My primary interests are in economic growth and development, macroeconomics and political economy.



Migration, Population Composition and Long Run Economic Development: Evidence from Settlements in the Pampas (pdf) 

Forthcoming The Economic Journal, 2017.

Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of population composition on long run economic development, by studying European migration to Argentina during the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1914). I use an instrumental variables (IV) approach that assigns immigrants to counties by interacting two sources of variation: the availability of land for settlement and the arrival of Europeans over time. Counties with historically higher shares of European population in 1914 have higher per-capita GDP 80 years later. I show that this long run effect is linked to the higher level of human capital that immigrants brought to Argentina. I show that Europeans raised literacy rates in the receiving counties, and that high-skilled Europeans played an important role in the onset of industrialization, owned most of the industrial establishments, and provided the majority of the industrial labour force.

Height in eighteenth-century Chilean men: evidence from military records, 1730s-1800s (pdf)

(joint with M. Llorca, J. Navarrete and R. Araya) Economics and Human Biology, Vol. 29, 2018.

This article provides the first height estimates for the adult population for any period of Chilean history. Based on military records, it gives an analysis of the average heights of male soldiers in the last eight decades of the colonial period, c.1730s-1800s. The average height of Chilean men was around 167 centimetres, making them on average taller than men from Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela, but of a similar height to men from Sweden.  However, Chilean men were clearly shorter than men in neighbouring Argentina, the USA and the UK.  Chilean height remained stable during the 1740s-1770s, but it declined by some 2-3 centimetres between the 1780s and the 1800s, in line with a fall in real wages due to increasing food prices and population growth.

The dynamics and determinants of slave prices in an urban setting: Santiago de Chile, c.1773-1822 (pdf)

(joint with C. Cussen and M. Llorca) Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Volume 34, December 2016.

This paper provides the first survey of slave prices for Santiago de Chile, c.1773-1822. It also establishes the main determinants of slave prices during this period. We gathered and analyzed over 3,800 sale operations. Our series confirm the usual inverted U-shape when prices are plotted against age, and that age was a very important determinant of slave prices. We also found that: female slaves were systematically priced over male slaves, quite contrary to what happened in most other markets; the prime age of Santiago slaves was 16-34, a younger range than for most other places; male slave prices moved in the same direction as real wages of unskilled workers; and the impact of free womb laws on market prices in 1811 was dramatic.

Working Papers:

Agricultural Production Patterns and Economic Development: Argentina, from Farm to Factory, 1895-1935 (joint with Martin Fiszbein)

Abstract: We investigate the effect of ranching specialization in 1914 on income per capita in 1994 across Argentinian departamentos in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Entre Rios, and Santa Fe. Using exogenous variation in agricultural production patterns generated by climatic features, we find negative effects of ranching specialization on long-run income per capita that are both significant and sizable. The results are robust to controlling for province fixed effects and an array of geo-climatic conditions. We also show how the effects of early ranching specialization emerged over the course of import-substituting industrialization between the 1930s and the 1970s. We assess the plausibility of four potential channels: the comparative performance of ranching and other agricultural activities; the role of backward and forward linkages characterizing different agricultural activities; the effects of land concentration (which was higher in ranching localities); and the differential patterns of population density and immigration associated with each specialization pattern. 

Beliefs in Market Economy and Macroeconomic Crises while Young

Abstract: This paper analyzes how past economic history shapes individual beliefs in market economies. Evidence from a cross section of countries in Latin America indicates that economic crises suffered during early adulthood negatively affect individual beliefs. In particular, crises at an age of 22-25 years old reduce the probability of believing in a market economy as a source of economic growth, while crises at other ages are not relevant for the formation of beliefs. 

Work in Progress:

The evolution of Infant Mortality across Chilean regions: 1950 - 1990 (joint with G. Bozzoli and F. Borrescio-Higa)

Population Composition and Human Capital Creation: the Highschool Movement in the U.S.

Abstract: This paper studies how diversity affects the creation of human capital. I show how the composition of the population affected enrollment rates across counties in the U.S. at the beginning of the twentieth century. The mass European migration to the U.S. in this period of time provides for a change in the composition of the population. First I show with individual-level data that foreign individuals attend less school. Second, I analyze county-level data and measure diversity with a fractionalization index. I find that communities were fractionalization was higher experienced lower enrollment rates in early years, and this negative effect diminishes over time.


- Principles of Macroeconomics
- Macroeconomics
- Economic Growth