Research

Working Papers

Direct and Spillover Impacts of Formal Employment: Evidence from Argentina.

Job Market Paper (Draft)

I estimate how a policy that drastically increased the cost of noncompliance with labor laws affected formality rates and other labor market outcomes of domestic workers in Argentina. I find that increasing sanctions and the probability of detection of informal employment led to a 36.7% increase in registration rates of domestic workers, a 3.8% increase in labor income and a 6.3% in total earnings per month. While the results are not driven by changes in unemployment rates, I do find a reduction of 3% in hours of work per week, consistent with a reduction in labor demand following the increase in cost. In addition to this, I estimate whether the increase in formality rates produced spillover effects in the labor market for other household members. Although I do not find changes in labor market outcomes for spouses, I observe a decline in labor force participation among young adult children. I also find evidence of an increase in school attendance and years of education among male children of domestic workers of secondary school age after the policy reform. The results suggest that worker registration could have considerable spillover effects for other individuals of the targeted worker's family.


Immigration and its Effects Crime, Violence and Social Unrest.

With Marieke Kleemans (Draft)

We estimate the causal effect of internal migration on crime in Indonesia by combining detailed migration data with reports of crime and violence from over 2 million local newspapers, and from individual victimization reports from nationally representative surveys. To address endogeneity in the choice to migrate, we instrument the share of migrants in a destination with rainfall shocks at the migrant origin locations. We find that a 1 percent increase in the proportion of migrants in the population leads to a 3.9 percent increase in the number of economically motivated crimes reported by local media. This is consistent with the existing literature on the effect of international migration to developed countries, but larger in magnitude. However, when using data on individual victimization from household surveys, we instead find that an increase in the share of migrants leads to a reduction in the probability that a person is a crime victim at the destination. The reduction in crime victimhood is particularly large for migrants and for women. We explore various reasons for these competing results, including reporting bias in newspapers as a source of increased crime coverage in areas with an influx of migrants, even though the number of crime victims decreases.


Comparing Methods to Estimate Valuations of Job Attributes.

With AbdelRahman Nagy and Adam Osman (Draft)

We estimate the value of different non-wage job amenities among a group of job seekers in Egypt. We use a number of randomly assigned elicitation methods as well as a discrete choice experiment administered to all participants. We find that willingness to pay estimates vary substantially across elicitation methods, both in nominal terms as well as with respect to a baseline salary, which suggests estimates obtained using stated preference should be validated with revealed preference methods to assess their validity. Estimates from certain widely used elicitation methods have the opposite sign from what economic theory would predict, which calls into question their reliability. We also nd heterogeneous willingness to pay estimates within elicitation methods by gender, level of education and spell of job search.

Publications

Collective Action: Experimental Evidence.

With María Victoria Anauati, Sebastián Galiani and Gustavo Torrens, 2016. Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 99, pp. 36-55 (Publication | Working Paper)

We conducted a laboratory experiment to test the comparative statics predictions of a new approach to collective action games based on the method of stability sets. We find robust support for the main theoretical predictions. As we increase the payoff of a successful collective action (accruing to all players and only to those who contribute), the share of cooperators increases. The experiment also points to new avenues for refining the theory. We find that, as the payoff of a successful collective action increases, subjects tend to upgrade their prior beliefs as to the expected share of cooperators. Although this does not have a qualitative effect on comparative static predictions, using the reported distribution of beliefs rather than an ad hoc uniform distribution reduces the gap between theoretical predictions and observed outcomes. This finding also allows us to decompose the mechanism that leads to more cooperation into a “belief effect” and a “range of cooperation effect”.


Climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean: policy options and research priorities.

With Sebastián Galiani, 2015. Latin American Economic Review, vol. 24(1) p. 14. (Publication)

Although climate change is filled with uncertainties, a broad set of policies proposed to address this issue can be grouped in two categories: mitigation and adaptation. Developed countries that are better prepared to cope with climate change have stressed the importance of mitigation, which ideally requires a global agreement that is still lacking. This paper uses a theoretical framework to argue that in the absence of a binding international agreement on mitigation, Latin America should focus mainly on adaptation to cope with the consequences of climate change.This is not a recommendation that such economies indulge in free-riding. Instead, it is based on cost–benefit considerations, all else being equal. Only in the presence of a global binding agreement can the region hope to exploit its comparative advantage in the conservation and management of forests, which are a large carbon sink. The decision of which policies to implement should depend on the results of a thorough cost–benefit analysis of competing projects, yet very little is known or has been carried out in this area to date. Research should be directed toward cost–benefit analysis of alternative climate change policies. Policymakers should compare other investments that are also pressing in the region, such as interventions to reduce water and air pollution, and determine which will render the greatest benefits.