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Geoffrey C. Schnorr


PhD Candidate, Economics

University of California, Davis

Graduate Student Assistant

State of California, Employment Development Department

California Policy Lab



Please see my new website at:

Unemployment Insurance as a Worker Indiscipline Device? Evidence From Scanner Data

with Lester Lusher and Rebecca Taylor

Revise & Resubmit, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

We provide causal evidence of an ex-ante moral hazard effect of Unemployment Insurance (UI) by matching plausibly exogenous changes in UI benefit duration across state-weeks during the Great Recession to high-frequency productivity measures from individual supermarket cashiers. Estimating models with day and cashier-register fixed effects, we identify a modest but statistically significant negative relationship between UI benefits and worker productivity. This effect is strongest for more experienced and less productive cashiers, for whom UI expansions are especially relevant. Additional analyses from the American Time Use Survey reveal a similar increase in shirking during periods with increased UI benefit durations.


Claim Timing and Unemployment Insurance Benefit Generosity
Job Market Paper

Unemployment Insurance replaces a percentage of prior earnings while a claimant is out of work. To implement the program, policymakers must define a base period from which prior earnings are measured. I analyze two implications of this previously unexamined policy choice. First, for claimants with volatile enough earnings, a commonly used base period structure creates ``benefit risk''---a job loss at the wrong time implies lower benefit amounts. Second, since base periods are determined by the claim filing date, claimants can partially avoid the negative effects of this risk by strategically timing their claims. Using several new sources of administrative data from California’s Unemployment Insurance program, I make three contributions. First, I use a simple dynamic model of job search and Unemployment Insurance to show that the private welfare costs of benefit risk are large. The average claimant would trade 5% of their expected Unemployment Insurance benefits to eliminate exposure to benefit risk and this number rises substantially among young and especially low-income claimants. Second, I demonstrate that claim-timing responses can act as an effective solution to this problem. Some claimants strategically delay their claims after a job loss in order to receive higher benefits. Third, I provide suggestive evidence that information frictions are a key barrier to this mitigating behavior.

Draft Coming Soon

Am I my Brother's Barkeeper? Sibling Spillovers in Alcohol Consumption at the Minimum Legal Drinking Age

I exploit a unique group of adolescent peers which allows for the estimation of causally interpretable peer effects in alcohol consumption, sibling pairs close to the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) in the United States. Using a regression discontinuity design and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth I am consistently able to rule out meaningfully large positive peer effects between siblings. I also find suggestive evidence that younger siblings reduce their alcohol consumption in response to an increase in their older sibling's alcohol consumption. These negative effects are concentrated among siblings of the same gender, siblings that reside in the same household, and especially younger siblings with less prior drinking experience.

Draft Coming Soon

California Unemployment Insurance Claims During the COVID-19 Pandemic

with Alex Bell, Thomas J. Hedin and Till von Wachter

California Policy Lab Policy Brief

[AVAILABLE HERE]  (Updated frequently)

Selected media coverage:


Huff Post: Trump Administration Says It’s Not Forcing People Back To Work. Workers Disagree (June 13, 2020)

PBS News Hour: 3 charts reveal how the COVID-19 unemployment crisis isn’t over (May 29, 2020)

Washington Post: 3.8 million Americans sought jobless benefits last week, extending pandemic’s grip on the national workforce (April 30, 2020)

Employment and Earnings Among LA County Residents Experiencing Homelessness

with Till von Wachter and Nefara Riesch

California Policy Lab Policy Brief, February 2020


Selected media coverage:


LAist: Breaking Stereotypes: Study Finds Half of LA’s Homeless Recently Held Down A Job (Listen to the accompanying KPCC segment here) (February 27, 2020)

CBS Los Angeles: Nearly Half Of LA County’s Homeless Population Recently Worked, Study Finds (February 27, 2020)

KNX News Radio: Click here to listen to Interview with Till von Wachter (February 29, 2020)

Overspending driven by oversized single dose vials of cancer drugs

with Peter Bach, Rena Conti, Raymond Mueller, and Leonard Saltz

British Medical Journal, 2016


2021 (expected)

PhD, Economics


MA, Economics


BS, Healthcare Management & Policy

University of California, Davis

Major Fields: Labor, Public

Minor Fields: Econometrics

Hunter College, City University of New York

Georgetown University

Minor in Economics


A link to my CV is below.


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