Ms Alexia Delfino

Ms Alexia Delfino

PhD Candidate in Economics

Department of Economics

Connect with me

English, Italian, Spanish
Key Expertise
Organizations, Development, Experiments

About me

Research interests
Organizational Economics, Development Economics (primary)
Behavioral Economics (secondary)

Job market paper
Breaking Gender Barriers: Bringing Men into the Pink-Collar Jobs of the Future

Read the abstract and download the paper

Traditionally female-dominated sectors are growing while traditionally male-dominated sectors are shrinking. And yet, sectorial male shares are not changing accordingly. Why don't men enter female-dominated occupations?  I study men's selection into social work, a fast-growing occupation where the share of men has historically been below 25 percent. I embed a field experiment in the UK-wide recruitment of social workers to analyse barriers to men's entry and the nature of men's sorting into this occupation. I modify the content of recruitment messages to potential applicants to exogenously vary two key drivers of selection: perceived gender shares and expectations of returns to ability. I find that perceived gender shares do not affect men's application decisions, which suggests no role for gender identity or social stigma in their choices. Increasing expected returns to ability encourages men to apply, and improves the average quality of the applicants and performance on the job of the new hires, indicating that men are negatively sorted into social work. In turn, a higher (perceived) share of male workers improves the quality of female hires by discouraging the least talented women from applying. These findings suggest that breaking barriers to men's entry in female-dominated occupations may help employers increase the diversity and overall quality of their workforce.

Download the paper

Download CV

Publications and additional papers

Working Papers

“Rule of Law and Female Entrepreneurship”, with Nava Ashraf (LSE) and Edward Glaeser (Harvard University). NBER Working Paper No. 26366

Commerce requires trust, but trust is difficult when one group consistently fears expropriation by another. If men have a comparative advantage at violence and there is little rule-of-law, then unequal bargaining power can lead women to segregate into low-return industries and avoid entrepreneurship altogether. In this paper, we present a model of female entrepreneurship and rule of law that predicts that women will only start businesses when they have both formal legal protection and informal bargaining power. The model's predictions are supported both in cross-national data and with a new census of Zambian manufacturers. In Zambia, female entrepreneurs collaborate less, learn less from fellow entrepreneurs, earn less and segregate into industries with more women, but gender differences are ameliorated when women have access to adjudicating institutions, such as Lusaka's “Market Chiefs” who are empowered to adjudicate small commercial disputes. We experimentally induce variation in local institutional quality in an adapted trust game, and find that this also reduces the gender gap in trust and economic activity.

“Value Dissonance at Work”
Draft available upon request

Shared values can mitigate the adverse consequences of incomplete contracts and reduce coordination costs. Misalignment in values - either actual or perceived by the employees - could make such inefficiencies worse, reducing productivity and creating resistance to change. We provide evidence by means of a survey that measures the perceived and actual value misalignment between employees, their colleagues, and top management in a multinational bank. The data reveals that value dissonance is negatively correlated with individual and team level productivity, as well as with self-reported trust in the bank’s executives and intent to stay. Within countries, we show how bankers’ values compare with the ones listed by World Value Survey respondents and find that employees whose values are further from common citizens perform better. We conclude by showing how aggregate shocks to societal perceptions of banking, such as the 2008 financial crisis, might shape organizational culture.

Research in progress

Please see my webpage.


Placement Officer
Professor Mark Schankerman

Professor Nava Ashraf
Professor Oriana Bandiera

Dr Matthew Levy

Professor Nava Ashraf
Professor Oriana Bandiera
Professor Robin Burgess
Dr Matthew Levy

Contact information


Phone number

Room number

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