Coauthor
  • BAGUES Manuel (2)
  • CABRALES Antonio (2)
  • IRIBERRI Nagore (2)
  • CUNÃT Vicente (1)
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Document Type
  • Article (5)
  • Working paper (1)
Publication date 2020-01 Collection Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers : 2019-17
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Using a nationally representative longitudinal survey of lawyers in the U.S., we document a sizeable gap between men and women in their early aspirations to become law firm partners, despite similar early investments and educational characteristics. This aspiration gap can explain a large part of the gender promotion gap that is observed later. We propose a model to understand the role of aspirations and then empirically test its predictions. We show that aspirations create incentives to exert effort and are correlated with expectations of success and the preference for becoming a partner. We further show that aspirations are affected by early work experiences—facing harassment or demeaning comments early in the career affects long-term promotion outcomes mediated via aspirations. Our research highlights the importance of accounting for, and managing, career aspirations as an early intervention to close gender career gaps.

in Economic Journal Publication date 2018-03
MÖLLER Marc
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Do the contests with the largest prizes attract the most able contestants? To what extent do contestants avoid competition? We show that the distribution of abilities is crucial in determining contest choice. Complete sorting exists only when the proportion of high-ability contestants is small. As this proportion increases, high-ability contestants shy away from competition and sorting decreases, making reverse sorting a possibility. We test our theoretical predictions with a large panel data set containing contest choice over 20 years. We use exogenous variation in the participation of highly able competitors to provide evidence for the relationship among prizes, competition and sorting.

in Management Science Publication date 2018
BAGUES Manuel
CABRALES Antonio
IRIBERRI Nagore
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This paper studies the effect of providing feedback to college students on their position in the grade distribution by using a natural field experiment. This information was updated every six months during a three-year period. We find that greater grades transparency decreases educational performance, as measured by the number of exams passed and GPA. However self-reported satisfaction, as measured by surveys conducted after feedback is provided but before students take their exams, increases. We provide a theoretical framework to understand these results, focusing on the role of prior beliefs, and using out-of-trial surveys to test the model. In the absence of treatment, a majority of students underestimate their position in the grade distribution, suggesting that the updated information is “good news” for many students. Moreover, the negative effect on performance is driven by those students who underestimate their position in the absence of feedback. Students who overestimate initially their position, if anything, respond positively. The performance effects are short lived - by the time students graduate, they have similar accumulated GPA and graduation rates.

in Management Science Publication date 2018
BAGUES Manuel
CABRALES Antonio
IRIBERRI Nagore
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This paper studies the effect of providing feedback to college students on their position in the grade distribution by using a natural field experiment. This information was updated every six months during a three-year period. We find that greater grades transparency decreases educational performance, as measured by the number of exams passed and GPA. However self-reported satisfaction, as measured by surveys conducted after feedback is provided but before students take their exams, increases. We provide a theoretical framework to understand these results, focusing on the role of prior beliefs, and using out-of-trial surveys to test the model. In the absence of treatment, a majority of students underestimate their position in the grade distribution, suggesting that the updated information is “good news” for many students. Moreover, the negative effect on performance is driven by those students who underestimate their position in the absence of feedback. Students who overestimate initially their position, if anything, respond positively. The performance effects are short lived - by the time students graduate, they have similar accumulated GPA and graduation rates.

Tax credits are a popular way to alleviate in-work poverty. A common empirical assumption is that the benefit of the tax credit is borne solely by the claimant workers. However, economic theory suggests no particular reason why this should be the case. This paper investigates the impact of the Working Families’ Tax Credit, introduced in the UK in 1999, on wages. Unlike similar tax credit policies, this tax credit was paid through employers rather than directly to workers, making it more salient to the employer. Using a novel identification strategy, we can separately identify the effect on wages associated with an increase in the amount of tax credit and that associated with the change in salience. We find evidence that: (1) through the salience mechanism the firm cuts the wage of claimant workers relative to similarly skilled non-claimants by 30 percent of the tax credit, which is approximately 7 percent of the wage, and (2) there is a negative spillover effect onto the wages of claimant and non-claimant workers of 1.7 percent, which is approximately 8 percent of the tax credit for claimant workers.

in Journal of Political Economy Publication date 2017-10
FERRER Rosa
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This paper documents the gender gap in performance among high-skilled professionals in the United States. On the basis of widely used performance measures in law firms, we find that male lawyers bill 10 percent more hours and bring in more than twice as much new client revenue as female lawyers. The differential impact across genders in the presence of young children and differences in aspirations to become a law firm partner account for a large share of the difference in performance. We show that accounting for performance has important consequences for gender gaps in lawyers’ earnings and subsequent promotion.