Sofie Cairo defends her PhD thesis

Sofie Cairo defends his PhD thesis:"Essays on Economic Consequences of Complex Public Policies and Fertility Desires"


Sofie Cairo

Title:"Essays on Economic Consequences of Complex Public Policies and Fertility Desires"

Time and place: 15 January 2021 at 14:00. Link to attend the PhD defense follows here: :

Assessment Committee

Associate Professor Mette Gørtz, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen (chairman)
Professor Gesine Stephan, Friedrich Alexander Universität, Germany
Professor Petter Lundborg, Lund University, Sweden

A copy of the thesis can be obtained from

The PhD dissertation consists of three self-contained chapters. In the first chapter, I study the importance of fertility desires of young women for their later life outcomes. Matching data from the Danish Longitudinal Survey of Youth with rich administrative records, I empirically investigate the direct link between young women’s fertility desires and their family formation and labor market outcomes. I find that desiring a large family translates into earlier childbearing and is associated with significant increases in realized fertility levels. Moreover, desiring a large family is associated with cumulative wage losses over working career equivalent to 8% of mean sample wage income. Wage losses reflect delayed labor market entry and decreased labor supply over working career among women desiring a large family reflected in less full-time employment and more part-time employment.
The second and third chapters focus on complex public policies, such as sanctions and work requirements, and their effect on job search and labor market outcomes of benefit recipients. These chapters rely on evidence from recent large-scale field experiments among Danish jobseekers conducted in collaboration with The Danish Agency for Labor Market and Recruitment.

In the second chapter, which is joint work with Steffen Altmann, Robert Mahlstedt, and Alexander Sebald, we study how job seekers’ understanding of complex unemployment insurance (UI) benefit rules affects their job search and labor market outcomes based on a randomized controlled trial among the universe of Danish UI benefit recipients. Our intervention exogenously promotes the usage of an online information tool that provides individuals with personalized information on how their accumulated working time can be used to prolong their potential benefit period. We match data from our experiment with an online survey and comprehensive administrative records. The intervention improves job seekers’ understanding of prevailing labor market rules significantly, while consequences for realized labor market outcomes crucially depend on timing of treatment. For long-term benefit recipients, who are close to benefit expiration, the treatment increases their probability of working in temporary and part-time jobs, but reduces their overall working hours and earnings.

In the third and last chapter, which is written with Robert Mahlstedt, we identify causal effects of warnings and information about enforced sanctions on subsequent labor market outcomes of welfare recipients based on a large-scale field experiment. We disentangle the effect of providing (i) general information about existing work requirements and (ii) personalized information regarding the individual’s own situation. Although warnings generally reduce the likelihood of being sanctioned, the provision of general information reduces subsequent earnings and working hours. Providing access to personalized information counteracts the negative effect of the warning and stimulates exits from welfare. The latter is partly explained by a greater usage of other types of income support not subject to the sanction regime. Information about already enforced sanctions improve the labor market performance of welfare recipients without the economic support of a partner.