Alexandre Fon

Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, Los Angeles
Contact me at: afon@ucla.edu
CV [PDF]

I'm a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at UCLA and will be on the 2020-21 job market. I am an applied economist with an interest in labor, household, and development economics. My research combines theory and applied methods to answer questions about individual and household decision-making.

Headshot-Alexandre-Fon.jpg

Job market paper

Asymmetric Information in Households, with an Application to Bangladesh [PDF]

What is the effect of asymmetric information about income on household decisions, resource sharing, and welfare? In this paper, I answer this question in four steps. In the first step, I develop a theoretical model that accounts for the possible existence of asymmetric information. The model predicts that households will partly mitigate the welfare cost of asymmetric information by incentivizing the wage earner to provide information about his or her true income. These incentives are provided by making the consumption share increase with reported income: the wage earner’s consumption share is high when reporting a high income and low when reporting a low income. Second, I derive a new identification result for this model. The result states that individual welfare functions can be recovered with at least one assignable good - a good that is observed at the individual level rather than the household level. The result also shows that the effect of asymmetric information on individual welfare can be identified separately from other variables impacting welfare. Third, I estimate the model using a survey of Bangladeshi day laborers. The estimation confirms the predictions of the model, providing evidence that the households in the data are affected by asymmetric information. Finally, I conduct three counterfactual analyses to document how asymmetric information interacts with policies. I compute the willingness-to-pay in each case. 

Working papers

Individual Rather Than Household Euler Equations: Identification and Estimation of Individual Preferences Using Household Data with Maria Casanova and Maurizio Mazzocco [PDF]

In this paper, it is shown that the intratemporal and intertemporal preferences of each decision-maker in the household can be identified even if individual consumption is not observed. This identification result is used jointly with the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) to estimate the intratemporal and intertemporal features of individual preferences. This paper is one of the first attempts to provide estimates of the wife’s and husband’s intertemporal preferences by taking into account that household behavior is the outcome of joint decisions. The empirical findings indicate that there is heterogeneity in intertemporal preferences between wife and husband. The identification and estimation results are important for at least two reasons. First, they suggest that to answer policy questions the household decision process should be characterized using one set of preferences for each decision-maker. Second, the estimates of individual preferences provided in this paper can be used to evaluate policies aimed at affecting household intertemporal behavior.

The Effects of Paternity Leave: Evidence from the Introduction of a “Father’s Quota” in Quebec [PDF]

This paper uses a major reform of the parental leave system in Quebec in 2006 to analyze how households make decisions related to parental leave. It shows that the introduction of a father’s quota - a policy designed to incentivize fathers to take parental leave - was successful in more than doubling the proportion of fathers taking some parental leave. This paper also provides strong evidence that households prefer to specialize: close to 80% of households split paid parental leave between parents with the mother taking as many weeks as possible and the father as little as possible. Finally, an administrative dataset allows a detailed analysis of the relationship between parental leave decisions and income. In general, households with higher labor income take more parental leave overall (summing the mother’s and the father’s weeks). However, fathers with higher labor income take less parental leave, indicating a higher degree of specialization.