• Development workshop at Toulouse TSE TIGER Forum, June 2 and 3


    Next Monday and Tuesday, in the context of the 2nd Toulouse School of Economics TIGER Forum, I am organizing with my colleague Emmanuelle Auriol a workshop on development economics. We are very happy to gather a great group of researchers:
    – Pascaline Dupas (Stanford University)
    – Marcel Fafchamps (Stanford University)
    – Chris Woodruff (Warwick University)
    – Eliana la Ferrara (Bocconi University)
    – Rocco Macchiavello (Warwick University)
    – Rohini Pande (Harvard University, JFK)
    – Nancy Qian (Yale University),

    and, from TSE, Marti Mestieri, Emmanuelle and myself.

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    • The Brasília Experiment


      My paper with Julia Bird on the long-term impact of road construction in Brazil is now online as TSE working paper n°14-495.

      The Brasília Experiment: Road Access and the Spatial Pattern of Long-term Local Development in Brazil
      This paper studies the impact of the rapid expansion of the Brazilian road network, which occurred from 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 developed North, in line with predictions in terms of agglomeration economies. Over the period, roads are shown to account for half of pcGDP growth and to spur a signifficant decrease in spatial inequality.

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      • Yale Conference on Grand and Petty Corruption in Developing States


        From Wednesday April 30 to Friday May 2, I attended the Conference on Grand and Petty Corruption in Developing States: Business, Citizens, and the State, organized at Yale by Susan Rose-Ackerman, Paul Lagunes, and Lynn Hancock.

        As can be seen from the website above, very interesting papers and discussions indeed, from a diverse crowd including lawyers, policy makers, political scientists, economists, bringing very diverse perspectives on corruption around the world from their positions in law firms, the OECD, governments or university among others.

        In this opportunity I presented an early version of what can be considered a discussion paper on the role of the construction of large scale hydroelectric dams in Paraguay (Itaipú and Yacyretá) in the 1970s in locking-in corrupt practices over the long-term, and in doing so adversely affecting the development trajectory of the country over the next 40 years. Here is a preview of the slides: The Story of Paraguayan Dams.

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