Parental Love is Not Blindwith Nadia Campaniello)
Parental ability to make optimal decisions about their children's education depend on whether parents are aware of the ability of their children. We investigate whether this is the case by means of a quasi-natural experiment: in Italy parents can choose to send their children to primary school one year earlier only for children born between January and April. This decision is similar to choosing a demanding school or a high level program in that it should be made for high ability children. We exploit data on standardized test scores in Italian language and mathematics given to all students at different grades. We find that even though children who start school one year earlier perform worse than the average child of their age because they take tests one year earlier, they are positively selected. Moreover, selection becomes more intense for younger children. Our findings have important implications for the debate about freedom of education and for models analyzing parents' optimal investment in children's human capital.
The demographic transition and the recent economic crises have motivated an increase in pensionable ages in Europe. Evidence for Italy has found positive effects of old women's retirement on their daughters' employment. This has been interpreted as the result of grandmothers' availability for childcare. However, there are big differences in family values, female labor market integration and pension systems across European countries. In this paper, I document that while old women's retirement increases their daughters' employment in Mediterranean countries, the opposite is true for the rest of Europe. Surprisingly, effects are stronger for unmarried daughters (with or without children).
This paper explores how much of native-immigrant differences in test scores can be accounted for by a lack of English proficiency. To identify the causal effect of English proficiency on cognitive test scores, I use the fact that language proficiency is closely linked to age at arrival, and that migrant children arrive at different ages from different countries. Using data from the New Immigrant Survey, I find that speaking English very badly or badly can explain 35% of the achievement gap between native and immigrant children in standardized language-related tests. However, I find no significant language effects for math-related tests.
There are differences between bilingual and monolingual children in executive function and theory of mind, two cognitive skills which are related to academic performance. This paper tests if the academic performance of bilingual children is better than that of comparable monolingual children. This study is novel in three ways: (1) it uses a large and representative sample of children of Latino immigrants living in the US; (2) it focuses on widely-used standardized test scores; and (3) it compares monolingual and bilingual children, taking into account not only demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, but also home and school inputs. I find that bilingual children outperform their monolingual counterparts.
Network Effects on Migrant Remittanceswith Zoe Kuehn)
paper explores whether immigrants' remittance behavior is influenced by other
conationals in their area of residence. Using the National Immigrant Survey, a
unique database for
with Libertad González)
Political instability produces stress, which may affect the mental and overall health of pregnant women and ultimately their children's outcomes. We estimate the impact of an episode that generated an exogenous shock to political stability, the 1981 military coup in Spain. Using birth register and election results data, we exploit the fact that municipalities with more votes for leftist and regional nationalist parties were more likely to suffer reprisals in case of coup success. Our results show that women who were pregnant during the coup were more likely to miscarriage but those born were healthier in terms of birth weight and absence of complications during the pregnancy or labor.
with Libertad González)
study the effect of the business cycle on the health of newborn babies using 30
years of birth certificate data for
Media coverage: The
Compulsory Schooling Laws and Migration across European Countries (with Zoe Kuehn)
Educational attainment is a key factor for understanding why some individuals migrate and others do not. Thus, compulsory schooling laws which determine an individual's minimum level of education can potentially affect migration. We test whether and how increasing the length of compulsory schooling influences migration of affected cohorts across European countries, a context where labor mobility is essentially free. We construct a novel data base that includes information for thirty-one European countries on compulsory education reforms passed between 1950-1990. Combining this data with information on recent migration flows by cohorts, we find that an additional year of compulsory education reduces the number of individuals from affected cohorts who migrate in a given year by 9\%. Our results rely on the exogeneity of compulsory schooling laws. We perform a variety of empirical tests which all indicate that European legislators did not pass compulsory education reforms as a reaction to changes in emigration rates or educational attainment.
Journal of Human Capital, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 235-265, 2016
This paper provides a novel identification strategy to estimate how returns to education affect school enrolment. It also explores the consequences of changes in returns to education on students' performance as measured by grade completion. The identification strategy relies on the fact that the construction sector employs mostly uneducated men and hence the Spanish housing boom significantly decreased the difference in returns to education between men and women. Results show that a 10% increase in the ratio of wages of educated to uneducated individuals leads to a 2% increase in the probability of being enrolled in school and a 0.2% increase in grade completion among 16 to 18 year-olds. These findings suggest that the influence of returns to education on educational outcomes is sizeable and wider than previously thought.
Should I stay or should I go? Sibling Effects in Household Formation (with Veruska Oppedisano)
Review of Economics of the Household, December 2016, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1007–1027
Southern Europe youngsters leave the parental home significantly later than in
Northern Europe and
Labour Economics, Volume 35, August 2015, Pages 145-159
This paper studies the impact of product market competition on job security. I use differences between types of labor contracts to measure job security. The effect of competition on the use of different types of labor contracts is identified by changes in legislation that lead to exogenous shifts in competition. Using both worker data from the Spanish Labor Force Survey and firm data from the Spanish Business Strategies Survey, I show that job security decreases with competition. A one standard deviation increase in competition decreases the probability that a worker switches to a more secure labor contract by at least 22 percent.
Fostering Household Formation: Evidence from a Spanish Rental Subsidyh Veruska Oppedisano)
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Contributions, 2015, vol. 15, issue 1
Europe youngsters leave their parental home significantly later than in
Northern Europe and the
Media coverage: Nada es Gratis, July 2012 (see post)
Working Women and Fertility: The Role of Grandmothers' Labor Force Participationwith Marian Vidal-Fernandez)
CESifo Economic Studies (2015) 61 (1): 123-147
availability for childcare has been shown to increase the labor force
participation (LFP) and fertility of daughters. However, childcare availability
depends highly on grandmothers LFP status. When grandmothers work,
intergenerational income transfers to their daughters may increase at the
expense of time transfers (through childcare). Using a Two-stage Two-steps
Least Squares estimation, we exploit changes in legal retirement ages in
The Economics of Language Policy, edited by Bengt-Arne Wickstroem and Michele Gazzola, MIT Press (ISBN: 978-0-262-03470-8)
the language of the host country eases migrants’ integration and tends to boost
their economic success in the country of destination. However, the decision to
acquire language skills may in itself be determined by the intention to
migrate. In addition, conditional on being a migrant, the relation between
language skills and migrants’ integration and economic success goes both ways.
Using data on the study of foreign languages during compulsory education in
European countries, we test whether and how much language proficiency
determines migration flows across