We identify the possible determinants of the pass-through coefficient from the nominal exchange rate and the international price oil to domestic inflation in Nicaragua. In particular, we analyze the effect of Hurricane Mitch on the evolution of this coefficient. We find that this natural disaster reduced considerably the magnitude of the pass-through coefficient. The methodology that we use exploits a state-space model, which allows us to obtain a variable coefficient in time. This is inspired by a micro-founded Phillips curve.

Book Chapters

  • "When your vote determines your welfare: The effect of political competition on economic development” (spanish), In El país que viene: Jóvenes en el exterior, edited by Diego Echegoyén. 2016.
  • “Gang Violence and Suicide in El Salvador”, In Contemporary Developments and Perspectives in International Health Security, edited by Stanislaw Stawicki. Forthcoming. (Joint with Carlos Carcach)

Working Papers

I examine the effect of political competition on economic development. I provide theoretical and empirical evidence that political competition fosters economic growth at the municipal level in El Salvador (as proxied by satellite images of light density at night) and that the magnitude of this effect depends on monetary transfers received from the Central Government. I exploit quasi-experimental variation from the entry of a political party in the aftermath of the Salvadoran civil war to identify the causal effect of political competition on economic growth. Furthermore, my results hold sizable when using other development outcomes. Finally, I find that places with higher political competition are more likely to strategically borrow according to the political cycle.

We exploit the construction of a highway in the north of El Salvador Northern Transnational Highway (NTH), to measure short-term impacts of infrastructure on development outcomes, using an IV approach. We find empirical evidence that the construction of this highway impacted positively relevant economic activities for the northern region. However, it reduced the growth of young male formal labor force participation. To explain these results, we propose the gangs arrival to municipalities closer to the highway as a plausible mechanism that could be driving these results. In fact, we find that municipalities closer to the NTH face a increase in the short-term homicides rate and extortions growth, without any effect in other non-gangs related crimes.

I empirically examine the effect of population size on political competition. Using population size in the 19th century interacted with newly created municipalities as a potentially exogenous sources of variation of current size, I present empirical evidence that areas with a larger electorate are more likely to have more competitive elections at the municipal level in Brazil. In terms of mechanisms to explain this result, I find that there is more competition in terms of electoral campaign expenses in those more populated municipalities. This, together with evidence on total and average costs per voter, suggests that more populated districts allow politicians to pay the fixed costs of setting up a campaign in a particular area, i. e., although the entry costs to compete in larger populations are more expensive, there is a gain of efficiency in relation to the smaller ones: "to buy" a vote ends up costing less in larger districts. Finally, when extending my analysis to presidential and legislative elections, I provide suggestive evidence that the locality or regionalism of electoral markets may foster the scale effects on electoral competition.

Work in progress

  • Residential voting and gangs in El Salvador (Joint with Micaela Sviatschi and Juan Vargas)
  • Losing grams due to Gangs: The effect of Salvadoran Gangs Violence on birth outcomes (Joint with Lelys Dinarte and Carlos Carcach)
  • Drugs and rules: The impact of introducing a sanction table for narcotics consumption in Ecuador (Joint with Julio Galárraga)
  • Should I stay or should I go: Geographical distance as a voting cost in the US (Joint with Claudio Mora)
  • Teachers' incentives and educational outcomes: The effects of removing the Educo Program in El Salvador
  • Electoral systems and political competition: The Italian case
  • Civil war, political competition and economic development: The cases of Nicaragua and El Salvador