Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)
Via Sallustiana, 62
00187 Rome, Italy
Assistant Professor in Economics, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance, Italy, July 2019–
Ph.D., Economics, Northwestern University, 2019
MA, Economics, Northwestern University, 2014
BA, Economics, National Research University – Higher School of Economics, 2012
Fields of Specialization
Political Economy, Development Economics, Applied Microeconomics
“Can Online Off-The-Shelf Lessons Improve Student Outcomes? Evidence from A Field Experiment” with Kirabo Jackson, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, August 2018, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 226-254 [Link to a Journal Article]
“Reducing Bureaucratic Corruption: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on What Works” with Jordan Gans-Morse, Mariana Borges, Theresa Mannah-Blankson, Andre Nickow, and Dong Zhang, World Development, May 2018, vol. 105, pp. 171-188 [Link to a Journal Article]
“Social Media and Protest Participation: Evidence from Russia” with Ruben Enikolopov and Maria Petrova, Revised and Resubmitted to Econometrica (2nd round)
Abstract: Do new communication technologies, such as social media, alleviate the collective action problem? This paper provides evidence that penetration of VK, the dominant Russian online social network, led to more protest activity during a wave of protests in Russia in 2011. As a source of exogenous variation in network penetration, we use the information on the city of origin of the students who studied together with the founder of VK, controlling for the city of origin of the students who studied at the same university several years earlier or later. We find that a 10% increase in VK penetration increased the probability of a protest by 4.6% and the number of protesters by 19%. Additional results suggest that social media induced protest activity by reducing the costs of coordination rather than by spreading information critical of the government. We observe that VK penetration increased pro-governmental support, with no evidence of increased polarization. We also find that cities with higher fractionalization of network users between VK and Facebook experienced fewer protests, and the effect of VK on protests exhibits threshold behavior.
“National or Sub-National Parties: Does Party Geographic Scope Matter?” with Ricardo Pique and Fernando Aragon, Revised and Resubmitted to Journal of Development Economics
Abstract: In many developing countries, sub-national parties have emerged as dominant forces in local elections. This denationalization of local politics has raised concerns of increasing regional populism, weaker accountability, and worsening political selection. This paper examines whether the geographic scope of a ruling party (national vs. sub-national) affects policy outcomes, such as budget size and expenditure allocation. Using a regression discontinuity design and rich data from Peruvian municipalities, we find negligible differences in policy outcomes between national and sub-national parties. We also document a small impact on the mayor’s education and municipal accountability. The lack of stronger effects appears to reflect policy convergence driven by political competition. Overall, our results challenge the view that sub-national parties are detrimental to local governance.
“Trading with the Enemy: The Impact of Conflict on Trade in Non-Conflict Areas” with Vasily Korovkin
This study presents novel evidence on the effects of conflict on trade in non-conflict areas. We examine the context of the ongoing Russian military intervention in Ukraine. In a difference-in-differences framework, we leverage a newly compiled firm-level panel with the universe of Ukrainian trade transactions from 2013 through 2016 and exploit substantial spatial variation in the ethnolinguistic composition of Ukrainian counties. The estimates suggest that Ukrainian firms from counties with fewer ethnic Russians experienced a deeper decline in trade with Russia. We argue that this result stems from increased inter-ethnic tensions and a differential rise in negative attitudes and beliefs about Russia. Evidence indicates that possible mechanisms include consumer boycotts of Russian products, reputational concerns of Ukrainian firms, and a breakdown of trust in contract enforcement. In contrast, we find no evidence for individual-level animosity between firms’ key decision makers or discrimination at the border. We also rule out that the differential decline in trade only arises from economic spillovers, such as refugee flows and destruction of supply chains with conflict areas.
“Social Image, Networks, and Protest Participation” with Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, and Leonid Polishchuk
Abstract: Social motivation plays an important role in electoral participation, political contributions, and charitable donations. We examine the role of social image concerns in the decision to participate in political protests. We develop a dynamic model of protest participation, where socially-minded individuals use protest participation to signal their type to the peers. We test predictions of the model using individual and city-level data from 2011-2012 political protests in Russia. We report several findings. First, list experiment results imply that social signaling motives indeed were important for the decision to participate in protests. Second, consistent with the model, protest participation was declining over time. Third, participation in online protest groups increased offline protest participation. Fourth, participation in protests was higher in cities with higher social capital. Finally, the importance of both online social networks and offline social capital for protest participation diminished over time, consistent with predictions of the model.