I am an economics PhD candidate at the London School of Economics.
My research focusses on questions in development economics at the intersection with political economy and organizational economics.
My JMP links the implementation of an industrial policy in South Korea between 1962 and 2001 to individual bureaucrats. I find that the policy’s success heavily depends on these bureaucrats.
More broadly, I seek to understand how economic development is affected by the interaction of policies and state capacity.
What makes an industrial policy successful? This paper finds that the effect of an industrial policy changes tremendously with the implementing bureaucrat. We study Korean bureaucrats who promote exports on appointments to 87 countries between 1965, when Korea was one of the world’s poorest countries, and 2001. We exploit the rotation of bureaucrats between countries to show that individual bureaucrats matter greatly in boosting exports. Moving from a bureaucrat at the 20th percentile to the median is associated with a 40% increase in exports. This effect is comparable to that of opening an office, implying that this industrial policy has no effect under a 20th percentile bureaucrat. We exploit differential import demand growth to study a mechanism via which better bureaucrats increase exports - transmitting information about market conditions. Under better bureaucrats Korean exports increase more with a product’s import demand. Finally, we investigate whether experience can bridge the gaps between bureaucrats. We isolate quasi-random variation in experience exploiting a product’s import demand growth during the bureaucrat’s first appointment. In subsequent appointments exports increase in products with greater bureaucrat experience. This highlights learning-by-doing as a channel to build bureaucratic capacity. However, the differences between bureaucrats are larger than the effect of experience, suggesting selecting good bureaucrats may be more important than training them.
Public sector absenteeism limits the provision of services in many low-capacity settings. In fragile states the puzzle may be why any bureaucrats do decide to go to work. There are limited means to find and sanction absentees. All employees experience long periods without pay. On the other hand, the cost of travelling to work can seem exorbitant. In Haiti, travelling to national ministries incurs the risk of being abducted by gangs. We conduct two survey experiment to investigate whether reciprocal norms and beliefs about peer effort explain how the Haitian state remains able to provide a modicum of services ...
Industrial regulation is a prominent explanation of misallocation, especially in India. But what causes misallocation: the regulation itself or its implementation? This paper finds that lower implementing capacity increases the misallocation due to a policy requiring permits for foreign investment. We utilize a policy experiment in India which decreased the capacity to approve foreign investments. We show how this leads to an overall increase in capital misallocation. In low-corruption sectors, the dispersion of wedges increases homogenously for politically connected and unconnected firms. In high-corruption sectors, the dispersion of wedges increases only for unconnected firms ....
We show that the first nationwide mass vaccination campaign against measles increased educational attainment in the United States. Our empirical strategy exploits variation in exposure to the childhood disease across states right before the Measles Eradication Campaign of 1967–68, which reduced reported measles incidence by 90 percent within two years. Our results suggest that mass vaccination against measles increased the years of education on average by about 0.1 years in the affected cohorts. We also find tentative evidence that the college graduation rate of men increased.
In a patrimonial state, bureaucrats’ main obligation is to a personal patron. A state’s patrimonial nature is a commonplace explanation for low state capacity. We trace the professional network of bureaucrats in Haiti’s ministry of agriculture. We find that being a graduate of the ministry’s university, entry into which is competitive, is the main predictor for being identified by someone as a desirable team member. This is not due to mere exposure. As a placebo outcome, we do not find that attending the ministry’s university increases the likelihood of being named as the colleague with whom respondents work most closely. We further find ....
LSE: 2019-2023 (MSc-level)
LSE Class Teacher Bonus Award, Economics Department - 2020-2023 (based on students’ ratings)
My overall teaching evaluations (out of 5) for recent semesters were 4.6 (Spring 2022), 4.7 (Spring 2021), 4.5 (Fall 2022), 4.7 (Fall 2021), 4.6 (Fall 2020)
LSE: Spring 2022 (MSc- and PhD-level)
LSE: Summer 2018 (BSc-level)
London Business School: Fall 2017 (PhD-level)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra: Spring 2017 (BSc-level)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra: Fall 2016 (PhD-level)