Civil Conflict, Domestic Violence and Intra-Household Bargaining in Post-Genocide Rwanda

Abstract: This paper examines the long-term impact of civil conflict on domestic violence and intra-household bargaining using data from Rwanda. Women who married after the 1994 genocide experienced significantly increased domestic violence and decreased decision-making power relative to women who married before, and the effect was greater for women in localities with high genocide intensity. Additionally, exposure to ethnic violence reduced the total share of household expenditure allocated to education for families of women who were of marriageable age after the genocide relative to families of older women. Part of the effect of the genocide on domestic violence is driven by changes in the marriage market sex ratios across localities and over time, which were mainly induced by the conflict. These results suggest that, through changes in intra-household bargaining, civil conflicts may impair the well-being of women and children in the long-term.

Link to paper (May 2015)

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Women’s Choice to Pursue Professional Careers (joint with Sarah Kroeger)

Abstract: We examine the impact of assisted reproductive technology on women’s choice to pursue professional careers. We hypothesize that the availability of assisted reproductive technology increases the expected benefits of a professional degree by allowing women to delay childbearing in their 20s and 30s while establishing their careers, thereby reaping greater financial benefit from human capital investment. We exploit the state and time level variation in the enactment of insurance mandates to cover infertility treatments in employer sponsored health plans, as well as cohort variation in women’s age at the time the laws are passed. These insurance mandates dramatically increase access to assisted reproductive technology. Using a triple-difference strategy, we find that amandate to cover assisted reproductive technology does increase the probability that a woman chooses to invest in a professional degree and to work in a professional career.

Link to USF working paper (February 2015)

“Hobos”, “Stars” and Immigrant Entrepreneurship (joint with Shulamit Kahn and Megan MacGarvie)

Abstract: We use data from a large survey of scientists and highly educated individuals to study determinants of science and non-science entrepreneurship for immigrants and natives. Conditional on standard factors, immigrants are significantly more likely to become entrepreneurs even after controlling for their relative position on the ability spectrum (measured by wage residuals.) This result is consistent with a Roy model assuming immigrants have high entrepreneurial ability. There is a hobo/star pattern only for non-science entrepreneurship. For science entrepreneurship, only middle and high-ability individuals enter entrepreneurship, consistent with high entry costs. These findings have important implications for immigration policy. The use of NSF data does not imply NSF endorsement of the research, research methods, or conclusions contained in this report. Any errors are our own responsibility.

Draft available upon request


Intergenerational Mobility and Health Inequalities at Birth: The Role of the Father (joint with Osea Giuntella) 

Abstract: This paper exploits a novel dataset linking the birth records of two generations in Florida to examine how the intergenerational transmission of birth weight differs by parent gender. Using confidential information on parents’ identity, we link the records of all infants born between 1989 and 2013 to the birth records of their parents who were born in Florida between 1970 and 1988. The causal effect of parent birth weight is estimated using parental grandmother fixed effects. Our results reveal a strong and significant transmission of birth weight from fathers to children. By comparison, father’s birth weight has a smaller impact on the child’s birth weight relative to mother’s birth weight, but the effect is still sizeable. Socio-economic status mediates the intergenerational transmission of birth weight from mothers to children, but we find no mediating effect for fathers. These findings imply that, by substantially affecting the birth outcomes of the next generation, paternal health endowments at birth will in turn exacerbate birth inequalities and their persistence across generations.

Draft available upon request


La Mattina, Giulia. “Conflict migration and social networks: empirical evidence from Sri Lanka.” Rivista di Politica Economica 98, no. 11 (2008): 161.