Selected Working Papers

2023. "Neighborhood-based Organizations as Political Actors: Implications for Political Participation, Inequality, and Climate Resilience" (with Sara Constantino and Alicia Cooperman). Download here

Neighborhood-based organizations (NBOs) can be powerful political actors, shaping policy outcomes and strengthening accountability. Whose voices do they elevate, and to what extent might they reduce or exacerbate local socio-political inequality? While some NBOs may strengthen social capital and facilitate political participation for marginalized groups, others have been active forces in segregating communities. Their dueling roles are especially salient in a context of climate change, where NBOs play a key role in facilitating or preventing neighborhood-scale policies for climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation. We develop a framework of neighborhood-based organizations and their role in shaping service provision, adaptation planning, and disaster response. We distinguish between property owners associations (e.g. homeowners associations) and residential voluntary associations (e.g. neighborhood or community associations), and discuss how different types of NBOs interact with policymakers in complex institutional environments throughout the Global North and South, with implications for equity of climate adaptation and resilience. We present preliminary survey data from a nationally representative U.S. sample. Overall, we find positive relationships between NBO membership, social capital, disaster preparedness and access to relief. 

2023. "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus? Ambition and Career Aspirations of Legislators in Latin America" (with Michelle Taylor-Robinson, Mar Martínez Rosón, and Mercedes García Montero).  (Under review at American Political Science Review).  Download here.

Research indicates that women are less ambitious than men to enter politics, but does this pattern of gendered ambition continue for people who have entered national politics? This paper explores whether men and women legislators with similar backgrounds and qualifications, conditional on the political context that shapes politicians’ career paths, have similar aspirations for their political future. Using data from the Political Elites in Latin America Survey (PELA) collected between 2008–2017 in 18 Latin American presidential systems, optimal pair matching, and multilevel estimation techniques, our analyses reveal that women are as likely as their male colleagues to want to continue in politics. Aspirations to continue a political career and the type of political post are shaped by country context, such as federal/unitary system, urban/rural district, ballot structure, the power of the legislature, and percentage of women in the legislature, but not in general by legislator sex.

2023. "Local Distributive Politics: Bloc Voting and Public Service Provision in Brazil" (with Alicia Cooperman, Andrea Junqueira and Thiago M.Q. Moreira). Presented at REPAL (Red para el Estudio de la Economía Política de América Latina) , Quito, Ecuador, July 12- 14. Download here.

 Rapid urbanization increases the need to produce public goods, particularly in developing countries, where underprovision and unequal access to services are common. Many public services and development projects are tied to specific neighborhoods, where citizens vote at polling stations whose vote shares are publicly known. We argue that even in ``at large electoral systems," the local nature of public services provision creates incentives for voters to demand narrow local representation and for local politicians to respond to specific requests and interests of a given group of constituencies within the city, often at the expense of others. We test our expectations by exploring variation in sub-municipal service provision across Brazilian municipalities using geo-coded data merging polling station results with census tract data. Our preliminary results suggest that higher bloc voting is associated with an increase in public service provision around the polling station from 2000 to 2010, primarily driven by improvement in trash collection. These relationships are strongest in urban/semi-urban and mid-size neighborhoods. Our results show how local political behavior shapes public service provision and contributes to our understanding of local distributive politics and accountability within municipalities.

2023. "Government Tax Policy and Entrepreneurial Activity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Scotland" (with Francesco Bromo). Download here.

Evidence probing the effects of the tax structure on entrepreneurial activity is often inconclusive. We employ a sharp regression discontinuity design to evaluate a pro-small business tax relief policy introduced in Scotland in 2008. We leverage the exogenous nature of the cut-point that determines whether a business qualifies for exemption from property taxes based on a property's "rateable" value to assess how the policy impacted the birth rate and survival of entrepreneurial ventures in the city of Glasgow. We find that the tax relief scheme is associated with heightened growth and longevity of small businesses benefiting from the scheme in the years following its implementation. However, our results speak to the challenges of fully separating a possible causal effect of the policy from changes induced by sorting or manipulation of assignment to treatment. Further tests indicate that the periodically-performed re-evaluations of rateable values tend to concentrate just below the exemption cut-point, suggesting that there are other factors that might be influencing the outcome. In general, we call attention to the challenges related to the evaluation of these policies and the plausibility of the assumptions that must hold when estimating these effects. 

Calles Cableadas Bogotanas, by Jean Zapata. Source: Bogotart