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.

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.

Under review:

  • When Decentralization Undermines Representation: Ethnic Exclusion and State Ownership in DR Congo’s New Provinces (With Pierre Englebert and Lisa Jené)-R&R July 2020- Journal of Modern African Studies.

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 (to be published in October, 2020)
  • Discontinuité de l’État Congolais : comprendre les variations de capacités entre provinces issues du découpage (With Pierre Englebert)- In Congo: L’État en Morceaux (to be published in October, 2020)


Working papers:

Violence and Prosperity in Mexico

In this project, developed for my dissertation, I explore the effects of drug-related violence in Mexico on the welfare of the population and the role that the strength of the state plays to shield the population from the violence.

Latest draft: Draft_May-2019

Structure of the Tails of Commodity Returns

This project looks at the distribution of commodity returns economic expansions and recessions. Using bootstrapping techniques, it elucidates whether the right or left tail is fatter and whether tails are fatter during expansions or during recession periods. (With Pierangelo De Pace)

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