Anna V. Yurko


Working Papers:


“The Consequences of the Unified State Exam” joint with Fabian Slonimczyk and Marco Francesconi


A 2009 reform changed the university admissions process in all higher education institutions in Russia. While prior to the reform admission decisions were based on idiosyncratic entrance examinations that were developed, conducted and graded by institutions themselves, the reform required colleges and universities to base their admissions decisions almost exclusively on the results of the Unified State Exams (USE). Students in the last year of high school take these exams locally and simultaneously with their peers all over the country. The USE are developed, administered and graded by state agencies affiliated with the Ministry of Education and Science. One of the main goals of the reform was to make education in better and historically more centrally located universities accessible to students from the distant regions of Russia. We evaluate the success of the reform in achieving this goal. Specifically, we study whether the reform was able to substantially increase the mobility of Russian students after high school graduation. We also consider several other consequences of the USE such as parental expenditures on education.


“Fertility, Maternal Employment and Children's Cognitive Achievement: a Structural Approach” joint with Fabian Slonimczyk


In this paper we develop a dynamic model of female labor supply and fertility decisions and estimate it jointly with children's cognitive

ability production function using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY).


“From Consumer Incomes to Car Ages: How the Distribution of Income Affects the Distribution of Vehicle Vintages”


This paper studies the relationship between consumer incomes and ages of the durable goods consumed. At the household level, it presents evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey of a negative correlation between incomes and ages of the vehicles owned, controlling for the size of the vehicle stock. At the aggregate level, it constructs a dynamic, heterogeneous agents, discrete choice model with multiple vehicle ownership, to study the relationship between the distribution of consumer incomes and the distribution of vehicle vintages. >>>>


Costly Divorce and Marriage Rates


This paper develops a model of choice between marriage and cohabitation to study the effect of divorce costs on marriage decision. The paired agents are heterogeneous, the utility is non-transferable, and break up and divorce decisions are modeled explicitly as unilateral, that is, it takes the decision of only one partner to terminate a relationship. This framework is empirically relevant, since unilateral divorce is legal in many countries, and multiple empirical studies of the effect of changes in divorce laws on divorce rates demonstrate that Coase theorem does not hold (partners cannot bargain efficiently). The model seeks to reconcile the conflicting empirical evidence on the relationship between marriage rates and divorce costs.




"Assessing the impact of the maternity capital policy in Russia." Joint with Slonimczyk, Fabián. Labour Economics 30 (2014): 265-281.


With declining population and fertility rates below replacement levels, Russia is currently facing a demographic crisis. Starting in 2007, the federal government has pursued an ambitious pro-natalist policy. Women who give birth to at least two children are entitled to “maternity capital” assistance ($11,000). In this paper we estimate a structural dynamic programming model of fertility and labor force participation in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. We find that the program increased long-run fertility by about 0.15 children per woman.


“How Does Income Inequality Affect Market Outcomes in Vertically Differentiated Markets?” International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2011 (29), 493—503.


The distribution of consumer incomes is a key factor in determining the structure of a vertically differentiated industry when consumer's willingness to pay depends on her income. This paper computes the Shaked and Sutton (1982) model for a lognormal distribution of consumer incomes to investigate the effect of inequality on firms' entry, product quality, and pricing decisions. The main findings are that greater inequality in consumer incomes leads to the entry of more firms and results in more intense quality competition among the entrants. More intense quality competition raises the average quality of products in the market as firms compete for the shrinking share of higher income consumers. With zero costs of quality improvements and an upper bound on the top quality or when costs of quality are fixed and rise sufficiently fast, greater heterogeneity of consumer incomes also reduces firms' incentives to differentiate their products. Competition between more similar products tends to reduce their prices. However, when income inequality is very high, the top quality producer chooses to serve only the rich segment of the market and charges a higher price. The conclusion is that income inequality has important implications for the degree of product differentiation, price level, industry concentration, and consumer welfare. The distribution of consumer incomes is a key factor in determining the structure of a vertically differentiated industry when consumer's willingness to pay depends on her income.


Additional technical materials:

Appendix with Matlab code

Matlab data file