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Measurements of performance gaps are sensitive to the level of test stakes: Evidence from PISA and a Field Experiment (Forthcoming, Economics of Education Review)

Educational performance gaps are a long-lasting issue of concern in many countries. Typically, these gaps are measured using low-stakes tests that are especially sensitive to motivation and test engagement. I conduct a field experiment and use data from PISA 2015 to investigate whether part of the minority-majority performance gaps could be attributed to test engagement rather than proficiency. I find that test engagement can account for more than 50% of performance gaps measured in low-stakes assessments. Therefore, policymakers should be careful when using low-stakes assessments to guide policy targeted at reducing performance gaps. 

Working Papers

To Be or Not to Be on Social Media: How Social Media Content Impacts Recruitment (joint with Edmund Baker and Veronika Grimm, submitted)(short video)
This paper extends the literature studying the effect of social media content on the evaluation of job candidates. In a large-scale online experiment that resembles real-life screening of candidates for a job in the hospitality sector, we find that information available on social media through hashtags and liked pages can have a crucial effect on a candidate's chances of obtaining a good rating. Candidates with social media content indicating mental health problems receive lower ratings by an amount equivalent to the effect of having three years on-the-job experience. Interestingly, candidates with no social media profile receive even lower ratings than candidates with mental health problems. In addition, unappealing social media content leads to the strongest reduction in ratings, equivalent to the value of nine years of on-the-job experience. These findings persist across participant pools, including both the general public and experienced recruiters, highlighting social media's substantial and likely increasing role in the hiring process.

Impacts of Home-Care Subsidies: Evidence from Quasi-Random Assignment, (Joint with Avner Shlain and Dan Zeltzer, submitted)

We study the impact of subsidizing home-based long-term care on recipients’ health and the labor supply of their working-age children. We use administrative data from Israel on the universe of welfare benefit applications linked with tax records of applicants and their adult children. To address the endogeneity of benefit recipients’ health status, we instrument for benefit receipt using the leniency of randomly assigned evaluators who assess the applicant’s functional status and determine benefit eligibility. We find that for compliers – applicants who receive subsidies only from more lenient evaluators – subsidizing home-based care has large adverse effects on recipient health but no detectable effects on the labor market outcomes of their children. The results are consistent with the crowd-out of self-care for the marginal recipient, highlighting the need to assess the heterogeneous effects of home-care subsidies.

Social Preferences Over Taste-Based Inequality (joint with Rachel Cohen and Amnon Malz, draft available upon request)

Many unequal economic allocation decisions involve the judgment of the decision-maker in charge of the allocation. This judgment may be rooted in objective measures like grades or performance, but it can also incorporate a subjective component. The subjective component may be perceived as fair when parties' needs are taken into consideration, but it may also be viewed as unjust, particularly in cases of discrimination based on personal taste. In an experimental impartial-spectator design, we explore whether individuals perceive this type of subjective taste-based inequality as fair. We compare their attitudes towards it with those arising from inequalities grounded in objective procedures, namely, merit and luck. We also zoom-in on the differences in fairness perceptions towards luck, merit, and taste-based inequalities among individuals with above-average and below-average incomes. Using a large sample of the Israeli adult population (n=1,156), we find that taste-based inequality is perceived distinctively compared to inequalities arising from luck or merit. Nevertheless, spectators' redistribution decisions imply that it is treated as an unfair source of inequality, similar to luck and unlike merit. Additionally, our work reveals that the commonly reported finding of merit being considered more fair than luck is primarily driven by individuals with above-average income.

Work in Progress

Uncovering the Power of Cross-Ethnic Teacher Assignments: Insights from the Israeli Education System (Joint with Roni Porat, and Analia Schlosser)

Effects of an Intensive After-School Program for Students from Third through Twelfth Grade

Non-Academic papers

Economics in Practice: The Teaching of Economics in Israeli Universities, Position Paper 4, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 2011

(Joint with Nathan Zussman, Rony Hachohen, Tal Wolfson and Aharon Ariel Lavi), Hebrew.

How Are We Going to Pay for This? Sources for Increasing the Israeli Government's Budget, Position Paper,
Derech – the Berl Katzanelson’s Fellows Program, 2020. Hebrew.

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