Working papers

There are large health inequalities between neighborhoods in many cities of the world. This paper studies the role of individuals’ sorting based on health amenities on these geographic health inequalities and uncovers an important connection between health preferences and the housing market. I estimate a neighborhood choice model using geolocated data from a health survey in New York City and neighborhood characteristics from different data sources. I find that individuals with good health behavior are more likely to choose neighborhoods close to health amenities such as parks and this sorting explains a large part of the observed health inequalities. Moreover, the model predicts that a higher demand for health amenities capitalizes into house prices and displaces poor individuals to neighborhoods further from these amenities. This implies that the increased importance of a healthy lifestyle can be a contributing factor to gentrification.

Health Beliefs and the Long-run Effect of Medical Information

with Jérôme Adda

This paper studies the role of information on the evolution of beliefs and smoking in the United States in the 20th and early 21st centuries. We develop a dynamic and dynastic model of smoking, mortality and beliefs. The information about the harmfulness of smoking comes from three different sources: (i) learning from individual health shocks, (ii) medical information or public health messages and (iii) social learning, understood as the diffusion of information and beliefs within and across social groups over time. We estimate the model using data on smoking behavior, health information and data on beliefs on the effect of smoking on health that cover several decades and different social groups.

Published papers

with Selim Gulesci and Diego Ubfal, Journal of Development Economics, 2021, Vol. 153.

This paper shows that a youth empowerment program in Bolivia reduced the reported prevalence of violence against girls during the COVID-19 lockdown. The program offered training in soft skills and technical skills, sexual education, mentoring and job-finding assistance. To measure the effects of the program, the study conducted a randomized control trial with 600 vulnerable adolescents. Results indicate that 7 months after its completion, the program increased girls’ earnings and decreased violence against girls. Violence was measured with both direct self-report questions and list experiments. These findings suggest that multi-faceted empowerment programs can reduce the level of violence experienced by young women during high-risk periods.

Policy papers

with Omar Rilver Velasco Portillo. Bolivian Economic Research Papers, 2016, Vol 1 (2).

This paper analyzes the effects of the sustained national minimum wage increase In Bolivia on the overall wage distribution and poverty rate. A pseudo-panel database is structured with information from household surveys conducted in 2005-2013. The results point to a positive effect of the minimum wage increases on the full wage distribution and on poverty reduction, considering both formal and informal sectors.