Working Papers

Grants vs. Loans: the Role of Financial Aid in College Major Choice (w. Yannick Reichlin) [ssrn] 

R&R at The Economic Journal

Presented at: 7th IZA Workshop on the Economics of Education, 15th PhD Workshop at Collegio Carlo Alberto, 8th LEER conference, 1st CESifo/ifo Junior Workshop on the Economics of Education, Ph.D. Ecineq 2023 Workshop on Economic Inequality, EEA 2023, EALE 2023, SMYE 2023. 

Abstract: Using administrative data from Chile, we analyze whether financing higher education through student loans or grants affects college major choices of prospective university students. We exploit institutional arrangements that allocate either type of financing based on a standardized test to locally identify exogenous variation in access. Students that are marginally eligible for grants are more likely to enroll in STEM related fields. Relying on information from past graduates on narrowly defined college programs, we provide evidence that this effect is more generally driven by grants acting as insurance mechanism against uncertainty about degree completion.

Recruiting Better Teachers? Evidence from a Higher Education Reform in Chile (w. Benjamin Hattemer & Sofia Sierra Vasquez)  (draft coming soon)

Presented at: 8th LEER conference, 1st CESifo/ifo Junior Workshop on the Economics of Education, EALE 2023, SAEe 2023, AIEL - Padua Workshop on the Economics of Human Capital 2024, EAYE conference 2024

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of a recruitment policy implemented in Chile aimed at improving the future quality of teachers. The reform used scholarships to incentivize the enrollment of high-achieving high school graduates into pedagogy programs, while also restricting access to these programs for low-achieving high school graduates.  Using rich administrative data and exploiting quasi-random variation around the definitions of low and high achievement, which are based on cut-offs in a standardized college entrance exam, we document that the reform was effective in changing the composition of high school graduates who enrolled in education programs and later entered the teaching profession. We follow these new teachers into their teaching careers and construct teacher value-added (TVA) measures to assess the impact of the reform on teacher quality. We document that the reform led to an increase in the TVA of mathematics teachers, equivalent to 30\% of their standard deviation, but had no effect on the average TVA of Spanish teachers. We provide evidence that these heterogeneous effects are due to the different predictive power of college entrance exams on value-added across subjects. Finally, we provide evidence that the reform did not induce adverse selection among high scorers, and that it may have induced positive selection among those low scorers who chose to enroll despite the restriction.  

Sibship Size and Leaving the Parental Home (w. Elia Moracci & Alberto Venturin) (draft coming soon)

Presented at: 1st Naples School of Economics and Finance PhD and Post-Doctoral Workshop, 2022 Postgraduate Population Studies Conference, 2023 PopDays conference,  2023 PAA Annual Meeting

Summary: We investigate whether the decision of young adults on when to leave the parental home is influenced by their sibship size. Exploiting data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and the Generations and Gender Survey, we identify the causal effect of sibship size on the timing of home-leaving, exploiting random variation induced by twin births. Preliminary IV estimates show that having an additional sibling speeds up the home-leaving process. We plan to investigate mechanisms using data on the home structure and parental labor responses. Finally, we plan to analyze cohorts and country heterogeneity through the lens of a structural analysis to quantify the importance of the decline in fertility rate in explaining the raise in the home-leaving age.