NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Amanda Pallais

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Working Papers

July 2015Why the Referential Treatment: Evidence from Field Experiments on Referrals
with Emily Glassberg Sands: w21357
Referred workers are more likely than non-referred workers to be hired, all else equal. In three field experiments in an online labor market, we examine why. We find that referrals contain positive information about worker performance and persistence that is not contained in workers' observable characteristics. We also find that referrals performed particularly well when working directly with their referrers. However, we do not find evidence that referrals exert more effort because they believe their performance will affect their relationship with their referrer or their referrer's position at the firm.
December 2014Leveling Up: Early Results from a Randomized Evaluation of Post-Secondary Aid
with Joshua Angrist, David Autor, Sally Hudson: w20800
Does financial aid increase college attendance and completion? Selection bias and the high implicit tax rates imposed by overlapping aid programs make this question difficult to answer. This paper reports initial findings from a randomized evaluation of a large privately-funded scholarship program for applicants to Nebraska's public colleges and universities. Our research design answers the challenges of aid evaluation with random assignment of aid offers and a strong first stage for aid received: randomly assigned aid offers increased aid received markedly. This in turn appears to have boosted enrollment and persistence, while also shifting many applicants from two- to four-year schools. Awards offered to nonwhite applicants, to those with relatively low academic achievement, and to appli...
September 2013Small Differences that Matter: Mistakes in Applying to College
w19480
This paper estimates the sensitivity of students' college application decisions to a small change in the cost of sending standardized test scores to colleges. Using confidential ACT micro data, I find that when the ACT increased from three to four the number of free score reports that ACT-takers could send, the fraction of test-takers sending four reports rose substantially while the fraction sending three fell by an offsetting amount. Students simultaneously sent their scores to a wider range of colleges. Using micro data from the American Freshman Survey, two identification strategies show that ACT-takers sent more college applications and low-income ACT-takers attended more selective colleges after the cost change. The first strategy compares ACT-takers before and after the cost change,...
March 2013Inefficient Hiring in Entry-Level Labor Markets
w18917
Hiring inexperienced workers generates information about their abilities. If this information is public, workers obtain its benefits. If workers cannot compensate firms for hiring them, firms will hire too few inexperienced workers. I determine the effects of hiring workers and revealing more information about their abilities through a field experiment in an online marketplace. I hired 952 randomly-selected workers, giving them either detailed or coarse public evaluations. Both hiring workers and providing more detailed evaluations substantially improved workers' subsequent employment outcomes. Under plausible assumptions, the experiment's market-level benefits exceeded its cost, suggesting that some experimental workers had been inefficiently unemployed.

Published: Pallais, Amanda. 2014. "Inefficient Hiring in Entry-Level Labor Markets." American Economic Review, 104(11): 3565-99.

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