Research Papers

Italian Migration to the United States: The Role of Pioneers’ Locations                       Job Market Paper

Does the location and fortune of pioneering migrants have an effect on the size and concentration patterns of further migratory waves from the same origin communities? Filling a gap in the historical data, I focus on Italian mass migration to the US at the turn of the 20th century and combine scarcely used data with a surname matching technique to generate the first estimates of the yearly flow of migrants from each Italian municipality to each US county. I exploit variation across time, origins and destinations, and use instrumental variables based on settlement decisions of other non-italian immigrants to address the potentially endogenous location of Italian pioneers. I find that positive economic shocks in a county with high concentration of migrants from a given origin led to an increase in flows from that origin to that county and to the US as a whole. The former effect is smaller than the latter, which implies greater diversification of further migrants from the same origins across US counties.

Do Dictatorships Affect People’s Long Term Beliefs and Preferences? An Empirical Assessment of the Latin American Case R&R, Journal of Development Economics

Does the political regime experienced during youth have long lasting effects on political beliefs and preferences? I exploit time and country variation in political regimes in Latin America using data from the 1995 to 2010 Latinobarometer and find that exposure to non-democratic regimes during youth reduces subsequent preference for democracy, satisfaction with democracy and confidence in institutions. These results suggest exposure to dictatorships during formative years permanently eroded democratic values. Exposure to non-democratic regimes also affects self-location in an ideology scale, reducing identification with the Right and increasing identification with the Left; which suggests dictatorships also shaped the political orientation of voters.

Italian Migration to the United States: The Role of Migrant Networks

This paper investigates the effect of network size on literacy levels of Italian migrants to the US at the turn of the twentieth century. I exploit unused ship manifest micro data and reconstruct migratory flows to the US by municipality of origin. This allows me to evaluate self-selection patterns at the sub-national level and by cohort, which shows positive selection for the lower tail of the literacy distribution. I use cross-sectional variation in the size of the migrant stock across municipalities of origin and use instrumental variables to asses measurement error. I find that increased migrant network size by municipality of origin is associated with a reduction in literacy for later migrants. Moreover, larger network size is also associated with lower immigrant age, and a higher proportion of women and agricultural workers in subsequent migratory flows. Results are consistent with migrant networks reducing migration costs and increasing emigration rates for lower quality (prospective) migrants.

Working Papers

Too little but not too late. Nowcasting poverty and cash transfers’ incidence in Uruguay during COVID-19’s crisis [With Mauricio De Rosa] Submitted

The economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 is causing a world-wide massive economic downturn, and what is likely to be the deepest GDP contraction for Latin America since the beginning of the XXth century. The main questions we address are: how many people have fallen below the poverty line since the pandemic began? To what extent have the measures implemented by the government neutralized these negative effects? How many additional resources are needed to maintain the poverty rate at pre-crisis levels? We microsimulate the short-run effect of the crisis on poverty rates for the Uruguayan case based on household survey data, publicly available information on both cash-transfers and the increase in unemployed formal wage-earners applying for unemployment benefits, as well as macro-economic estimates of the likely GDP contraction. By combining these data sources, we are able to estimate the effect of the crisis on formal, informal and self-employed workers, while providing full micro-macro consistency to our results. We find that during the first full month of the lock-down, the poverty rate reaches 11.7%, an increase of over 36%. Moreover, new cash transfers implemented by the government have a positive but very limited effect in mitigating this poverty spike. We estimate that most of this increase in poverty could be neutralized with cash-transfers worth less than 0.5\% of Uruguay’s annual GDP. The key contribution of the paper is to bridge a gap in the literature, combining approaches based on the feasibility of working from home or in close proximity with others, with methods based on macro-economic estimates of the effects of the pandemic. Moreover, we propose a method to solve the issue of how to quantify the shock on informal and self-employed workers, particularly relevant in developing countries where social security coverage is low.

Research statement

 Publications and policy reports

Refereed journals

Books and book chapters

  • Efecto de los Consejos de Salarios en los sueldos de asalariados privados, 2005-2015 (with I. Perazzo). Chapter of Estudios sobre Trabajo y Seguridad Social, #4, Edicion especial: Consejos de Salarios, Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, 2020.
  • Changes in Uruguay’s Wage Structure, 1986-2007. A Quantile Regression approach (with G. Alves & M. Yapor). Chapter of La investigacion de los jovenes en la facultad de ciencias economicas y administracion, Peluffo, A. (compiled by), Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay, 2012.
  • La distribucion de la riqueza en Uruguay: elementos para el debate (with V. Amarante, G. Pereira, A. Velasco, A. Vigorito & A. Umpierrez), Comision Sectorial de Investigacion Cientifica, Uruguay, 2012.
  • Equity and the progress of nations. A proposal of dimensions and indicators for its
    evaluation (with G. Alves & A. Vigorito). Chapter of The Measurement of progress and well-being. Proposals from Latin America, FCCyT, Mexico, 2011.

Policy reports

  • Employment and added value by activity sector in Uruguay (with V. Amarante). Planning and Budget Office Report, Government of Uruguay, 2010.