June 18 - Eva RAIBER's PhD defense

June 18, 2019 Research

Eva Raiber will defend her thesis in economics on "Essays in Applied Microeconomics" on June 18th 2019, 8:30 am Room MQ 212 (Manufacture des Tabacs)..

Supervisor : Paul SEABRIGHT

Memberships are:

  • Eliana LA FERRARA, Professor at Bocconi University
  • Sylvie LAMBERT, Professor at Paris School of Economics
  • Emmanuelle AURIOL, Professor at Toulouse School of Economics (IAST)
  • Paul SEABRIGHT, Professor at Toulouse School of Economics (IAST)



This thesis consists of three chapters in applied microeconomics. Two chapters fall into the field of family economics and one into the field of the economics of religion.

The first chapter asks if anticipated future fertility affects educational investment. Theory suggests that the number of children planned in the future can affect the returns to education, the resources available for family consumption and the incentives to find a partner. This chapter uses varying eligibility criteria for second child permits during the One-Child Policy in China as a natural experiment, which provides plausible exogenous variation in the cost of the second child. I use second child permits that are conditional on time-invariant individual characteristics and show that they have a strong positive effect on the likelihood of having a second child between 1990 and 2005. They are therefore expected to change anticipated fertility among compliers. I find that fulfilling an eligibility criterion at secondary school age increases the time invested in education and the likelihood of continuing schooling after middle school. The effect appears concentrated in the subset of compliers: individuals who increase their anticipated number of children as a response to eligibility. It can be explained by the high cost of raising children, by the second child having no or only a short-term effect on parental labour supply and by concerns about finding a spouse.

The second chapter, co-authored with Weiwei Ren, Jeanne Bovet, Paul Seabright and Charlotte Wang, investigates marriage patterns and underlying preferences in China. We estimate mate preferences based on the evaluation of a series of randomly created profiles and connect our results to recent marriage patterns in the general population. Data is collected on parents (or other relatives) who search for a spouse on behalf of their unmarried adult child and on unmarried students. We confirm that male profiles with a high income and real estate ownership have a higher probability of being selected by parents than profiles with low income and no real estate, but not female profiles. We find that parents dislike profiles with less education than their son or daughter, but we do not find evidence for a dislike of female profiles with high education. However, some parents may have excessively high expectations about the educational level of their son-in-law. Parents mostly prefer male profiles with a similar age to their daughter and female profiles that are younger than their son. Yet, when their son is in his twenties, parents also accept women who are slightly older. If marriages formed according to parents’ preferences, the most common case would be the husband being 2 or 3 years older. Yet, in the general population, the most common case for recent marriages is spouses having the same age. This would be the case if marriages formed according to students’ preferences. Both parents’ and students’ preferences predict a high degree of assortativeness on education, which we observe in recently married couples in the overall population.The third chapter, co-authored with Emmanuelle Auriol, Julie Lassébie, Amma Panin and Paul Seabright, provides experimental support for the hypothesis that insurance can be a motive for religious donations by members of a Pentecostal church in Ghana. We randomize enrolment into a commercial funeral insurance policy, then church members allocate money between themselves and a set of religious goods in a series of dictator games with significant stakes. Members enrolled in insurance give significantly less money to their own church compared to a control group of members that only receive information about the insurance. Enrolment also reduces giving towards other spiritual goods. We set up a model exploring different channels of religiously based insurance. The implications of the model and the results from the dictator games suggest that adherents perceive the church as a source of insurance and that this insurance is derived from beliefs in an interventionist God. Survey results suggest that material insurance from the church community is also important and we hypothesize that these two insurance channels exist in parallel.