2021 Conference on Labor Economics & Public Finance

June 7, 2021

Location: Virtual

Organizers: Joseph Altonji and Costas Meghir

Note: The first session on the first day will start in Zoom.


Monday, June 7
9:55am to 10:00am


Joseph Altonji (Yale University)

10:00am to 10:40am Naoki Aizawa (University of Wisconsin-Madison), *Corina Mommaerts (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Stephanie Rennane (RAND Corporation), “Firm Investment, Labor Supply, and the Design of Social Insurance: Evidence from Accommodations for Workplace Disability”
10:40am to 11:20am *Zöe B. Cullen (Harvard University), Ricardo Perez-Truglia (University of California, Berkeley), “The Old Boys Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap” PDF icon [Appendix]
11:20am to 11:35am

Coffee Break

11:35am to 12:15pm *Winnie van Dijk (Harvard University), Deniz Dutz (University of Chicago), Ingrid Huitfeld (Statistics Norway ), Santiago Lacouture (University of Chicago), Magne Mogstad (University of Chicago), Alex Torgovitsky (University of Chicago), “Selection in Surveys”
12:15pm to 12:55pm *Conrad Miller (University of California, Berkeley), Ian Schmutte (University of Georgia), “Referral Hiring and Racial Inequality: Evidence from Brazil”
12:55pm to 1:25pm


1:25pm to 2:05pm Kristiina Huttunen (Aalto University), Martti Kaila (University of Helsinki), *Emily Nix (University of Southern California), “The Punishment Ladder: Estimating the Impact of Different Punishments on Defendant Outcomes”
2:05pm to 2:45pm *Manasi Deshpande (University of Chicago), Michael Mueller-Smith (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor), “Does Welfare Prevent Crime? Criminal Justice Involvement Among Youth Receiving Supplemental Security Income”
2:45pm to 3:00pm

Coffee Break

3:00pm to 3:40pm Britni Wilcher (American University), “Clinical Trial Sex Composition and Drug Quality”
3:40pm to 4:20pm *Jason Abaluck (Yale University), Mauricio Cáceres Bravo (Brown University), Peter Hull (University of Chicago), Amanda Starc (Northwestern University), “Mortality Effects and Choice Across Private Health Insurance Plans”
4:20pm to 5:00pm

Happy Hour


Jason Abaluck
(Yale University)
Costas Meghir
(Yale University)
Naoki Aizawa
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Robert Miller
(Carnegie Mellon University)
Claudia Allende
(University of Chicago)
Conrad Miller
(University of California, Berkeley)
Marcella Alsan
(Harvard University)
Corina Mommaerts
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Joseph Altonji
(Yale University)
Daniela Morar
(Yale University)
Julian Aramburu
(Yale University)
Giuseppe Moscarini
(Yale University)
Peter Arcidiacono
(Duke University)
Christian Moser
(Columbia University)
Jaime Arellano-Bover
(Yale University)
Michael Mueller-Smith
(University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)
David Autor
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Yusuke Narita
(Yale University)
Zack Barnett-Howell
(Yale University)
Christopher Neilson
(Princeton University)
Jason Baron
(Duke University)
Emily Nix
(University of Southern California)
Marianne Bertrand
(University of Chicago Booth)
Cormac O'Dea
(Yale University)
Michael Best
(Columbia University)
Yoko Okuyama
(Uppsala University)
Barbara Biasi
(Yale University)
Michael Pak
(Harvard University)
Sandra Black
(Columbia University)
Bobby Pakzad-Hurson
(Brown University)
Paula Calvo
(Yale University)
Marten Palme
(Stockholm University)
Eric Chyn
(Dartmouth College)
Jessica Pan
(National University of Singapore)
Zoe Cullen
(Harvard University)
Luca Perdoni
(Yale University)
Ellora Derenoncourt
(University of California, Berkeley)
Luigi Pistaferri
(Stanford University)
Manasi Deshpande
(University of Chicago)
Suphanit Piyapromdee
(University College London)
Will Dobbie
(Harvard University)
Vitor Possebom
(Yale University)
Deniz Dutz
(University of Chicago)
Stephanie Rennane
(RAND Corporation)
Chao Fu
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Ana Reynoso
(University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)
Juan Gambetta
(Yale University)
Evan Rose
(Microsoft Research)
John Geanakoplos
(Yale University)
Nina Roussille
(University of California, Berkeley)
YingHua He
(Rice University)
Sutanuka Roy
(Australian National University)
Marc Henry
(Pennsylvania State University)
Heather Royer
(University of California, Santa Barbara)
Hilary Hoynes
(University of California, Berkeley)
Heather Sarsons
(University of Chicago Booth)
Ingrid Huitfeldt
(Statistics Norway )
Ian Schmutte
(University of Georgia)
Peter Hull
(University of Chicago)
Amy Schwartz
(Syracuse University)
John Eric Humphries
(Yale University)
Sourav Sinha
(Yale University)
Kristiina Huttunen
(Aalto University)
Samuel Solomon
(Yale University)
Nghiem Huynh
(Yale University)
Suk Joon Son
(Yale University)
Kirabo Jackson
(Northwestern University)
Jaehee Song
(Yale University)
Damon Jones
(University of Chicago)
Jintaek Song
(Yale University)
Martti Kaila
(University of Helsinki)
Amanda Starc
(Kellog School of Management at Northwestern)
Adam Kapor
(Princeton University)
Christopher Taber
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
John Kennan
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Daniel Tannenbaum
(University of Nebraska - Lincoln)
Al Klevorick
(Yale University)
Alexander Torgovitsky
(University of Chicago)
Ami Ko
(Georgetown University)
Rebecca Toseland
(Yale University)
Gizem Kosar
(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
Cody Tuttle
(Princeton University)
Amanda Kowalski
(University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)
Winnie van Dijk
(Harvard University)
Ilyana Kuziemko
(Princeton University)
Alessandra Voena
(Stanford University)
Kevin Lang
(Boston University)
Edward Vytlacil
(Yale University)
Rasmus Lentz
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Ebonya Washington
(Yale University)
Xiangliang Li
(Yale University)
Britni Wilcher
(American University)
Ilse Lindenlaub
(Yale University)
Pengpeng Xiao
(Duke University)
Jeremy Lise
(University of Minnesota)
Kohei Yata
(Yale University)
Richard Mansfield
(University of Colorado at Boulder)
Diana Zhu
(Yale University)
Katherine Meckel
(University of California, San Diego)
Seth Zimmerman
(Yale University)
Costas Meghir
(Yale University)

Virtual Chair Frequently Asked Questions

Once you have signed-in to Virtual Chair, use your arrow keys to navigate around the virtual conference space. The following video has more details about using Virtual Chair.

Additional information can be found on the Virtual Chair Help Guide page.

The 2021 Cowles Summer Conferences will be held virtually using the Virtual Chair online platform. A separate invitation will be sent to participants with instructions on how to access the conference session you registered for. This brief overview video explains how to navigate the Virtual Chair space.

A list of frequently asked questions for Virtual Chair guests can be found on this FAQ page. To familiarize yourself with the different features available while attending a Virtual Chair session can be found on the Glossary Page.

Each conference space within Virtual Chair has a presentation area called a Plenary Room which is found at the top of the screen.  Navigate your avatar to the plenary room door to enter the room. To join the Zoom presentation, have your avatar take a seat on a vacant stool and press “X” on your keyboard. At this point you will be presented with a Zoom link on the screen. Clicking the link will automatically launch Zoom on your computer to watch the presentation. Steps below:

  1. Enter the Plenary Room at the top of the screen through either of the doorways.
    Virtual Chair Lobby
  2. After entering the Plenary Room, have your avatar sit on a vacant stool.

    Virtual Chair Plenary Room

  3. At this point, press the “X“ key on your keyboard to join the Zoom session; click the link to launch Zoom.
    Join Zoom

    Enter Zoom link

  4. Once the Zoom presentation has finished, click the Leave Meeting button to bring you back to the Virtual Chair session in your browser. Exit the Zoom browser tab if necessary and on the Virtual Chair browser page, click the green Re-enter button to bring you back to the plenary room.

The following video shows what the attendee will experience joining Zoom from Virtual Chair, and re-entering the Virtual Chair venue once exiting the Zoom session..

Visit the Virtual Chair help page for additional information on how to connect to Zoom sessions.

Your affiliation will be displayed if another participant clicks on your name. Additionally, you can display your affiliation on your avatar by using the Status field found in your avatar settings (click on your name at the bottom of the screen to display the settings).  To save the status text, click anywhere outside of the settings window. Click image below to view a help video or visit this help page.

You can see all participants who have signed-in to Virtual Chair by clicking the people icon in the toolbar found on the left of the screen.

If a paper discussion is to take place, the Virtual Chair venue has provided two areas in the main lobby where participants can congregate. The rug areas will be clearly marked with signs. To join the discussion, navigate your avatar onto the  rug where you will hear and see only those other participants in the discussion.

If your avatar is unable to access the rug becuase it is being blocked by another avatar, hold down the G key to move through the other avatars.

 Virtual Chair Lobby for Cowles Conference

Before joining a Virtual Chair conference session please take note of these recommendations:

  • Use a desktop or laptop computer, not a mobile device such as a phone or tablet
  • Use either Chrome or Firefox browsers to connect to a session
  • Disconnect from VPN before joining a session
  • Download and install Zoom video conference software to view speaker sessions

Joining a Virtual Chair conference session:

  1. An email will be sent to you containing information on how to access the conference session(s) you registered for. Follow the link in the email to access the Virtual Chair session webpage. Click the Join button on the Virtual Chair session webpage. Enter the provided password when prompted.
  2. When prompted, enter the password provided in the email.
    Password prompt
  3. You will then be prompted to enter your name and configure your Virtual Chair avatar. It is here that you can also verify that your computer camera and microphone are working. Click the Join the Gathering button to enter the Virtual Chair venue space.
    Virtual Chair avatar settings window
  4. You will enter the venue where you can use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate the space to converse with your colleagues.

Additional information can be found on the Virtual Chair Help Guide page, or in this Virtual Chair PDF Help Guide.

As with in-person conferences, you can approach anyone in the Virtual Chair venue to interact with colleagues. When you approach another participant, that person’s camera will appear at the top of your screen allowing you to converse. If you would like a more private conversation, you can sit at one of the tables in the lounge area. The number of chairs dictates the number of people who can interact with each other. If there are no empty chairs, no one else can join the conversation. Thus, if you want a one-on-one conversation, sit at a table with only two chairs.

Interacting with others

Seating Options

Private Table for two
Private table for two Table with four chairs Table with eight seats

You can find a schedule of all the presentation on the left sidebar. Click the calendar icon to show upcoming events listed at the top of the sidebar.

If you need assistance navigating Virtual Chair, you can contact a support person in one of the following ways:

Help Desk

In (virtual) Person

  • Walk to a virtual Helpdesk to discuss your question directly. Helpdesks will be located in the lobby

  • Chat one-on-one with a Helpdesk staff member by scrolling through the participant list and clicking on their name, then “message”. You can also search for the Helpdesk staff member using the search bar, found above the list of participants.


Via Email

  • Email the Virtual Chair staff to alert them if you have trouble navigating the event space     on gather.town; they are available at the unique help email found on your event’s  landing page.
  • Or email help@virtualchair.net and put the name of the event you’re attending in the subject line.

In order for Virtual Chair’s Helpdesk team to best assist you, it is recommended that you confirm which browser you are using, and provide either a screenshot or a description of the specific webpage where you encountered an issue. Specific information on troubleshooting audiovisual connection issues is available by clicking here.

Via the Web