Princeton University Pre-Doctoral Economics Conference 2022

Jun 21, 12:00 pm5:00 pm


Event Description

This half-day conference provides an opportunity for pre-doctoral research assistants in economics and related fields to present their own research and obtain feedback about developing topics. Organized as a professional development event, in-person and virtual attendance is by invitation only.

For more information, contact organizers Harriet Brookes Gray and Santiago Deambrosi.


Headshot of Cate Brock

Cate Brock is a Senior Research Specialist in Princeton’s Industrial Relations Section, currently working with Professors Ellora Derenoncourt and David Lee. Her research interests include labor economics, law and economics, and applied micro.




Harriet Brookes Gray

Harriet Brookes Gray is a Senior Research Specialist at the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University, where she currently works with Dr. Leah Boustan. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Smith College.





Headshot of Kaan Cankat

Kaan Cankat is a Senior Research Specialist in the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University. His research interests are labor economics, intergenerational mobility, and inequality. He will join Princeton Economics as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2022.




Headshot of Santiago Deambrosi

Santiago Deambrosi is a Senior Research Specialist in Princeton’s Industrial Relations Section. He has experience at both Academia and Think Tanks, his interests are in labor economics and applied microeconomics.




Yinshan Shang headshot

Yinshan Shang is a Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy & Finance at Princeton University. She will join Princeton Economics as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2022. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Hong Kong.




Adityamohan Tantrayahi headshot

 Adityamohan Tantravahi is a Research Specialist at the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project at Princeton University where he works on the Development Finance in Fragile States team. His research is focused on the political economy of conflict and development, with a focus on international security, intrastate conflicts, natural resources, and international markets. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.



Conference Schedule

Time US ET Topic Session
12:00PM Crime

Slick Thievery: Oil Theft & Fuel Subsidies in the Niger Delta

Adi Tantravahi (with Jonah Rexer)

Do subsidy shocks in natural resource markets lead to increases in illicit activity? Despite their inefficiency, fuel subsidies are a common feature of fiscal regimes across the world. When a substantial share of domestic fuel supply is diverted to black markets, the removal of such subsidies may generate unintended incentives to increase illicit activity. We estimate the effect of increases in consumer-fuel costs on fuel thefts in the Niger Delta from 2006-2016 to show that macro level subsidy changes are associated with an increase in oil-theft incidents at the village level. Using a demand model, we show that households with high levels of black market access are less responsive to price shocks because of their ability to substitute to illicit fuel. Increases in theft offset the welfare losses to households of price increases. Illicit markets act as a buffer for households facing energy price shocks, but also erode the efficiency gains from removing subsidies.

12:40pm Crime

Studying the Impacts of Changes in Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws: Drug-Free School Zones
in Pennsylvania

Cate Brock

This project explores the impacts of overturning mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. To do this, I will examine the effects of removing a mandatory minimum sentence for drug offenses that occur within school zones in Pennsylvania on sentence length and severity using statewide data and data from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Future research will examine how prosecutorial and judicial discretion change when mandatory minimum sentences are repealed.

1:00pm BREAK Lunch
2:15pm Intergenerational Mobility

Intergenerational Mobility and Assortative Mating (1850-2000)

Harriet Brookes Gray (with Lukas Althoff and Hugo Reichardt)

Throughout modern history, the U.S. has been considered the land of opportunity. Documenting the evolution of intergenerational mobility of Americans has been challenging because the records of large fractions of the population, especially women, cannot be linked across decades because their last names typically change upon marriage. This paper gathers data from 41 million Social Security applications that include maiden and married names to link their Census records across decades. We document the evolution of intergenerational mobility and one of its major determinants, assortative mating, from 1850 to 2000. Based on this data, we test key assumptions that underlie popular methods to estimate intergenerational mobility, providing new implications for theory and measurement.

2: 55pm Intergenerational Mobility

Intergenerational Mobility in Early 20th Century

Kaan Cankat

This project examines intergenerational mobility at the top of the income distribution in the late 19th and early 20th century. To do this, the project will link a novel dataset to the 1870 and 1940 censuses to assess the persistence of income and wealth for the top 1% and 5% of income earners.

3:15pm BREAK  
3:30pm Education

Income and geographic segregation across colleges in China

Yinshan Shang (with Mingyu Chen and Ernest Liu)

College access has been a central topic in economics and education as higher education is a key driver of social mobility, especially for low-income students. We study segregation in the Chinese college admission system, where the distribution of seats depends on centralized exams and location quotas. We construct a novel county level income dataset covering nearly all counties in China and link it to the universe of college-admitted students in 2005–2011. We find that the admission rate to general college education is equal across all income groups. While students from low-income counties are disadvantaged in going to a handful of very top universities, this disadvantage nearly disappears when elite colleges are more generally defined (top 100 schools admitting less than 8 geographic variations of income and test performances to estimate income inequality within counties and find similar results. We find provinces have strong preference for local students, leading to geographic segregation in admission. Among students who leave their home provinces, those from higher-income counties also attend colleges at higher-income locations than their peers from low-income counties. Our evaluation of the provincial admission quota yields a counter-intuitive result: the location-based quota system does not contribute much in mitigating income segregation. While low-income provinces obtain more admission quota on aggregate, this did not create substantial benefits for the low-income students.

4:10pm Education

Anti-LGBTQ+ Curricula Harm School Climates: Evidence from Utah’s No Promo Homo

Santiago Deambrosi

I exploit rarely-used CDC data to study the causal impacts of Utah’s 2017 ’No Promo Homo’ repeal on a range of institutional, teacher, and student outcomes that these policies specifically target. I find that the repeal of the NPH policy immediately reversed decades-long barriers imposed to teachers and students alike. I argue that lessons from this study apply to other cultural censorships in American secondary schools today.

End of day   Group Photo


  • Industrial Relations Section
  • Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies