Working Papers

Strengthening Property Tax Bases with Market-Based Revisions to Property Appraisals: Evidence from the Philippines

  • Scarce property sales data in developing countries drive an overdependence on self-declared property values that are prone to undervaluations, resulting in underutilized property tax collections. While solutions like improved market data or increased land surveys exist, they tend to be costly and time inefficient. Instead, I investigate whether alternative market-based property appraisal methods that depend less on such data can provide governments with outsized returns to their property taxes. To do this, I combine administrative fiscal data on all cities in the Philippines with policy variation from a land-management project that made substantive market-based advancements in property appraisal methods. I find cities that adopt such revisions experience a 17.7% increase in property taxes, with the effect being particularly strong in data-scarce environments. In rural areas, which depend more on self-declared valuations, cities experience substantively higher increases of 25.1%. However, these effects don’t persist in the long-term, suggesting that governments may have to address the political and legislative barriers surrounding property reappraisals before reaping the full benefits to their property tax bases.

Women in Science. Lessons from the Baby Boom (with Petra Moser)

  • To examine the effects of children on women in science, we investigate differences in scientists’ life-cycle productivity using detailed biographies for 83,000 scientists matched with publications. We find that mothers experience a transient productivity decline in their 30s when other scientists achieve peak productivity. Event studies show that children reduce the productivity of mothers relative to other women but not fathers relative to other men. These differences have important implications for tenure and participation. Just 27% of mothers achieve tenure, compared with 48% of fathers and 46% of other women. Mothers who survive in science are extremely positively selected.

Past Work