I am a fifth year Ph.D.-candidate in economics at the Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE) and a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods (MPI) working on topics in applied microeconomics and behavioral economics. In particular, I focus on peer effects and human capital formation. My supervisors are Lorenz Goette and Pia Pinger. Moreover, I am affiliated with the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 224 (CRC TR 224).
In many natural environments, carefully chosen peers influence individual behavior. Using a framed field experiment at secondary schools, we examine how self-selected peers affect performance in contrast to randomly assigned ones. We find that self-selection improves performance by approximately 15% of a standard deviation relative to randomly assigned peers. Our results document peer effects in multiple characteristics and show that self-selection changes these characteristics. However, a decomposition reveals that variations in the peer composition contribute only little to the estimated average treatment effects. Rather, we find that self-selection has a direct effect on intrinsic motivation and subsequent performance. In light of our findings, we discuss implications for peer assignment rules more generally.
Peers influence behavior in many domains. We study whom individuals choose as peers and explore individual determinants of peer selection. Using data from a framed field experiment at secondary schools, we analyze how peer choices depend on relative performance, personality differences, and the presence of friendship ties. Our results document systematic patterns of peer choice: friendship is the most important determinant, albeit not the only one. Individuals exhibit homophily in personality, and prefer on average similar but slightly stronger performing peers. Our results help to rationalize models of differential and non-linear peer effects and to understand reference group formation.
I study parental beliefs about the returns to two factors affecting the development and long-term outcomes of children: (i) parenting styles defined by the extent of warmth and control parents employ in raising children, and (ii) neighborhood quality. Based on a representative sample of 2,119 parents in the United States, I show that parents perceive large returns to the warmth dimension of parenting as well as neighborhoods, and document that perceived returns to parenting depend on the neighborhood a family is living in. Mothers expect larger returns than fathers, but there is no socioeconomic gradient in perceived returns. I introduce a measurement error correction by leveraging beliefs measured in two different domains, and show that parents' perceived returns relate to their actual parenting styles. I conclude that parental beliefs are an important determinant of parental decision-making, but cannot explain socioeconomic differences in parenting.
This paper presents evidence from a large-scale study on gender differences in expected wages before labor market entry. Based on data for over 15,000 students, we document a significant and large gender gap in wage expectations that closely resembles actual wage differences, prevails across subgroups, and along the entire distribution. To understand the underlying causes and determinants, we relate expected wages to sorting into majors, industries, and occupations, child-rearing plans, perceived and actual ability, personality, perceived discrimination, and negotiation styles. Our findings indicate that sorting and negotiation styles affect the gender gap in wage expectations much more than prospective child-related labor force interruptions. Given the importance of wage expectations for labor market decisions, household bargaining, and wage setting, our results provide an explanation for persistent gender inequalities.
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Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods