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Daniel Banko-Ferran

  • PhD Student (5th year)

I am an applied microeconomist working on topics at the intersection of labor economics, behavioral economics, and health economics. My research focuses on the causal identification of non-monetary factors which impact individual productivity and well-being. I utilize a broad array of applied and experimental methods for my work, including laboratory and field experiments, surveys, and administrative data sources.  

In my paper, “Peer Comparisons and Endogenous Choice,” I study why nudges which utilize peer information displays (PIDs) to motivate behavior sometimes fail to improve performance and can even reduce it. Prior studies have shown that “forced” PIDs are popular tools among firms to motivate employee performance, yet they damage morale and job satisfaction and lead to higher turnover. I use an experimental design in a controlled laboratory setting to randomize participants’ control over peer information displays and find that forced comparisons of performance (most akin to real-world settings) leads to worse group performance, and the ability to receive or block peer information eliminates this adverse effect on productivity.  

In addition to social comparisons, I study sleep deprivation–another factor which affects productivity and well-being. In my paper with Prof. Osea Giuntella (Pitt) and Prof. Joann Costa-Font (LSE), “When Work Gets in the Way of Well-Being,” we employ a difference-in-difference econometric approach to analyze the effect of reducing weekly work hours on time-use decisions using a large administrative dataset combined with time diary logs. We find a positive reallocation of time towards sleep, leisure, and personal care activities after the regulation change, and an increase in job satisfaction. A related paper, “Heating Up and Cooling Down: Mitigating the Effects of Weather Conditions on Sleep,” examines how nighttime sleep aids (such as fans and ear plugs) mitigate the effects of weather conditions on sleep. I scrape weather and climate conditions data in Chennai, India and find that the provision of sleep aids acted as a salve for environmental conditions which negatively impacted sleep. However, I do not find a corresponding complementary effect of sleep aids on environmental conditions that improved sleep.  

Outside of being a Ph.D. student, I sing as a member of the Mendelssohn Choir, which recently recorded a performance of Mozart’s Requiem with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I run competitively and recently completed the Philadelphia half- and Pittsburgh full- marathons. 

    Education & Training

  • Research Assistant, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 2017-2019
  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics (with honors), Swarthmore College, 2017
Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, 2023-2024
K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship, 2019