Benjamin Elsner

Research Fellow

University College Dublin

Ben Elsner is Assistant Professor of Economics at University College Dublin.

He is an applied microeconomist with particular interest in education, migration, and microeconometrics. His work has been published in the Journal of International Economics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Population Economics and the Oxford Bulletin of Economics & Statistics.

Before joining UCD in 2018, Ben spent five years at IZA as a Senior Research Associate. He remains involved with IZA as Deputy Director of the program area "Mobility and Migration" and became a Research Fellow in 2018.

Ben holds a PhD from Trinity College Dublin, and a Diplom/M.A. from the University of Regensburg/Germany.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 11033

Welfare programs are important for reducing poverty but create incentives for recipients to maximize their income by either reducing labor supply or manipulating taxable income. In this paper, we quantify the extent of such behavioral responses for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the US. We exploit that US...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10275
revise and re-submit at the Journal of Development Economics

High-skilled workers are four times more likely to migrate than low-skilled workers. This skill bias in migration – often called brain drain – has been at the center of a heated debate about the welfare consequences of emigration from developing countries. In this paper, we provide a global perspective on...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9478
forthcoming in: Journal of Human Resources

In this paper we show that a student's ordinal rank in a high school cohort is an important determinant of engaging in risky behaviors. Using longitudinal data from representative US high schools, and exploiting idiosyncratic variation in the cohort composition within a school, we find a strong negative effect of...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9121
published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2017, 35(3), 787-828

We study the impact of a student's ordinal rank in a high school cohort on educational attainment several years later. To identify a causal effect, we compare multiple cohorts within the same school, exploiting idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition. We find that a student's ordinal rank significantly affects educational outcomes...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7865

Migrants are typically self-selected from the population of their home country. While a large literature has identified the causes of self-selection, we turn in this paper to the consequences. Using a combination of non-parametric econometrics and calibrated simulation, we quantify the impact of migrant self-selection on per-capita GDP in both...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7863
forthcoming in: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics

Diaspora networks provide information to future migrants and influence both their decision to migrate and their success in the host country. While the existing literature explains the effect of networks on migration decisions through the size of the migrant community, we show that the quality of the network is an...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7130
published as 'Migration 10 Years After: EU Enlargement, Closed Borders, and Migration to Germany' in: M. Kahanec and K.F. Zimmermann (eds.): Labor Migration, EU Enlargement, and the Great Recession, Springer: Berlin, et al. 2016, 85 - 101

We study how the EU enlargement in 2004 and the Great Recession in the late 2000s have shaped the scale and composition of migration flows from the New Member States to Germany. We demonstrate that immigration increased substantially despite the restrictions on the German labor market, and that net flows...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6843
published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2013, 26 (2), 531-553

Around 9% of the Lithuanian workforce emigrated to Western Europe after the enlargement of the European Union in 2004. I exploit this emigration wave to study the effect of emigration on wages in the sending country. Using household data from Lithuania and work permit and census data from the UK...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6111
published in: Journal of International Economics, 2013, 91(1), 154-163

The enlargement of the European Union provides a unique opportunity to study the impact of the lifting of migration restrictions on the migrant sending countries. With EU enlargement in 2004, 1.2 million workers from Eastern Europe emigrated to the UK and Ireland. I use this emigration wave to show that...