CV - Job Market Paper  

Hernandez-Pizarro, Helena

Job market candidate

Contact information

C. Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Tel. +34 93 542 2696

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

Public Economics, Health Economics, Applied Microeconometrics (Education, Family, Gender and Behavioral)

Placement officer

Filippo Ippolito


Guillem López-Casasnovas

Maarten Lindeboom

Pilar García-Gómez

Catia Nicodemo


"The Effect of the Long-Term Care Benefits on Mortality" (Job Market Paper)

n OECD countries, 50% of adults aged 65 and over are, to some extent, limited in daily activities. In fact, 20% of the over sixty-fives are severely limited. Long-Term Care (LTC) policies aim to improve the life of those individuals, who have lost their autonomy, and soften the burden they bear. This translates to an average expenditure on LTC of 1.7% of GDP in OECD countries. Yet, no little evidence has shed light on the effects of LTC policies on the beneficiaries. This paper analyses the effects of public LTC benefits on mortality. The allocation of benefits is based on the level of LTC needs, which are assessed by examiners following official guidelines. To estimate the causal effect of LTC benefits on mortality, I exploit the quasi-random assignment of examiners to LTC applicants in Spain. Given the variation in examiners’ leniency (tendency to positively adjust the need assessment), applicants assigned to more lenient examiners are more prone to get access to a higher degree of benefits. Estimates based on Spanish LTC beneficiaries (2008-2014) indicate that access to greater benefits can be effective in extending beneficiaries’ life. When the level of LTC needs is moderate, LTC is more effective in postponing death, as care prevents or delays the impairments’ worsening. While policy-makers tend to prioritise the provision of LTC to individuals with high needs, these findings emphasise the provision of LTC to those at initial stages of LTC needs.

"Against the Discontinuity Trap: the Case of Long-Term Care in Spain"with G. López-Casasnovas and C. Nicodemo
This paper examines the unintended strategic effects non-linear incentives in public policies. In particular, a system of allowances structured by brackets may lead to opportunism or gaming. We provide new evidence of this by focusing on the strategic action taken by health care workers. We show that they upgrade claimants in the needs assessments, which enables the latter to access to larger allowances. Health care workers themselves do not extract any monetary return from this action. Using a natural experiment, the Spanish Long-Term Care (LTC) system, we show that LTC benefit claimants tend to accumulate after the thresholds. These bunches reveal that health care workers behave altruistically helping the claimants to jump into a higher degree of benefits without discriminating by health status, residence or gender. By developing a new estimator, we prove that the adjustments lead to a welfare loss. The cost per each adjusted claimant is on average of 1000 euros extra annually. We propose an alternative continuous system to allocate the LTC benefits. This could reduce the excess of health-care workers’ altruism as it eliminates the discontinuity in benefits.

"Inequality in LTC Public Benefits"with G. López-Casasnovas and P. García-Gómez
In 2006, the Spanish Government passed a Universal LTC Act aiming to guarantee that the LTC needy receive the assistance they require, regardless of their financial capabilities. This paper studies whether the system has achieved its equity goal. Using administrative data on the universe of recipients of LTC, the temporal approach between 2009 and 2015 becomes especially relevant as it allows us to analyse the effects of the 2012 Reform. The reform, comprised with Crisis-Cut Spanish Adjustment, reduces the generosity of the benefits non-proportionally, i.e. informal caregivers’ subsidies were shrunk comparatively more than other type of benefits. Our findings suggest that the system is not equitable as the type of LTC allowances are distributed differently across socioeconomic groups. The take-up of LTC services is pro-poor, whilst the rich prefer a voucher to cover LTC expenses. For the most preferred type of benefit, informal caregiver, we find small but significant pro-rich estimates. Yet, the intensity of this care-option is pro-poor, as the rich combines it with professional care while the poor have disproportionally more informal caregiving as a unique benefit. Regarding the second preferred benefit, nursing homes, the system evolves towards equity, although the type differs: public services of nursing homes are pro-poor and voucher to get nursing homes are pro-rich. While there is no quality difference between differently funded nursing homes, the poor suffers from longer waiting time to access, given capacity constraints of public nursing home, especially after the Cuts. Concerning other type of benefits, formal home services are pro-poor, while tele-care is pro-rich and day care centres have equal use.

"Explaining the Seasonality Pattern of Births", with J. Vall-Castello and A. Costa

"Benefits of Mental Health Literacy: Beyond the Primary Intended Effects", with A. Costa

"Could "Framing in Feminine" Shrink Grading Gender Gap in Male-Stereotyped Courses", with C. Belles-Obrero, A. Costa and A. Rodríguez

Other Publications

“Research on the Effect of Minimum Wage on Enrollment Rate for Post-Compulsory Education", with Y. Kato and A. Martelli, Addenda Review, Spring 2012. (Master Thesis M.Sc. in Economics)