Relevant Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
This dissertation studies how households adjust their consumption and labor supply in response to idiosyncratic shocks.In the first chapter, I propose an empirical strategy for measuring consumption allocations within households over time. The strategy consists of imputing gender-specific consumption data from a cross-sectional dataset to a panel. I apply it on two publicly available datasets in the US: the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The generated panel allows researchers to investigate questions such as how the sharing rule shifts in response to various shocks.The second chapter studies how households insure themselves against idiosyncratic wage shocks and how this insurance interacts with intra-household bargaining. I set up an intertemporal household model and examine two channels of insurance, self-insurance and family labor supply adjustment. I consider two alternative specifications of this model: a unitary version in which I restrict sharing rules to be fixed within households, and a non-unitary one in which I allow sharing rules to change. I estimate the model using a panel that has information on consumption allocations within households. I find that intra-household allocations respond strongly to fluctuations in individual wages. Removing the restriction of fixed sharing rules does not reduce the extent of consumption smoothing within a household, but it significantly changes the relative importance of different channels. In particular, the relative contribution of family labor supply to household consumption smoothing decreases from roughly 60% in the unitary model to 30% in the non-unitary model. This is because the added worker effect -- the increase in spousal labor supply following an adverse shock to a partner -- is much milder in the non-unitary specification. Non-stationary income processes are standard in quantitative life-cycle models, prompted by the observation that within-cohort income inequality increases with age. The last chapter generalizes Tauchen's (1986) and Rouwenhorst's (1995) discretization methods to non-stationary AR(1) processes. We evaluate the performance of both methods in the context of a canonical finite-horizon, income-fluctuation problem with a non-stationary income process. We find that the generalized Rouwenhorst's method performs extremely well even with a small number of states.
This dissertation studies the effects of technological change on workers' occupational choices and wages, as well as the human capital costs associated with occupational transitions. The first part of the dissertation focuses on the interaction between technological change and tasks. Over the past three decades technological improvements have led to a dramatic reduction in the employment share of occupations with a high content of routine tasks in the United States and other developed countries. This dissertation provides a novel perspective on this phenomenon by focusing on the individual-level effects of this type of technological change in terms of occupational switching patterns and wage changes. I formalize the predicted effects within the context of a model of occupational sorting based on comparative advantage, and I test them using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) from 1976 to 2007. Consistent with the predictions of the model, I find strong evidence of selection on ability in the occupational mobility patterns of workers in routine occupations, with those of relatively high (low) ability switching to non-routine cognitive (non-routine manual) occupations. In terms of wage growth, also consistent with the prediction of the model, workers in routine jobs experience significant declines in their wage premia relative to workers in any other type of occupation. Switchers from routine to either type of non-routine job (cognitive or manual) experience significantly higher wage growth than stayers over long-run horizons. The second portion of the dissertation analyzes the role of the task content of occupations. I develop a measure of task distance between occupation pairs and study its impacts from two different perspectives: At a microeconomic level, I analyze the wage changes for workers experiencing occupational transitions of different distances. At a macroeconomic level, I analyze the impacts of task distance on the aggregate flows of workers across occupations. The aggregate-level evidence suggests that the cost of switching occupations is increasing in distance, but only for switches occurring across broad occupation groups. The individual-level evidence suggests that there is a negative correlation between wage changes and distance, but only for certain subsets of workers.
Less developed countries typically exhibit lower output per worker and too fewmedium firms compared to developed economies. The purpose of this thesis is toisolate the distortions driving this misallocation of resources and examine their efficiencyimplications. Using firm-level data, we show that the probability of beingaudited for taxes increases significantly around a size threshold of 30 employees inUganda. This results in a break in the density of firm size around this size thresholdand in significantly higher [lower] capital-labour ratios [growth rate] for firmsbelow the size threshold. We argue that entrepreneurs on the verge of having amedium firm hide below the size threshold to avoid a rise in expected regulationcosts. They can then substitute capital for labor to scale-up production and wait fora productivity shock that will offset the cost of growing. Other explanations suchas a differential in technology or in factor prices due to inefficient credit markets donot reconcile the patterns observed in the data. Based on these empirical evidencewe extend Hopenhayn [1992a]’s model with heterogeneous firms to include the taxand credit environment observed in Uganda. Under some simplifying assumptionswe solve the model analytically and derive comparative statics for the parametersof interest. We finally revert to the full-blown version of the model and estimate itby Indirect Inference. The calibration strategy consists in choosing a set of structuralparameters such that the model generates endogenous patterns in capital-laborratios, growth of output and firm size density similar to the data. We show that themodel does a reasonable job at explaining the data along several dimensions usinga set of over-identifying restrictions. We conduct a positive analysis by comparingthe effect of the uneven auditing scheme and credit constraints. Finally, we suggest policy interventions to improve efficiency in Uganda.
- Structural transformation and the rise of information technology (2018)
Journal of Monetary Economics, 97, 91--110
- Human capital spill-overs and the geography of intergenerational mobility (2017)
Review of Economic Dynamics,
- The Costs of Occupational Mobility: An Aggregate Analysis (2017)
Journal of the European Economic Association,
- Distortions, efficiency and the size distribution of firms (2015)
Journal of Macroeconomics, 45, 202--221
- Ability, Parental Valuation of Education, and the High School Dropout Decision (2014)
Journal of Human Resources, 49 (4), 906--944
- Education and Crime over the Life Cycle (2014)
The Review of Economic Studies, 81 (4), 1484--1517
- Unobservable skill dispersion and comparative advantage (2014)
Journal of International Economics,
- Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium (2013)
- Macroeconomic Effects of Job Reallocations: A Survey (2013)
Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna,
- Skill Dispersion and Trade Flows (2012)
American Economic Review, 102 (5), 2327--2348
- Essays in international trade (2011)
University of British Columbia,
- Understanding barriers to educational attainment among Canadian youth (2009)
University of British Columbia,