- "Playing the system: address manipulation and access to schools"with Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen, Lykke Sterll Christensen, and Mikkel Høst Gandil
Latest update: June 2023
Media: Weekendavisen, Berlingske
| Working Paper |Strategic incentives may lead to inefficient and unequal provision of public services. A prominent example is school admissions. Existing research shows that applicants "play the system" by submitting school rankings strategically. We investigate whether applicants also play the system by manipulating their eligibility at schools. We analyze this applicant deception in a theoretical model and provide testable predictions for commonly-used admission procedures. We confirm these model predictions empirically by analyzing the implementation of two reforms. First, we find that the introduction of a residence-based school-admission criterion in Denmark caused address changes to increase by more than 100% before the high-school application deadline. This increase occurred only in areas where the incentive to manipulate is high-powered. Second, to assess whether this behavior reflects actual address changes, we study a second reform that required applicants to provide additional proof of place of residence to approve an address change. The second reform significantly reduced address changes around the school application deadline, suggesting that the observed increase in address changes mainly reflects manipulation. The manipulation is driven by applicants from more affluent households and their behavior affects non-manipulating applicants. Counter-factual simulations show that among students not enrolling in their first listed school, more than 25% would have been offered a place in the absence of address manipulation and their peer GPA is 0.2SD lower due to the manipulative behavior of other applicants. Our findings show that popular school choice systems give applicants the incentive to play the system with real implications for non-strategic applicants.
- "Saving Neonatal Lives at Scale: Lessons for Targeting"with Christine Valente and Mahesh C. Puri
This supersedes a paper circulated under the title "Saving Neonatal Lives for a Quarter".
Latest update: May 2023
Neonatal sepsis kills over 400,000 children annually. Experimental estimates of the preventive use of chlorhexidine vary widely, leading to external validity concerns. We provide the first quasi-experimental estimates of the effect of chlorhexidine in “real life” conditions and apply machine-learning (ML) to analyze treatment effect heterogeneity in a nationallyrepresentative, Nepalese observational dataset. We find that chlorhexidine decreases neonatal mortality by 43% and that a simple targeting policy leveraging heterogeneous treatment effects improves neonatal survival relative to WHO recommendations. Heterogeneous treatment effects extrapolated from our ML analysis are broadly in line with experimental findings across five countries despite significant implementation differences.
- "Male and Female Voices in Economics"with Sarah Smith
Latest update: March 2023
Women's voices are likely to be even more absent from economic debates than headline figures on female under-representation suggest. Focusing on a panel of leading economists we find that men are more willing than women to express an opinion and are more certain and more confident in their opinions, including in areas where both are experts. Women make up 21 per cent of the panel but 19 per cent of the opinions expressed and 14 per cent of strong opinions. We discuss implications for the economics profession and for promoting a genuine diversity of views.
- "Measuring Vacancies: Firm-level Evidence from Two Measures"with Niels-Jakob Harbo Hansen
Latest update: August 2016 (not really in progress anymore)
Using firm-level survey- and register-data for both Sweden and Denmark we show systematic mismeasurement in both vacancy measures. While the register-based measure on the aggregate constitutes a quarter of the survey-based measure, the latter is not a super-set of the former. To obtain the full set of unique vacancies in these two databases, the number of survey vacancies should be multiplied by approximately 1.2. Importantly, this adjustment factor varies over time and across firrm characteristics. Our findings have implications for both the search-matching literature and policy analysis based on vacancy measures: Observed changes in vacancies can be an outcome of changes in mis-measurement, and are not necessarily changes in the actual number of vacancies.
- July 20, 2023: I am excited to share that since this spring I live in Copenhagen and my main employer is the research institute VIVE. However, I was so sad to leave my great colleagues in Bristol, that I kept a fractional position there.
- July 19, 2023: My paper on assessents in education is now out here.
- June 2, 2023: I have a new working paper out! Together with Andreas, Mikkel, and Lykke I show how school applicants manipulate their eligibility by changing their address. Read the paper here or check the gif. The findings were also described in the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen.
- March 15, 2023: I really enjoyed talking to Andy Woods on the View from the Lab podcast about my paper on assessments and gender differences in STEM (this one). You can listen to the episode here.
- March 10, 2023: I spoke to the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen about the paper Grades and Employer Learning. You can read the article in Weekendavisen here.
- Feburary 10, 2023: I wrote an overview chapter on Assessments in Education for economists which is now forthcoming in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance. You can read the accepted version here.
- December 7, 2022: Christine, Mahesh, and I have updated our working paper on the effectiveness of a cheap disinfectant for reducing neonatal mortality. You can read a summary here.
- December 2, 2022: The paper "Grades and Employer Learning" with Anne and Ulrik has been accepted for publication at JOLE. You can read the accepted version here.
- June 10, 2022: A big thanks to all our international colleagues who came to Bristol for our workshop on education markets. You can read a summery of the workshop here.
- April 30, 2022: The paper "The Importance of External Assessments: High School Math and Gender Gaps in STEM Degrees" with Simon Burgess, Daniel Sloth Hauberg, and Beatrice Schindler Rangvid, has been accepted for publication by the Economics of Education Review. You can read the accepted version here.
- April 19, 2022: The paper "Beyond Treatment Exposure–The Impact of the Timing of Early Interventions on Child and Maternal Health"with Jonas Lau-Jensen Hirani and Miriam Wüst, has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Human Resources. You can read the accepted version here.