Department of Economics
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
NBER Program Affiliations:
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2018||Hysteresis and the Welfare Effect of Corrective Policies: Theory and Evidence from an Energy-Saving Program|
with Francisco Costa: w24608
A growing body of evidence documents that policies can affect household behaviors persistently, even if they are no longer in place. This paper studies the importance of such "hysteresis" – the failure of an effect to reverse itself as its underlying cause is reversed – for the welfare evaluation of corrective policies. First, we introduce hysteresis into the textbook framework used to derive canonical sufficient statistics formulas for the welfare effect of corrective policies. We then derive new formulas allowing for hysteresis. We show that, under certain conditions, the persistent effect of a short-run (i.e., temporary) policy becomes a new key statistic for evaluating the welfare effect of such a policy, and also of a long-run (i.e., permanent) version of a similar policy. Second, we ...
|December 2016||Bounds on Treatment Effects in Regression Discontinuity Designs with a Manipulated Running Variable|
with Miikka Rokkanen, Christoph Rothe: w22892
The key assumption in regression discontinuity analysis is that the distribution of potential outcomes varies smoothly with the running variable around the cutoff. In many empirical contexts, however, this assumption is not credible; and the running variable is said to be manipulated in this case. In this paper, we show that while causal effects are not point identified under manipulation, they remain partially identified under a general model that covers a wide range of empirical patterns. We derive sharp bounds on causal parameters for both sharp and fuzzy designs under our general model, and show how additional structure can be used to further narrow the bounds. We use our methods to study the disincentive effect of unemployment insurance on (formal) reemployment in Brazil, and show tha...
|September 2016||Informal Labor and the Efficiency Cost of Social Programs: Evidence from the Brazilian Unemployment Insurance Program|
with Gustavo Gonzaga: w22608
It is widely believed that the presence of a large informal sector increases the efficiency cost of social programs – transfer and social insurance programs – in developing countries. We evaluate such claims for policies that have been heavily studied in countries with low informality – increases in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. We introduce informal work opportunities into a canonical model of optimal UI that specifies the typical tradeoff between workers’ need for insurance and the efficiency cost from distorting their incentives to return to a formal job. We then combine the model with evidence drawn from comprehensive administrative data to quantify the efficiency cost of increases in potential UI duration in Brazil. We find evidence of behavioral responses to UI incentives, in...