Work in Progress

Race is a crucial determinant for educational attainment in the United States. Gaps in educational outcomes between white and non-white children are still stark. Public infrastructure potentially mitigates these inequalities. This paper examines the impact of public library closures, a loss of public indoor space, on U.S. educational outcomes between 2009 and 2018. Analyzing geo-located data on library closures and using an event study approach reveals that test scores declined in school districts that experienced closures. The effect is especially pronounced in districts with a predominantly poor and non-white student body. Looking into the mechanisms behind this effect, I show that losing quiet study space and internet access are key drivers behind this effect.

This paper investigates the relations between the uptake of marginal employment (ME), its connection to differences in income, and the duration of unemployment spells in Austria. Even though large earnings exemptions might distort job search incentives, ME could be a central tool for consumption smoothing during unemployment spells as well as a stepping stone into the regular labor market. If this is the case, ME should have differential outcomes for individuals with different income levels. To test this hypothesis empirically, I use administrative data from Austria, which contains information on the universe of unemployed individuals, their labor market history, and demographic variables from the early 2000s to today. Using duration analysis and double machine learning, I find that ME lengthens unemployment for all by 24 to 54 days. However, I find that this prolongation is smaller for low-income individuals and increases with income.

Peer-reviewed Publications

This article explores the gendered impact of school closures on paid work hours during the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria. Using data from the Austrian Corona Panel Project (ACPP) covering generalized school closures from March 2020 to April 2021, the study examines adjustments in work hours by gender and parental status. The descriptive data show general reductions in work time, especially in the first months. From July 2020 onward, however, mothers reduced work hours more than fathers when schools were closed – and they increased time spent on childcare, while fathers reduced theirs. Using OLS and fixed effects models, the study confirms that mothers reduced their work hours during school closures more than any other group. In contrast, fathers reduced their work hours the least – even less than individuals without children. Finally, there is some evidence that school closures capture policy stringency in high-incidence phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a family-centered care regime like the Austrian one, informal caregivers’ well-being is central, especially in times of increased pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper analyzes the connection between the quality of long-term care (LTC) services and informal caregivers’ well-being in Austria using a mixed methods approach. First, looking at data from the 2016 European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), an OLS model shows that where the quality of LTC services is rated higher, individuals report higher life satisfaction, independent of their caring responsibilities. The most important explanatory factor for caregivers’ well-being is the usage of such services. However, it does not offer conclusive insights into how well-being is influenced. Therefore, I undertake a qualitative analysis via an online questionnaire in which 20 informal caregivers participated between March and April 2020. The survey was created using the capabilities approach and evaluated by means of thematic analysis. The main findings show that low-quality LTC services mainly reduce well-being due to the irregularity of said services, which disrupts the daily routine. Highquality LTC services, on the other hand, improve well-being allowing caregivers to share responsibilities.

Conferences and Seminars

Policy Briefs