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2024/01: Issue brief: Making jobs out of the energy transition: Evidence from the French energy efficiency obligations scheme

Vast amounts are being invested in the energy transition worldwide, with optimistic expectations of economic growth and green job creation. Yet, we crucially lack ex-post validations of the multiplier effects widely used to quantify new green jobs. Focusing on the French Energy Efficiency Obligations scheme, this paper provides the first ex-post estimate of the employment effect of a large energy-retrofit investment program. We exploit a discontinuity in the provision of subsidies and use a novel synthetic control method on disaggregated data to estimate regional-level employment effects. We estimate that the scheme created 1.4 jobs per million euros invested.

2023/13: Gender differences in high-stakes performance and college admission policies

The Gale-Shapley algorithm is one of the most popular college allocation mechanism around the world. A crucial policy question in its setting is designing admission priorities for students, understanding how they disadvantage certain demographic groups, and whether these di_erences are related to di_erences in college performance potential (i.e., whether these di_erences are fair). Studying a policy change in Spain, we find a negative e_ect of increasing the weight of standardized high-stakes exams on female college admission scores, driven by students expected to be at the top. The effect on admission scores does not affect enrolment, but the percentage of female students in the most selective degrees declines, along with their career prospects. Using data on college performance of pre-reform cohorts, we find that female students most likely to lose from the reform tend to do better in college than male students expected to benefit from the reform. The results show that rewarding high-stakes performance in selection processes may come along with gender differences unrelated to the determinants of subsequent performance.

2023/12: Resilience-thinking training for college students: Evidence from a randomized trial

We conducted a randomized evaluation of a universal primary prevention intervention whose main goal was to increase the resilience of students from a large broad-access Hispanic Serving Institution and commuter urban college. In a 90-minute workshop, students were: introduced to the resilient-thinking approach, which offers conceptual tools to cope with unexpected negative shocks; worked individually and in groups to identify challenges in their community; and brainstormed strategies to address them. We find that the intervention increased by 5 percent of a standard deviation the short-run resilience of the average student. Importantly, the intention-to-treat effects were larger for students with lower levels of baseline resilience. The intervention was most effective among students with weaker individual protective factors at baseline (the most vulnerable students, those with lower resilience, and with higher mental health problems), and for those with stronger community protective factors, suggesting that individual and community factors mediate differently within this intervention. The intervention effects on students’ resilience persisted over time. These effects were mostly driven by an improvement in students’ collaboration (i.e., maintenance and formation of support networks and personal relationships), and vision (i.e., sense of purpose and belief in an ability to define, clarify, and achieve goals). We find no effects on educational performance the semester of the intervention or the following one, nor on depression and anxiety the following semester.

2023/10: Birds of a feather earn together. Gender and peer effects at the workplace

Utilizing comprehensive administrative data from Brazil, we investigate the impact of peer effects on wages, considering both within-gender and cross-gender dynamics. Since the average productivity of both individuals and their peers is unobservable, we estimate these values using worker fixed effects while accounting for occupational and firm sorting. Our findings reveal that within-gender peer effects have approximately twice the influence of cross-gender peer effects on wages for both males and females. Furthermore, we observe a reduction in the disparity between these two types of peer effects in settings characterized by greater gender equality.

2023/09: How do labels and vouchers shape unconditional cash transfers? Experimental evidence from Georgia

We implemented a randomized control trial in Georgia to study how labels and food vouchers affect household expenditure among low-income recipients of unconditional cash transfers. Households were randomly assigned to receive only an unconditional cash transfer, a label indicating an amount intended for children’s expenses in addition to the transfer, or a portion of the transfer as a food voucher usable exclusively at designated stores. We find that labelling increases the share of expenditure on children. Meanwhile, food vouchers reduce total consumption, this being likely due to the increased cost associated with shopping at voucher-accepting shops.

2023/08: Has Covid vaccination success increased the marginal willingness to pay taxes?

The Covid-19 vaccination campaign can be regarded as a public-sector success story. Given the shock caused by the pandemic, the visible and successful response of the public authorities regarding vaccination might have elicited an increase in the public’s trust. We test whether the vaccination process has increased the marginal willingness to pay taxes (MWTP). Taking advantage of the different paths of vaccination in Spain, we pursue a difference-in-difference empirical strategy, complemented by an event study, to infer causality running from vaccination to MWTP. We find an increase in MWTP caused by the good governance related to vaccination