NBER Working Papers by Danielle Li

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers

November 2015Discretion in Hiring
with Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn: w21709
Who should make hiring decisions? We propose an empirical test for assessing whether firms should rely on hard metrics such as job test scores or grant managers discretion in making hiring decisions. We implement our test in the context of the introduction of a valuable job test across 15 firms employing low-skill service sector workers. Our results suggest that firms can improve worker quality by limiting managerial discretion. This is because, when faced with similar applicant pools, managers who exercise more discretion (as measured by their likelihood of overruling job test recommendations) systematically end up with worse hires.
January 2015Public R&D Investments and Private-sector Patenting: Evidence from NIH Funding Rules
with Pierre Azoulay, Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Bhaven N. Sampat: w20889
We quantify the impact of scientific grant funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on patenting by pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. Our paper makes two contributions. First, we use newly constructed bibliometric data to develop a method for flexibly linking specific grant expenditures to private-sector innovations. Second, we take advantage of idiosyncratic rigidities in the rules governing NIH peer review to generate exogenous variation in funding across research areas. Our results show that NIH funding spurs the development of private-sector patents: a $10 million boost in NIH funding leads to a net increase of 2.3 patents. Though valuing patents is difficult, we report a range of estimates for the private value of these patents using different approaches.
October 2009Cheaper By the Dozen: Using Sibling Discounts at Catholic Schools to Estimate the Price Elasticity of Private School Attendance
with Susan Dynarski, Jonathan Gruber: w15461
The effect of vouchers on sorting between private and public schools depends upon the price elasticity of demand for private schooling. Estimating this elasticity is empirically challenging because prices and quantities are jointly determined in the market for private schooling. We exploit a unique and previously undocumented source of variation in private school tuition to estimate this key parameter. A majority of Catholic elementary schools offer discounts to families that enroll more than one child in the school in a given year. Catholic school tuition costs therefore depend upon the interaction of the number and spacing of a family's children with the pricing policies of the local school. This within-neighborhood variation in tuition prices allows us to control for unobserved determin...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us