Institutional Affiliation: Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
|Optimal Environmental Targeting in the Amazon Rainforest|
with Robert McMillan, Joshua Murphy, Eduardo Souza-Rodrigues: w25636
This paper sets out an empirically-driven approach for targeting environmental policies optimally in order to combat deforestation. We focus on the Amazon, the world's most extensive rainforest, where Brazil's federal government issued a ‘Priority List’ of municipalities in 2008, to be targeted with more intense environmental monitoring and enforcement. In this setting, we first estimate the causal impact of the Priority List on deforestation using ‘changes-in-changes’ (Athey and Imbens, 2006), a flexible treatment effects estimation method, finding that it reduced deforestation by 40 percent and cut emissions by 39.5 million tons of carbon. Second, we develop a novel framework for computing targeted ex-post optimal blacklists. This involves a procedure for assigning municipalities to a c...
|Repossession and the Democratization of Credit|
with Efraim Benmelech, Fernando S. S. Silva: w17858
We exploit a 2004 credit reform in Brazil that simplified the sale of repossessed cars used as collateral for auto loans. We show that the change has led to larger loans with lower spreads and longer maturities. The reform expanded credit to riskier, low-income borrowers for newer, more expensive cars. Although the credit reform improved riskier borrowers' access to credit, it also led to increased incidences of delinquency and default. Our results shed light on the consequences of a credit reform, highlighting the crucial role that collateral and repossession play in the liberalization and democratization of credit.
|Rent Seeking and the Unveiling of 'De Facto' Institutions: Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil|
with Joana Naritomi, Rodrigo R. Soares: w13545
This paper analyzes the roots of variation in de facto institutions, within a constant de jure institutional setting. We explore the role of rent-seeking episodes in colonial Brazil as determinants of the quality of current local institutions, and argue that this variation reveals a de facto dimension of institutional quality. We show that municipalities with origins tracing back to the sugar-cane colonial cycle -- characterized by a polarized and oligarchic socioeconomic structure -- display today more inequality in the distribution of land. Municipalities with origins tracing back to the gold colonial cycle -- characterized by an over-bureaucratic and heavily intervening presence of the Portuguese state -- display today worse governance practices and less access to justice. The colonial ...