• SEED Development Economics Workshop at Stanford University


    On Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, I’ll present the paper below in the SEED Development Economics Workshop at Stanford University.

    Road Access and the Spatial Pattern of Long-term Local Development in Brazil
    Julia Bird and Stéphane Straub

    This paper studies the impact of the rapid expansion of the Brazilian road network, which occurred during the 1960s to the 2000s, on the growth and spatial allocation of population and economic activity across the country’s municipalities. It addresses the problem of endogeneity in infrastructure location by using an original empirical strategy, based on the “historical natural experiment” constituted by the creation of the new federal capital city Brasília in 1960. The results reveal a dual pattern, with improved transport connections increasing concentration of economic activity and population around the main centers in the South of the country, while spurring the emergence of secondary economic centers in the less dense North. The spatial impacts on GDP and population roughly balance, meaning that the effects on GDP per capita are minimal. Over the period, roads are shown to account for half of pcGDP growth and to spur a significant decrease in spatial inequality.












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    • Paraguayan political firms column, on Vox.lacea


      In April 2008, the Paraguayan Associación Nacional Republicana (ANR), locally known as the Colorado Party, was defeated in the presidential election by a coalition of opposition parties and social organizations led by a former Catholic bishop, Fernando Lugo. This was a dramatic and largely unanticipated change in a country in which the Colorado Party had enjoyed a monopoly in political power for 61 years, including the 35 years of the Stroessner dictatorship (1954-1989) and the 19 years elapsed since the 1989 coup. For six decades, the Colorado Party had systematically channeled public resources to a subset of citizens by distributing public employment and procurement contracts to the benefit of party members and supporters of the regime… (read the rest here)

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