auctions that are used to sell online sponsored-links. For this, we first provide an overview of the internet advertising markets and a brief survey of auction theory. We then study the GSP auction format, which is widely used for the practical sale of sponsored-links, by reviewing the recent theoretical development regarding the equilibrium and performance of the GSP format. Also, we investigate how the performance of GSP format is affected by problems such as budget constraint and click fraud, and suggest the issues for future research.


  TA for Introduction to Econometrics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Advanced Microeconomics

      Wueller Teaching Award Winner, 2016 [Evaluation]