Andrew Arnold

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am an empirical microeconomist with research interests spanning industrial organization, political economy, and public economics.

My CV is here.


Working Papers:

Estimating a Dynamic Game of Political Advertising [PDF ]

Abstract — This paper studies the effect of political advertising on the outcomes of competitive elections to the U.S. Senate between 2000 and 2018. Using time-stamped data on candidates' ad spending and content, I provide descriptive evidence that candidates' advertising choices are driven by their own ideologies and political experience, as well as by their opponent's advertising and their standings in the polls. To gain further insights, I develop and estimate a dynamic game of political advertising with endogenous ad content, namely whether an ad is positive or negative. Parameter estimates show that incumbents have a substantial fundraising advantage over challengers. Positive advertising that similarly benefits challengers and incumbents reinforces this incumbency advantage, while negative advertising that disproportionately benefits challengers works against it. A counterfactual public campaign financing policy that eliminates incumbents' fundraising advantages decreases the incumbent reelection rate by 3.6 percentage points. Hypothetical temporary bans on negative advertising increase the incumbent reelection rate, but decrease ideological extremism among the challengers who replace them.

Estimating the Benefits of Policy Decentralization, with Holger Sieg [PDF

Abstract — The objective of this paper is to develop and implement a new framework for estimating the benefits of policy decentralization. To accomplish this task, we consider a probabilistic voting model. We show how to identify and estimate this model using a combination of roll call data from state legislators and local votes in policy referenda. We study the most famous natural experiment ever conducted with respect to policy decentralization in the U.S., namely the decentralization of liquor policies at the end of the Prohibition Era. Compared to the Prohibition Era status quo, we find that aggregate welfare increases by 1 percent under the optimal uniform centralized policy. Decentralized policies offer opportunities to account for heterogeneity in preferences and increase welfare even further. Compared to the optimal uniform centralized policy, the optimal decentralized policy increases aggregate welfare by 36 percent.

Research In Progress:

Strategic Product Positioning: Evidence from Political Advertising, with Lucie L'Heudé