Job Market Paper

This paper leverages a quasi-natural experiment to trace the short- and long-run effects of international trade on structural change in an economy with a comparative advantage in agriculture. I find that regions in Colombia that gained access to international markets thanks to the opening of the Panama Canal experienced higher population growth and faster structural change. While the impact of trade on population growth is increasing in the capacity to grow agricultural exports, the impact of trade on structural change is maximized at intermediate levels. Furthermore, I provide evidence of the indirect effects of trade: regions located between ports and places suitable for growing agricultural exports saw a larger share of their labor reallocated towards services. The findings highlight the within-country distributional consequences of exposure to international trade for developing countries.

Working Papers

(joint with Maximiliano García (JMP))

This paper studies the role of legally empowered users’ organizations when river waters are allocated through private property in a context of weak state enforcement. Our analysis is based on a novel dataset that integrates administrative records, geographic information, and satellite imagery. We show that the establishment of such organizations limits the creation of conflicting new property rights, and results in the redistribution of water towards users more exposed to over-extraction by others, primarily due to improved enforcement of extant property rights. This redistribution increases agricultural yield, mostly among large downstream farmers. A misallocation test suggests that these organizations reduce misallocation caused by the natural advantage of upstream users to over-extract. Our results provide micro-evidence of the consequences of effective governance for both allocative efficiency and equity.

Estimates of Water Consumption at the farm level, for Aconcagua Basin, Chile. Location 

(joint with Diego Gentile)

CAF Development Bank Working Papers Series 

This paper estimates the impact of alternative transportation modes on economic development. It focuses on Argentina, where over three decades, 10,000 kilometers of railroads were closed, and 18,000 kilometers of paved roads were constructed. Our empirical strategy leverages a discontinuity in how a World Bank mission selected railroads for closure assessment. We find that the dismantling of railroads operated as a negative trade shock that led to an overall decline in economic activity. It decreased the share of labor in agriculture - the export sector - and had negative impacts on both the population and industrial production. . We find evidence of paved roads increasing the share of labor in manufactures, but no impacts on population growth nor industrial production.

Work in Progress

Land Redistribution and Literacy in The Aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1930

This paper studies the impact of land redistribution on human capital accumulation in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution. Exploiting a discontinuity in exposure to this policy around state borders, I find that land redistribution had a negative causal effect on literacy rates.

Intensity of Land Redistribution and State Borders (1922).