Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2021-04) ; ;
    This paper studies how a student’s ordinal rank in a peer group affects performance and specialisation choices in university. By exploiting data with repeated random assignment of students to teaching sections, we find that a higher rank increases performance and the probability of choosing related follow-up courses and majors. We document two types of dynamic effects. First, earlier ranks are less important than later ranks. Second, responses to rank changes are asymmetric: improvements in rank raise performance, while decreases in rank have no effect. Rank effects partially operate through students’ expectations about future grades.
  • Publication
    Taking the Skill Bias out of Global Migration
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2018-05) ; ; ;
    Global migration is heavily skill-biased, with tertiary-educated workers being four times more likely to migrate than workers with a lower education. In this paper, we quantify the global impact of this skill bias in migration. Based on a quantitative multi-country model with trade, we compare the current world to a counterfactual with the same number of migrants, where all migrants are neutrally selected from their countries of origin. We find that most receiving countries benefit from the skill bias in migration, while a small number of sending countries is significantly worse off. The negative effect in many sending countries is completely eliminated — and often reversed — once we account for remittances and additional migration-related externalities. In a model with all our extensions, the average welfare effect of skill-biased migration in both OECD and non-OECD countries is positive.
  • Publication
    Tax Refunds and Income Manipulation - Evidence from the EITC
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2018-06) ; ;
    Welfare programs are important in terms of reducing poverty, although they create incentives for recipients to maximize their income by either reducing their labor supply or manipulating their taxable income. In this paper, we quantify the extent of such behavioral responses for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the US. We exploit the fact that US states can set top-up rates, which means that at a given point in time, workers with the same income receive different tax refunds in different states. Using event studies as well as a border pair design, we document that raising the state EITC leads to more bunching of self-employed tax filers at the first kink point of the tax schedule. While we document a strong relationship up until 2007, we find no effect during the Great Recession. These findings point to important behavioral responses to the largest welfare program in the US.
  • Publication
    Immigrant Voters, Taxation and the Size of the Welfare State
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2018-08) ; ; ;
    This paper studies the impact of immigration on public policy setting. As a natural experiment, we exploit the sudden arrival of eight million forced migrants in West Germany after World War II. These migrants were on average poorer than the West German population, but unlike most international migrants they had full voting rights and were eligible for social welfare. Using panel data for West German cities and applying difference-in-differences and an instrumental variables approach, we show that local governments responded to this migration shock with selective and persistent tax raises as well as shifts in spending. In response to the inflow, farm and business owners were taxed more while residential property and wage bill taxes were left unchanged. Moreover, high-inflow cities significantly raised welfare spending while reducing spending on infrastructure and housing. Election data suggest that these policy changes were partly driven by the political influence of the immigrants: in high-inflow regions, the major parties were more likely to nominate immigrants as candidates, and a pro-immigrant party received high vote shares. We further document that this episode of mass immigration had lasting effects on people’s preferences for redistribution. In areas with larger inflows in the 1940s, people have substantially higher demand for redistribution more than 50 years later.
  • Publication
    Immigration and Redistribution
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2020-09) ;
    One of the fundamental questions in the social sciences is whether modern welfare states can be sustained as countries welcome more immigrants. On theoretical grounds, the relationship between immigration and support for redistribution is ambiguous. Immigration may increase ethnic diversity, which may reduce the support for redistribution. On the other hand, natives may demand more redistribution as an insurance against labour market risks brought by immigration. In this chapter, we review the theoretical and empirical literature on immigration and redistribution from across the social sciences. We focus on two themes, namely the effect of immigration on natives’ support for redistribution, and the effect on the actual setting of tax and spending policies. Recent empirical evidence suggests that immigration lowers the support for redistribution and leads to lower taxation and spending. However, the magnitude of these effects appears to be highly context-dependent.