The Enduring Pursuit of Public Science at US Land Grant Universities (2021), with Bradford L. Barham and Jeremy Foltz. PLOS ONE. 16(11): e0259997.

Academic Engagement, Commercialization, and Scholarship: Empirical Evidence from Agricultural and Life Scientists at US Land Grant Universities (2021), with Bradford L. Barham and Jeremy Foltz. NBER Chapters, in: Economics of Research and Innovation in Agriculture, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. NBER Working Paper (2020)

Earnings, Wages, and Poverty Outcomes of US Farm and Low-Skill Workers (2020), with Bradford L. Barham and Thomas Hertz. Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy. 42: 307-334

Working Papers

Temperature, Effort, and Achievement, with Mizuhiro Suzuki

Our paper estimates the effects of temperature on achievement and provides the first empirical evidence on how exam stakes affect the sensitivity of exam performance to temperature. Using data on millions of exam takers in Brazil, we explore a unique context where the stakes of a large-scale standardized exam change from relatively low to high. We find that the higher the stakes, the smaller the effects of temperature on exam performance. Our results suggest that effort is an important channel: in a high-stakes environment, exam takers exert more effort, counterbalancing an otherwise adverse temperature effect.

Temperature and Bureaucracy: empirical analysis on auditing reports in Brazil, with Mizuhiro Suzuki

Our paper estimates the impact of temperature on auditors’ work performance, measured by the likelihood with which auditors report corruption. We use data on hundreds of municipalities randomly audited in an anti-corruption program in Brazil. We find that auditors are more likely to report corruption if their fieldwork is conducted under higher temperatures. We discuss the potential mechanisms underlying our findings, which highlight important avenues for further research. Our results have implications for understanding the influence of external factors on essential government functions that impact social welfare.

Affirmative action, college access and major choice

I study the effects of an affirmative action policy targeting low-socioeconomic status applicants at a flagship university in Brazil. Results show the quota-type affirmative action policy redistributed college seats towards targeted applicants, mainly by increasing their representation in selective, high-return majors. This gain in cross-field diversity happened with only a marginal decrease in the average achievement of the incoming cohort. The policy also reduced the gap in applications to selective majors between high and low socioeconomic status individuals by more than 50 percent. However, most of the effects on major-choice happened among individuals less likely to be accepted to a selective major, suggesting an increase in strategic mistakes in major choice. My findings contribute to our understanding of how affirmative action policies can mitigate the socioeconomic gap in both college attendance and field of study, but improvements in the admissions mechanism design remain necessary.

Affirmative action and demand for schooling: evidence from nation-wide policies, with Ursula Mello

We study the effects of AA policies on pre-college incentives to invest in human capital by exploring national affirmative action policies implemented in Brazil. We focus on how high school persistence and demand for college changed as some universities became more accessible to the beneficiary group at the same time as it became more competitive to the non-beneficiaries.