Mr José  Montalbán

Mr José Montalbán

PhD Candidate in Economics

Department of Economics

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English, French, Spanish
Key Expertise
Economics of Education

About me

Job Market Placement
Assistant Professor, Stockholm University (Swedish Institute for Social Research)

Research interests
Economics of Education (primary)
Labor Economics, Applied Econometrics (secondary)

Job market paper
Countering moral hazard in higher education: The role of performance incentives in need-based grants


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Large-scale financial aid programs targeted at disadvantaged students are generally tied to weak performance requirements for renewal. This may raise moral hazard concerns and efficiency losses. Using a reform in the Spanish need-based grant program in higher education, this paper tests the causal effect of receiving the same amount of grant under different intensities of academic requirements (i.e., having passed a certain number of credits) on student performance and degree completion. I use administrative micro-data on the universe of applicants to the grant in a large Spanish university. Exploiting sharp discontinuities in the grant eligibility formula, I find strong positive effects of being eligible for a grant on student performance when combined with demanding academic requirements. Students enhance their final exams attendance rate, their average GPA in final exams, their probability of completing a degree, and reduce the fraction of subjects that they have to retake. In contrast, the grant has no effects on student performance when academic requirements are low and typically comparable to those set out by national need-based student aid programs around the world. Overall, these results suggest that academic requirements in the context of higher education financial aid, may be an effective tool to help overcoming moral hazard concerns and improve aid effectiveness.

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Publications and additional papers

  • “The math gender gap: The role of test-taking environment“ (with Almudena Sevilla)
  • “School choice, student mobility and school segregation: Evidence from Madrid“ (with Lucas Gortazar and David Mayor)


Placement Officer
Professor Mark Schankerman 

Professor Julien Grenet 

Professor Stephen Machin
Professor Marc Gurgand 
Professor Antonio Cabrales   

Contact information


Office Address
Department of Economics, 
London School of Economics and Political Science, 
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE