Research

Awards

L.R. “Red” Wilson MA ‘67 Excellence in Economics Medal, 2017

Institute for Social Sciences Small Grant award (With Eleonora Pataccini), Fall 2017

Goldberg Award in Economics for undergraduate research, University of Chicago, 2010

Job-Market Paper

Do Wages Fall when Women Enter an Occupation? New Evidence using an Instrumental-Variables Approach

I investigate whether entry of women into previously male-dominated occupations causes a decline in wages in those occupations. In particular, I examine the effect of changes in the gender composition of an occupation on wages for men and women within the occupation. To determine the causal effect of a change in gender composition, I construct a shift-share instrument by using the dramatic increase in the relative educational attainment and workforce participation of women from 1960-2010 to instrument for changes in the gender composition of occupations with different levels of "exposure" to increased female work and education. I find evidence that a 10 percentage-point increase in the fraction of females within an occupation leads to an 8 percent decrease in average male wage and a 6 percent decrease in average female wage in the concurrent census year. Over the 10 years following the change in the gender composition, I find that the effect of such an increase in the fraction of females persists for male workers and grows for female workers, leading to an 8 percent decrease in male wages and an 11 percent decrease in female wages. I present suggestive evidence attributing this finding to effects of gender composition on the prestige and amenity value of occupations.

Publications

Jorgen Harris and Sabina L. Shaikh (2011). RESEARCH ARTICLE: Value of Time Clustering and the Efficiency of Destination-Based Congestion Pricing. Environmental Practice, 13, pp 28-37. doi:10.1017/S1466046610000554 (link).

Gubits, Daniel, Amy E. Lowenstein, Jorgen Harris, and JoAnn Hsueh (2014). Do the Effects of a Relationship Education Program Vary for Different Types of Couples? Exploratory Subgroup Analysis in the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation. OPRE Report 2014-22. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (link).

Lowenstein, Amy E., Noemi Altman, Patricia M. Chou, Kristen Faucetta, Adam Greeney, Daniel Gubits, Jorgen Harris, JoAnn Hsueh, Erika Lundquist, Charles Michalopoulos, and Vinh Q. Nguyen (2014). A Family-Strengthening Program for Low-Income Families: Final Impacts from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation, Technical Supplement. OPRE Report 2014-09B. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (link).

Hsueh, JoAnn, Desiree Principe Alderson, Erika Lundquist, Charles Michalopoulos, Daniel Gubits, and David Fein, with Noemi Altman, Kristen Faucetta, Jorgen Harris, Amy Lowenstein, Meghan McCormick, Lyndsay McDonough, and Amy Taub (2012). The Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation: Early Impacts on Low-Income Families, Technical Supplement. OPRE Report 2012-27. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (link).

Works in Progress

Professional Interactions and Hiring Decisions: Evidence from the Federal Judiciary (With Eleonora Pataccini and Marco Battaglini)

We study the effect of hearing cases alongside female judicial colleagues on the probability that a Federal judge hires a female law clerk. Federal judges are assigned to cases and to judicial panels at random and have few limitations on their choices of law clerks: these two features make the Federal court system a unique environment in which to study the effect of professional interactions and beliefs in organizations. For our analysis, we constructed a unique dataset by aggregating federal case records from 2007-2017 to collect information on federal judicial panels, and by merging this data with judicial hiring information from the Judicial Yellow Books, a directory of federal judges and clerks. We find that a ten percentage-point increase in the fraction of co-panelists who are female increases a judge’s likelihood of hiring a female clerk by two percentage points.

Estimating the Effects of Children’s safety on Parenting Strategy

I develop and test a model that explains differences in parenting style by socioeconomic status. Spanking, severe discipline, and other forms of "Authoritarian Parenting" are more common among low income and black parents than among high income and white and Hispanic parents. Although they are associated with increased short-term obedience, these "Authoritarian" parenting strategies are also associated with lower levels of cognitive development, self-esteem, school performance and "moral internalization." I construct a multi-stage parenting model in which children choose levels of school effort and delinquent behavior while heavily discounting future consequences, and parents altruistically regulate their children both by disciplining them and investing in their self-control. The model predicts that parents employ more discipline when the negative effects of child delinquent behavior are large. I test this model by measuring the effect of school safety (which influences the cost of child delinquent behavior) on parenting practices, measured in the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LA.FANS). Because changes in school safety, conditional on changes in neighborhood safety, should influence parenting style only through their effect on the cost of child misbehavior, this analysis separates the effect of the cost of child delinquency from other factors affecting parenting style, like parental stress.

Does Subsidizing Earned Income Improve Child Development?

I estimate the effect of subsidizing earned income through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on parental investment in children and child development. I exploit differences in knowledge about the EITC schedule between Southern and non-Southern households identified by Chetty, Freidman and Saez (2013) to perform a difference in difference estimation on Southern and non-Southern households with earnings above and below the minimum income to attain the maximum earned income tax credit benefit. Because households without knowledge of the EITC schedule will not act on the incentives provided by the EITC toward increased work, this comparison tests the effect of EITC work incentives on parental behavior. Using the NLSY, I find that EITC work incentives increase parental investment in children, while causing both increased cognitive achievement and increased behavior problems in children.

The Impact of Marriage Bars on Gender Composition of Teachers and on Teacher's Wages

I investigate the effects of Depression-era policies barring married women from working as teachers on the wages and demographics of the teaching profession. From the early 1900s to the late 1940s, a majority of school boards in the United States implemented policies that barred hiring married female teachers and fired female teachers when they got married, with, approximately 87% of school boards barring the hiring of married female teachers in 1942. These policies almost completely disappeared over the 1950s, with only 20% of districts barring married women in 1951, and only 2% barring married women by 1957 (Goldin, 1991). These bars strongly influenced entry into teaching---married women made up only 16% of teachers in 1940 census, when bars were at their peak, but made up 49% of teachers by the 1960 census, when bars had been almost entirely removed. Using data from the Decennial Census, the Biennial Survey of Education and the National Education Association Special Salary Tabulations, I examine the effect of the imposition and removal of marriage bars on the gender composition, age distribution, education and earnings of teachers, both in the short run and over following decades.