Let There Be Light! Improved Public Lighting and Nighttime Crime: Evidence from Brazil (Job Market Paper) (under review)

This paper studies a recent infrastructure improvement program in São Paulo City, Brazil, to estimate the causal impact of improved public lighting on nighttime crime. Exploiting the phased roll-out of the program – as well as its unexpected abandonment – to alleviate selection bias, I find that lighting improvements reduce nighttime crime and “non-homicide” crimes, a measure that includes property and violent crimes, both in the districts that received lights as well as in neighboring districts. Yet, there is some evidence that daytime crime rises as a result of the improved lighting, possibly due to an increase in total economic activity in the areas that received the lamps. Overall, it appears that better public lighting is an important catalyst for reducing crime in dense urban areas in middle-income countries.

Local Labor Market Impacts of Immigration: The Case of Venezuela and Brazil

This paper estimates the impact of immigrant influxes on local labor markets, exploiting a natural experiment generated by a massive wave of forced migration of Venezuelans to Roraima, a state in northern Brazil, from 2016 onward. In 2018 alone, Venezuelan immigrants increased Roraima’s population by at least 8%. Estimates indicate that a 1% increase in the population due to this immigration resulted in 1.6% lower effective monthly earnings for workers there, mostly explained by reductions in normal wages likely due to the intensification of competition for low and middle skilled jobs. However, impacts varied by gender, ethnicity, occupation and education level, with Pardos, Indigenous, men and laborers in construction and food services experiencing larger reductions in wages.

Ride-Sharing and Deaths in Traffic: The case of Uber in Brazil

The way new ride-sharing companies impact society is still unclear. This paper provides arguments to answer how the new technology-based companies impact traffic related outcomes such as deaths in traffic and fatal accidents. Using data from 2015 to 2018 reported by the police and firefighter departments, I develop a differences-in-differences strategy exploiting variation in timing of UberX entry across cities in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Results suggest that a initial downward effect on deaths in traffic and fatal accidents is not sustained over time and the average monthly effect of Uber on both outcomes is null. On the other hand, the ride-sharing company availability simultaneously decreases the number of alcohol-related tickets by 7.5% and increases the amount of fatal accidents involving at least one car by 6.9%. This apparent discrepancy reflects both the new transportation alternative provided by the company for consumers of alcoholic beverages and the fact that riding as an Uber driver became an important option against sub and unemployment in a context of long lasting economic crisis, increasing the amount of cars on the streets both extensively and intensively.