Sona Badalyan


I am a PhD candidate in Economics at CERGE-EI in Prague, specializing in  Labor and Public Economics. In my research, I am advancing the frontiers of knowledge in the interaction of social safety net programs (such as retirement and unemployment) with labor markets by utilizing large-scale administrative social security data.  

In my job market paper, I analyze how the firms respond to the retirement age increase in a unique reform setting that made the statutory retirement ages gender-neutral. 

During my PhD years, I visited the University of Chicago (invited by D. Black), the Institute for Employment Research (invited by M. Moritz), and the Dutch National Bank (invited by C. Biesenbeek and M. Mastrogiacomo)

News: I will be on the Job Market in 2024-2025.

CV & E-mail:

CV: access here 

Job market paper

"Firm Response to Raising Women's Retirement Age: Spillovers on Coworkers and External Hiring" [updated draft coming soon]

Awards: 1st prize at the Young Economists Seminar (Croatian National Bank)

Presented at: EALE (planned); IZA Summer School (planned); ESPE; Dutch National Bank; 17th YES at DEC; EALE; SITES; 38th and 37th AIEL; Brown Bag Seminar at CERGE-EI; Student Workshop at Harris School of Public Policy at UChicago; 5th BSE Summer School; 12th AnnualMeeting of ArmEA

The careers of workers are interdependent. Hence, in light of the reforms raising the retirement age, it is essential to understand whether increased competition for promotions and employment at older age hinders the career progression of coworkers, and influences external hiring practices. Drawing on administrative data from Germany, the novel findings reveal that the extension of working years for women, driven by the abolition of women's pathway to retirement, leads to significant shifts in labor market outcomes for their colleagues. Specifically, employing one additional woman affected by the retirement age increase results in approximately 0.15 more women retained at older age, 0.3 fewer promotions for their colleagues, and 0.5 fewer external hires. These crowd-out effects are particularly pronounced among middle-aged female coworkers. The results suggest that retirement age increase policies may unintentionally hinder other employees' career advancement through complex interactions between retirement age reforms and intra-firm employment patterns, exacerbated by the friction associated with worker turnover. 

Working papers

"Coordinated Retirement Decisions with Firms:  The Role of Worker Substitutability"  [please reach out for a draft if needed]

Worker turnover can be costly for firms due to imperfect worker substitutability in the labor market. Therefore, it is important to understand how worker substitutability affects employment behavior at an older age. Coping strategies, such as those used to mitigate turnover costs due to retirement, can be identified through understanding worker substitutability. In this context, by combining the literature on worker substitutability with that on labor supply effects of retirement reform, I show that older workers with specific skills who are difficult to substitute for, either in the internal labor market (by coworkers) or the external labor market (by new hires), are more likely to continue working when faced with a higher retirement age. The findings, based on a regression discontinuity design corresponding to a shift in the early retirement age, suggest that worker labor supply decisions are coordinated with firms based on their substitutability, thereby mitigating turnover costs. 

"Disclosure Discrimination: An Experiment Focusing on Communication in the Hiring Process"  (with D.Korlyakova & R.Rehák) [SSNR linkAEA RCT Registry]

We focus on communication among hiring team members and document the existence of discrimination in the disclosure of information about candidates. In particular, we conduct an online experiment with a nationally representative sample of Czech individuals who act as human resource assistants and hiring managers in our online labor market. The main novel feature of our experiment is the monitoring of information flow between human resource assistants and hiring managers. We exogenously manipulate candidates' names to explore the causal effects of their gender and nationality on information that assistants select for managers. Our findings reveal that assistants disclose more information about family and less information about work for female candidates relative to male candidates. An in-depth analysis of the disclosed information suggests that gender stereotypes play an important role in this disclosure discrimination. Furthermore, assistants disclose less information about foreigners overall. This effect appears to be driven by the less attention assistants are willing to devote to the CVs of foreigners, measured by the extra effort to learn more about the candidates. 

Work in progress

"Peer Effects in Retirement Decisions" [in coding stage]

"The Effect of Job Dismissal and Unemployment on Intergenerational Mobility" (with C. Biesenbeek and M. Mastrogiacomo) [in coding stage]

Not in progress

"The Gender Wage Gap In Hungary: An Unconditional Quantile Regression-Based Decomposition Approach" [2019: last version], [MA thesis at CEU]