- Nation-Building Through Military Service
with Diego Ramos-Toro | Featured in Foco Económico
This paper studies conscription’s role in durably shaping attitudes and beliefs consistent with nation-building. We pair original survey data covering 29 cohorts of conscripts in Argentina with random variation in service emerging from a lottery. We find that serving in the military leads to a stronger national identity and social integration several decades after serving, but does not affect civic behavior such as voting or paying taxes. Leveraging open-ended responses about the values promoted by the military, as well as heterogenous treatment effects based on the type of government under which conscripts served, we show that value inculcation during service helps explain the baseline patterns. Exposure to diverse peers in the military reinforces but does not explain these results, while other channels such as conflict exposure or labor market outcomes do not serve as mediating channels.
Source: Own creation using Midjourney.
- Divided for Good: Football Rivalries and Social Cohesion in Latin America
Bravo Center Graduate Student Working Paper #2022-003
This paper explores the impact of football rivalries on social cohesion in Latin America. These rivalries create intracommunity divisions that are orthogonal to other cleavages such as socioeconomic status or ethnicity. This context provides the opportunity to study whether salient events that involve opposing groups within a community can improve social outcomes. Exploiting quasi-experimental variation in the timing of football matches and public opinion surveys across eleven countries and twenty rivalries, I find that social cohesion tends to improve in the days after a match, except when players behave violently or unethically. Effects are broadly shared by everyone, not just football fans, and are not explained by changes in insecurity or a generalized better mood. Taken together, these findings show that certain divisive events can improve the cohesiveness of a community, especially when mediated by the good behavior of role models.
Work in progress
Source: Own creation using Bing.
- Low-cost Interventions to Improve Micro-Enterprise Performance: Evidence from E-Commerce
This paper examines the impact of a simple intervention aimed at promoting better planning among micro-enterprises in the e-commerce sector in Latin America. The experiment was conducted in partnership with a major e-commerce platform, which provided access to nearly 15,000 firms and administrative data on their sales, products, and other characteristics. The intervention took place two weeks before Black Friday and consisted of sending messages to entrepreneurs, reminding them of the event and encouraging them to plan their discount and advertising strategies. Results indicate that receiving the messages led to a significant increase in revenue without affecting pricing. Instead, treated entrepreneurs manage their stock better and implement a more effective advertising strategy. At a cost of $0.12 per treated firm, these findings demonstrate that cheap and scalable interventions can be effective at supporting the growth of micro-enterprises in developing countries.