Working papers

Opportunities and Entrepreneurship: Evidence on Advanced Labor Market Experience (with Carlos Schmidt-Padilla and Hamilton Taveras)

This paper provides the first experimental estimates of the effects of managerial labor market experience on career outcomes and subsequent measures of business creation. Exploiting randomized lotteries for government contracts to manage construction projects in the Dominican Republic, we show that after five years, individuals who win contracts are (i) 7.8 percentage points more likely to be owners of formal firms and (ii) less likely to be private-sector employees. Also, the firms created by lottery winners are more likely to hire and survive than those of non-winners. We use a selection model to recover the distribution of heterogeneity that drives selection into and returns from contractual experience. We find that workers select in based on potential gains and that the young drive firm creation. Since individuals with higher marginal benefits are willing to incur higher costs to participate, reducing the number of contracts allocated in the same event, or increasing application costs, would screen out applicants who may benefit from the program the least.

The Effects of Parental and Sibling Incarceration: Evidence from Ohio (with Samuel Norris and Jeffrey Weaver), conditionally accepted at the American Economic Review

Every year, millions of Americans experience the incarceration of a family member. Using 30 years of administrative data from Ohio and exploiting differing incarceration propensities of randomly assigned judges, this paper provides the first quasi-experimental estimates of the effects of parental and sibling incarceration in the US. Contrary to conventional wisdom, parental incarceration has beneficial effects on children, reducing their likelihood of incarceration by 4.9 percentage points and improving their adult socioeconomic status. We also reject large effects of parental incarceration on academic performance and teen parenthood. Sibling incarceration leads to similar reductions in criminal activity.

The Effect of Incarceration on Mortality (with Samuel Norris and Jeffrey Weaver), revise and resubmit at the Review of Economics and Statistics

This paper analyzes the effect of incarceration on mortality using administrative data from Ohio between 1992 and 2017. Using event study and difference-in-differences approaches, we compare mortality risk across incarcerated and non-incarcerated individuals before and after pre-scheduled releases from prison. Mortality risk halves during the period of incarceration, with large declines in murders, overdoses, and medical causes of death. However, there is no detectable effect on post-release mortality risk, meaning that incarceration increases overall longevity. We estimate that incarceration averts nearly two thousand deaths annually in the US, comparable to the 2014 Medicaid expansion.