Haruka Uchida

Welcome! I am a PhD candidate in Economics at the University of Chicago.

You can email me at uchida [at] uchicago [dot] edu.

Working Papers

with Alec Brandon, Justin Holz (JMP), and Andrew Simon

When minimum wages increase, discriminating employers may try to avoid regulatory burdens by substituting away from disadvantaged workers. We test this hypothesis using a resume correspondence study with 35,000 applications around three ex-ante uncertain minimum wage changes. Before the increases, applicants with distinctively Black names were 19% less likely to receive a callback than equally qualified applicants with distinctively white names. Announcements of minimum wage hikes substantially reduce the callbacks for both types of applicants but shrink the racial callback gap by 80% for the subsequent year for which we have data. We interpret our results through a hiring model to show that the gap shrinks because white applicants are more likely to be marginal, partly due to statistical discrimination. We show how researchers or policymakers can use our framework, without policy variation, to predict how labor market policies will change racial disparities in other settings.

*This project has been supported by a grant from the W.E. Upjohn Institute Early Career Research Award

When true quality is subjective or costly to discern, individuals may use group identities to discriminate. Blind evaluations are often proposed as a potential remedy; while non-blind scores are contaminated by reviewer biases, blind review limits the use of group identity to assess quality. I assess the efficacy of blinding evaluations using a natural field experiment at an academic conference. I randomly assign each submitted paper to both blind and non-blind reviewers. This design allows me to identify exactly which authors would be crowded out of the conference due to evaluator bias. I find that when author identities are known, reviewers score papers by male and prominent authors more favorably than papers by female and less-prominent authors, especially students. Blinding lowers scores for male and prominent authors, revealing reviewer favoritism towards these groups. While blinding particularly benefits students, effects by principal investigator gender are heterogeneous, suggesting that females face different levels of bias along the quality distribution. Blind scores perform at least as well as non-blind scores in predicting a paper's citations and publication status two years later.

with Juanna Joensen, John List, and Anya Samek

We combine a field experiment with structural estimation to study skill formation during adolescence. We randomize nearly 1,000 adolescents from low-income communities to distinct low-cost classroom interventions that lasted 10-11 weeks. We find that investments during adolescence can improve skills, particularly executive functioning skills. We estimate production functions for each treatment group to uncover the underlying mechanisms. The technology of skill formation itself is impacted by our interventions. Improvements in cognitive skills were driven by increases in returns to scale and the relative importance of investments, while improvements in executive functioning skills were driven by a level increase in efficiency. We find important heterogeneity in these mechanisms by initial skill levels, and illustrate that predictions about program impacts on high school graduation depend crucially on (i) the persistence of the change in technology (ii) how early the program starts, and (iii) the weight on executive functioning relative to cognitive skills in determining high school graduation. Our results suggest that the policymaker not paying attention to the adolescent years will miss out on a key sensitive period.