Celina Proffen

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics
at Goethe University Frankfurt

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Research Interests: Development Economics, Structural Transformation, Labor Economics, Political Economy


Do Political Conflicts Influence Daily Consumption Choices? Evidence from US-China Relations (with Lukas Jürgensmeier)
[published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization]

Does political conflict with another country influence domestic consumers' daily consumption choices? We exploit the volatile US-China relations in 2018 and 2019 to analyze whether US consumers reduce their visits to Chinese restaurants when bilateral relations deteriorate. We measure the degree of political conflict through negativity in media reports and rely on smartphone location data to measure daily visits to over 190,000 US restaurants. A deterioration in US-China relations induces a significant decline in visits not only to Chinese but also to other foreign ethnic restaurants, while visits to typical American restaurants increase. We identify consumers' age, race, and cultural openness to moderate the strength of this ethnocentric effect.

Work in progress

Does a Passport Get You a Degree? Citizenship Reform and Educational Achievement (with Franziska Riepl)
[find the working paper on SSRN]

Obtaining citizenship is often considered a crucial step in the lives of second-generation immigrants. However, the application procedures are considered a major administrative and personal hurdle. We study how the introduction of birthright citizenship in Germany shaped the lives of these individuals, allowing them to integrate into German society with more ease and access various social and economic benefits. 

In our study, we exploit the design of the citizenship reform and rely on a combination of high-quality survey and census data to examine its long-run effects on school performance, access to higher education, and school-to-work transitions.  We aim to shed light on the mechanisms underlying the observed effects, and investigate the role of increased parental investments and an ameliorated sense of belonging. Our study has important implications for policymakers promoting immigrant integration and equal access to opportunities and benefits.

Does Electrification Matter for Child Development? Evidence from Ethiopia

Despite mixed empirical evidence, policymakers often justify costly electrification programs with their positive impact on child development. This paper examines the impacts of a large-scale grid-electrification program in rural Ethiopia using high-quality panel data on nearly 1,200 children and their families. Upon gaining access to electricity, there are important changes in children's daily routines, including reduced hours spent sleeping or helping their families. In addition, I document significant increases in children's educational investments, which are particularly pronounced for females.

How Does Technological Progress Matter for Intra-Household Resource Allocation at Early Stages of Development? 

Electrification is often thought of as a prime example of technological progress. While there is abundant evidence on how technological progress alters aggregate economic structures in developing countries, there is little evidence on how it affects intra-household decision-making. This project exploits a large-scale rural electrification program in Ethiopia and combines it with geocoded micro-data on households’ time and resource allocations. It then analyses how key outcomes of interest, such females’ labor market participation and decision making power, change after gaining access to technologies that arguable reduce the burden of tasks that are traditionally attributed to females.

How Regulations Matter for Labor Market Outcomes: A Joint Review of Product and Labor Market Regulations (with David Alzate, Eliana Carranza, Joana Duran-Franch, and Truman Packard )

We conduct an extensive review of the literature on product and labor market regulations, underscoring their often overlooked interconnectedness. The evidence indicates that although traditional labor policies primarily focus on the labor market, promoting contestable and competitive product markets can significantly enhance employment and workers outcomes, especially in developing countries.  The intricate relationship between product and labor markets also suggests that aligning labor regulations with the specific context of each country's product market is crucial for effective labor regulatory policy.