Headshot of Dr. Ioana Marinescu

Ioana E. Marinescu, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

  • Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research

3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building, Room D6
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
  • office: 215.898.5528

Research Interests

Evaluation of the labor market impact of public policies, e.g. unemployment insurance

Online job search, search and matching in the labor market

Unconditional cash transfers, the universal basic income

Technology and structural changes in the labor market

Education to work transitions

Ioana Marinescu is an economist who studies the labor market to craft policies that can enhance employment, productivity, and economic security. To make an informed policy decision, it is crucial to determine the costs and benefits of policies. Dr. Marinescu’s research expertise includes online job search, workforce development, unemployment insurance, the universal basic income, and employment contracts.

Dr. Marinescu’s research has been published in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Labor Economics and the Journal of Public Economics. She is the economist leading the Data@Work Research Hub (, a workforce data gathering and sharing project funded by the Sloan Foundation. She writes a monthly op-ed for the French newspaper Liberation (, and a monthly blog post on hiring and management tips backed by research at (

Dr. Marinescu is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research ( You can follow her on twitter @mioana and check out her research on her website,

Marinescu, Ioana. 2017. “The General Equilibrium Impacts of Unemployment Insurance: Evidence from a Large Online Job Board.” Journal of Public Economics 150 (June): 14–29. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.02.012.

During the Great Recession, U.S. unemployment benefits were extended by up to 73 weeks. Theory predicts that extensions increase unemployment by discouraging job search, a partial equilibrium effect. Using data from the large job board, I find that a 10% increase in benefit duration decreased state-level job applications by 1%, but had no robust effect on job vacancies. Job seekers thus faced reduced competition for jobs, a general equilibrium effect. Calibration implies that the general equilibrium effect reduces the impact of unemployment insurance on unemployment by 39%.

Marinescu, Ioana. 2017. “No Strings Attached: The Behavioral Effects of U.S. Unconditional Cash Transfer Programs.” New York, NY, USA: Roosevelt Institute, 2017.

This is a review of the literature on the behavioral impacts of unconditional cash transfers in the United States. Unconditional cash transfers had little to no effect on employment, and improved health and education among the poorest children.

Marinescu, Ioana, and Roland Rathelot. 2016. “Mismatch Unemployment and the Geography of Job Search.” Working Paper 22672. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w22672. Accepted, American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Could we significantly reduce U.S. unemployment by helping job seekers move closer to jobs?  Using data from the leading employment board, we show that, indeed, workers dislike applying to distant jobs: job seekers are 35% less likely to apply to a job 10 miles away from their ZIP code of residence. However, because job seekers are close enough to vacancies on average, this distaste for distance is fairly inconsequential: our search and matching model predicts that relocating job seekers to minimize unemployment would decrease unemployment by only 5.3%. Geographic mismatch is thus a minor driver of aggregate unemployment.

Baker, Rachel, Eric Bettinger, Brian Jacob, and Ioana Marinescu. 2017. “The Effect of Labor Market Information on Community College Students’ Major Choice.” Working Paper 23333. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w23333.

An important goal of community colleges is to prepare students for the labor market. But are students aware of the labor market outcomes in different majors? And how much do students weigh labor market outcomes when choosing a major? In this study we find that less than 40% of a sample of community college students in California rank broad categories of majors accurately in terms of labor market outcomes. However, students believe that salaries are 13% higher than they actually are, on average, and students underestimate the probability of being employed by almost 25%. We find that the main determinants of major choice are beliefs about course enjoyment and grades, but expected labor market outcomes also matter. Experimental estimates of the impact of expected labor market outcomes are larger than OLS estimates and show that a 1% increase in salary is associated with a 1.4 to 1.8% increase in the probability of choosing a specific category of majors.

SP2 News

School of Social Policy & Practice sign on the Caster Building seen with pink azaleas.

Faculty & Research

Several SP2 Experts Listed as Top 100 Most Influential Contemporary Social Work Faculty

Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) faculty members Richard J. Gelles, Steven C. Marcus, Phyllis Solomon, Ram A....

Jennifer Plumb

Alumni Stories

What I Did With My DSW Degree: Jennifer Plumb

For years, social work professionals have furthered their careers as innovators, educators, and leaders in the field with degree programs...

Marquisha Lawrence Scott

Student Life

Support on the Ground: PhD Student Examines Where Faith Organizations and Social Work Intertwine

Faith-based organizations often offer tangible forms of aid through initiatives such as disaster relief efforts and financial assistance programs. But...

Alice Cooper

Student Life

Toward Equitable Education for All: MSSP Student Channels Social Policy Theory into Social Good

For Alice Cooper, an MSSP (Master of Science in Social Policy Program) student at Penn’s School of Social Policy &...

Discover More