We created experimental variation across markets in China in the share of firms having access to a new loan product. Access to finance had a large positive direct effect on the performance of treated firms, but a similar-sized negative indirect effect on that of firms with treated competitors, leading to non-detectable gains in producer surplus. Access to finance had a positive direct effect on business quality and consumer satisfaction, and a negative effect on price, which were not offset by indirect effects, implying net gains in consumer surplus. We document other indirect effects and combine effects in a welfare evaluation.
Anikó Bíró (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungary); Márta Bisztray (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungary); João Galindo da Fonseca (Université de Montréal, Canada); Tímea Laura Molnár (Central European University, Austria)
How do short absences from work affect workers' labor trajectory? We use linked employer-employee administrative data from Hungary, with rich administrative health records, and use unexpected and mild accidents with no permanent labor productivity losses as exogenous drivers of short absences. Our Difference-in-Differences results show that, relative to the counterfactual of no accident, even short (3-6-months long) periods of absence due to accidents decrease wages for up to two years by 1.5 percent, and workers end up with lower-paying firms. Missed opportunities to move to higher-paying firms account for 7-37 percent of the wage loss over a two-year period.
The gender gap in competitiveness is argued to explain gender differences in later life outcomes, including career choices and the gender wage gap. In experimental settings, a prevalent explanation attributes this gap to males being more (over)confident than females (we call this the compositional channel). While our lab-in-the-field study using data from students in 53 classrooms (N>1000) reproduces this finding, it also uncovers a second, potentially more impactful channel of confidence contributing to the gender gap in competitiveness (the preference channel). To disentangle the two channels, we propose a more precise measure of confidence based on whether the subjects’ believed performance rank exceeds, coincides with or falls short of their actual performance in a real-effort task. We label categories of this Guessed - Actual Performance (GAP) difference as overconfident,
realistic or underconfident, respectively. Surprisingly, there is no gender difference in competitiveness within the over- and underconfident subgroups, while a significant gender gap exists among the realistic. So, even if both genders had the same level of confidence, a persistent gender gap in preference (or taste) for competition would remain in the realistic group. This finding is robust across all specifications, challenging previous theories about the overconfidence of men being the sole driver
of the relationship between confidence and the gender gap in competition.
It is well established that boys perceive themselves to be better in mathematics than girls, even when their ability is the same. We examine the drivers of the gender gap in self-assessed mathematics ability using a longitudinal study of twins. Using measures of individual self-assessment in mathematics from childhood and adolescence, along with mathematics levels and test scores, cognitive skills, parent and teacher mathematics assessments, and characteristics of their families and siblings, we examine potential channels of the gender gap. Our results confirm that objective mathematics abilities only explain a small share of the gender gap in self-assessed mathematics abilities, and the gap is even larger within opposite-sex twin pairs. We find that the self-assessment of boys is positively correlated with the self-assessment of their male co-twins, not just in mathematics, but also in other abilities. However, this positive correlation is not observed between girls and their male co-twins; if anything, it is negative. This phenomenon might explain why men self-select into top jobs or STEM courses, that are filled with confident men, possibly making entry relatively easier for men. We also find that parents are more likely to overestimate boys’ and underestimate girls’ mathematics abilities. Gender-biased parental assessments explain a large part of the gender gap in mathematics self-assessment, highlighting the potential of the intergenerational transmission of gender stereotypes.