Martina Viarengo

The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Department of Economics
Chemin Eugène Rigot 2
1202 Geneva

E-Mail: martina.viarengo@graduateinstitute.ch
Institutional Affiliations: The Graduate Institute, Geneva and Harvard Kennedy School

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2019Coming out in America: AIDS, Politics, and Cultural Change
with Raquel Fernández, Sahar Parsa: w25697
The last few decades witnessed a dramatic change in public opinion towards gay people. This paper studies the hypothesis that the AIDS epidemic was a shock that changed the incentive to “come out” and that the ensuing process of mobilization and endogenous political process led to cultural transformation. We show that the process of change was discontinuous over time and present suggestive evidence that the 1992 presidential election followed by the “don't ask, don't tell” debate led to a change in attitudes. Using a difference-in-difference empirical strategy, we find that, in accordance with our hypothesis, the change in opinion was greater in states with higher AIDS rates. Our analysis suggests that if individuals in low-AIDS states had experienced the same average AIDS rate as a high-A...
April 2014Colonial Institutions, Commodity Booms, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889-1930
with Aldo Musacchio, Andre Martinez: w20029
We explain how the decentralization of fiscal responsibility among Brazilian states between 1889 and 1930 promoted a unequal expansion in public schooling. We document how the variation in state export tax revenues, product of commodity booms, explains increases in expenditures on education, literacy, and schools per children. Yet we also find that such improvements did not take place in states that either had more slaves before abolition or cultivated cotton during colonial times. Beyond path-dependence, ours story emphasizes the interaction between colonial institutions and subsequent fiscal changes to explain radical changes in the ranking of states which persists until today.

Published: Musacchio, A., Fritscher, A., & Viarengo, M. (2014). Colonial Institutions, Trade Shocks, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889–1930. The Journal of Economic History, 74(3), 730-766. doi:10.1017/S0022050714000588

August 2010Variation in Educational Outcomes and Policies across Countries and of Schools within Countries
with Richard B. Freeman, Stephen Machin: w16293
This study examines the variation in educational outcomes across and within countries using the TIMSS mathematics tests. It documents the wide cross-country variation in the level and dispersion of test scores. Countries with the highest test scores are those with the least inequality in scores, which suggests a "virtuous" equity-efficiency trade-off in improving educational outcomes. Analyzing the association of gender, immigrant status, and family background factors with scores, we find large cross-country differences in the relation between those factors and scores.

Published: 'Inequality of Educational Outcomes: International Evidence From PISA', Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Special Issue on PISA, (with R. F reeman and M. Viarengo), 11, 5-20 (2011)

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