Verónica Frisancho Robles

Research Department
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
1300 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20577

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2015Retaking in High Stakes Exams: Is Less More?
with Kala Krishna, Sergey Lychagin: 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 Kala Krishna, Sergey Lychagin, 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

January 2012Affirmative Action in Higher Education in India: Targeting, Catch Up, and Mismatch
with Kala Krishna: w17727
Affirmative action policies in higher education are used in many countries to try to socially advance historically disadvantaged minorities. Although the underlying social objectives of these policies are rarely criticized, there is intense debate over the actual impact of such preferences in higher education on educational performance and labor outcomes. Most of the work uses U.S. data where clean performance indicators are hard to find. Using a remarkably detailed dataset on the 2008 graduating class from an elite engineering institution (EEI) in India we evaluate the impact of affirmative action policies in higher education on minority students focusing on three central issues in the current debate: targeting, catch up, and mismatch. In addition, we present preliminary evidence on la...
December 2011Employment Protection Legislation and Plant-Level Productivity in India
with Sean Dougherty, Kala Krishna: w17693
Using plant-level data from the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) for the fiscal years from 1998-99 through 2007-08, this study provides plant-level cross-state/time-series evidence of the impact of employment protection legislation (EPL) on total factor productivity (TFP) and labor productivity in India. Identification of the effect of EPL follows from a difference-in-differences estimator inspired by Rajan and Zingales (1998) that takes advantage of the state-level variation in labor regulation and heterogeneous industry characteristics. The fundamental identification assumption is that EPL is more likely to restrict firms operating in industries with higher labor intensity and/or higher sales volatility. Our results show that firms in labor intensive or more volatile industries benefite...

Published: "Employment Protection Legislation and Plant-Level Productivity in India" With Sean Dougherty and Verónica Frisancho Robles. India Policy Forum, Volume 10.

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