Published Papers

Cohort at Risk: The Long-Term Consequences of Conflict for Child School Achievement (with H. Jürges, S. Hallaq and A. Schwarz)
Journal of Population Economics, Volume 35, Pages 1-43, 2022.

Abstract:  We investigate the long-term effects of households' exposure to violent conflict on children's educational attainment in primary school, studying cognitive and non-cognitive skills as possible causal channels. Our identification strategy exploits the locality-level variation in the intensity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the West Bank during the Second Intifada (2000-2005). We show that an increase in family experience of conflict has large negative long-term effects on the educational attainment of children as measured by grade point averages. We find that non-cognitive rather than cognitive skills are the channels through which exposure affects children's educational achievement.


Robots, Marriageable Men, Family, and Fertility (with Massimo Anelli and Osea Giuntella)
Journal of Human Resources, forthcoming.

Abstract:   Robots have radically changed the demand for skills and the role of workers in production. This phenomenon has replaced routine and mostly physical work of blue collar workers, but it has also created positive employment spillovers in other occupations and sectors that require more social interaction and managing skills. This study examines how the exposure to robots and its heterogeneous effects on the labor market opportunities of men and women affected demographic behavior.  We focus on the United States and find that in regions that were more exposed to robots, gender gaps in income and labor force participation declined, reducing the relative economic stature of men. Regions affected by intense robot penetration experienced also an increase in both divorce and cohabitation and a decline --albeit non-significant-- in the number of marriages. While there was no change in the overall fertility rate, marital fertility declined, and there was an increase in nonmarital births. Our findings provide support to the hypothesis that changes in labor market structures that affect the absolute and relative prospects of men may reduce their marriage-market value and affect marital and fertility behavior.



Immigration Policy and Immigrants' Sleep. Evidence from DACA. (with Osea Giuntella, Jakub Lonsky and Fabrizio Mazzonna)
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Volume 182, Pages 1-12, 2021.

Abstract:   Stress is associated with sleep problems and poor sleep is linked to mental health and depression symptoms. The stress associated with immigrant status and immigration policy can directly affect mental health. While previous studies have documented the significant relationship between immigration policy and the physical and mental health of immigrants, we know little about the effects of immigration policy on immigrants' sleep patterns. Exploiting the approval of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, we study how immigrants' sleep behavior responds to a change in immigration policy. Consistent with the findings of previous research documenting the positive effects of DACA on mental health, we find evidence of a significant improvement in immigrants' sleep in response to this policy change. However, the estimated effects of the policy disappear rapidly after 2016. While temporary authorization programs such as DACA may have beneficial impacts on immigrants' sleep in the short term, the effects of such temporary programs can be rapidly undermined by uncertainty about their future. Thus, permanent legalization programs may be more effective at achieving long-term effects, thereby eliminating uncertainty around the legal status of undocumented immigrants.


The Ant or the Grasshopper? The Long-Term Consequences of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Savings of European Households (with V. Angelini, M. Bertoni and C. Weiss)
European Economic Review, Volume 119, 2019.

Abstract:  Unilateral Divorce Laws (UDLs) allow people to obtain divorce without the consent of their spouse. Using the staggered introduction of UDLs across European countries, we show that households exposed to UDLs for a longer period of time accumulate more savings. This effect holds for both financial and total wealth and is stronger at higher quantiles of the wealth distribution. Consistent with a precautionary motive for savings, we also find that exposure to UDLs increases female labour supply, numeracy, trust in others and dispositional optimism.


Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility? (with Francesco C. Billari and Osea Giuntella)
Population Studies, Pages 1-20, 2019.

Abstract:  The spread of high-speed Internet epitomizes the digital revolution, affecting several as- pects of our life. Using German panel data, we test whether the availability of broadband Internet influences fertility choices in a low-fertility setting, which is well-known for the dif- ficulty to combine work and family life.  We  exploit a strategy devised by Falck et al. (2014) to obtain causal estimates of the impact of broadband Internet on fertility. We find positive effects of high-speed Internet availability on the fertility of high-educated women aged 25  and above. We further confirm this result using county-level data on total fertility rate. We show that broadband access significantly increases the share of women reporting teleworking or part-time working. Furthermore, we find positive effects on time spent with children and overall life satisfaction. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that high-speed Inter- net allows high-educated women to conciliate career and motherhood, which may promote fertility with a “digital divide”.

Globalization, Fertility and Marital Behavior in a Lowest Low Fertility Setting (with Osea Giuntella and Lorenzo Rotunno)
Demography, accepted for publication.

Abstract:  Using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we analyze the effects of exposure to globalization on the fertility and marital behavior in Germany, until recently a lowest-low fertility setting. We find that exposure to greater import competition from Eastern Europe led to worse labor market outcomes and lower fertility rates. In contrast, workers in industries that benefited from increased exports had better employment prospects and higher fertility. These effects are driven by low-educated, married men, and full-time workers and reflect changes in the likelihood of having any child (extensive margin). While there is evidence of some fertility postponement, we find significant effects on completed fertility. There is instead little evidence of any significant impact on marital behavior. 

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 



Globalization, Fertility and Marital Behavior in a Lowest Low Fertility Setting  (with Osea Giuntella and Lorenzo Rotunno) - Accepted at Demography.  




Industrial Robots, Workers' Safety, and Health  (with Rania Gihleb, Osea Giuntella and Tianyi Wang)  - IZA Discussion Paper No. 13672. Revise and Resubmit. 




Exposure to Immigration, Birthplace Diversity, and Attitudes toward Newcomers  (with Rania Gihleb and Osea Giuntella). Revise and Resubmit. 




Unhealthy Sleep Assimilation  (with Francesco C. Billari, Osea Giuntella and Fabrizio Mazzonna). 



Chapters in Books 



Refugees, Economic Immigrants, and Self-Employment   (with Rania Gihleb and Osea Giuntella). In: World Scientific Handbook of Global Migration, Vol. 1, edited by R. M. Sauer. World Scientific Publishing, forthcoming 2021. 



The Social Dynamics of Unmet Need, Catastrophic Health Care Expenses, and Satisfaction with Health Insurance Coverage   (with Hendrik Jürges). In: Börsch-Supan, A. et al. (Eds.), (in press). Health and Socioeconomic Status over the Life Course: First Results from SHARE Waves 6 and 7. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. 



Policy Briefs 



Broadband Internet, Fertility and Work from Home (with Francesco C. Billari and Osea Giuntella)
Sociological Insights for Development Policy, Volume 4, Number 1, 2019. 



Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility in Germany? (with Francesco C. Billari and Osea Giuntella) 
Invited article for N-IUSSP: IUSSP's Online News Magazine, 2019.