Ongoing Research

The Spillover Effects of Mining in the DRC

Mining in the DRC is usually linked to conflict. But, different scholars have conducted ethnographic research in the country and have found that artisanal mining provides a livelihood opportunity for a large sector of the population and that the effects go beyond economic gains. In this paper, I continue this line of research and quantitatively examine the how different types of mining impact the living standards of the population in the country. I find that finds that whereas industrial mining generates positive spillovers over the local population’s living standards, these effects are linked to productive mining activities and not to mining exploration. The effects of artisanal mining are less optimistic, particularly in areas where industrial and artisanal mining coincide. This is the most updated version of the paper.

Property Rights, Conflict and Investment

In this project, I examine how different land tenure structure affect conflict and investment, using a gendered focus.

Violence and State Capacity in Mexico

I explore the effects of persistent drug-related violence in Mexico on the state capacity of local governments in Mexico. Please contact me for the latest draft.

Mining Resources and Governance

In this collaborative project with the Harvard Humanitarian Institute, we explore the effects of due diligence program on the livelihoods of the local population in the mining communities in  Eastern DRC. Since the survey took place in 2020, there is a module that explore how COVID-19 affected food insecurity in this region.

Under review:

  • COVID-19 and Food Insecurity: The Impact on Communities in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Deindustrialization, Productivity and Inequality

Is deindustrialization linked to low productivity levels? In this paper, I use the case of nine Latin American countries that have shown premature deindustrialization to explore this issue. Using cointegration analysis, I do not find that TFP is cointegrated with the share of employment in the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, I explore if a shift to the services sector is linked to high levels of income inequality. Although I notice that changes in the economic structure are linked to changes in the Gini coefficient, these results are time-sensitive, and depend on the economic conditions of the countries at the beginning of the study.

Inequality and Education Performance

Does school attendance raises the prospects of a better future? In this paper, I look at how access to educational resources (access to a desk, space to study, computer and internet) correlates with a lower performance at school, using the 2018 OECD’s PISA results for Mexico. The study finds that students that have access to a computer at home show an average score of around 0.35 standard deviations higher on the assessment in mathematics, reading, and science, whereas students at schools where computers have internet access report an improved performance of about 0.5 standard deviations. This is the most updated version of the paper.

The Formation of Aspirations

This is a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural Senegal, sponsored by the World Bank, in which we are whether individuals stated aspirations are meaningful and can serve as a benchmark for improving survey questions on aspirations. The experiment took place on September 2018. The registry number is: AEARCTR-0003336 .

With Garance Genicot, Jeffrey Flory and Arndt Reichert.

Decentralization and Découpage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Two-year grant from ODI/ SLRC in the U.K. that started in 2017 and that is led by Pierre Englebert. This research project looks that at the effects that a shock, such as découpage, has on the development of state capacity and the improvement of livelihoods in the DRC.

Book chapters:

  • Tribalisation provinciale :  Le principe de représentativité collective en politique congolaise mis à mal par le découpage (With Pierre Englebert and Lisa Jené) –In Congo: L’État en Morceaux
  • Discontinuité de l’État Congolais : comprendre les variations de capacités entre provinces issues du découpage (With Pierre Englebert)- In Congo: L’État en Morceaux 


Working papers:

Other Publications

  • A. Bezares, Yi Feng, Z. Gao (2016), ”A Comparative Study of U.S. and China’s Trade in Latin America”, The Quarterly of Latin American Economy and Trade , Vol. 27, pp.4-18.

Other Working Papers

  • “NAFTA’s Opportunities: Economic Openness, Political Competition, and the Development of Bureaucratic Capacity in Mexico’s States”; (with Melissa Rogers); 2016.
  • “Volatility in Commodity Prices and its Effects on Poverty and Inequality in Latin America,”; presented in the International Seminar Challenges to the State: New Political and Economic Actors in Latin America , Santiago, Chile, Mar 2015.

Policy Briefings