Public Policy

The relationship between economic policy and real outcomes has several facets of interest. My focus is on how political institutions and social context affect people´s lives.


A major interest has been how gender discrimination affects the aggregate economy. The mechanisms, the causes and consequences, the policy choices to address and counter its the-price-of-sexismnegative effects. A key issue is the cost of gender discrimination, which I analyze in the paper The Output Cost of Gender Discrimination, with Tiago Cavalcanti. This article has been extensively covered in the Time magazine article on the price of discrimination. A piece on summarizes our results. Also with Tiago Cavalcanti, I have examined technology as a determinant of female labor force participation in “Assessing the Engines of Liberation”, and the role of government in “Growth, Structural Transformation, and Government Size”. Also a key issue is the relevance and usefulness of gender quotas in  politics, Together with Paulo Júlio, I wrote “Can Gender Quotas Raise the Quality of Politicians?”, where we characterize the circumstances leading to a positive connection between quotas and the quality of the elected.


Economic growth is a recurring interest. In “How Democracy Affects Growth”, joint with Romain Wacziarg, we apply a systems approach to evaluate the empirical channels relating political rights and economic growth. How institutions affect performance is also dealt with in “Institutions and Economic Growth in Portugal: a Quantitative Exploration”, “Foreign Direct Investment and Institutional Reform”, and “Institutions and Economic Development in Brazil”. Applied to the cases of Portugal and Brazil, all three papers rely on a suggestive methodology to assess the impact of an array of institutions on economic performance.


Globalization and corruption have a close, though complex relationship. I analyze the determinants of corruption in “Does Foreign Aid Corrupt?”, and “Does FDI Decrease Corruption?”, where I highlight the role of foreign aid and foreign direct investment as deterrents of domestic corruption.


My projects have involved the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Banco de Portugal, among others, and I have conducted applied work on the US economy, Central America, Brazil, and Portugal. In addition to academic journals, my research was published in volumes by Harvard University Press, MIT Press, Princeton University Press and, more recently, Oxford University Press and the IMF Press.