Job Market Paper

Abstract. In this paper, I investigate a novel channel of polarization: divergent interpretations of information. I conduct an online experiment with Democrats and Republicans in the US to study beliefs about racial discrimination in the labor market, a topic on which Democrats and Republicans are polarized. I find that Democrats' beliefs about racial labor market discrimination are responsive to information on racial wage disparities, while Republicans' beliefs are not. As a result, wage gap information fails to reduce (and even increases) the partisan difference in discrimination beliefs. Moreover, even after both groups agree about the extent of racial hiring discrimination, participants change their opinions about whether it is a problem depending on their political affiliation, enabling disagreement in policy demand. Together, these findings highlight key challenges in using information to reduce polarization.

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Bernheim, B. Douglas, Rebecca Royer, and Charles Sprenger. 2022. "Robustness of Rank Independence in Risky Choice." AEA Papers and Proceedings, 112: 415-20. 

Abstract. Bernheim and Sprenger (2020) devise and implement a novel test of rank-dependent probability weighting both in general and as formulated in cumulative prospect theory. They reject both hypotheses decisively. Cumulative prospect theory cannot simultaneously account for the rank independence of "equalizing reductions" for three-outcome lotteries, which it construes as indicating linear probability weighting, and the relationship between equalizing reductions and probabilities, which it interprets as indicating highly nonlinear probability weighting. In the current paper, we explore the robustness of the first finding, rank independence of equalizing reductions (and hence of decision weights), with respect to alternative experimental procedures 

Research in Progress

"The Long-Term Impact of Early Childhood Investment on Reducing Covid-19 Learning Loss" with Shruti Jha, John List, and Anya Samek

Abstract. We leverage a randomized evaluation of an early childhood program to study the impact of early life investments on resilience to negative shocks. When the children in our study were 3-5 years old, they were randomized to a preschool program, a parenting program or to a control group. Ten years later, the children were exposed to school shut-downs during the Covid-19 pandemic. With nearly 900 observations, we show that the parenting program had a protective causal impact on the decrease in academic test scores during the year that schools were closed. While the control group saw a 0.31 SD decline in standardized test scores after Covid-19, the parenting group saw only a 0.12 SD decline. We provide a conceptual framework and evidence on potential mechanisms driving this effect.

"Gender Differences in Response to Feedback: Evidence from Performance Labels on Standardized Exams" with Frances Lu 

Status. IRB approved and granted data access from San Diego Unified School District.

"Tests of Discrimination Aversion" with James Andreoni

Status. IRB approved and funding secured from NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant.