I am an economics PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research focuses on labor, development, and urban economics. Scroll down for a selected description of my research. I will be in the job market in 2019-2020, and will be available for interviews at the 2019 EEA in Rotterdam and at the 2020 ASSA in San Diego.
Address: 214 DKH, 1407 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801
Link to my CV: Here
Link to my Ideas Profile: Ideas - Repec
Job Market Paper
Though abundant evidence shows that import competition from low-wage countries decreases manufacturing employment and wages of high-wage countries, less is known about the reverse: the impact of import competition from high-wage countries on emerging economies. This paper uses a natural experiment to examine the effects of import competition from the United States on workers and firms in Colombia. We exploit industry variation in import exposure and regional variation in import access in the wake of a free trade agreement that increased import competition in Colombia but left its exports unaffected. Using administrative employer-employee data to identify proxies for productivity and skills, we find that a 10 percent increase in import competition from the United States decreases employment in Colombia by 6.4 percent. The impacts are driven largely by the exit and shrinking of less-productive firms. Less-skilled workers experience the greatest impacts, with effects on employment lasting for at least four years. Import competition induces workers to shift from affected to unaffected industries and states, and decreases the wage of workers employed in less-productive firms.
- Presented in: Colombian Central Bank (2019), NEUDC (2019), WashU (EGSC 2019), Illinois Economic Association (2019), LACEA (2019), IDB Research Department (2019).
The Economics Behind the Math Gender Gap: Colombian Evidence on the Role of Sample Selection (2018), Journal of Development Economics , 135: pp. 368-391. [paper]
The literature that has previously shown that boys outperform girls in math tests has failed to explain the underlying causes of the phenomenon. This math gender gap has been documented to vary across countries, and shown to grow as students advance through school. In this paper I suggest that these patterns may be explained by sample selection caused by gender differences in schooling's opportunity costs, which lead lower-achieving males to drop out. I present and test the implications of a labor supply model that examines the opportunity cost of school attendance and, thereby, the observed math gender gap. Using an exogenous policy change, the launch of a conditional cash transfer program in Colombia, I estimate that sample selection explains between 50 percent and 60 percent of the gap. Estimates of non-parametric bounds show that selection in the lower quantiles of the male distribution explains a significant portion of the gap.
- Featured in Marginal Revolution
Enrollment, Graduation, and Dropout Rates in Latin America, Is the glass half empty or half full? (2015) Joint with Marina Bassi and Matías Busso. Economia Journal. Fall 2015. pp. 113-156.
We use 292 household surveys from eighteen Latin American countries to document patterns in secondary school graduation rates over the period 1990–2010. We find that enrollment and graduation rates increased during that period, while dropout rates decreased. We provide two types of explanations for these patterns. Countries implemented changes on the supply side to improve access, by increasing the resources allocated to education and designing policies to help students stay in school. Despite this progress, graduation rates are still generally low, and there are remarkable gaps in educational outcomes in terms of gender, income quintiles, and regions within countries. The quality of education is also generally low.
- Press Coverage: Huffington Post
We examine whether school shootings erode property values using a difference-in-differences strategy and individual transactions data. We find that house prices within a school district decline by 7.8 percent in the three year period after a mass shooting episode takes place. Additionally, we find evidence of decline in number of transactions in the affected districts after the shooting. The drop in property prices is most pronounced among houses with more bedrooms, a measure that serves as a proxy for properties most likely to have school-age children in the household. We also find evidence of decrease in school enrollment and in the number of teachers in the aftermath of the shooting. Prices appear to be unaffected by proximity to the school in which the shooting occurred. The analysis suggests that deterioration in school quality and place based stigma decrease the demand for houses in affected areas, and results in a lower willingness to pay.
Unbundling Returns to Skills and Degrees : Evidence from Postsecondary Education in Colombia (Joint with Matías Busso and Sebastián Montaño) - Submitted.
This paper shows that returns to education are not enough to capture all the returns to human capital. Using longitudinal data of all college graduates in Colombia, we estimate labor market returns to postsecondary degrees and to various skills --including literacy, numeracy, foreign language, field-specific, and non-cognitive skills. Graduates of longer programs, of private institutions, and of schools with higher reputation earn higher wages. Even after controlling for all the characteristics of the degree, a one standard deviation increase in each skill predicts an average wage increase of two percent. Returns to skills vary along the wage distribution, with tenure, with the field of specialization and the type of job obtained immediately after graduation.
In the quest to improve learning in developing countries, important evidence on mean impacts has been generated through rigorous program evaluations. Yet knowledge of who these programs leave behind is still much needed. This paper explores heterogeneity in the effects of a primary school literacy intervention in rural Uganda, using panel data from a randomized trial that implemented the program with different intensities across schools and cohorts of students. First, we explore idiosyncratic variation using traditional probability inequalities; the estimated Fréchet-Hoffding bounds suggest substantial heterogeneity in the program’s effects. We then estimate quantile treatment effects, and find that across all intensities of the program the treatment effects are concentrated at the top of the outcome distribution. These differences are extremely large: for the main cohort of students at the end of the program, the treatment effect varies from nearly zero for the bottom of the outcome distribution to over 2.5 SDs for the top. We show that while there is some systematic variation in treatment effects by student, schools, and teacher characteristics, the majority of the treatment effect heterogeneity is idiosyncratic. Differences in treatment effects across quantiles are also much larger than differences by the intensity of the program. Our results suggest that the mean impacts of education interventions in developing countries are insufficient for summarizing how programs affect learning.
- Presented in: From Theory to Statistics to Empirics: An Econometrics Conference in Honor of James Heckman (2019).