"Do Property Rights Solve the Tragedy of Commons under Free Trade? Evidence from Brazil" (JOB MARKET PAPER) This paper is one of the first to theoretically and empirically analyze the effect of property rights establishment on exports. Using a dynamic model of land allocation, I show that property rights unambiguously leads to more forest land in the long run, though deforestation can increase during the transition. Indeed, I find empirically that wood exporting from the Amazon intensifies for two years following registrations through the Brazilian government's Amazon region land-titling program Terra Legal, peaking in the third quarter post-rollout. Evidence further suggests that medium-sized farms, which obtain the rights cheaply, clear forest land for livestock production. To estimate the effect precisely, I use confidential, municipal-level export data and control for municipal-product and quarter-year trends, relying on the scheme's phased rollout for identification.
“Asymmetric Effects of Crises in Urban vs. Rural Areas in Latin America: A Study Using Nightlights" This paper seeks to shed light on the divergence in crises propagation in rural and urban areas. Using nightlights observed from space as a proxy for real GDP and population density maps, I construct a very precise measure of economic activity at a five-square-kilometer grid level, a level of disaggregation never used before for such an analysis. To estimate the effect, I run separate regressions based on population density and cluster the errors at the country-level, using the pairs cluster bootstrap-t procedure to deal with the problem of too few clusters in my sample. Rural/semi-rural areas see their real income growth fall---between 0.5% to 1%---following systemic banking crises and currency crises. Notably, I fail to reject the null hypothesis of no effect for their urban counterparts. To estimate the effect, I run separate regressions based on population density and cluster the errors at the country-level, using the pairs cluster bootstrap-t procedure to deal with the problem of too few clusters in my sample.
"Property Rights, Agricultural Productivity and Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon"(with Molly Lipscomb) We present empirical evidence that the agricultural implications of Terra Legal, Brazil's latest titling scheme, vary by scale. The titling scheme increases rural credit access—both at the intensive and extensive margins—with the smallest properties benefitting predominantly. A one percentage point (p.p.) increase in the area registered by small farms leads to a 30% in credit financing and a 5% increase in the number of credit contracts for investment purposes. Moreover, small farms decrease their temporary crop cultivation rather than deforest. Medium-sized farms deforest more intensely; the area deforested increases by 0.3%, while the rate of deforestation increases by 4.4%, in response to a 1 p.p. increase in the area registered by medium-sized farms that obtain the land cheaply. However, we find no evidence of an effect on cultivation. Finally, the largest properties increase their overall cultivation, via cash crops and cocoa, , though we cannot attribute this to the credit channel. Paper coming soon