Working papers

Using administrative data on job search effort and hiring from the French Public Employment Service, I show that an exogenous shock that increases discrimination towards minorities leads to large drops in firm and minority jobseeker search effort in the days and weeks that follow. Yet these large drops in search intensity do not translate into negative impacts on minority job finding rates, on average. I show that this is due, in part, to a large increase in matching effort put forth by labor market intermediaries (public employment counselors) for their minority jobseekers after the shock. Some theory and further empirical analysis show that changes in employer bias can lead to disproportionate impacts on minority search effort through discouragement effects, especially when baseline discrimination is low. Consistent with these findings, I find negative impacts on minority job-finding rates in markets with low baseline bias and low baseline intermediation levels. This suggests that labor market matching efficiency decreases in employer discrimination and in "discouragement through discrimination," but the loss can be mitigated by labor market intermediaries.

We evaluate the effect of an innovative active labor market policy (ALMP) implemented by the French Public Employment Service (PES) that targeted the vacancy costs of thousands of small and medium sized firms. We find that this policy increased labor demand among treatment firms on average: a 24% increase in vacancy postings with the PES and a 10% increase in permanent contract hires of registered jobseekers, a large proportion of which were still in employment after 12 months. The increase in firm labor demand is consistent with a drop in vacancy costs due to a shift in the prescreening and filtering burden of the recruitment process away from the firm to the PES counselor. These results suggest that ALMPs directed at firm recruiting costs may be a valuable addition to the labor policy toolkit, yet theory and simulations illustrate that care must be taken when targeting future interventions of this type due to equilibrium effects.

Press: Les Cahiers Louis Bachelier

Older version: The Value of a Vacancy: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation with Local Employment Agencies in France.

Understanding attitudes towards inequality among the “working rich” matters for any policy aimed at increasing the level of redistribution in society. We investigate this question using a

unique sample of nearly 1,000 graduates from a highly ranked MBA program and a representative sample of Americans. We first show that high-earning MBAs are far more likely to know their

rank in the income distribution. We then explore whether and how comparisons with peers or others (i.e. reference groups) shape their preferences for redistribution. Asking them to rank within their family, colleagues or classmates leads to an average 18% drop in the income share allocated to the richest 1% but has no discernible effect on their taxation preferences. We discuss the respective contribution of the comparative and normative functions of reference groups as potential mechanisms.

Peer-reviewed publications

Press: London School of Economics Business Review, Le Monde, Chaire de Sécurisation de Parcours Professionnel

Work in progress

Theory suggests that job seekers set the level and direction of their search effort to maximize expected returns in the labor market. Yet this is a complex task as job seekers must process and interpret a large amount of information to form perceptions about the parameters that determine these returns. In addition, the current sanitary crisis may have exacerbated uncertainty about these labor market parameters. In this study we explore if these perceptions are accurate and whether changing perceptions has an impact on job search behavior and job finding. Through a series of survey experiments, we measure baseline beliefs and then experimentally vary the provision of stylized and personalized information on the “true” parameters in a job seeker’s micro market. We then observe the impact of this information on three main outcomes 1. updated beliefs about the local labor market, 2. search behavior 3. employment outcomes.

We study the extent and type of ethnic and gender discrimination that exists on two of the most widely used "P2P" (person to person) online marketplaces in France: an online classified advertisements website and a ride sharing platform.

  • Increasing the Geographic Mobility of Job Seekers: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in France. (with Alexandra Roulet)

We explore the barriers to geographic mobility faced by job seekers and on ways to lift them. We provide evidence that female job seekers are much less geographically mobile (16% less), even when controlling for a rich set of demographic and job search characteristics. Through a randomized experiment on 100,000 French job seekers, we show that an information treatment about existing financial incentives offered by the French Public Employment Service for geographic mobility significantly increases both the take-up of these incentives and actual mobility, as measured by the distance between the job found and the initial residence. These effects are driven by people who already knew about these incentives prior to our intervention, suggesting that the treatment acted as a reminder. Additionally, the treatment effect on actual mobility is centered on women who are predicted to have less family constraints and who put more importance on their profession. These results suggest that women may face different job opportunity sets due to their search behavior and that simple information treatments may improve female mobility and potentially lead them to achieve better labor market outcomes.

  • Land Inequality and Land Degradation. (with I. Flores)

What happens to environmental outcomes when there is higher land inequality? Are more unequal areas more susceptible to extreme climate events?