Associate Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
Network Member

Maurizio Mazzocco is an Associate Professor at University of California, Los Angeles. Mazzocco's research focuses on household intertemporal decisions and decisions under uncertainty. A crucial assumption in the standard approach to modeling household decisions is that households behave as single individuals independently of the household structure. A large literature has provided evidence that this assumption is rejected by the data. Recent papers have developed static models in which households are characterized as a group of individuals making joint decisions. Mazzocco's papers extend these static models to an intertemporal setting so that decisions that are inherently dynamics can be studied. Some examples are saving, portfolio, human capital, fertility, migration, and investment in children decisions. There are several models that can be used to characterize household intertemporal behavior. One of Mazzocco's contributions is to characterize three different models and to test which one better approximate the data. The first model makes the standard assumption that the household behaves as a single individual. In the second one, the household is modeled as a group of individuals making joint decisions. In it, each individual is represented using individual preferences and the decisions are assumed to be Pareto efficient. In addition, it is assumed that individuals can commit to future allocations of resources. The third model has the same features as the second one except that household members cannot commit to future distributions of resources. The three models are tested using the Consumer Expenditure Survey. The results indicate that the intertemporal model with no commitment represents the best approximation of the data. A second contribution is the estimation of the intertemporal model with no commitment. Its estimation is important to answer relevant policy questions. The test results indicate that to evaluate policies that have an effect on household decisions such as the Earned Income Tax Credit program it is important to use such a model. A third contribution of Mazzocco's research is to study saving and risk-sharing decisions when the individuals making the decisions have heterogeneous preferences for risk. For instance, in joint work with Shiv Saini, he shows that, if in the data households have heterogeneous risk preferences, the tests proposed in the past to test full insurance reject it even if households share risk efficiently. To address this issue he proposes a method that enables one to test efficiency even when households have different preferences for risk. The method is composed of three tests. The first one determines whether in the data under investigation households have homogeneous risk preferences. The second and third tests evaluate efficient risk sharing when the hypothesis of homogeneous risk preferences is rejected. He uses this method to test efficient risk sharing in rural India. Using the first test, he strongly rejects the hypothesis of identical risk preferences. He then tests full insurance at the village and caste level. The hypothesis is rejected at the village but not at the caste level. This finding suggests that the relevant risk-sharing unit in rural India is the caste and not the village.

Mazzocco received a B.A. in Economics from Ca’ Foscari University in 1994, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago both in 2001.