Working Papers

Tripping at the Finish Line: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Misperceptions on Secondary School Completion

Awarded George Borts’ Prize in recognition of an outstanding Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Economics. Brown University.

Students may put insufficient effort into graduating due to inaccurate beliefs about graduation probabilities or the economic benefits of obtaining a high school diploma, missing out on large economic returns. In an experiment with senior high-school students in Argentina, I test the effectiveness of providing information about efficiently allocating effort during senior year, to correct beliefs about their graduation chances. A separate group receives information about the returns to education. The treatments increase graduation by 10 and 20 percent, respectively, and college enrollment by 38 percent. Graduation improvements are larger for students with a lower probability of graduating at baseline.

Coverage: Development Impact World Bank Blog

Information Gaps, Misallocation, and Patient Satisfaction: Experimental Evidence from Malaria Care with Anja Sautmann and Simone Schaner (draft coming soon)

Can basic training on the value of diagnostic tests improve provider practice and help patients recognize higher quality of care? We experimentally study these questions in the context of malaria testing and treatment in Mali. A first intervention randomly assigned clinics to receive training about the accuracy of rapid diagnostic tests; a second, cross-cut intervention gave patients information about the tests. The clinic training shifts provider beliefs and increases reliance on the tests, which improves the match between a patient's malaria status and receipt of antimalarials by 14-24 percent. Nonetheless, patients are significantly less satisfied with care received, driven by those whose prior beliefs do not match their true malaria status. Moreover, the patient information intervention does not affect treatment outcomes or patient satisfaction but does reduce malaria testing. These findings suggest that patients hold persistent beliefs about their own illnesses that limit their ability to recognize improved quality of care.

The Economic Outcomes of Native Groups in Argentina with Pedro Dal Bó  (draft coming soon)

In this paper, we study the economic and human development outcomes of native peoples in Argentina. We find worse results, on average, for native peoples than non-native people. The magnitude of the differences is, on average, 10 percent of the standard deviation. We also study the difference in the intergenerational transmission of education between natives and non-natives. Finally, we describe the differences in economic and human development outcomes among the different native groups, finding significant differences, and study whether these differences correlate with a characteristic of their pre-Columbian economy: the practice of agriculture.


"Exacerbated Inequalities: the Learning Loss from COVID-19 in Italy" with Michela Carlana and Eliana La Ferrara, AEA Papers and Proceedings, vol. 113, pp. 489-493 (2023). 

“Does Patient Demand Contribute to the Overuse of Prescription Drugs?” with Anja Sautmann and Simone Schaner, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 14, number 1, pp. 225260 (2022).

Long-run effects of youth training programs: Experimental evidence from Argentina” with María Laura Alzúa and Guillermo Cruces, Economic Inquiry, vol. 54, issue 4, pp. 1839–1859 (2016).

“Effect of a community-led sanitation intervention on child diarrhoea and child growth in rural Mali: A cluster randomised controlled trial” with Amy Pickering, Habiba Djebbari, Massa Coulibaly, and Maria Laura Alzua, The Lancet Global Health, vol. 3, number 11, pp. 701–711 (2015).

“The long and winding road towards fiscal decentralization” with María Laura Alzúa, Económica-Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. LX, pp. 3-43 (2014).

“A Multidimensional Poverty Analysis: Recent Evidence of the Regions of Argentina” with Romina Safojan, Revista de Economía Política de Buenos Aires - Universidad de Buenos Aires (REPBA), 7, vol. 12, pp. 9-44 (2013).

Work in Progress

Self- vs. social-image concerns: evidence from teenagers in Salta, Argentina with Santiago Hermo

Our research speaks to the problem of low high-school graduation rates in developing countries. To study this question, we analyze the impact of an intervention in the province of Salta, Argentina. The policy took place in one school that did not allow students who do not pass all subjects by the end of the academic year to participate in the graduation ceremony (traditionally, students are allowed to participate even if they do not have a passing grade in all subjects). Since the program started in 2015 the graduation rate increased by 14 p.p., a result that the school authorities attribute to the success of the program.

State: Administrative data collection finished

Shifts and high-school graduation with Natalia Cantet, Santiago Hermo, and Juan Pedro Ronconi 

We study the effects of randomization of school shifts (morning or afternoon) at the beginning of secondary school on academic achievement and behavior. Evidence on this question is mixed, with some papers suggesting that later shifts benefit from improved sleeping, whereas others emphasizing that later shifts induce risky behavior in the students earlier in life, harming academic achievement. We will analyze the entire trajectory of these students while in high school to determine the impact of school shift at each age. We will evaluate the role of peers and parents in those outcomes.

State: Administrative data collection finished