Working papers

Project funded by National Science Foundation Grant #2215332.

AEA RCT Registry ID #0011182.

ABSTRACT Research shows that, holding qualifications equal, women are less willing than men to apply for certain high-paying jobs. Through a stylized labor market experiment, I investigate whether the “gender application gap” for high-paying jobs is affected by the presence or magnitude of application costs. I randomly vary the cost of applying for such a job, with subjects either facing no marginal cost, paying a fee, or writing a cover letter. Men are significantly more likely than equally qualified women to apply for a job only when the marginal cost of applying is zero. Introducing either type of application cost, but especially a fee, shrinks the gender application gap. This result comes from gender differences in self-selection behavior: women prefer not to apply when unskilled regardless of costs, whereas unskilled men only drop out of the applicant pool when a tangible cost is introduced. Women appear to face a higher cost than men from applying for a job they might perform poorly at, especially if the job is in a stereotypically “male-typed” domain. While fees modestly increase women's share of hires through self-selection, cover letters significantly reduce women's share of hires. Employers see productivity gains from requiring a cover letter, but these gains would be larger if cover letters did not bias recruiters towards male applicants.

Work in progress

Intergenerational transmission of labor market knowledge and early-career job search

Early job search outcomes have lasting effects on lifetime earnings trajectory. I gather a new data set of resumes, search activities, and search outcomes of business school undergraduates looking for summer internships, an important pipeline to full-time employment in this setting. I find that business students whose parents also hold business degrees are twice as efficient at internship search as equally qualified "first generation" business students, in terms of offers received per hour spent searching. In a lab study, I test whether "second+ generation" business students are more knowledgeable about the early career labor market. I use data on business students' resumes and the internships they applied for to elicit other students’ job market beliefs, employing a incentivized “crossover mechanism” that has subjects bet on the outcomes of applicants' job searches. I find evidence that second+ generation business students hold more accurate beliefs about the job market compared to other students, in that they are more successful at identifying applicants who received offers. This gap reflects potential intergenerational transmission of labor market knowledge from parents to children.

Demand and supply-side selection in the provision of "Baby-Friendly" care

I study the targeting of “Baby-Friendly” hospital practices developed by the World Health Organization to promote exclusive breastfeeding. Using data from the CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey for years 2007-2018, I find mothers who were ex-ante more likely to breastfeed (educated or/and white) were also more likely to experience a “Baby-Friendly” birth, even though prior research finds that they are least likely to change their behavior in response to such practices. One possible contributor to this gap is more-educated parents choosing birthing centers that promote Baby-Friendly practices. Another possible contributor is birthing centers themselves choosing to offer Baby-Friendly care more frequently to white and/or older mothers, a phenomenon previously documented in small observational studies. I explore how much of the care gap occurs due to provider discretion by linking hospital identifiers with PRAMS survey data on practices received. In particular, I test whether a special “Baby-Friendly” certification, which requires hospitals to implement all recommended practices for the vast majority of births, helps close the racial gap in exposure to practices by reducing hospitals’ incentive to deny Baby-Friendly care to Black mothers.


Whence the Beef: The Effect of Repealing Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Using a Vertically Integrated Armington Model with Monte Carlo Simulation

with Ross Hallren.

Southern Economic Journal, 2017.

ABSTRACT Increasingly, international trade policy analysis explores the economic effects of changes in ad-valorem tariffs or equivalent nontariff measures on vertically integrated markets for which high quality data are unavailable. Standard Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) Armington models fail to account for either vertical linkages or parameter uncertainty. Here, we introduce a vertically integrated, nested two-sector Armington model that incorporates uncertainty in the estimates of Armington elasticities through Monte Carlo simulation. As an illustrative case, we model the effects of changes in country of origin labeling (COOL) rules on the market shares of cattle in the U.S. beef market. By accounting for parameter uncertainty in this way, we are able to estimate the distribution of potential effects of repealing mandatory COOL. Ultimately, we predict that, in all but the most extreme cases, Mexico and Canada would not gain as much market share from the repeal of mandatory COOL as they claim in their World Trade Organization (WTO) filings against the regulation.


International Trade Theory and Evidence: A Survey

with Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz and Can Erbil.

In F. L. Rivera-Batiz & C. Erbil (Eds.), Encyclopedia of International Economics and Global Trade (2020, Vol. 3).