I'm an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.
My research interests span the fields of environmental and development economics.
I completed my Ph.D. from the
University of British Columbia with a disciplinary focus on Environmental and Development Economics, and my MA, BA, and B.Sc degrees in economics and industrial engineering from
Universidad de los Andes.
Outside of academia, I have worked for the Development Impact Evaluation unit (DIME) at the World Bank, the Education Division and the Caribbean Country Department at the
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Center for Studies on Economic Development (CEDE) at Universidad de los Andes and at
You can find my curriculum vitae, here and my LinkedIn profile, here.
Scholar | | IDEAS
• "Too Polluted to Sin? Dirty Skies, Crime, and Adaptation Responses in Mexico City"
Abstract | Paper
Lasserre-Renzetti Prize for best student paper at the Canadian Resource and Environmental Economics Association (CREEA) conference October 2021
This paper estimates the non-monotonic effects of air pollution on criminal activity in a highly polluted mega-city. The identification strategy relies on highly dimensional fixed-effect models, non-parametric estimations of dose-response functions, and an instrumental variable approach that employs wind speed and wind direction as instruments for air pollution. My results uncover a causal, inverted U-shaped relationship between air pollution and crime. Specifically, there is an inflection point after which marginal increases in air pollution negatively affect criminal activity. By examining the emotional tone of social media posts, I further explore how air pollution may influence individuals' emotional states and mobility decisions, ultimately contributing to the observed inverted U-shape. Overall, my findings shed light on how environmental regulation tailored to reduce air pollution must consider the presence of behavioral responses in their design.
• "Yes They Can: Empowering Women"
with Thorsten Rogall,
We study how giving women political and domestic independence can lead
to persistent female empowerment and overall welfare improvements. Using Rwandan post-genocide data, we exploit
local variation in gender imbalances that caused a power vacuum which women filled as household heads
and local politicians. In office, they provide more public goods. Overall,
in female-led villages, women are healthier, better educated, wealthier, less
likely to accept and experience domestic violence, and enjoy more sexual and
financial autonomy. Importantly, younger women are carrying these changes
and gender norms changed. In villages were men stayed in power, we find
negative or no effects.
• "Toxic Recycling: The Cost of Used Lead-Acid Battery Processing in Mexico"
with Erin Litzow, Bianca Cecato and Mauricio Romero
There is no known safe level of lead pollution exposure. Many countries have taken steps in the last half century to remove lead from their environments, but, at times, these policies can cause pollution sources to shift to countries with weaker regulatory environments. Previous studies have theorized about and empirically documented this ‘pollution haven’ phenomenon, but few have examined the costs borne by recipient communities. In the setting we study, a 2009 tightening of environmental standards in the United States caused used lead-acid battery recycling, an industry that emits large amounts of lead pollution, to shift to Mexico. We estimate the effects of this increased industrial activity and associated pollution on student learning in recipient communities in Mexico. We use data from a nationwide test in Spanish and math, conducted from 2006 to 2013. We compare test scores before and after the 2009 U.S. policy change among students attending schools near and downwind of Mexican recycling facilities and those studying farther away. We estimate effects on test scores of negative 0.05-0.09 standard deviations, with effects being slightly stronger for math than Spanish. Comparing dynamic effects across grades, we find suggestive evidence that effects are stronger for students who were younger in 2009. We also compare effects across communities, showing that the costs to education are heavily concentrated in communities that were already worse off before the 2009 change in lead-acid battery recycling activity. The results of our study underline the importance of considering unintended consequences and cross-border spillovers when regulating toxic pollutants. The heterogeneity of effects across communities highlights the need for more research on the costs of lead pollution exposure in low- and middle-income countries, where the vast majority of exposure occurs today.
Work in Progress
• "The Political Economy of Environmental Regulation"
with Juan Felipe Riano
• "The Unintended Consequences of Illicit Crops on Rural Women"
• "Valuing Blue Carbon: Carbon Sequestration Benefits Provided by the Marine Protected Areas in Colombia"
with Jorge H
Plos One, May 2015, 10(5)
| Paper | Journal
Marine protected areas are aimed to protect and conserve key ecosystems for the provision of a number of
ecosystem services that are the basis for numerous economic activities. Among the several services that these
areas provide, the capacity of sequestering (capturing and storing) organic carbon is a regulating service,
provided mainly by mangroves and seagrasses, that gains importance as alternatives for mitigating global warming
become a priority in the international agenda. The objective of this study is to value the services associated
with the capture and storage of oceanic carbon, known as Blue Carbon, provided by a new network of marine
protected areas in Colombia. We approach the monetary value associated to these services through the simulation
of a hypothetical market for oceanic carbon. To do that, we construct a benefit function that considers the
capacity of mangroves and seagrasses for capturing and storing blue carbon, and simulate scenarios for the
variation of key variables such as the market carbon price, the discount rate, the natural rate of loss of the
ecosystems, and the expectations about the post-Kyoto negotiations. The results indicate that the expected
benefits associated to carbon capture and storage provided by these ecosystems are substantial but highly
dependent on the expectations in terms of the negotiations surrounding the extension of the Kyoto Protocol and
the dynamics of the carbon credit's demand and supply. We also find that the natural loss rate of these
ecosystems does not seem to have a significant effect on the annual value of the benefits. This approach
constitutes one of the first attempts to value blue carbon as one of the services provided by conservation.
• "Matching Educational and Criminal Records at the Individual Level in Trinidad and Tobago: Methodology
Inter-American Development Bank, Dec 2016 | Report
• "Economic Efficiency and Licensing of Mobile Wireless Services in Colombia"
Fedesarrollo, Jul 2015 | Report
• "Agriculture Technical Assistance Programs in Colombia"
Fedesarrollo, Dic 2014 | Report
• "Mining and the Environment in Colombia"
Fedesarrollo, Nov 2014 | Report
• "Economic Valuation of Marine Protected Areas in Colombia: Analysis for Policy Makers"
Documentos CEDE, Nov 2013 | Report
At the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
GPP 501 - Economics for Public Policy, Graduate
FRE 601 - Advanced Microeconomics for Food and Resource Economics,Graduate
FRE 603 - Advanced Food and Resource Economics, Graduate
ECON 544 - Economics of Poverty, Graduate
GPP 501 - Economics for Public Policy, Graduate
FRE 460 - Economics of Food Consumption, Undergraduate
FRE 420 - International Trade and the Environment, Undergraduate
FRE 374 - Land and Resource Economics, Undergraduate
FRE 474 - Economics of Global Resource Use and Conservation, Undergraduate
FRE 521E - Topics in Food and Resource Economics, Graduate
ECON 234 Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Undergraduate
At Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá DC, Colombia)
EECO 5213 - Macroeconomics and Markets, Graduate
ECON 2101 - Intermediate Microeconomics, Undergraduate
IIND 3400 - Finance, Undergraduate
© Tatiana Zárate Barrera, 2022