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​​School resources, peer inputs, and student outcomes in adult education
    Economics of Education Review, vol. 96, October 2023. 
    Working paper version: IFAU Working paper 2023:9. Swedish report: IFAU Rapport 2024:4.

From epidemic to pandemic: Effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on high school program choices in Sweden

    Labour Economics, vol. 82, June 2023. Co-authored with Aino-Maija Aalto and Dagmar Müller.

    Working paper version: IZA DP No. 15107Media: IZA Newsroom and Sveriges Radio P4 Jönköping.


We examine whether parental and school investments reinforce or compensate for student performance. Our analysis exploits school-starting-age rules in 34 countries, capturing achievement variation that arises because younger children typically underperform their older peers. Parents respond to lower performance by providing additional homework help, while schools allocate weaker students to smaller classes and offer more remedial tutoring. Notably, parents provide more support to low-performing children in nearly all countries studied. Compensatory investments increase over grade levels, suggesting parents and schools respond as information about achievement is revealed. Moreover, our evidence suggests that parental and school investments are substitutes.

The demography of Sweden's transgender population – patterns, changes, and sociodemographics. Stockholm Research Reports in Demography No. 2023:22. Co-authored with Martin Kolk*, Emma von Essen, Ylva Moberg, and Ian Burn* denotes the lead author. Also available as an SSRN pre-print. Revised and resubmitted to Demography.

Our study examines the prevalence of gender transitions in Sweden over time and documents the sociodemographic characteristics of people transitioning in different periods. We use national administrative data covering the transgender population from 1973 to 2020 and analyze two common events in a gender transition: the earliest diagnosis of gender incongruence and the change of legal gender. We have three main findings. First, the measured prevalence of both types of events is relatively low in all periods, although it has increased substantially since the early 2010s. Second, the recent increase in transition prevalence is most pronounced among people in early adulthood; in particular, young transgender men drive an increase in overall transition rates through 2018, followed by moderate declines in 2019 and 2020. Third, transgender men and women have substantially lower socioeconomic outcomes than cisgender men and women, regardless of the age at which they transition or the historical period.

National administrative data in research on transgender people: A matter of sample definition? Co-authored with Emma von Essen*, Ian Burn, and Ylva Moberg* denotes the lead author. Submitted. Pre-print not publicly available. E-mail for draft.

When comparing research results on transgender people across studies, it is often implicit that the country-specific samples are representative of the entire transgender population in that country. This paper examines whether different sample definitions of transgender people, stemming from the same legal and cultural context, are associated with different sociodemographic characteristics and stages of the life course. Using population-wide data from Sweden from 2005–2019, we explore sociodemographic characteristics using four common ways of identifying transgender people in the social science and public health literature. We find minor sociodemographic differences between the four samples. However, we demonstrate central differences arising from the definitions being tied to different milestones in a multifaceted gender transition process. Researchers exploring, for example, the effect of going through gender transition on labor earnings may reach conflicting conclusions because of differences in sample definitions.

Educational interventions that increase the quality or quantity of school resources may have a limited impact on student achievement if students lack sufficient effort or motivation. A more effective way of raising achievement could be incentivizing students to perform well in school.  In this paper, I study whether students respond to non-financial incentives for higher grades, exploiting a reform in Stockholm that made compulsory school grades the sole criteria for admission to high school.  Using a difference-in-differences design, I find that the reform increased students’ grade point average in compulsory school by 10% of a standard deviation on average. Estimates of the unconditional quantile treatment effects show that the largest shifts occurred just above the middle of the grade distribution, where the performance incentives were strongest. I perform a variety of checks to support the hypothesis that these effects were driven by changes in student effort rather than changes in school grading practices.  My findings suggest that behavioral responses from students drive the results. Thus, strengthening the performance incentives implicit in the design of the education system can have a positive effect on student achievement.

Degree selectivity and teachers' initial job placements. Under revision. To access an old version that was part of my PhD thesis, click here and go to chapter 3 of the manuscript.

Teachers with stronger academic credentials tend to work in schools with students from more advantaged backgrounds. This paper contributes to an emerging literature on the mechanisms that drive these sorting patterns. With register data covering all college graduates and teachers in Chile between 2007 and 2020, I examine whether earning a more selective teaching degree has a causal effect on the type of schools where graduates teach at the start of their career. For identification, I exploit a college placement mechanism that generates hundreds of admission cutoffs around which access to more selective teaching programs is essentially random. Using the variation around these cutoffs in a regression discontinuity design, I find suggestive evidence that graduating from a more selective teacher program has an effect on teachers' initial job placements. In particular, it increases the probability of working in more urbanized areas and in publicly-subsidized private schools.


Reacting to rejection: Information shocks in high school choice
(with Petter Berg)
Peer gender composition and student outcomes in high school and beyond
(with Aino-Maija Aalto)
Formal adult education and mental health
(with Anders Stenberg)
The effect of gender-affirming care on mental health and labor market outcomes
(with Ian BurnEmma von Essen, and Ylva Moberg)
Changing legal gender with or without mandated sterilization: Impacts on transgender health and earnings
(with Ylva Moberg, Rinni Norlinder, and Emma von Essen)
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