Mallick Hossain

Mallick Hossain
Job Market Paper

Less is More Expensive: Bulk Buying and Inequality

High-income households buy in bulk more often than low-income households, especially for storable, non-food items. By buying in bulk at the same rate as high-income households, low-income households could lower their grocery expenditures by five percent. This paper examines the determinants of consumer heterogeneity in bulk buying behavior. I focus on three factors: cognitive costs, store access, and storage costs. Using data I collected on state-level price regulations, I find that mandated display of per-unit prices, which reduces cognitive costs, increases a household's bulk buying by four to nine percent. Using data on warehouse club entry, I find that warehouse club entry increases bulk buying only for middle- and high-income households. For storage costs, I find that bulk buying increases when house size increases and that smaller products have smaller gaps in bulk buying between high- and low-income households. I then use a discrete choice model of toilet paper purchases as a case study to quantify how the bulk buying gap changes when regulations and storage costs are changed. Counterfactual simulations find that reducing storage costs would shrink the gap by 27%. A larger effect could be achieved by mandating the display of unit prices, which has only been adopted by nine states. I estimate mandated per-unit pricing would reduce the bulk buying gap across household income levels by 38%.

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Other Research

Going Off-Script: Physician License Suspension and Primary Care Access for Medicaid Recipients (with Emma Boswell Dean and Daniel Kaliski)

The United States is facing a shortage of physicians. This paper analyzes how Medicaid patients respond to changes in primary care access. Using a novel data-set of medical license suspensions, we explore how Medicaid patients respond to the sudden unavailability of their primary care physician. We focus on whether patients continue care with other physicians, whether they visit emergency rooms in place of primary care, and whether they continue taking prescribed medications. We find that physicians that accept Medicaid patients are more likely to be disciplined, but may provide valuable care to patients and prevent overuse of emergency department resources. These findings help policymakers better understand the trade-offs between access to care and the quality of care.

Made from Scratch: SNAP and Lottery Sales (with Jason Sockin)

On average, lotteries offer a negative return on investment, yet many billions of dollars are spent playing them. Using administrative data on Pennsylvania lottery ticket sales and SNAP-eligible stores, we document that SNAP-eligible stores account for over 70% of lottery revenues, while making up only 45% of all lottery sellers. Furthermore, we find evidence that county-level lottery sales are positively correlated with disbursement of government transfer programs. Specifically, we find that counties with one percent higher unemployment insurance and SNAP transfers have draw lottery sales that are about 10% higher. Using the 2018–2019 government shutdown that affected SNAP disbursements, we estimate how much households respect the fungibility of money by estimating the pass-through of SNAP benefits to lottery sales.

Teaching Experience

Instructor, Statistics for Economists

TA, Statistics for Economists (Prof. Frank DiTraglia)

TA, Introduction to Macroeconomics (Prof. Luca Bossi)

TA, Introduction to Econometrics (Prof. Xu Cheng)

TA Trainer, Center for Teaching and Learning

Other Information

Presentations

Philadelphia Fed (2019), International Industrial Organization Conference (2018), Economic Graduate Student Conference, (2017; St. Louis)

Professional and Research Experience
US Census Bureau, Federal Statistical Research Data Center Administrator (2017-2019)
RA for Frank DiTraglia (Oxford) and Camilo García-Jimeno (FRB-Chicago) (2016-2019)
White House Council of Economic Advisers, Staff Economist (2015-2016)
Wealthfront, Quantitative Research Intern (2015)
RA for Katja Seim (Yale) (2014-2015)

Honors and Fellowships
Leonard Davis Institute, Associate Fellow (2019)
Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2017)
Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching Certificate (2016)
Maria Leonard Graduate Fellowship (2013)

Interests

Applied Microeconomics, Public Economics, Industrial Organization, Health Economics

Address

133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone

+1 (256) 393-0935

Email

hossaine@sas.upenn.edu

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Advisors

Katja Seim

References

Professor Katja Seim (advisor)
Yale School of Management
203-432-5487
katja.seim@yale.edu

Professor Holger Sieg (chair)
University of Pennsylvania
215-898-7194
holgers@econ.upenn.edu

Professor Aviv Nevo
University of Pennsylvania
215-898-0499
anevo@upenn.edu

Professor Sarah Moshary
Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
773-834-7642
sarah.moshary@chicagobooth.edu

Professor Frank DiTraglia (teaching)
University of Oxford
+44 (0)1865 285 903
francis.ditraglia@lmh.ox.ac.uk

Job Market Candidate Status
I am on the job market and I will be available for interviews at the 2020 ASSA Annual Meeting in San Diego