Diego Ramos-Toro

I am an economist who studies political economy, economic history, and development economics. I received my Ph.D. in Economics from Brown University in 2020.

In the fall of 2020, I will join the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College as an Assistant Professor of Economics.

Please find my CV here.

Job Market Paper

Social Exclusion and Social Preferences: Evidence from Colombia's Leper Colony

This paper explores the implications of social exclusion on empathy and behavior. Employing a lab-in-the-field approach in the region where Colombia’s leper colony was located, I establish that individuals whose ancestors suffered social exclusion tend to be more altruistic and display a higher degree of in-group favoritism. Moreover, this medically-induced exclusion continues to affect health choices and trust in modern medicine amongst descendants of lepers. I also show that oral histories, which recurrently make salient the exclusion experienced by ancestors, are a mechanism through which the outcomes materialize in the long run. Randomizing the salience of different components of such oral histories, I show that descendants of lepers who are made aware of the historical banishment of their ancestors display higher altruism and in-group favoritism, while descendants who are made aware of historical medical inaccuracies about the disease display lower trust in modern medicine. All in all, this paper shows that the effects of social exclusion can ripple across generations and may curb crucial public policies when these are associated with the exclusionary group. (Access paper here)

Media: Psychology Today | Nada es Gratis (In Spanish) | Winner of the Nada es Gratis Job Market Paper Prize | El Espectador (In Spanish)

About me

I am from Bogotá, Colombia, and I also hold a dual-MA in History from Brown University, as well as undergraduate degrees in both history and economics from Universidad de Los Andes.

My research focuses on development outcomes and development policies that are shaped and/or curbed by historically-determined social preferences. My work also incorporates insights from behavioral economics, experimental economics and culture economics.