My Students

Graduate Students on the Market

I currently have a number of great students on the market:


Primary Advisor

Eleanor Golightly

“Is Paid Family Leave a Pro-Natal Policy? Evidence from California” (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: This paper provides the first evidence of the effect of paid family leave on fertility in the United States. I exploit variation in access to paid leave introduced by the first paid family leave mandate in the country, which was implemented in California in 2004. By guaranteeing six weeks of paid leave to new parents, this policy, while not necessarily intended as pro-natal, could encourage increased childbearing. I use data containing the universe of U.S. births from Vital Statistics alongside survey data from the March Current Population Survey. I compare probability of childbirth and state fertility rates before and after policy implementation, and between California and other states. Because the policy was introduced in only one state at one time, I employ various methods of inference, including synthetic control methods, to infer causality. Additionally, I exploit variation in county female labor force participation in an intensity-of-treatment framework. I find that as a result of the policy, probability of childbirth increases by up to 15 percent. Birth effects are concentrated amongst women in their 30s, and women are primarily responsive on the intensive margin. Moreover, women likely to be eligible for leave at the time of their first childbirth are more likely to have a second child as a result of paid leave. Heterogeneity analyses suggest that effects may be pronounced for married women and women with below median family income. Finally, I present evidence of improved health at birth of infants born to eligible women.


Committee Member

“National Resource Booms, Human Capital and Earnings: Evidence from Linked Education and Employment Records” (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: This paper examines the role of local economic conditions in human capital accumulation decisions. I exploit geographic and temporal variation in the recent fracking oil and gas boom, which improved labor market opportunities for young men and women. Using administrative panel data on the universe of students attending public schools in Texas, I find that exposure to the fracking boom during high school led to higher absence and grade retention rates, and lower rates of high school graduation and community college enrollment. These effects are largest for students in the bottom of the ability distribution. I link students to their administrative employment records to show that the same students are more likely to be employed while in high school and directly after, with effects concentrated in the food and retail sectors. These students experience increases in employment and earnings that persist for at least six years past expected high school graduation, implying that reduced educational attainment for these individuals may represent a rational response to improved outside options. My results suggest that natural resource booms may improve individuals’ short- and medium-run economic outcomes even when they lead to lower educational investment.

“High School Role Models and Minority College  Achievement” (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: Large racial differences persist in college enrollment and major choice, which may be exacerbated by the racial distribution of high school teachers. I present the first evidence of the effect of high school students matching with same-race teachers on college outcomes. I also extend the literature on long-run effects of race-matching by presenting the first evidence on Hispanic and Asian students. To address endogenous sorting of students and teachers, I use detailed Texas administrative data on classroom assignment, exploiting variation in student and teacher race within the same course, year, and school, eliminating 99% of observed same-race sorting. Race-matching raises minority students’ course performance as well as improves longer-term outcomes like high school graduation and college enrollment. Black and Hispanic students matching with a same-race teacher in a given subject also become more likely to major in that subject in college. Finally, I do not find any robust, significant effects of race-matching for White students, suggesting policies to make the teaching population more representative would likely benefit minority students with minimal negative trade-offs impacting the White student population.

“The Role of Immigrants in the US Labor Market and Chinese Import Competition” (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: ​I propose a new mechanism through which a local labor market adjusts to China trade shocks: the labor mobility of immigrants. By distinguishing immigrants from natives, I find a larger mobility response of immigrants than natives to China trade shocks. A $1000 (around 26 percent) increase in import exposure per worker leads to a 2.6 percent decline in the immigrant population whereas a 0.5 percent decline in the native population. Additionally, I show that immigrant mobility lessens the negative effects of trade shocks on the employment and wages for immobile natives. Natives in places with more immigrants experience smaller declines in employment and wage rates compared to natives in places with fewer immigrants.

Some Previous Graduate Students

Melissa LoPalo (Montana State University)

Katherine Keisler (Census Bureau)

Emily Weisburst (UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy)

Jeff Denning (BYU)

Kaveh Majlesi (Lund University)

Chester Polson (FDIC)

Marcus Dillender (Upjohn Institute)