RESEARCH

Working Papers

Tripping at the Finish Line: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Misperceptions on Secondary School Completion (Job Market Paper)

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

Even in contexts where access to education is not the main barrier to educational achievement, completion rates can be low. In Argentina, more than 90 percent of teenagers are enrolled in upper secondary school, but only 50 percent graduate on time. I conducted a field experiment in Salta, Argentina, to test if lack of information about how inputs translate into outputs may prevent students who attend classes until the last day of high school from getting their diploma. To measure the relative importance of this treatment, I conducted a returns-to-education information intervention in a separate treatment arm. Providing information about the probability of graduation conditional on current standing and discussing intermediate steps to translate effort during students' senior year of high school into graduation raises timely high school graduation by 5 percentage points, a 10 percent increase relative to the control group. Poor-performing students at baseline respond most to the treatment. The returns-to-education arm increases graduation rates by 10 percentage points. Both treatments increase the probability of university enrollment by 5 percentage points, more than 30 percent relative to the control group. Together, these findings indicate that inaccurate beliefs about own future performance explain a significant share of the "graduation gap."

Coverage: Development Impact World Bank Blog


Do Patients Value High-Quality Care? Patient Satisfaction and the Allocation of Malaria Treatment with Anja Sautmann and Simone Schaner (draft coming soon)


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.



Peer-Reviewed Publications

“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).

  • Older NBER Working Paper version here.

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 and digitalized


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 and digitalized