Tom Zohar
Job Market Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Available for virtual interviews at ASSA and EEA or at your convenience

Curriculum Vitae

Primary Field:
Labor Economics

Secondary field:
Public Economics

Expected Graduation Date:
June, 2021

Dissertation Committee:

Ran Abramitzky (Primary):

Liran Einav:

Petra Persson:

Isaac Sorkin:

Job Market Paper

Out of Labor and into the Labor Force? The Role of Abortion Access, Social Stigma, and Financial Constraints (with Nina Brooks) [Appendix] [Video (7 min)]
This paper studies the effects of abortion access on fertility and women's career outcomes. To establish causality, we leverage a policy change that increased the eligibility age cutoff for free abortion in Israel in 2014. We use newly constructed administrative data that allows us to track abortions, births, employment, earnings, and formal education for the universe of Israeli women over a seven-year period. We show that access to free abortion increases the abortion rate but does not increase conceptions. Instead, the result is driven by more abortions among poor women who live in religious communities where abortion is socially stigmatized. This finding suggests that when abortion is free, poor women do not need to consult family members for financial support, which allows them to have an abortion in private. In the medium-run, access to free abortion delays parenthood, increases human capital investment, and shifts employment towards the white-collar sector, suggesting a large career opportunity cost of unplanned parenthood. Finally, we show that if the government's objective is to remove financial constraints to abortion access, means-tested funding does a better job than the existing age-based policy.

Working Papers

A Quantitative Decomposition of the Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings (with Caue Dobbin)
Children of high-income parents are more likely to earn a high income themselves. This pattern can be, in part, attributed to differences in human capital, since early life conditions are essential in building skills. However, in an imperfect labor market, individuals with the same abilities and different family backgrounds might end up with different outcomes, due to wage-setting and hiring policies. In this paper, we quantify the contribution of factors other than skill to the intergenerational persistence of earnings. For this purpose, we decompose the observed correlation between father's and children's earnings into labor market participation, firm-specific wage premium, and skill. We find that differences in labor market participation and access to better-paying firms are responsible for 28% and 22% of the intergenerational elasticity of earnings, respectively.

Work In-Progress

Head to the Foxes or Tail to the Lions? The Importance of within Location Ordinal Rank in Childhood Environment (with Tslil Aloni and Hadar Avivi)
Little in known about the importance of household relative income rank within a location on the adulthood outcomes of the child. In this project we answer this question in the context of childhood location environment, conditional on family resources and locations effects. Our preliminary results suggest a U-shape relationship - kids from both poor and rich families, relative to their location income distributions, enjoy a strong and positive effect on adulthood earnings compared to the median household earners in their location. Furthermore, being of low rank within a locality boosts one's high-school and SAT outcomes, as well as obtaining a post-secondary degree. However, we do not see these education effects for children from high rank within a locality, suggesting that the increase in adulthood earnings for the relatively rich children downstream through other channels.

Why is There Positive Assortative Matching? (with Caue Dobbin)
It has been extensively documented that a substantial share of income inequality can be associated with the sorting of workers to firms. However, not all dimensions of firm heterogeneity are captured in the data. Amenities, such as bonuses, health care benefits and in-kind payments, are rarely observed; while non-monetary amenities, such as prestige, never are. Therefore, welfare inequality can be distinct from income inequality if high earners are sorted into high or low amenities firms. We investigate the issue by comparing the flows of different types of workers between firms. We find that poor workers who are employed in low-pay firms have large earnings gains when they change firms and, as a consequence, are very likely to leave such firms. Rich workers, on the other hand, are not more likely to leave low-pay firms than high-pay ones, even though they also enjoy large earnings gains when they leave low-pay firms. From a revealed preference perspective, we conclude that top- earners receive a large share of their compensation as non-observed amenities. As a consequence, inequality measures based on earnings will be downward biased.