2023 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Government Finance and Taxation Award Honorable Mention: Neil Cholli

Neil Cholli, will be awarded an honorable mention at the 116th NTA Annual Conference, on November 3, 2023 in Denver, CO.

Neil Cholli is a Klarman Fellow at Cornell University’s Department of Economics. His primary fields of research are labor and public economics. Neil’s work leverages applied microeconomic methods guided by theory to understand the mechanisms of social mobility and evaluate policies aimed at promoting it.

Neil received his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Department of Economics in December 2022 as a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow and an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow. In his dissertation titled “Essays on Social Policy Reforms and Human Capital,” Neil evaluates reforms that introduced public work requirements in Denmark’s social assistance (or “welfare”) program. Using administrative data, he estimates the long-run effects of these welfare-to-work reforms on a comprehensive set of outcomes across a generation of birth cohorts. The dissertation’s main results reveal that the reforms had highly heterogeneous effects across cohorts based on the age they were introduced, consistent with a life-cycle model with varying availability of human capital choice margins and anticipatory behavior. The final part of the dissertation disentangles the mechanisms underlying the effects among younger cohorts, provides suggestive evidence on the intergenerational spillover effects, and conducts a cost-benefit analysis that highlights the reforms’ uneven fiscal impacts across its targeted population.