François Gerard

Department of Economics
Columbia University
1022 IAB
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212/851-0486

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NBER Program Affiliations: PE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2016Bounds on Treatment Effects in Regression Discontinuity Designs under Manipulation of the Running Variable, with an Application to Unemployment Insurance in Brazil
with Miikka Rokkanen, Christoph Rothe: w22892
A key assumption in regression discontinuity analysis is that units cannot affect the value of their running variable through strategic behavior, or manipulation, in a way that leads to sorting on unobservable characteristics around the cutoff. Standard identification arguments break down if this condition is violated. This paper shows that treatment effects remain partially identified under weak assumptions on individuals' behavior in this case. We derive sharp bounds on causal parameters for both sharp and fuzzy designs, 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, where we find evidence of manipulation at an eligibility cutoff. Our bounds remai...
September 2016Informal 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...
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