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 Dan Black), the Institute for Employment Research (invited by Michael Moritz), and the Dutch National Bank (invited by Cindy Biesenbeek and Mauro Mastrogiacomo)

News: I am currently preparing for the academic job market in 2024-2025.

CV & E-mail:

CV: access here 


Nikolas Mittag (Associate Professor,CERGE-EI)


Štěpán Jurajda (Full Professor,  CERGE-EI)


 Paolo Zacchia (Assistant Professor, CERGE-EI)


Job market paper

"Employer Responses to Raising the Retirement Age: Spillovers on Coworkers and External Hiring" [please reach out for a draft if needed]

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

Presented at: EALE (planned); IZA Summer School (planned); ESPE (planned); Dutch National Bank (planned); 17th YES at DEC; EALE; SITES; 38th 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

Human capital specificity of establishments and search frictions may lead to costly worker turnover and career advancements. This paper quantifies the establishment adjustment costs upon older workforce retention using a unique reform setting that made the statutory retirement ages gender-neutral which resulted in scrapping the opportunities for women to retire before the age of 63. Using the exogenous cohort cutoffs for identification and administrative records of Germany as a data source, I show that the reform led to a significant increase in employment and retention of affected workers, and find that there are negative effects on hiring and promotions, especially of middle-aged women. These adjustment costs mask substantial heterogeneity across the availability of internal and external substitutes, showing that the longer planning horizon specific to this reform does not eliminate the adjustment costs for establishments because of the frictions associated with worker turnover.

Working papers

"Coordinated Retirement Decisions:  The Role of Firms and 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


Not in progress

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