When Women Run: Double-Edged Effects of Political Representation Job Market Paper

This paper examines how candidates and donors adjust their political stance to their opponent’s gender identity. Using a regression discontinuity design that exploits close primary races, I estimate the impact of women running for the U.S. House of Representatives’ office between 1980–2014 on the policy stances of, and donations to, the competing candidates. I find that Republican candidates receive more support from socially conservative groups when they run against Democratic women versus men. This impact lasts beyond the election and the legislators continue to vote more conservatively on reproductive rights in Congress. Democratic candidates show no change in campaign finances but vote more liberally on women’s issues after running against Republican women versus men. These results suggest that the presence of women on the ballot may lead to backlash against the very policy issues they stand for. Running but failing to win office may be costly for women, making the effort toward political representation a double-edged endeavor.



Negative Behavioral Transmission (with Reshmaan Hussam)

Behavior change programs often assume positive transmission of behavior across contexts and therefore evaluate effects only at the site of intervening. We randomize an edutainment program in Bangladeshi schools to trace school-to-home transmission of handwashing and find that children are induced to wash more at school but less at home. This negative transmission impacts non-school days and other household members, yielding a net negative effect of the program. We replicate the conceptual experiment by randomizing the proportion of students receiving handwashing resources at home and tracking home-to-school transmission. Children induced to wash more at home likewise wash less at school.



Big Decisions, Labor Structure, and Female Employment: Evidence from New Exporters (with Raffi E. García; Draft available upon request)

New entrants in export markets tend to increase productivity in anticipation of entry. One particularly understudied channel is entrants’ labor related decisions. Using an extensive database of Chilean manufacturing plants, this paper examines how the entry affects labor structure, gender composition, and productivity of the new exporters. We adopt a difference-in-differences design with heterogeneous treatment effects to find discrepancies in the long-run (exporter premia) and the short-run decision paths of the entrants. Our results show that while exporters tend to employ a higher percentage of females in permanent blue-collar positions and a lower percentage of females in executive and white-collar positions relative to non-exporters, new exporters do not immediately adopt these behaviors around the period of entry, supporting learning through experience under the existence of sunk costs to exporting.