Working Papers

Nation Building Through Military Service (with Juan Pedro Ronconi)

This paper studies conscription's role in durably shaping attitudes and beliefs consistent with nation-building. We pair original survey data covering 29 cohorts of conscripts in Argentina with random variation in service emerging from a lottery. We find that serving in the military leads to a stronger national identity and social integration several decades after serving, but does not affect civic behavior such as voting or paying taxes. Leveraging open-ended responses about the values promoted by the military, as well as heterogenous treatment effects based on the type of government  under which conscripts served, we show that value inculcation during service helps explain the baseline patterns. Exposure to diverse peers reinforces but does not explain the baseline patterns, while other mechanisms such as conflict exposure or labor market outcomes do not serve as mediating channels. (Access Paper Here)

Self-Emancipation and Progressive Politics: The Legacy of Civil War Refugee Camps 

This paper examines the evolution of political outcomes in Civil War refugee camps, where roughly 600,000 of the 3.9 million enslaved African Americans achieved and experienced freedom for the first time. Refugee Camps were sites of African American empowerment, where racially progressive politics enjoyed an electoral advantage in the short and long runs. This persistence masks a backlash during the first decades of the twentieth century, when white voters overturned the progressive legacy in counties where Refugee Camps had emerged. In the long run, however, white voters became key contributors to the durable re-emergence of progressive outcomes. Increased intergroup interaction and selective migration of whites explain this reversal in political behavior. Progressive accomplishments may thus create the conditions that allow for the reversal of political behavior among the historically-reactionary demographic. (Access paper here)


Social Exclusion and Social Preferences: Evidence from Colombia's Leper Colony, American Economic Review 2023, 113 (5): 1294-1333. 

This paper explores the intergenerational legacy of social exclusion on pro-sociality. A lab-in-the-field approach in the historical region of Colombia’s leper colony reveals that descendants of socially excluded individuals are locally altruistic and extend such altruism to outsiders who have undergone similar circumstances. These individuals also display mistrust toward those who have, historically, been exclusionary—in this case, doctors. The content of historical narratives shared by ancestors who were excluded, which emphasize the endured mistreatment and doctors’ historical misinformation, is one mechanism that partially explains the intergenerational patterns. (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)

Work in Progress

Gauging Preference for Democracy in Absence of Free Speech - with Josie I Chen and Louis Putterman. Data Collection Completed.

Older Working Papers

Historical Conflict and Gender Disparities (Access latest draft here)

Interpersonal Diversity and Carbon Emissions (Access latest draft here)