NBER Publications by Sergey Lychagin

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

October 2015Retaking in High Stakes Exams: Is Less More?
with Kala Krishna, VerĂ³nica Frisancho Robles: w21640
Placement, both in university and in the civil service, according to performance in competitive exams is the norm in much of the world. Repeat taking of such exams is common despite the private and social costs it imposes. We develop and estimate a structural model of exam retaking using data from Turkey's university placement exam. We find that limiting retaking, though individually harmful given the equilibrium, actually increases expected welfare across the board. This result comes from a general equilibrium effect: retakers crowd the market and impose negative spillovers on others by raising acceptance cutoffs.
November 2013Better Luck Next Time: Learning Through Retaking
with VerĂ³nica Frisancho, Kala Krishna, Cemile Yavas: w19663
In this paper we provide some evidence that repeat taking of competitive exams may reduce the impact of background disadvantages on educational outcomes. Using administrative data on the university entrance exam in Turkey we estimate cumulative learning between the first and the nth attempt while controlling for selection into retaking in terms of observed and unobserved characteristics. We find large learning gains measured in terms of improvements in the exam scores, especially among less advantaged students.

Published: Veronica Frisancho & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Cemile Yavas, 2016. "Better luck next time: Learning through retaking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol 125, pages 120-135. citation courtesy of

July 2010Spillovers in Space: Does Geography Matter?
with Joris Pinkse, Margaret E. Slade, John Van Reenen: w16188
We simultaneously assess the contributions to productivity of three sources of research and development spillovers: geographic, technology and product-market proximity. To do this, we construct a new measure of geographic proximity that is based on the distribution of a firm's inventor locations rather than its headquarters, and we report both parametric and semiparametric estimates of our geographic- distance functions. We find that: i) Geographic space matters even after conditioning on horizontal and technological spillovers; ii) Technological proximity matters; iii) Product-market proximity is less important; iv) Locations of researchers are more important than headquarters but both have explanatory power; and v) Geographic markets are very local.

Published: Sergey Lychagin & Joris Pinkse & Margaret E. Slade & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Spillovers in Space: Does Geography Matter?," The Journal of Industrial Economics, vol 64(2), pages 295-335. citation courtesy of

May 2010Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-owned Industry
with Sanghamitra Das, Kala Krishna, Rohini Somanathan: w15976
We use a proprietary data set on the floor-level operations at the Bhilai Rail and Structural Mill in India to understand the determinants of changes in plant productivity in 2000-2003. During this period there was a 35 percent increase in output with minimal changes in factors of production, but sizable reductions in production delays. We model interruptions to the production process and find that a large part of these reductions are attributable to training. Our results suggest that specific knowledge-enhancing investments can have very high returns, and that the threat of competition provides powerful incentives to undertake such investments.

Published: Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 136-62, January. citation courtesy of

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