''E-learning Engagement Gap During School Closures: Differences by Academic Performance" with Alaitz Ayarza-Astigarraga and Marta C. Lopes

Applied Economics

We study the impact of COVID-19 school closures on differences in online learning usage by regional academic performance. Using data from Google Trends in Italy, we find that during the first lockdown, regions with a previously lower academic performance increased their searches for e-learning tools more than higher-performing regions. Analysing school administrative and survey data before the pandemic, we find that both teachers and students in lower-performing regions were using no fewer e-learning tools than higher-performing ones. These two findings suggest that the COVID-19 shock widened the e-learning usage gap between academically lower and higher-performing regions. Exploiting the regional variation in school closure mandates during the 2020-2021 academic year, we report that the patterns detected after the first lockdown were no longer present. Regions with different previous academic performance had the same response in terms of online learning usage when faced with stricter school closures.

Working Papers

"Reverse Revolving Doors: The Influence of Interest Groups on Legislative Voting" with Miguel Alquézar-Yus

[Coverage: ProMarket]

This paper investigates to which extent legislators with a background in an interest group (i.e., reverse revolvers) influence their peers’ voting behavior. To answer this question, we collect novel data containing the universe of votes cast at the European Parliament between 2004 and 2019 and characterize legislators by their former working experience. We leverage a natural experiment by which seats at the European Parliament are assigned alphabetically to provide a causal estimation. We find that seating beside a reverse revolver when the motion is relevant to her interest group increases the co-voting probability by 2.4%, attendance by 1.3%, and decreases abstention by 9%. We find no influence on non-relevant ballots. These effects are driven by budget-related motions and female legislators. Our results suggest that revolving doors are problematic for the political process even when working in reverse.

"Gender Differences in Early Occupational Choices: Evidence from Medical Specialty Selection" with Agnès Charpin

[Earlier versions: SSRN, EUI WP]

Empirical evidence shows that men and women hold different types of occupations and their relevance for the gender wage gap. It is however difficult to disentangle the channels via which these differences come about because observed equilibrium outcomes arise from preferences of agents on both sides of the market, and are often hindered by search and matching frictions. This paper uses the French centralised medical residency selection mechanism, a unique labour market setting in which observed matches are solely determined by supply-side factors. We find that men and women facing the same occupational choice set make drastically different occupational choices. Medical specialties selected by women pay less, have lower time requirements, less competition, more interactions, and a higher social contribution. We then administer a survey to prospective medical residents to understand the drivers of the observed gender-based occupational segregation. We find that women care more about the social component and the schedule flexibility of their job, while men about the job's content, prestige and income levels. However, when focusing on individuals who prefer similar specialties, these gender differences are greatly reduced. Gender differences in taste for time flexibility are largest among individuals who are in a relationship and especially for those who wish to have children in the near future, uncovering an anticipation effect of fertility on career choice for women. Finally, we validate our results by matching respondents to the specialty they choose. Our results suggest that individual preferences play a determinant role in explaining gender-based occupational segregation.

Work in Progress

"Effects of Early Infancy Care on Subsequent Infant Health"

[Draft available upon request]

This paper studies the causal effects of additional early infancy care on several subsequent fertility outcomes. I exploit the eligibility discontinuities of a welfare policy in Spain that entitles parents of newborns with birth weights below certain thresholds to receive monetary payments to devote themselves to the care of their child as well as to fully funded social security contributions. Using birth register data, I measure the effect of the reception of such social benefits on health outcomes of subsequent newborns and subsequent pregnancy conditions.