Undergraduate Gender Diversity and the Direction of Scientific Research [PDF] (with Francesca Truffa)
Revise and resubmit, American Economic Review
Recipient of the Susan Schmidt Bies Prize for Doctoral Student Research on Economics and Public Policy, 2019
Can diversity lead to greater research focus on populations underrepresented in science? Between 1960 and 1990, 76 all-male US universities, including many elite and prominent research institutions, transitioned to coeducation. Using a generalized difference-in-differences design, we find that the increase in undergraduate gender diversity led to a 42% increase in gender-related research publications. After coeducation, universities hired more female faculty and researchers with prior interests in gender-related topics. In addition, incumbent researchers, who were mostly male, shifted their research focus towards gender-related topics. The results support interaction with more diverse students and peers as the key underlying mechanisms.
Peer Effects and the Gender Gap in Corporate Leadership: Evidence from MBA Students [PDF] (with Menaka Hampole and Francesca Truffa)
Recipient of the Susan Schmidt Bies Prize for Doctoral Student Research on Economics and Public Policy, 2019, Unicredit Foundation 11th Best Paper Award on Gender Economics, 2021, Outstanding Paper Award - 2nd Discrimination and Diversity Workshop, 2022
Women continue to be underrepresented in corporate leadership positions. This paper studies the role of social connections in women's career advancement. We investigate whether access to a larger share of female peers in business school affects the gender gap in senior managerial positions. Merging administrative data from a top-10 US business school with public LinkedIn profiles, we first document that female MBAs are 24 percent less likely than male MBAs to enter senior management within 15 years of graduation. Next, we use the exogenous assignment of students into sections to show that a larger proportion of female MBA section peers increases the likelihood of entering senior management for women but not for men. This effect is driven by female-friendly firms, such as those with more generous maternity leave policies and greater work schedule flexibility. A larger proportion of female MBA peers induces women to transition to these firms where they attain senior management roles. We find suggestive evidence that some of the mechanisms behind these results include job referrals and gender-specific information transmission. These findings highlight the role of social connections in reducing the gender gap in senior management positions.
The Spillover Effects of Maternity Leave Extensions on Unemployment Insurance [PDF] (with Francesca Truffa)
This paper presents new evidence on the relationship between motherhood, maternity leave policies, and unemployment insurance (UI) participation. Using German administrative data, we show that more than 32% of mothers that gave birth between 1975 and 2017 received UI benefits, concentrated in the months after the expiration of paid maternity leave. We then exploit a reform in Germany to show that extensions of maternity leave reduce mothers' UI take-up by 19% and total unemployment benefits by 21% in the first five years after childbirth. The timing of the reduction suggests mothers use UI as a substitute for income replacement in the absence of paid leave. Importantly for welfare calculations, the reduction in UI benefits is substantial and represents 68% of the increase in maternity leave benefits.
Work in Progress
Female Entrepreneurship and Professional Networks [PDF] (with Edward Asiedu, Monica Lambon-Quayefio, and Francesca Truffa)
Registered in the AEA RCT Registry, unique identifying number: AEARCTR-0006439
Female-owned businesses continue to be smaller and less profitable than male-owned firms. We conduct an RCT in Ghana on a sample of 1,771 growth-oriented female entrepreneurs to investigate the effect of online networking groups on firm performance. We find that access to online networking opportunities leads to greater innovation, better business practices and higher profits by 21%. The increase in profits is concentrated in the upper tail of the distribution. The treatment shifts business collaborations from friends and family members to business network members in the intervention. We find the largest effects for those in groups with more-educated, higher-quality, and more diverse entrepreneurs. Our findings reveal that a low-cost, light-touch online intervention that increases networking opportunities can effectively improve outcomes of female-owned firms.
Pension Caregiver Credits and the Gender Gap in Old-Age Income (with Fabio Blasutto and Francesca Truffa)
We study a 2001 pension insurance reform in Germany that introduced additional caregiver credits for working mothers with children between the ages of 3 and 10. Using administrative social security data from Germany combined with a difference-in-differences design, we find that the reform leads to a 66.5% increase in yearly retirement contributions during the eligibility period. 66% of the total effect can be explained by a change in the labor market outcomes of eligible mothers, while the remaining 34% is the mechanical effect of the reform. We find a significant increase in employment earnings, driven by both an increase in employment and a switch from marginal to employment subject to social security contributions. This translates into a 9.1 percentage point (18.3%) reduction in the gender gap in lifetime non-marginal earning points. Finally, a simple life-cycle model predicts that the pension reform leads to a 9.8% increase in retirement income and a 12% reduction in the gender gap in old-age income.
The Effects of Academic Calendar on Faculty Outcomes (with Valerie Bostwick, Stefanie Fischer, and Francesca Truffa)
Effect of Beliefs and Gender Roles on Girls' Math Education (with Francesca Truffa)
Registered in the AEA RCT Registry, unique identifying number: AEARCTR-0003054 [Data collection completed]
Intergenerational mobility in self-reported health status in the US. (with Timothy Halliday and Bhashkar Mazumder). January 2021. Journal of Public Economics, Volume 193. ICPSR Data Repository
The ACA Medicaid Expansion in Michigan and Financial Health. (with Luojia Hu, Robert Kaestner, Bhashkar Mazumder and Sarah Miller). December 2020. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
The Intergenerational Transmission of Health in the United States: A Latent Variables Analysis. (with Timothy Halliday and Bhashkar Mazumder). January 2020. Health Economics, Volume 29, Issue 3, Pages 1-15
The Effect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansions on Financial Wellbeing. (with Luojia Hu, Robert Kaestner, Bhashkar Mazumder and Sarah Miller). July 2018. Journal of Public Economics, Volume 163, Pages 99-112