Unemployment Insurance and Geographical Mobility: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment (Job Market Paper) The Spanish Association of Labor Economics awarded this paper with the Luis Toharia Grant 2019

This paper investigates the effect of unemployment insurance (UI) generosity on the geographic mobility of unemployed workers. Identification is based on an unanticipated 10 p.p. cut in the UI replacement rate that affected workers starting an unemployment spell after July 14, 2012. Using administrative data from social security records and a regression discontinuity design, I find that the UI reduction increased the probability to migrate to a different province by 4 percentage points, a 24 percent increase of the pre-reform mean. Movements towards big cities of young educated men without family responsibilities drive the results. These findings suggest that generous UI likely creates frictions to labor market adjustments.

The Best or the First? Serial Position Effects on Competitive Examinations (joint with Miquel Serra-Burriel and Jordi Teixidó)

This paper analyzes how evaluators’ cognitive biases affect assessments in a particular interest setting: competitive exams used to hire primary and secondary teachers in Spain. We use evidence from the largest recruitment competition for teachers since the beginning of the Great Recession and exploit the random order in which candidates make a qualifying oral exam. The results show that those applicants who present latter in the sequence are less likely to pass the test and obtain lower grades. Looking at the causes of this cognitive bias, preliminary results point towards evaluators’ fatigue as the possible mechanism. These findings have implications for the debate over what interventions are appropriate to guarantee the fairness of merit-based competitive evaluations, and they may be specially relevant in our setting given the great impact of teachers’ quality on students’ achievements.

Gender Norms, Geographical Mobility, and the Remaining Gender Gap (join with Lídia Farré)

This paper studies the role of family ties on female internal migration and the gender gap. We first document a strong negative correlation between family ties and geographical mobility. Next, we explore the contribution of mobility constrains to the gender wage gap. We estimate the response by men and women to local and distant labor market conditions. In the presence of family ties, women’s responses to distant labor market should be weaker than that of men. We conclude that family ties restrict the mobility decisions of women and contribute to the persistent gender gap.