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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin -

Publications and work in progress

Most of my work is in the field of applied microeconometrics, focusing on issues of empirical labor economics and, more recently, also development economics. A particular focus is on statistical methods for causal inference. I have also worked extensively on the evaluation of active labor market programs.

(a) Current papers

This is a short selection of some of my current work. Papers uploaded here are work in progress, some forthcoming, and I try to update regularly.

New ALMP meta analysis

Here is a new meta analysis of ALMP evaluations jointly with David Card and Andrea Weber, based on a new and expanded data set. Most recent version: April 2017, update NBER working paper, forthcoming in Journal of the European Economic Association. This is the data appendix.

Experimental long term evaluation of youth training

This paper is a long term impact evaluation of the youth training program "Juventud y Empleo" in the Dominican Republic. It is joint work with Pablo Ibarrarán, Laura Ripani, and David Rosas (all IDB, Washington, DC). We follow-up individuals at six years after random assignment. Most recent version: November 2016

Youth employment interventions

Together with a team from the ILO and the World Bank over the past few years we collaborated on exploring the impacts of youth employment programs on the labor market outcomes of youth. This led to a global systematic review and meta-analysis of youth employment interventions, with emphasis on skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, subsidized employment programs, and employment services. Here's the resulting research paper and full systematic review report.

Parental benefits / RD

In a paper with Sebastian Schmitz (FU Berlin) we show that the German parental benefit reform of 2007 causes sizeable positive female labor supply effects in the medium run. Our evidence supports the idea that the reform generated an "anchor", i.e. a societally accepted point in time (=one year after childbirth, when benefit eligibility ends) at which mothers return to the labor market. Employers reward this early return by improving job quality for returning mothers. Most recent version: October 2016, forthcoming in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review

Galpao Aplauso: RCT of technical and soft skills training

This paper provides experimental evidence on an innovative training program for favela youths in Rio de Janeiro. The training combines vocational skills and life skills components. The study is joint work with C. Calero, V. Gonzalez, Y. Soares (all IDB, Washington DC) and C. Corseuil (IPEA, Rio de Janeiro). Most recent version: August 2016, published in Labour Economics, special issue on field experiments

Better with Bologna? Tertiary education reform and student outcomes

In a paper with Sabrina Hahm (HU Berlin) we use a natural experiment design and IV to assess the impacts of the Bologna reform on students' educational outcomes. This version is from May 2017


(b) Selected Publications

Statistical Matching IV: Generalized Propensity Score (GPS)

In this paper we analyze the impact of training using continuous variation in the duration of the treatment. Since selection into different treatment durations is not random, we adjust for observable covariates using the generalized propensity score.


Natural experiment

This paper analyzes the labor market effects of a new parental benefit in Germany (Elterngeld). The quick legislative process generated a rather nice natural experiment around a cut-off date (1 January 2007, when the law came into effect): At the time of conception parents could not know that once their child is born they would be eligible for the benefit. Comparing parental behavior within three months before and after the cut-off therefore gives unbiased estimates of the reform effects.


Meta analysis: active labor market programs

This paper provides a statistical (meta) analysis of a new sample of impact evaluation studies, comprising 199 impact estimates from programs worldwide.


In this article, originating in a research project for the European Commission, meta-analytical methods are used to investigate the effectiveness of European active labor market programs. The results are surprisingly clear-cut: The program type matters, but contextual factors (unemployment rate, state of the economy, labor market regulations) do not. Only high employment protection legislation has a negative correlation with program effectiveness. As regards programs: training is good, wage subsidies may be even better (disregarding general equilibrium effects), public employment is bad, and job search services and sanction are also very effective in the short run.


Statistical Matching III / Cross-sectional DiD: Rural electrification

The study assesses the expected impacts of electrification interventions in rural Rwanda. Based on a sample of households in villages that have access to the grid (and part of which choose to actually connect, while others do not), we use propensity score matching methods to identify expected impacts in villages where connection is planned in the future. Cross-sectional DiD estimates strengthen the finding that rural electrification contributes to poverty reduction.


Statistical Matching II: Dynamic treatment - training and wage subsidies

This paper uses a dynamic matching estimator employing a “moving window” technique to analyze program effectiveness in a context of rapid change in the economic environment.


Statistical Matching I: Optimal Full Matching

This paper investigates matching methods with respect to two crucial implementation aspects: the choice of distance measure and the type of algorithm. We implement optimal full matching—a fully efficient algorithm—and present a framework for statistical inference.


Effects of the Hartz Reforms

The evaluation of the comprehensive set of labor market reforms (Hartz reforms) was likely the biggest evaluation project ever to be implemented in Germany. This article summarizes the key results.


Minimum wages: forecasting labor market and fiscal effects

A highly controversial topic in many countries, and especially in Germany. This paper estimates labor market and fiscal effects of a (hypothetical) minimum wage in Germany.



More quantitative evidence on European labor market policy

This is a policy paper on active labor market programs, using a quantitative approach to assess key aspects in program effectiveness.