Recipient of the Susan Schmidt Bies Prize for Doctoral Student Research on Economics and Public Policy, 2019
Can undergraduate diversity influence scientific discoveries and innovation? We study the impact of switching from male-only to coeducation on the production of university research related to gender. Between 1960 and 1990, 76 all-male U.S. universities, including many elite and prominent research institutions, admitted women for the first time, generating a sharp increase in gender diversity on campus. Using a generalized difference-in-differences design, we document a substantial increase in the production of research publications related to gender. This increase is explained by a combination of a more diverse researcher pool in terms of gender and prior research interests, as well as a shift in the research focus of individual scientists towards more gender-related topics. A bounding exercise suggests that the direct effects of the policy on scientists' research focus can account for more than one third of these gains. We present evidence that coeducation shaped scientists' research direction through interactions with students and peers. These findings suggest that a diverse academic environment can influence the direction of scientific research and innovation.
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
This paper studies how the gender composition of peers in business school affects the gender gap in senior corporate leadership positions. Merging administrative data from a top-10 U.S. business school with public LinkedIn profiles, we first document that female MBAs are 24 percent less likely than male MBAs to enter senior management in the 15 years after graduation. Next, we use the random assignment of students into sections to estimate the causal effect of having a larger proportion of female MBA section peers. We find that a larger share of female MBA section peers increases the likelihood of entering senior management for women but not for men. This effect is primarily accounted for by an increase in female senior managers in male-dominated industries and in female-friendly firms. We find suggestive evidence that some of the mechanisms behind these results include job referrals and networking with MBA peers after graduation. These findings show that MBA social connections can play a key role in reducing the gender gap in senior management position.
This paper examines the fiscal externality of maternity leave extensions on unemployment insurance using German administrative data. We exploit a reform in Germany to show that extensions of maternity leave reduce mothers' UI takeup by 20% and total unemployment benefits by 22% in the first five years after childbirth. The timing of the reduction suggests the use of 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 almost half of the increase in maternity leave benefits. However, while this reduces the cost of extending maternity leave, it also reduces the mothers' willingness to pay for the policy as the additional maternity leave benefits are offset by the reduction in UI payments. Incorporating effects on UI substantively reduces the implied marginal value of public funds (MVPF) of the policy. We also document considerable heterogeneity of these estimates by pre-birth earnings.
Work in Progress
Registered in the AEA RCT Registry, unique identifying number: AEARCTR-0006439 [Data collection in progress]
Search and contracting frictions can hinder the creation of business partnerships and the effectiveness of business collaborations. In developing countries, these relationships are often informal and conducted with family members and friends, suggesting that search costs and contracting frictions can be important barriers to firm growth. We conduct an RCT in Ghana on a sample of 1,772 female entrepreneurs to investigate the effect of an online matching service combined with access to legal information and advisory services on collaborations and firm performance. Specifically, we hypothesized that access to the matching service can alleviate search frictions. In addition, access to legal advisory may help mitigate contracting frictions by formalizing interfirm relationships and lowering risks of collaboration. The results of this study will shed light on the potential collaboration barriers faced by female entrepreneurs.
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.
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]