Research

Published and Forthcoming Papers

Broadband Internet, Digital Temptations, and Sleep (with Francesco C. Billari and Osea Giuntella)
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Volume 153, Pages 58-76, 2018.

Abstract:  There is a growing concern that the widespread use of computers, mobile phones and other digital devices before bedtime disrupts our sleep with detrimental effects on our health and cognitive performance.  High-speed Internet promotes the use of electronic devices, video games and Internet addiction (e.g., online games and cyberloafing). Exposure to artificial light from tablets and PCs can alterate individuals' sleep patterns. However, there is little empirical evidence on the causal relationship between technology use near bedtime and sleep. This paper studies the causal effects of access to high-speed Internet on sleep. We first show that playing video games, using PC or smartphones, watching TV or movies are correlated with shorter sleep duration. Second, we exploit historical differences in pre-existing telephone infrastructure that affected the deployment of high-speed Internet across Germany (see Falck et al., 2014) to identify a source of plausibly exogenous variation in access to Broadband. Using this instrumental variable strategy, we find that access to high-speed Internet (DSL) access reduces sleep duration and sleep satisfaction. Results are driven by individuals who face work or family time constraints.

The Acceleration of Immigrant Unhealthy Assimilation (with Osea Giuntella)
Health Economics, Volume 26, Issue 4, Pages 511-518, 2017.

Abstract: It is well-known that immigrants tend to be healthier than US natives and that this advantage erodes with time spent in the US. However, we know less about the heterogeneity of these trajectories among arrival cohorts. Recent studies have shown that later arrival cohorts of immigrants have lower entry wages and experience less economic assimilation. In this paper, we investigate whether similar cohort effects can be observed in the weight assimilation of immigrants in the US. Focusing on obesity, we show that more recent immigrant cohorts arrive with higher obesity rates and experience a faster “unhealthy assimilation” in terms of weight gain.

Living Arrangements in Europe: Whether and Why Paternal Retirement Matters
Review of Economics of the Household, Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 497-525, 2017.

Abstract: This paper uses retrospective micro data from eleven European countries to investigate the role of paternal retirement in explaining children's decisions to leave the parental home. To assess causality, I use a bivariate discrete-time hazard model with shared frailty and exploit over time and cross-country variation in early retirement legislation. Overall, the results indicate a positive and significant influence of paternal retirement on the probability of first nest-leaving of children residing in Southern European countries, for both sons and daughters. Focusing on Southern Europe, I find that the increase in children's nest-leaving around the time of paternal retirement does not appear to be justified by changes in parental resources. Rather, channels involving the supply of informal child care provided by grandparents or the quality of the home should be the focus of study.

Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital in Europe: Evidence from SHARE
IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Vol. 2: Article 13, 2013.

Abstract: This paper extends the previous literature on the intergenerational transmission of human capital by exploiting variation in compulsory schooling reforms across nine European countries over the period 1920-1956. My empirical strategy follows an instrumental variable (IV) approach, instrumenting parental education with years of compulsory schooling. I find some evidence of a causal relationship between parents' and children's education. The magnitude of the estimated effect is large: an additional year of parental education raises the child's education by 0.44 of a year. I also find that maternal schooling is more important than paternal schooling for the academic performance of their offspring. The results are robust to several specification checks.

 

Working Papers 

 

 

Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility? (with Francesco C. Billari and Osea Giuntella) IZA Discussion Paper No. 10935.  Revise and Resubmit.
[Media coverage: IZA Newsroom; Population Europe].

 

 
Cohort at Risk: The Long-Term Consequences of Conflict for Child School Achievement (with Hendrik Jürges, Samah Hallaq and  Alexandra Schwarz) - IZA Discussion Paper No. 10994. Under Review.

 

 
The Ant or the Grasshopper? The Long-Term Consequences of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Savings of European Households (with Viola Angelini, Marco Bertoni and Christoph T. Weiss) - IZA Discussion Paper No. 10363. Under Review.