I am a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Berkeley.

My research areas are labor economics and the economics of education. I am particularly interested in how institutions and educational policies affect upward mobility.

I will be available for interviews at the 2019 EEA Job Market in Rotterdam and the 2020 ASSA Meetings in San Diego.


Tuition subsidies and Overeducation (Job Market Paper)

Rising tuition subsidies and student loans have boosted college completion in the U.S., but have they also increased the overeducation rate? I find that two large subsidy efforts of the U.S. government, the WWII and Vietnam War G.I.Bills, led to persistent increases in the overeducation rate among degree holders. Motivated by these empirical patterns, I employ a dynamic structural model of occupational choice to address selection issues and analyze causal links. The model is estimated using NLSY97 data, and accounts for parental background, academic performance, college selectivity and major. Counterfactual analyses indicate that increases in tuition subsidies lead to higher rates of overeducation among college graduates.

Heterogeneity across Families in the Impact of Compulsory Schooling Laws, forthcoming, Economica

This paper aims to reconcile diverging results in the literature on the effects of compulsory schooling reforms on earnings. I point out, through a simple model of human capital accumulation, the importance of identifying parental education information to better target the set of potential compliers. Using detailed parental background data, the empirical analysis uncovers the large and positive effects of a French school leaving age reform previously shown to have produced zero and statistically insignificant effects on the earnings of impacted cohorts. The analysis suggests that identifying parental education is likely a crucial effort in analyzing contemporary compulsory schooling policies.

The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from the Golden Age of Upward Mobility (with David Card and Lowell Taylor), NBER Working Paper 25000.

Summaries: Vox,

NBER Digest

We use 1940 Census data to study the intergenerational transmission of human capital for children born in the 1920s and educated during an era of expanding but unequally distributed public school resources. Looking at the gains in educational attainment between parents and children, we document lower average mobility rates for blacks than whites, but wide variation across states and counties for both races. We show that schooling choices of white children were highly responsive to the quality of local schools, with bigger effects for the children of less-educated parents. We then narrow our focus to black families in the South, where state-wide minimum teacher salary laws created sharp differences in teacher wages between adjacent counties. These differences had large impacts on schooling attainment, suggesting an important causal role for school quality in mediating upward mobility.

The secular decline in teen employment: the role of compulsory schooling laws and work permits

I analyze the role that compulsory schooling and employment certificate legislation play in the secular decline in teenage employment in the United States since 2000. A simple model predicts compulsory schooling policies reduce teenage employment even under very lax or absent enforcement, through signals perceived by employers. Using a difference in differences strategy and Current Population Survey data, I show that increases in school leaving ages in 21 states since 1985 have reduced the employment rate of 16 and 17- year-olds by one to three percentage points. The effect was stronger in states requiring work permits for 16 and 17-year-olds. Using a similar empirical strategy, I analyze the effect of dropping work permit requirements for 16 and 17-year-olds, in five states that did so between 1977 and 1996. The employment rate of 16 year-olds increased by about two percentage points after employment certificates were no longer required.