JOB MARKET PAPER
- Bridging the ICT gap: Effects on Medium and Long-Term Human Capital Accumulation.
Governments and organizations around the globe are expanding access to computers and the internet as the United Nations calls for efforts to eliminate the digital divide. Although the theoretical importance of internet access and computer literacy is generally accepted, little is known about its effects on human capital investments. This paper estimates the causal effect of access to technology on educational attainment and major choice. Individual decisions about middle-school enrollment, middle-school completion, high school enrollment, selection of regular (as opposed to technological) high-school track, regular high-school completion, college enrollment, and technological major of choice are tested sequentially. In order to establish a causal link between access to technology and these outcomes, I construct a rich database combining survey and administrative data from Uruguay, which conducted the world’s first national-scale one-laptop-per child intervention in 2007. This is the first study to evaluate the impact of a large scale public program of this kind on medium and long-term educational outcomes. The findings will help inform the design of future policies aimed at bridging the digital divide and achieving greater equality of opportunity through education.
- The Political Coase Theorem: Experimental evidence, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2014). With Sebastian Galiani and Gustavo Torrens.
The Political Coase Theorem (PCT) states that, in the absence of transaction costs, agents should agree to implement efficient policies regardless of the distribution of bargaining power among them. This paper uses a laboratory experiment to explore how commitment problems undermine the validity of the PCT. Overall, the results support theoretical predictions. In particular, commitment issues matter, and the existence of more commitment possibilities leads to better social outcomes. Moreover, we find that the link is valid when commitment possibilities are asymmetrically distributed between players and even when a redistribution of political power is required to take advantage of those possibilities. However, we also find that at low levels of commitment there is more cooperation than strictly predicted by our parameterized model while the opposite is true at high levels of commitment, and only large improvements in commitment opportunities have a significant effect on the social surplus, while small changes do not.
- Efficiency and Market Power in the Financial Sector: The case of Argentina, Asociacion Argentina de Economia Politica (2011).
Motivated by the structural changes that affected the Argentine financial system from the end of 2001, this research study studies the behavior of the banking sector with a focus focused on the evolution of efficiency and market power before and after the economic crisis. It rescues the structural approach that was popular in the 90's, when evaluating the Power hypothesis of Market (Structure- conduct-Performance and RMP) and Efficiency Structure (X-efficiency and scale efficiency) for all banking entities, including the period 1994-2010, using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) technique to obtain reliable estimates of efficiency. He study does not find significant differences with respect to the hypotheses evaluated between both decades, and none seemed to have a significant role within each period. At the same time, there are slight glimpses structural differences for different groupings of banks in 2003-2010, finding evidence to favor of the efficiency hypothesis for retail banks. It is the first work to develop a detailed evaluation of these hypotheses specifically for the country, identifying classifications relevant entities and comparing the mentioned periods with a complete sample of banks. In this way it contributes to a more complete understanding of the market, illuminating the discussion
on banking policy and regulation.
WORKING PAPERS (OTHER)
- The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in US Counties: A Century of Data, NBER Working Paper. With Leah Boustan, Matthew Kahn and Paul Rhode.
Major natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause numerous fatalities, and destroy property and infrastructure. In any year, the U.S experiences dozens of smaller natural disasters as well. We construct a 90 year panel data set that includes the universe of natural disasters in the United States from 1920 to 2010. By exploiting spatial and temporal variation, we study how these shocks affected migration rates, home prices and local poverty rates. The most severe disasters increase out migration rates and lower housing prices, especially in areas at particular risk of disaster activity, but milder disasters have little effect.
- From Awareness to Action: The role of Informational Shocks in Demand for Environmental Regulation, Dissertation.
Protecting the environment is often plagued by collective action problems, and so it is important to understand what motivates politicians to act. This paper dwells on whether public information can influence demand in the population, and, if so, what are the relevant channels. I exploit the publishing in 1962 of the influential environmental science book Silent Spring - and the availability of U.S. congressional roll-call votes and census data, - to analyze how demand for environmental regulation changes in response to a radical informational shock. I define demand in terms of the total number of ‘green’ votes in Congress. My analysis has two steps. First, I evaluate the impact of my shock on average propensity for politicians to vote in favor of ‘green’ regulation, and find effects between 5 and 33 percentage points. Then, I look for heterogeneous effects of the shock, by including interactions with education, income, and exposure, and propose a framework to interpret my findings. My results suggest that public information, education and income interact in the demand for environmental regulation.
IN THE MEDIA