- Ballis, B., Lusher, L., Martorell, P., The Effects of Exam Frames on Student Effort and Performance. Economics of Education Review, 2022 [pdf copy]
- Lusher, L., Schnorr, G., Taylor, R., Unemployment Insurance as a Worker Indiscipline Device? Evidence from Scanner Data. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2022 [pdf copy] [IZA DP No. 14105 - February 2021]
- Kurlaender, M., Lusher, L., Case, M., Is Early Start a Better Start? Evaluating California State University's Early Start Remediation Efforts. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2020 [pdf copy] [IZA DP No. 12548 - August 2019]
- Lusher, L., Yasenov, V., Luong, P., Does Schedule Irregularity Affect Productivity? Evidence from Random Assignment into College Classes. Labour Economics, 2019 [pdf copy - August 2018] [IZA DP No. 11079 - October 2017]
- Campbell, D., Lusher, L., The Impact of Real Exchange Rate Shocks on Manufacturing Workers: An Autopsy from the MORG. Journal of International Money and Finance, 2019 [pdf copy] --- Media: VoxEU, Economist's View
- Lusher, L., Campbell, D., Carrell, S., TAs Like Me: Racial Interactions between Graduate Teaching Assistants and Undergraduates. Journal of Public Economics, 2018 [pdf copy] [NBER working paper 21568] --- Media: Slate, Inside Higher Ed, Washington Examiner, The National Review, The Daily Illini
- Lusher, L., He, C., Fick, S., Are Professional Basketball Players Reference-Dependent? Applied Economics, 2018 [pdf copy]
- Lusher, L., Yasenov, V., Gender Performance Gaps: Quasi-experimental Evidence on the Role of Gender Differences in Sleep Cycles. Economic Inquiry, 2018 [pdf copy] [IZA Discussion Paper No. 10012 - June 2016] --- Media: The Washington Post, The Independent, Education Week, The National Post, IZA Newsroom
- Lusher, L., Yasenov, V., Double-shift Schooling and Student Success: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Europe. Economics Letters, 2016 [pdf copy]
"Clubs and Networks in Economics Reviewing" (with Scott Carrell and David Figlio) [pdf copy - December 2021]
-Revise & resubmit: Journal of Political Economy
Abstract: The network of economists who publish in leading journals is generally perceived as small, exclusive, and tightly knit. We study how author-editor and author-reviewer network connectivity and “match” influences editor decisions and reviewer recommendations of economic research at the Journal of Human Resources (JHR). Our empirical strategy employs several dimensions of fixed effects to overcome concerns of endogenous assignment of papers to editors and reviewers in order to identify causal impacts. Results show that clubs and networks play a large role in influencing both editor and reviewer decisions. Authors who attended the same PhD program, were ever colleagues with, are affiliates of the same NBER program(s), or are more closely linked via coauthorship networks as the handling editor are significantly more likely to avoid a desk rejection. Likewise, authors from the same PhD program or who previously worked with the reviewer are significantly more likely to receive a positive evaluation. We also find that sharing “signals” of ability, such as publishing in “top five”, attending a high ranked PhD program, or being employed by a similarly ranked economics department significantly influences editor decisions and/or reviewer recommendations.
"Unpacking P-hacking and Publication Bias" (with Abel Brodeur, Scott Carrell, & David Figlio) [pdf copy - July 2021]
-Revise & resubmit: American Economic Review
Abstract: We use unique data from journal submissions to identify and unpack publication bias and p-hacking. We find that initial submissions display significant bunching, suggesting the abnormal distribution among published statistics cannot be fully attributed to a publication bias in peer review. Desk rejected manuscripts display greater heaping than those sent for review, suggesting editors "sniff out" marginally significant results. Reviewer recommendations, on the other hand, are swayed significantly by statistical thresholds. The overall effect of peer review slightly smooths the distribution of test statistics. Lastly, tracking rejected papers, we find that never-published manuscripts display greater heaping than their eventually-published counterparts.
"Slow Traffic, Fast Food: The Effect of Time Lost on Food Choice" (with Panka Bencsik & Rebecca Taylor) [pdf copy - August 2022]
Abstract: More Americans are eating fast food and experiencing overweight and obesity issues than ever before. Studies have found that time scarcity is one of the strongest correlates of fast food consumption, more so than other factors, including income. We match daily, store-specific foot traffic data traced via smartphones for the complete census of food-specific stores to highway traffic monitors in the county of Los Angeles for 2017-2019 to estimate the causal effect of time lost via highway congestion on food store choice. We estimate an increase in dining out on days when highways are more congested: a standard deviation increase in daily traffic delay induces a 1% increase in both fast food and full-service restaurant visits. This is the equivalent of 1.7 million more fast food visits annually. The effects are particularly pronounced for afternoon rush hour traffic. We show that temporal substitution is not present; people are not simply changing the day they eat out. Moreover, visits to supermarkets weakly decrease in response to traffic delay. Overall, our results imply a net reduction in healthy food store choice in response to time lost.
"Congestion on the Information Superhighway: Does Economics Have a Working Papers Problem?" (with Scott Carrell & Winnie Yang) [NBER WP 29153 - August 2021]
Abstract: Using data on the NBER working paper series, we show that the dissemination of economics research suffers from a congestion problem: An increase in the number of weekly released working papers on average reduces downloads, abstract views, and media attention for each paper. Subsequent publishing and citation outcomes are harmed as well. Papers written by prominent authors are not immune to this congestion effect. Finally, suggestive evidence on viewership and downloads implies that working papers substitute for the dissemination function of publication. These results highlight inefficiencies in the dissemination of economic research even among the most exclusive working paper series and suggest large social losses due to the slow publication process.
"Peer Review Exhibits the Gambler's Fallacy" (with Scott Carrell and David Figlio) [pdf copy - April 2020]
Abstract: Using data on reviewer recommendations for submitted manuscripts from a top field journal in economics, where we observe multiple reviewers per paper and multiple papers per reviewer, we find evidence of a negative autocorrelation in reviews: A reviewer is significantly more likely to give a negative recommendation on a manuscript if their recommendation on the manuscript they most recently reviewed was positive. This phenomenon cannot be explained by potential differences in paper quality assigned across reviewers. This evidence is consistent with the gambler's fallacy - reviewers underestimate the probability of streaks occurring by chance, leading to negatively autocorrelated recommendations. Proxied with various measures, reviewers of greater expertise are less susceptible to this issue. Furthermore, female reviewers exhibit zero negative autocorrelation. We find no evidence that particular types of authors were harmed from these biases.
"Major Disappointment: A Large-scale Experiment on (Non-) Pecuniary Information and Major Choice" (with Scott Carrell and Derek Rury) [collecting additional data]
Abstract: Studies suggest providing information to undergraduate students can influence their preference of major. To test the scalability of information treatments on actual major decisions, we conducted several large-scale field experiments across over 13,000 undergraduate students. Three treatment arms separately provided pecuniary, major satisfaction, and job-relatedness information. Despite nearly half of freshmen switching their major at some point during their undergraduate tenure, we find that our information treatments had no impact on major choice. These results hold for various subsamples, outcomes, and specifications. Our results suggest caution on the promise of information provision influencing major choice.
"College Better: Parimutuel Betting Markets as a Commitment Device and Monetary Incentive" [more experiments ongoing]
[Recipient of the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (#1559150), the Russell Sage Foundation Small Grants in Behavioral Economics, the J-PAL NA Full Research Project Grant, and the 2015 and 2016 UC Davis ISS Dissertation Improvement Grants]
Abstract: An extensive literature has investigated the efficacy of monetary incentive programs in education. This paper examines the role of commitment and motivation by evaluating a program called CollegeBetter.com which acts as a commitment device and monetary incentive to improve undergraduate academic performance. The zero-sum mechanism is based off a parimutuel betting market, where students join a pool by placing a monetary wager on themselves to achieve the pool's "commitment challenge." Students who successfully commit to the challenge 1) recover their wager and 2) split losing wagers equally. Through a series of surveys and field experiments, I find that students who signed up for the program were low-achieving, overconfident, and self-identified procrastinators. In contrast, commonly-used measures of time-preferences (β-δ) were weak predictors of selection. Students randomly accepted to participate were more likely to raise their GPA than students who applied for a spot but were randomly excluded. This treatment effect was driven by students from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds and those with low GPAs entering the program. Consistent with loss aversion, having the student risk their own money is a principal contributor to the effectiveness of the mechanism.
Research in Progress:
"Stigma Goods, Self-checkout Adoption, and Changes in Purchasing Decisions" (w/ Rebecca Cardinali, Rebecca Taylor, & Sofia Villas-Boas)
"Survival of the Scandalous? Retractions, Failed Replications, and Salaries" (w/ Abel Brodeur)
"Minimum Wage and Higher Education" (w/ Scott Carrell & Alice Li)
"VOG: Using Volcanic Eruptions to Estimate the Impact of Particulates on Student Learning Outcomes" (w/ Aureo De Paula, Timothy Halliday, & Rachel Inafuku)
"Pocket Aces: Commitment and Incentives Against Smartphones for Students" (w/ Billur Aksoy & Scott Carrell)