Research

Refereed Journals:

 

6. Disability, Gender and Race: Does Educational Attainment Reduce Earning Disparity for All or Just Some? (accepted) Personnel Assessment and Decisions (with David Baldridge, Mukta Kulkarni, and Richard Dirmyer)

While interest in research on persons with disabilities has grown steadily, these individuals continue to encounter workplace discrimination and remain marginalized and understudied. We draw on human capital and discrimination theories to propose and test hypotheses on the effects of educational attainment on earnings (in)equality for persons with disabilities and the moderating influence of gender and race using 885,950 records, including 40,438 persons with disabilities from the American Community Survey 2015. Consistent with human capital theory, we find that persons with disabilities benefit from greater educational attainment, yet consistent with discrimination theory, we find evidence that they are less likely to convert educational gains for master's and higher degrees into earning gains, and that women with disabilities may be doubly disadvantaged. These results, however, are mixed and complex. Considering the importance of harnessing diverse talent in organizations, we outline implications for research and practice toward reducing workplace discrimination.

 

5. Culture and Taxes (2019) Journal of Political Economy, 127(1), 296-337 (with Raphaël Parchet)

We propose a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the existence of inter-jurisdictional tax competition and to estimate its spatial reach. Our strategy rests on differences between desired tax levels determined by culture-specific preferences and equilibrium tax levels determined by interjurisdictional fiscal externalities and by preferences. While fiscal preferences differ systematically and demonstrably between French-speaking and German-speaking Swiss municipalities, we find that local income tax burdens do not change discretely at the language border but exhibit smooth spatial gradients. We also develop a theoretical tax competition model of strategic tax setting by local governments that anticipate the effects of tax rates on the per-capita income and the median "hedonic" income, two inextricable consequences of the sorting of heterogeneous individuals.

 

4. Income and substitution effects of a disability insurance reform (2019) Journal of Public Economics, 170, 1-14 (with Eva Deuchert)

Disability insurance (DI) systems are widely criticized for their inherent work disincentives. This paper evaluates the effects of a Swiss DI reform that aims to lower pensions for a group of existing DI beneficiaries and introduces an additional notch to the pension schedule. The reform does not significantly affect average earnings and employment, but increases the disability degree of those threatened by a pension decline. We estimate bounds on the income and substitution effects employing the principal stratification framework. The income effect is quantitatively important, while the substitution effect is smaller and bounds include zero.

  

3. Culture, Work attitudes, and job search: Evidence from the Swiss language border (2017) Journal of the European Economic Association, 15 (5), 1056-1100 (with Rafael Lalive, Andreas Steinhauer, and Josef Zweimüller)

 

2. Effects of a higher replacement rate on unemployment durations, employment, and earnings (2015) Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, 151 (1), 1-25

 

1. The Demand for Social Insurance. Does Culture Matter? (2011) Economic Journal, 121, F413-F448 (with Rafael Lalive, Andreas Steinhauer, and Josef Zweimüller)

 

 

Working Papers:

 

Peers with special needs: Effects and policies (with Simone Balestra and Helge Liebert)

This paper evaluates the impact of exposure to special needs peers on student achievement, post-compulsory education choices, and labor market outcomes. We combine administrative data on standardized test scores in secondary school with psychological examination records, career trajectories after compulsory education, and individual employment and earnings histories. The principal finding is that the presence of higher proportions of classroom peers with special needs lowers student performance. There is distinct effect heterogeneity: special needs students themselves and students at the lower end of the achievement distribution suffer the most from higher inclusion. In the long run, we find that exposure to more special needs peers during secondary school decreases the probability of entering high-quality post-compulsory education and slightly reduces earnings at ages 17-25. We demonstrate that incusion is still preferable to segregation in terms of maximizing average test scores and that teacher quality is key to alleviating negative classroom externalities, while financial resources are not.

 

Summer-born struggle: the effect of school starting age on health, education, and work (with Simone Balestra and Helge Liebert)

This paper offers a comprehensive analysis of the impact of school starting age (SSA) from childhood through the labor market. We first study the effect of SSA on a child's probability of developing special educational needs in early grades. Children with a higher SSA are less likely to develop behavioral problems and speech impediments, whereas learning disabilities, ADHD, and dyslexia/dyscalculia remain unaffected. The SSA-effect persists throughout compulsory schooling, resulting inhigher test scores in grade eight and better-quality vocational training contracts. However, we find no effect on earnings and employment.

 

Work in Progress / Preparation:

  • The Elefant in the Classroom: Measurement error in peer effects studies (with Simone Balestra and Fanny Puljic)