"Guns n’ Roses: The Impact of Female Employment on Violence in Colombia" (Job Market Paper)
Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of the dramatic growth of the fresh-cut flower sector in Colombia, on different forms of violence, measured at the municipality level. The empirical strategy exploits municipal variation in the geoclimatic suitability for floriculture, together with time variation from the sector’s growth. I show that the expansion of the sector was associated with a reduction in unorganized violent crime (in particular homicide rate) in the suitable municipalities, but not in any changes in participation in guerilla warfare. In contrast, increases in coffee price are associated with a decrease in guerilla warfare (Dube and Vargas, 2013) but, as I show in this paper, an increase in homicide. I propose a household model where households both participate in and indirectly consume criminal activities (organized and unorganized) and women have different preferences than men, which can help explaining those results.
Abstract: This paper investigates the impact the fresh-cut flower industry had on investments in human capital in Colombia. I study how schooling completion and enrollment respond to local employment shocks. My empirical strategy exploits municipal variation in the geo-climatic suitability for floriculture, together with time variation from the industry’s growth. I show that blooming periods for the flower industry are associated with a differential increase in the probability that a student will graduate from secondary schooling. I do not find evidence of an asymmetrical impact by gender, which I interpret to be indicative of a dominance of an income effect, and an absence of a substitution effect, particularly for girls. My results remain robust to different forms of shock aggregation, and accounting for differential trends by municipality characteristics.
Abstract: This paper investigates the impact the growth of the fresh-cut flower industry had on the lives of Colombian women. My goal is to understand how flower shocks affect the timing of fertility and marriage decisions for women exposed to them during their adolescence. The empirical strategy exploits municipal variation in the geo-climatic suitability for floriculture together with time variation from the industry’s growth. I find that girls exposed to the flower shocks are more likely to have initiated sexual activity, to be pregnant and married at younger ages. The results remain robust to different forms of shock aggregation, differential trends by municipality characteristics, accounting for migration, and geographically restricting the sample to the departments that concentrate flower production.
Research in Progress
Street Harassment and Social Cohesion in Mexico City (with Paola Abril Campos (IPA Mexico), Claudia Díaz (IPA Mexico), Kate Falb (Yale School of Public Health), and Jumkha Gupta (Yale School of Public Health))
Abstract: This study seeks to document the frequency of street harassment and preventive measures women take to avoid it. It explores the association between experiences of street harassment and perceptions of social cohesion among women currently presenting for health care at public health clinics. The study was conducted in Mexico City, the most populous city in North America, which has a high documented prevalence of gender-based violence against women, ranging from 20-30% in a woman’s lifetime. Despite the pervasiveness of gender-based violence in the city, little is known about experiences related to street harassment. Data were drawn from a baseline survey among women currently participating in a randomized controlled trial in Mexico City (N=952). Current findings underscore the needs for programs and policies to promote the safety and well being of women and addressing community and structural-level forms of gender discrimination and violence.
Pass Through of Quality Premiums to Small-Holder Farmers in Gujarat, India (with Nilesh Fernando, Reshmaan Hussam, and Natalia Rigol)
Abstract: This project is a randomized control trial funded by the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) that seeks to systematically identify the barriers that small and marginal farmers, often females, face in the production of high quality crops in India, and in turn understand what forms of contracts can best incentivize such high quality production. Knowing how to incorporate these farmers into the high value-added segments becomes increasingly relevant as organized retailers replace traditional food sellers. This is of special relevance presently in India as the country is rapidly opening up to massive retail supermarkets which interact primarily with large farmers, arguably pushing out many small and marginal farmers in the process. Understanding how to construct optimal contracts with these small farmers that streamline the production of high quality crops can thus facilitate their reintegration into the quickly changing landscape of Indian agricultural economy. We finished a baseline survey across our sample of 2,200 farmers and we are currently in the process of cleaning and analyzing the data collected.