Essays in Urban Economics and Development
Chauvin Rodriguez, Juan Pablo
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AbstractThis dissertation comprises three essays at the intersection of Urban and Development Economics. The first chapter explores whether well-known facts about urbanization in the United States also hold in three large developing countries: Brazil, China and India. I find that the forces that drive urban success are generally similar in rich and poor countries, with stronger agglomeration economies and correlations between education levels and city growth among the latter. Predictions based on the spatial equilibrium assumption tend to hold in the U.S., Brazil and China, but not in India. The second chapter studies how local economies in Brazil react to male-leaning vs. female-leaning labor demand shocks. I find that, while shocks that favor male employment lead to population growth and higher housing rents, the same is not true for shocks that favor male employment. I propose a spatial equilibrium framework that illustrates how, in a context with free mobility and gender segmentation in the labor market, joint mobility constraints of married couples can account for the observed patterns. The third chapter analyzes the effects of local increases in public education spending on labor market outcomes of individuals and regions. Using FUNDEF -a large federal program that redistributed education budgets across Brazilian municipalities in the late 1990s- as a source of exogenous variation, I find that education spending led to better labor market outcomes for individuals, mainly by increasing their likelihood of migrating to more productive places. The effects on regional outcomes were largely negative, and appear to be explained by sluggish local demand for educated labor.
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