CV - Job Market Paper  

Bellés-Obrero, Cristina

Job market candidate

Contact information

Tel. +34 93 542 1191

[email protected]

Available for Interviews at :

Simposio de la Asociación Española de Economía (SAEe), December 15-17, Bilbao, Spain

Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA), January 6-8, Chicago, US


Research interests

Economics of Education, Health Economics, Experimental Economics, Behavioral Economics

Placement officer

Filippo Ippolito
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Robin Hogarth
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Sergi Jiménez-Martín
[email protected]

Jose Apesteguia
[email protected]

Marc Vorsatz
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Antonio Cabrales
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"Who is Learning? A Field Experiment Comparing Three Different Incentive Schemes in the Same Educational Setting"(Job Market Paper)
We conduct a randomized control trial at a distance learning university to compare three monetary incentive schemes with different performance targets for students. The first treatment (Threshold) provides a reward for students who achieve a grade threshold, the second (Top percentile) for students in the top of their class, and the third (Improvement) for those that improve their expected grade. As students do not interact personally, the setting is particularly advantageous for controlled experimentation and avoids possible spillovers. We find no average effects for incentives but there are interactions between types of students and incentive treatments. The effect of the “Top percentile” incentive is positive for students with a high and negative for students with a low intrinsic motivation. The “Threshold” and “Improvement” incentives have positive effects on students with more experience with the incentivized task and negative effects on those with less experience. Interestingly, incentives foster students’ strategic behavior that is triggered by the way performance is measured (multiple choice exam with penalties for incorrect answers). The study emphasizes the need to understand how the characteristics of different incentive schemes interact with those of the persons being incentivized.

“The Effect of Increasing the Legal Working Age on Women’s Fertility and Infant Health”, with Sergi Jiménez-Martín and Judit Vall-Castelló, Submitted
We use an exogenous variation in the Spanish legal working age that was introduced in 1980 to investigate the effect of a child labor regulation on fertility and infant health. We show that the reform increased educational attainment and decreased marriage and fertility. However, we also find evidence that the reform is detrimental for the health of the offspring at the moment of delivery. We document three channels contributing to this detrimental effect: the postponement in age of delivery, the change in the maternal marital status, and the improvement in the labor market conditions of more educated women, which increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking for the affected cohorts. Our results are more relevant, from a policy perspective, to developing countries whose educational system, child labor market participation rates, and women’s social development are similar to the levels that Spain was experiencing around 1980.

“Teacher Performance Pay and Student Learning: Evidence from a Nationwide Program in Peru”, with María Lombardi
We study a nationwide teacher pay-for-performance program implemented in public secondary schools in Peru in 2015, and examine its impact on student performance. The program takes the form of a tournament, awarding a bonus of over a month's salary to the principal and every teacher from schools in the top 20 percent within a group of comparable schools. Exploiting the fact that the main performance measure used to rank schools in this tournament is the average score of 8th graders in a 2015 standardized test, we perform a difference-in-differences estimation comparing changes in the internal grades of 8th graders before and after the incentive was introduced to those of 9th graders from the same school. We find that the teacher pay-for-performance program had a precisely estimated zero effect on student achievement, allowing us to reject impacts greater than 0.017 standard deviations, well below those previously found in the literature. We provide evidence against a series of potential explanations, and argue that this zero effect can be explained by some of the program's characteristics, which may have hindered teachers' ability to improve the incentivized outcome or infer their probability of winning.


“Bad Times, Slimmer Children?”, with Sergi Jiménez-Martín and Judit Vall-Castello, Forthcoming Health Economics, 2016

Research Papers in Progress

“Could Framing in Feminine Shrink Grading Gender Gap in Male-Stereotyped Courses?”, with Helena Hernández-Pizarro, Ana Costa and Ana Rodríguez

“Intergenerational Effects of a Child Labor Reform Over Children’s Health”, with Sergi Jiménez-Martín and Judit Vall-Castelló