Andres Barrios Fernandez

Ph.D. in Economics, LSE





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I am a Senior Researcher at VATT and an Associate in the Centre for Economic Performance. I completed my Ph.D. at the Department of Economics of LSE supervised by Steve Pischke and Johannes Spinnewijn. My research interests cover topics on labor and public economics.


Should I Stay or Should I go? Neighbors' Effects on University Enrollment (Submitted)
CEP Discussion Paper Version

This paper investigates whether the decision to attend university depends on university enrollment of close neighbors. I create a unique dataset combining detailed geographic information and educational records from different public agencies in Chile, and exploit the quasi-random variation generated by the rules that determine eligibility for student loans. I find that close neighbors have a large and significant impact on university enrollment of younger applicants. Potential applicants are around 11 percentage points more likely to attend university if a close neighbor enrolled the year before. This effect is particularly strong in areas with low exposure to university and among individuals who are more likely to interact; the effect decreases both with geographic and social distance and is weaker for individuals who have spent less time in the neighborhood. I also show that the increase in university attendance translates into retention and university completion. These effects are mediated by an increase in applications rather than by an improvement on applicants' academic performance. This set of results suggests that policies that expand access to university generate positive spillovers on close peers of the direct beneficiaries.

It's Time to Learn: School Institutions and Returns to Instruction Time (Submitted) with Giulia Bovini. #Data #Code

This paper investigates whether the effects of a reform that substantially increased daily instruction time in Chilean primary schools vary depending on school institutions. Focusing on legacy enrollment students and exploiting an IV strategy, we find that longer daily schedules increase reading scores at the end of fourth grade and that the benefits are greater for pupils who began primary education in no-fee charter schools rather than in public schools. We provide evidence that these two types of publicly subsidized establishments, which cater to similar students but differ in the degree of autonomy, expand the teaching input in different ways: in order to provide the additional instruction time, no-fee charter schools rely more on hiring new teachers and less on increasing teachers’ working hours than public schools.

Sibling Influence on University Choices: Evidence from Chile, Croatia and Sweden (New draft coming soon)
with Adam Altmejd, Marin Drlje, Christopher Neilson and Dejan Kovac.

How are university choices shaped by siblings' experience in higher education? Using administrative data from Chile, Croatia and Sweden, this paper investigates how university applications and enrollment decisions are influenced by the path followed by older siblings in higher education. In these three countries, universities select their students using deferred acceptance admission systems. We exploit the quasi-random variation generated by thousands of admission cutoffs and show that individuals are more likely to apply and enroll in both the institution and the specific program of an older sibling. However, we find no spillovers in field of study choice. These results persist for siblings far apart in age, who are unlikely to attend higher education at the same time. We discuss three broad classes of mechanisms and present evidence consistent with the transmission of information being a relevant driver of spillovers. Spillovers are stronger for programs with better peers, lower dropout rates and in which graduates perform better in the labor market. Older siblings' experience in university also seems to be important, suggesting that individuals learn through their siblings if specific programs or institutions are a good match for them.