with Clemence Tricaud
This paper provides new evidence on why men and women leaders make different choices. We first illustrate, using a simple political agency model, how voters’ gender bias can lead reelection-seeking female politicians to undertake different policies. We then test the predictions of the model by exploring female and male leaders’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Assuming that voters expect policies to be less effective if decided by women, the model predicts that female politicians undertake less containment effort when voters perceive the threat as low — such as at the beginning of the pandemic — while the opposite is true when voters perceive it as serious — once the health consequences have become apparent. Using a close election design in Brazil, we find that, in line with the model, having a female mayor led to more deaths per capita at first, but to a lower death rate later in the year. Moreover, using new data on policies, we show that female mayors were less likely to close non-essential businesses early on, but then became more likely to do so. Consistent with electoral incentives and voters’ gender bias explaining these effects, we show that the gender differences we find are driven exclusively by mayors facing reelection and that the effects are stronger in more competitive races and in municipalities with greater gender discrimination. All in all, our paper shows that gender differences in leaders’ behavior can be explained by leaders’ incentives to adapt their policy choices to voters’ gender biases.
Updated in November 2023
with Matias Busso
This paper explores the effects of weather-induced rural-urban migration on urban labor and housing markets in Brazil. In order to identify causal effects, it uses weather shocks to the rural municipalities of origin of migrants. We show that larger migration shocks led to an increase in employment growth and a reduction in wage growth of 4 and 5 percent, respectively. The increased migration flows also affected the housing market in destination cities. On average, it led to 1 percent faster growth of the housing stock, accompanied by 5 percent faster growth in housing rents. These effects vary sharply by housing quality. We find a substantial positive effect on the growth rates of the most precarious housing units (with no effect on rents) and a negative effect on the growth of higher-quality housing units (with a positive effect on rents). This suggests that rural immigration growth slowed down housing-quality upgrading in destination cities.
Book and book chapter
Rethinking Urban Migration: Policy Options for Cities in Latin American and the Caribbean
The potential challenges associated with migration to cities have justifiably received much attention. But they may obscure the significant opportunities that migration also offers for receiving communities seeking to boost economic development. This report is an invitation to rethink urban migration, paying due attention to the opportunities for local economies that emerge with the arrival of both internal and international migrants and encouraging policymakers to capitalize on them. By tailoring policies to specific contexts and bridging short-term constraints with long-term solutions, cities can leverage the skills and diversity migrants bring, fostering innovation, productivity growth, and prosperity for all. The pages of this report offer guidance on how to go about this task.
Book and book chapters
Chapter 18 in González-Pérez, Irazábal, and Lois González (eds.), “The Routledge Handbook of Urban Studies in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Routledge, 2023.
This chapter presents an overview of how health outcomes vary across cities in Latin America and discusses some of the known drivers of this variation. There are large disparities in outcomes across cities and across neighborhoods of the same city. Because health is closely related to the socioeconomic conditions of individuals, part of the spatial variation reflects residential segregation by income. Local characteristics also have a direct effect on health outcomes, shaping individuals’ access to health services and the prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles. In addition, urban environments affect health through natural atmospheric conditions, through local infrastructure in particular water, sanitation, and urban transit and through the presence of urban externalities such as traffic congestion, pollution, crime, and the spread of transmissible diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates many of these patterns, since the impact of the disease has differed sharply across cities, and much of this variation can be explained by observable local characteristics particularly population, connectivity with other cities and countries, income levels, and residential overcrowding.
on November 13, 2023
Over the last six decades, Latin America and the Caribbean has experienced a wave of migration to urban areas that has boosted the percentage of people living in cities from around 50% of the population in 1960 to more than 80% today. […]
on March 16, 2023
Between 1991 and 2010, millions of Brazilians migrated from rural to urban areas, many of them because of the effect of increasing drought brought on by climate change. This migration has had effects not only on wages and employment, but also on the closely-related urban housing market. […]