Cecile Gaubert | Clausen Center

Cecile Gaubert

Assistant Professor

Department of Economics

Cecile Gaubert is assistant professor in the Economics Department at the University of California Berkeley. Her primary fields of research are international trade and economic geography.  In her dissertation she examined the effect of policies on the location of firms across cities. Cecile received her PhD from the Princeton University.

Summary of recent Papers:

Firm Sorting and Agglomeration

Date: January 2017

Citation: revised and resubmitted at the American Economic Review 

The distribution of firms in space is far from uniform. Some locations host the most productive large firms, while others barely attract any. This paper studies the sorting of heterogeneous firms across locations and analyze policies designed to attract firms to particular regions (place-based policies). The paper first proposes a theory of the distribution of heterogeneous firms in a variety of sectors across cities. Aggregate TFP and welfare depend on the extent of agglomeration externalities produced in cities and on how heterogeneous firms sort across them. The distribution of city sizes and the sorting patterns of firms are uniquely determined in equilibrium. Next, the paper structurally estimates the model, using French firm-level data. The paper finds that nearly two thirds of the observed productivity advantage of large cities is due to firm sorting. The paper uses the estimated model to quantify the general equilibrium effects of place-based policies. It finds that policies that decrease local congestion lead to a new spatial equilibrium with higher aggregate TFP and welfare. In contrast, policies that subsidize under-developed areas have negative aggregate effects.


Tourism and Economic Development: Evidence from Mexico's Coastline

Date: June 2016

Coauthor: Benjamin Faber (UC Berkeley)

Citation: NBER Working Papers, No. 22300

Tourism is one of the most visible and fastest growing facets of globalization in developing countries. This paper combines a rich collection of Mexican microdata with a quantitative spatial equilibrium model and a new empirical strategy to learn about the long-run economic consequences of tourism. We begin by estimating a number of reduced-form effects on local economic outcomes in today's cross-section of Mexican municipalities. To base these estimates on plausibly exogenous variation in long-term tourism exposure, we exploit geological and oceanographic variation in beach quality along the Mexican coastline to construct instrumental variables. To guide the estimation of the aggregate implications of tourism, we then write down a spatial equilibrium model of trade in goods and tourism services, and use the reduced-form moments to inform its calibration for counterfactual analysis. We find that tourism causes large and significant local economic gains relative to less touristic regions, and that these gains are in part driven by significant positive spillovers on manufacturing production. In the aggregate, however, we find that these local spillovers are largely offset by reductions in agglomeration economies among less touristic regions, so that the national gains from tourism are mainly driven by a classical market integration effect.



Clausen-Supported Research