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Sahar Parsa
New York University - Department of Economics
710 19th West 4th street
New York, NY 10012 - U.S.A.
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I am an economist interested in a variety of fields, including political economy and finance, where I explore informational pathways that run from cultural, social and behavioral factors to socioeconomic outcomes. In past work, I emphasized the behavioral differences between short-term and long-term institutional investors reaction to information, to understand stock price perceived mis-pricing. In a series of projects exploring political outcomes, I investigate name branding in politics and its role in female political representation or the importance of neighborhood interactions in voting behavior. In an ongoing research agenda, which received a three-year NSF grant, my coauthor and I explore the role of managerial capital as well as managerial connections in the process of structural transformation and development.
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Published Papers

Political Dynasties and Female Political Representation in the Philippines

with Julien Labonne and Pablo Querubin Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 182, 212-228, February 2021

Abstract: We investigate the effect of term limits on female political representation. Using data from Philippine municipalities where strict term limits have been in place since 1987, we show that term limits led to a large increase in the number of women running and winning in mayoral elections. However, we show that this increase is entirely driven by female relatives of the term-limited incumbents. We further show that the differential gender impact of this policy is driven by political dynasties' adaptive strategies to stay in power.

Research Brief in Economic Policy No. 2014, May 13, 2020, Cato Institute

Information Aggregation in a Financial Market with General Signal Structure

with Youcheng Lou, Debraj Ray, Duan Li and Shouyang Wang Journal of Economic Theory, 183, pp.594-624, September 2019

Abstract: We study a financial market with asymmetric, multidimensional trader signals that have general correlation structure. Each of a continuum of traders belongs to one of finitely many "information groups." There is a multidimensional aggregate signal for each group. Each trader observes an idiosyncratic signal about the fundamental, built from this group signal. Correlations across group signals are arbitrary. Several existing models serve as special cases, and new applications become possible. We establish existence and regularity of linear equilibrium, and demonstrate that the equilibrium price aggregates information perfectly as noise trade vanishes.

Redistributive Choices and Income Inequality: Experimental Evidence for Income as a Signal of Deservingness

with Laura Gee and Marco Migueis Experimental Economics, 20(4), 894-923, February 2017

Abstract: We explore the relation between redistribution choices, source of income, and pre-redistribution inequality. Previous studies find that when income is earned through work there is less support for redistribution than when income is determined by luck. Using a lab experiment, we vary both the income-generating process (luck vs. performance) and the level of inequality (low vs. high). We find that an increase in inequality has less impact on redistribution choices when income is earned through performance than when income results from luck. This result is likely explained by individuals using income differences as a heuristic to infer relative deservingness. If people believe income inequality increases as a result of performance rather than luck, then they are likely to believe the poor deserve to stay poor and the rich deserve to stay rich.

Completed Unpublished Papers

Gay Politics Goes Mainstream: Democrats, Republicans, and Same-Sex Relationships

with Raquel Fernández July 2021

Abstract: Attitudes towards same-sex relationships in the US have changed radically over a relatively short period of time. After remaining fairly constant for over two decades, opinions became more favorable starting in 1992 - a presidential election year in which the Democratic and Republican parties took opposing stands over the status of gay people in society. What roles did political parties and their leaders play in this process of cultural change? Using a variety of techniques including machine learning, we show that the partisan opinion gap emerged substantially prior to 1992 -- in the mid 1980s -- and did not increase as a result of the political debates in 1992-'93. Furthermore, we identify people with a college-and-above education as the potential "leaders" of the process of partisan divergence.

Coming Out in America: Thirty Years of Cultural Change

with Raquel Fernández and Martina Viarengo March 2021

Abstract: The last few decades witnessed a dramatic change in public opinion towards gay people. We show that this process was initiated by a sharp increase in the approval of same-sex relationships in 1992-'93, following the debate on whether gay people could serve openly in the military. Using a difference-in-difference empirical strategy, we study the hypothesis that the greater salience of gay-related issues during this period initiated a process of cultural change. We show that greater exposure to the gay population, measured in a variety of ways, led to a greater increase in approval. These results, we demonstrate, cannot be explained by the popular view that the increased acceptance of same-sex relationships reflected expanding liberalism and civil liberties.

Media coverage: Vox

From Winning an Election to Political Engagement

November 2020

Abstract: How do people react when the candidate they supported wins or loses an election? I explore the consequences of having supported a winning (or losing) candidate on future political participation. I begin by presenting two empirical patterns: 1) there is a positive relationship between county vote share to the winning party and future voter turnout in that county, 2) there is no significant change in the party composition of votes, suggesting that the increase in political participation percolates to voters of all persuasions. I provide evidence for a combination of an "individual" and a "community" effect to explain this joint pattern. While winning voters are "encouraged" by the win of their preferred candidate compared to losing voters, losing voters appear to be galvanized by being surrounded by winners. In the data, the two effects happen to balance, highlighting the significance of peer effects on voter participation.

Online Appendix

It Takes Two To Misprice: Investor Horizons and Earnings Announcements

January 2018

Abstract: I study how investor horizons affect the price reaction of the stocks to earnings announcements. In the theory, short-run investors trade frequently, while long-run traders hold and trade on fundamentals. The model predicts that the reaction to an earnings announcement is shifted downward for stocks held short-term relative to those held long-term: a positive earnings surprise is less of a positive; a negative surprise is a larger negative. I test this prediction. I find that the reaction to earnings for “short-term securities” is dominated by the corresponding reaction for “long-term securities.” The discrepancy persists over 75 days. These results are independent of security characteristics; they are robust to controls that capture various aspects of growth or value stocks.
Online Appendix

Widows, Representation, and the (Ms.)appropriation of a Name

with Danielle Lupton and Steven Schuster October 2017

Abstract: For much of the 20th century, widowhood was the primary path for women into the U.S. Congress. Yet, little research has considered how familial connections and the name recognition widows acquire from their husbands may affect their political behavior. Drawing on insights from the literatures across American politics, comparative politics, and economics, we argue that widows in Congress will have an inherent name brand advantage, providing them more freedom to pursue their own policy agendas. Using a differences-in-differences analysis of legislative voting behavior from the 63rd to 104th Congresses, we provide evidence that widows are more liberal than their husbands and follow their own policy agendas. We also show that widows are more liberal than other women. Thus, our results indicate that widowhood embeds both the gender and the dynastic dimension of these legislators. Further evidence suggests that this difference is rooted in the brand name advantage that widows have compared to other women, highlighting the complementarity between these indivduals’ dynastic identity and their gender identity.

Short-Term Traders, Learning and Informational Externalities


Abstract: This paper examines how short term trading impacts the aggregation of information in financial markets. I develop a model where short-term traders, in an attempt to learn about the average beliefs of future market participants, make the price relatively more noisy. This typically introduces a negative informational externality on long-term investors. I show that (i) as the horizon of the informed traders decreases, the price becomes relatively less precise; (ii) an inflow of informed traders in the market can decrease the informativeness of the price when the traders have a relatively short horizon or the market is expected to be thin in the future; (iii) finally, as rational informed short-term traders have access to an extra source of information about the future price, they end up creating more noise and a decrease in the informativeness of the price might result. Thus, paradoxically, more informed trading could lead to a less informative price.

Ongoing Research

On Women in Traditional Position of Authority in Sub-Saharan Africa

with Siwan Anderson, Sophia du Plessis and James Robinson Get more info and follow our progress here

On the East Asian Growth Miracle

with Melissa Dell

Sample projects: Foreign Connections and Structural Transformation: Evidence from Discontinuities in Douglas MacArthur’s Economic Purge Labor Skill Linkages and Structural Transformation


Ec 15: Introduction to Econometrics

Spring 2018 Extra Resources: Datacamp for the classroom

Ec 50: Introduction to Finance

Spring 2017