I am a behavioral economist studying applied micro questions in fields such as education and development. In my research, I examine social influences on individual behavior (e.g. social- or self-image concerns) around big life decisions such as career or fertility choices and explore their potential consequences for society-wide outcomes such as intergenerational transmission and social mobility.

I am a PhD-candidate in the Economics department at UC Berkeley and will be on the job market in 2021-22. I will be available for interviews at both the EJME 2021 and the ASSA 2022 Annual Meeting.

Prior to my PhD, I obtained an M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford, a B.Sc. in Economics from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and spent a year as visiting undergraduate student at Harvard University.

If you have comments, thoughts, ideas or questions related to my research, don't hesitate to reach out!

Contact: mwmueller[at]berkeley.edu

Job Market Paper

Unpacking Intergenerational (Im-)Mobility: Child vs. Parent Career Preferences

Through which channels do parents shape their children's (post-secondary) educational choices? How important are students' own preferences in comparison to their adjustment to parents' preferences? I design a field experiment with 1,200 students and 800 parents in Germany to test whether the public nature of decisions causes students to adjust their choices to parents. Experimentally varying whether students' incentivized college aspirations are observable by parents causes an increased share of students with at least one college-educated parent to state an aspiration to attend college and more students to aspire to high earning fields. As a result, the socio-economic gap in college aspirations doubles to 27 percentage points and also widens for aspirations to enroll in a high earning major at university. Estimating a model where career tracks are chosen under uncertainty suggests that the socio-economic gap in college aspirations is in almost equal terms due to this adjustment to parents and differences in students' beliefs that are strongly correlated with their parents' beliefs. This highlights two key mechanisms through which parents' career preferences and beliefs continue to contribute to intergenerational immobility when their children are old enough to make their own choices.

You can find my other research here.