Research

I am an applied economist interested in development economics, demography, and regional economics. My research focuses on gender and migration; specifically, on the relationship between migration and individual characteristics, and how it differs if the migrant is a woman. My dissertation investigates the influence of migration on fertility, risk preferences, and the intergenerational transmission of education. My Job Market Paper analyses the causal relationship between childhood migration and fertility decisions later in life. I used data from Mexico to test the effect of migration before the age of 12 on the number of children and age of first pregnancy. Other works in progress study the relationship between temporal migration and uncertainty of earnings, and migration and asset accumulation.

For my future research I am interested in exploring heterogeneous effects from migration. One area of interest is to examine how trips are different for women and what does that mean for their labor market and non-labor market outcomes. Another area of research interest is whether these heterogeneous effects come from differences on migration incentives or location resources, in particular due to the rural-urban divide in developing countries.

Working Papers

Childhood Migration Effects on Fertility, Evidence from the Mexican Family Life Survey

(Job Market Paper, click here to download)

This paper examines the relationship between childhood migration and the fertility decisions of adult women. Using a longitudinal dataset from Mexico, I test whether migration before the age of 12 has a causal effect on the total number of children and the age at first pregnancy. Results show that childhood migration has a statistically significant and positive effect on the extensive margin, no average effect on the intensive margin, and that rural migrants start parity younger. Furthermore, the type of trip in relation to urban and rural locations matters. Rural migrant women have more children and have children at a younger age compared to women who stay in rural areas (“stayers”), while rural to urban migration leads to less children. Even though the migration measure is static, this study highlights the importance of a dynamic approach to study migration and fertility. In other words, childhood migration matters.

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Changes on Risk Preferences from Migration

This study directly tests for the effect of migration on risk preferences. I analyze changes in risk preferences from migration by comparing measurements of risk for migrants and non-migrants at two different points in time. Migration reduces the difference in risk preferences between migrants and non-migrants. In other words, the level of risk aversion between the two groups converge, after controlling for the tolerance for risk of migrants, and increase in risk aversion as individuals get older. The paper provides theoretical background on the relationship between utility and incentives for migration, but it refrains from making assumptions about utility functions. I use migration networks as an instrumental variable (IV) for migration.

Assessing Intergenerational Transmission of Education for Immigrants in the United States

Are immigrants achieving higher education levels than their parents? Are their children moving up in the intergenerational race to the top? And how does it differ across regions in the United States? Using the New Immigration Survey (NIS) data, this paper analyzes how educational outcomes of individuals compare to their immigrant parents. The underlying presumption is that if a person achieves higher education than his/her parents, then s/he “moved up”. Furthermore, this may not be the case for immigrants. The contribution of this paper lies in using legal immigrants as the focus population. Additionally, it characterizes intergenerational mobility through three generations, and compares such mobility across 14 regions of the United States. Results show that an additional year of education of the parent is associated with more education of the individual.

A Dynamic Model for Temporary Migration with Uncertainty at the Origin

This paper develops a dynamic stochastic model and characterize conditions under which temporary migration is used for consumption smoothing of low-income risk-averse individuals. Its main contribution is that it considers the following three aspects all in the same model: more than one period, hence the agent is maximizing lifetime utility; uncertainty of earnings; and uncertainty of earnings is at the origin and not at the destination. It shows analytical solutions under a static model, and a two-period model. It also presents a parameterized example to illustrate the usability of the model with computational tools. The numerical analysis shows the risk averse agent spends more periods at the destination location than a risk neutral agent.

Works in Progress

Microcredits, home ownership, and debt service, a case study

This research uses a dataset from a small microcredit company in Colombia, and studies the relationship between debt service, and demographic characteristics and ownership of a home. Loans are smaller than personal loans available through the formal banking sector, but larger than the regulated micro credits industry.

The effect of inequality on production for small and beginner farmers

This project uses county level data from the Unites States to analyze the relationship between percentage of small and beginner farmers and labor market characteristics of the county. One aspect of the study analyzes the relationship with the off-farm labor market. One of the main drivers of farmers to work outside the farm is non-wage benefits such as health insurance. This project also uses dynamic programming to compare optimal labor, capital, and output of a closed economy with varying levels of inequality. Inequality is defined as differing proportions of capital investment, reflected by the proportion of small (beginner) farms in the economy.

This project is part of the Farm Income Enhancement Program at The Ohio State University.