I am an assistant professor of economics at IÉSEG school of Management. I hold a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research focuses on labor, development, and urban economics.


Email: j.munoz@ieseg.fr

Address: 1 parvis de la Défense, 92044 Paris-La Défense cedex – France.

Link to my CV: Here

Link to my Ideas Profile: Ideas - Repec


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.

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.

Working Papers

We document substantial variation in the effects of a highly-effective literacy program in northern Uganda. The program increases test scores by 1.4 SDs on average, but standard statistical bounds show that the impact standard deviation exceeds 1.0 SD. This implies that the variation in effects across our students is wider than the spread of mean effects across all randomized evaluations of developing country education interventions in the literature. This very effective program does indeed leave some students behind. At the same time, we do not learn much from our analyses that attempt to determine which students benefit more or less from the program. We reject rank preservation, and the weaker assumption of stochastic increasingness leaves wide bounds on quantile-specific average treatment effects. Neither conventional nor machine-learning approaches to estimating systematic heterogeneity capture more than a small fraction of the variation in impacts given our available candidate moderators.

      • Presented in: From Theory to Statistics to Empirics: An Econometrics Conference in Honor of James Heckman (2019).

We study how import competition and foreign inputs coming from high-income countries affect employment and earnings in developing economies. We exploit exogenous tariff reductions that increased U.S. imports to Colombia, and, therefore, increased import competition and decreased the prices of foreign inputs. We link foreign competition and inputs at the industry level using highly detailed administrative data, and we analyse changes in employment and earnings using household surveys and social security records. We derive five main conclusions that contrast with results previously documented for high-wage economies. First, positive employment effects of the reduction of foreign inputs' prices offset negative employment effects of the increase in competition, and this is mostly due to job reallocation from manufacturing to services. Second, losses in manufacturing employment are mainly driven by substitution with foreign inputs, rather than import competition. Third, informal workers experience decreased earnings rather than decreased employment. Fourth, high-skilled workers experience significant earnings losses, whereas low-skilled do not, and the effect is focused towards the informal, high-skilled jobs. Fifth, isolated Colombian regions experience proportionally larger manufacturing employment losses. Our results show that international trade do not create winners in developing countries and losers in developed countries, but, instead, creates winners and losers within countries.

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.

Presented in: Urban Economic Association (2018), Ohio State University (2018), 1st Colombian Economic Conference (2018), AREUEA-International (2019), APPAM (2019), ASSA (2020).

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.