NBER Publications by Dimitriy Masterov

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Working Papers and Chapters

February 2015Is Sniping A Problem For Online Auction Markets?
with Matthew Backus, Tom Blake, Steven Tadelis: w20942
A common complaint about online auctions for consumer goods is the presence of "snipers," who place bids in the final seconds of sequential ascending auctions with predetermined ending times. The literature conjectures that snipers are best-responding to the existence of "incremental" bidders that bid up to their valuation only as they are outbid. Snipers aim to catch these incremental bidders at a price below their reserve, with no time to respond. As a consequence, these incremental bidders may experience regret when they are outbid at the last moment at a price below their reservation value. We measure the effect of this experience on a new buyer's propensity to participate in future auctions. We show the effect to be causal using a carefully selected subset of auctions from a...
April 2007The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children
with James J. Heckman: w13016
This paper presents a productivity argument for investing in disadvantaged young children. For such investment, there is no equity-efficiency tradeoff.

Published: James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," Review of Agricultural Economics, American Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493, 09. citation courtesy of

May 2005Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation
with Flavio Cunha, James J. Heckman, Lance Lochner: w11331
This paper presents economic models of child development that capture the essence of recent findings from the empirical literature on skill formation. The goal of this essay is to provide a theoretical framework for interpreting the evidence from a vast empirical literature, for guiding the next generation of empirical studies, and for formulating policy. Central to our analysis is the concept that childhood has more than one stage. We formalize the concepts of self-productivity and complementarity of human capital investments and use them to explain the evidence on skill formation. Together, they explain why skill begets skill through a multiplier process. Skill formation is a life cycle process. It starts in the womb and goes on throughout life. Families play a role in this process that ...

Published: Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.

November 2003Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors
with Pedro Carneiro, James J. Heckman: w10068
This paper examines minority-white wage gaps. Neal and Johnson (1996) show that controlling for ability measured in the teenage years eliminates young adult wage gaps for all groups except for black males, for whom they eliminate 70% of the gap. Their study has been faulted because minority children and their parents may have pessimistic expectations about receiving fair rewards for their skills and so they may invest less in skill formation. If this is the case, discrimination may still affect wages, albeit indirectly, though it would appear that any racial differences in wages are due to differences in acquired traits. We find that gaps in ability across racial and ethnic groups open up at very early ages, long before child expectations are likely to become established. These gaps widen ...

Published: Carneiro, Pedro, James J. Heckman and Dimitriy V. Masterov. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences In Premarket Factors," Journal of Law and Economics, 2005, v48(1,Apr), 1-39. citation courtesy of

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