“Does unemployment insurance discourage on-the-job search? Evidence from older American workers” [PDF]
Abstract. Unemployment insurance benefits reduce the financial burden of unemployment; thus, they may also reduce the incentives to engage in on-the-job search, especially for workers who feel at risk of losing their jobs. I test for this effect using a sample of older male American workers from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). I find that workers at downsizing firms have on average subjective expectations of job loss that are higher than workers at non-downsizing firms. I also find, as predicted by the theoretical model, that workers at downsizing firms are more likely to be searching for another job than workers from non-downsizing firms. More interestingly, I find that an increase in the replacement rate (i.e. in the fraction of earnings that unemployment benefits replace) results in a decrease in the probability of searching on the job, a decrease in the probability of experiencing a job-to-job transition, and an increase in the probability of transitioning into a jobless spell. The sizes of the estimated effects are relatively modest, especially for the transition probabilities. Moreover, they are only statistically significant for workers in downsizing firms, as is also suggested by the model.
“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and material hardships among low-income households with children”, with H. Luke Shaefer. [PDF]
Abstract. This study examines the effects of participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the risk of food as well as non-food material hardships experienced by low-income households with children. Data are drawn from the 1996, 2001 and 2004 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). We identify the effects of SNAP on material hardships by estimating jointly the likelihood of household participation in SNAP and the risk of experiencing material hardships, using a bivariate probit model. We estimate that SNAP reduces household food insecurity by 13.0 percentage points. We also find that SNAP reduces the risk that households will fall behind on their non-food essential expenses including housing (by 7.4 percentage points), utilities (by 15.7 percentage points), and medical costs (by 8.5 percentage points).
“The effect of civil conflict on domestic violence: The case of Peru”, with Jose V. Gallegos. [PDF]
Abstract. We investigate the effect of women’s exposure to the civil conflict that occurred in Peru between 1980 and 2000 on their probability of experiencing domestic violence (DV) during the years 2005-2008. We find that the effect is positive and substantially large, especially for exposure during a woman's late childhood and early teenage years. We also find that at least one of the mechanisms through which exposure to civil conflict affects DV is by changing women’s attitudes towards violence. Women who were more exposed to the civil conflict at a young age are more likely to report that it is justified for men to beat women for various reasons. An important implication of the findings in this paper is that civil conflicts may have long term effects on increasing the level of domestic violence in the society, not only for the generation that was directly exposed to those conflicts, but for future generations as well.
“Fertility and family well-being effects of an aggressive family planning policy in Peru in the 1990's: a re-weighting estimator with contaminated treatment group approach”, with Tanya Byker. [PDF]
Abstract. In the mid-1990’s President Fujimori of Peru initiated an aggressive family planning program with the stated purpose of addressing widespread poverty. While female sterilization was an official element of the program, anecdotal evidence suggests that health workers were secretly given large sterilization quotas and reportedly used bribes, coercion, and even force to meet them. While the details of the program were not public, the Peruvian Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) provide evidence of a large increase in sterilizations during the suspected program window. We address three research questions: First, who was affected by the sterilization program? Second, what was the impact of the program on fertility? Third, what, if any, impact did the program have on household well-being? We use a rich set of controls from the DHS with a reweighting procedure modified to account for a “contaminated” treatment group in order to estimate the effects of the sterilization program. We find substantial impacts of the program on fertility, but small or insignificant impacts on other household outcomes. Thus, our results suggest that the mere reduction of fertility may not be associated with improvements in households’ welfare in the context of coerced sterilizations.