About:

I am an applied microeconomist working at the intersection of education policy and labor economics. I'm particularly interested in trying to understand how education systems can be designed to reduce inequalities and sustain employment through changes in the nature of work. My research is generously supported by J-PAL and the VATT Institute for Economic Research, amongst others, and I am a research affiliate at CESifo

You can find my CV here and more information on my research below or on GoogleScholar

I am on the 2022-2023 academic job market.

Job market paper:

 

This paper provides large-scale evidence linking the economic effects of childcare programs to social skills measured in adulthood. First, we evaluate the effects of Finland's first national public childcare program and find that small average effects of public childcare access mask considerable heterogeneity; public childcare levels the playing field, reducing the persistence between parent and child income. Second, we show that treatment effects on income are most correlated with treatment effects on adult measures of social competence and almost uncorrelated with effects on fluid intelligence. These results suggest that sustained effects on social skills may be particularly important in explaining the effects of childcare. Additionally, we show that childcare affects earnings by changing the types of jobs people do, and that these effects are only partly explained by shifts in later educational choices. 

 American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2022, 14(1): 197–224.
 
We study labor market returns to vocational versus general secondary education using a regression discontinuity design created by the centralized admissions process in Finland. Admission to the vocational track increases initial annual income, and this benefit persists at least through the mid-thirties, and present discount value calculations suggest that it is unlikely that life cycle returns will turn negative through retirement. Moreover, admission to the vocational track does not increase the likelihood of working in jobs at risk of replacement by automation or offshoring. Consistent with comparative advantage, we observe larger returns for people who express a preference for vocational education.
 

Working papers:

 
Revise and resubmit at The Economic Journal.
 
We study the effects of informal social interactions on academic achievement and behavior using idiosyncratic variation in peer groups stemming from changes in bus routes across elementary, middle, and high school. In early grades, a one standard deviation change in the value-added of same-grade bus peers corresponds to a 0.01 SD change in academic performance and a 0.03 SD change in behavior; by high school, these magnitudes grow to 0.04 SD and 0.06 SD. These findings suggest that student interactions outside the classroom -- especially in adolescence -- may be an important factor in the education production function.
 
NBER working paper, 12/2021.
Conditionally accepted at The World Bank Economic Review
- Media: VoxDev, VoxEU.
 
We study the effects of an over-subscribed job training program on skills and labor market outcomes using both survey and administrative data. Overall, we find that training improves labor market outcomes, particularly by increasing formal employment. In a second round of randomization, we study how applicants to otherwise similar job training programs are affected by the extent that hard versus soft skills are emphasized in the curriculum.  Admission to a vocational program that emphasizes technical relative to social skills generates greater short-term benefits, but these heightened benefits dissipate with time. In contrast, emphasis on soft-skills training helps applicants sustain employment and monthly wages over the longer term and allows them to catch up with those learning hard skills. Through an additional randomization, we find that offering financial support for transportation and food increases the effectiveness of the program, indicating that resource constraints may be an obstacle for individuals considering vocational training.
 
NBER working paper, 12/2021.
- Media: Brookings Institute, Harvard Project on the Workforce
 
We follow the labor market outcomes of applicants who were randomized into job training in Colombia a year and a half before the pandemic through the subsequent economic turmoil that resulted from COVID-19. Despite persistently improved labor market outcomes of training participants prior to March 2020, we show that job losses resulting from the pandemic washed away all the benefits of the program. A year and a half after the initial scars of the pandemic, there are no visible signs of the  labor market benefits reappearing. We show that these effects are likely due to the fact that the training program pushed people into the service sector -- the sector hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These results provide empirical support for the idea that sector-specific skills may be particularly fragile in the presence of economic shocks.
 
 
Selected work in progress:

Preventing the social exclusion of immigrants (with Michela CarlanaMatti Sarvimäki, and Marco Tabellini)
 
Achieving career and family: Public childcare and maternal outcomes (with Juuso Mäkinen)
 
Universities, urbanisation, and regional development (with Annika Nivala, Juhana Siljander, and Tuomo Suhonen
 
The gendered effects of education on family formation (with Kristiina Huttunen, Tiina Kuupelomaki, and Hanna Virtanen)
 
Education and social worlds (with Hanna Virtanen)
 
Pre-PhD:
 
Targeted funding, immigrant background, and educational outcomes
VATT working paper, 8/2017. Adapted from master's thesis at Uni. Helsinki. Resting.
- Media: All major Finnish outlets including Helsingin SanomatYLEHufvudstadsbladetSoinivaara blog.