Browse the categories to access the content of academic, scientific and opinion publications of the professors and students of the Department of Economics PUC-Rio.

Macroeconomic effects of credit deepening in Latin America (a sair)

Journal of Money Credit and Banking


Eduardo Zilberman, Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Nilda Mercedes Cabrera Pasca, Laura Candido de Souza.

Joint analysis of the discount factor and payoff parameters in dynamic discrete choice models

Quantitative Economics

V 9, N 2, P 1153-1194, 28/11/2018

Most empirical and theoretical econometric studies of dynamic discrete choice models assume the discount factor to be known. We show the knowledge of the discount factor is not necessary to identify parts, or even all, of the payoff function. We show the discount factor can be generically identified jointly with the payoff parameters. On the other hand, it is known the payoff function cannot be nonparametrically identified without any a priori restrictions. Our identification of the discount factor is robust to any normalization choice on the payoff parameters. In IO applications, normalizations are usually made on switching costs, such as entry costs and scrap values. We also show that switching costs can be nonparametrically identified, in closed‐form, independently of the discount factor and other parts of the payoff function. Our identification strategies are constructive. They lead to easy to compute estimands that are global solutions. We illustrate with a Monte Carlo study and the dataset used in Ryan (2012).

Tatiana Komarova, Sorawoot Srisuma, Fábio Miessi Sanches, Daniel Silva Junior.

Minimum distance estimation of search costs using price distribution

Journal of Business & Economic Statistics

V 36, N 4, P 658-671, 08/11/2018

Hong and Shum (2006) show equilibrium restrictions in a search model can be used to identify quantiles of the search cost distribution from observed prices alone. These quantiles can be difficult to estimate in practice. This paper uses a minimum distance approach to estimate them that is easy to compute. A version of our estimator is a solution to a nonlinear least squares problem that can be straightforwardly programmed on softwares such as STATA. We show our estimator is consistent and has an asymptotic normal distribution. Its distribution can be consistently estimated by a bootstrap. Our estimator can be used to estimate the cost distribution nonparametrically on a larger support when prices from heterogeneous markets are available. We propose a two-step sieve estimator for that case. The first step estimates quantiles from each market. They are used in the second step as generated variables to perform nonparametric sieve estimation. We derive the uniform rate of convergence of the sieve estimator that can be used to quantify the errors incurred from interpolating data across markets. To illustrate we use online bookmaking odds for English football leagues' matches (as prices) and find evidence that suggests search costs for consumers have fallen following a change in the British law that allows gambling operators to advertise more widely.

Fábio Miessi Sanches, Daniel Silva Junior, Sorawoot Srisuma.

ArCo: An R package to Estimate Artificial Counterfactuals.

R Journal

V 10, P 98-108, 07/11/2018

In this paper we introduce the ArCo package for R which consists of a set of functions to implement the the Artificial Counterfactual (ArCo) methodology to estimate causal effects of an intervention (treatment) on aggregated data and when a control group is not necessarily available. The ArCo method is a two-step procedure, where in the first stage a counterfactual is estimated from a large panel of time series from a pool of untreated peers. In the second-stage, the average treatment effect over the post-intervention sample is computed. Standard inferential procedures are available. The package is illustrated with both simulated and real datasets. 

Gabriel F Vasconcelos, Yuri R Fonseca, Marcelo Medeiros, Ricardo Masini.

Economic shocks and crime: evidence from the Brazilian Trade liberalization

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

V 10, N 4, P 158–195, 10/10/2018

This paper studies the effect of changes in economic conditions on crime. We exploit the 1990s trade liberalization in Brazil as a natural experiment generating exogenous shocks to local economies. We document that regions exposed to larger tariff reductions experienced a temporary increase in crime following liberalization. Next, we investigate through what channels the trade-induced economic shocks may have affected crime. We show that the shocks had significant effects on potential determinants of crime, such as labor market conditions, public goods provision, and income inequality. We propose a novel framework exploiting the distinct dynamic responses of these variables to obtain bounds on the effect of labor market conditions on crime. Our results indicate that this channel accounts for 75 to 93 percent of the effect of the trade-induced shocks on crime

Gabriel Ulyssea, Rafael Dix-Carneiro, Rodrigo Reis Soares.

Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians

Journal of Political Economy

V 125, N 5, 25/08/2018

This paper examines the extent to which government audits of public resources can reduce corruption by enhancing political and judiciary accountability. We do so in the context of Brazil’s anticorruption program, which randomly audits municipalities for their use of federal funds. We find that being audited in the past reduces future corruption by 8 percent, while also increasing the likelihood of experiencing a subsequent legal action by 20 percent. We interpret these reduced-form findings through a political agency model, which we structurally estimate. Our results suggest that the reduction in corruption comes mostly from the audits increasing the perceived nonelectoral costs of engaging in corruption.

Eric Avis, Claudio Ferraz, Frederico Finan.

ArCo: An Artificial Counterfactual Approach for High-Dimensional Panel Time-Series Data

The Journal of Econometrics

V 207, N 2, P 352-380, 31/07/2018

We consider a new, flexible and easy-to-implement method to estimate thecausal effects of an intervention on a single treated unit when a control group is not available and which nests previous proposals in the literature. It is a two-step methodology where in the first stage, a counterfactual is estimated based on a large-dimensional set of variables from a pool of untreated units by means of shrinkage methods, such as the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO). In the second stage, we estimate the average intervention effect on a vector of variables, which is consistent and asymptotically normal. Our results are valid uniformly over a wide class of probability laws. We show that these results hold even when the exact date of the intervention is unknown. Tests for multiple interventions and for contamination effects are derived. By a simple transformation of the variables, it is possible to test for multivariate intervention effects on several moments of the variables of interest. Existing methods in the literature usually test for intervention effects on a single variable and assume that the time of the intervention is known. In addition, high-dimensionality is frequently ignored and inference is either conducted under a set of more stringent hypotheses and/or by permutation tests. A Monte Carlo experiment evaluates the properties of the method in finite samples and compares it with other alternatives. As an application, we evaluate the effects on inflation, GDP growth, retail sales and credit of an anti tax-evasion program.

Marcelo Medeiros, Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Ricardo Masini.

Optimal Selling Mechanisms Under Moment Conditions

Journal of Economic Theory

V 177, P 245-279, 08/05/2018

We study the revenue maximization problem of a seller who is partially informed about the distribution of buyer's valuations, only knowing its first N moments. The seller chooses the mechanism generating the best revenue guarantee based on the information available, that is, the optimal mechanism is chosen according to maxmin expected revenue. We show that the transfer function in the optimal mechanism is given by non-negative monotonic hull of a polynomial of degree N. This enables us to transform the seller's problem into a much simpler optimization problem over Nvariables. The optimal mechanism is found by choosing the coefficients of the polynomial subject to a resource constraint. We show that knowledge of the first moment does not guarantee strictly positive revenue for the seller, characterize the solution for the cases of two moments and derive some characteristics of the solution for the general case.

Vinicius Nascimento Carrasco, Humberto Moreira, Paulo Klinger Monteiro, Vitor Luz, Nenda Kos.

Mid-auction information acquisition

Economic Theory

V 65, N 3, P 751–780, 26/04/2018

An English auction is studied in which bidders can acquire information during the bidding process, allowing for heterogeneity both in ex-ante private information and the cost of information acquisition. The best response has a simple characterization where the optimal information acquisition time is unaffected by the other bidders’ strategies. We prove the existence of an equilibrium in a novel way by characterizing it as a fixed point in the space of bid distributions rather than the space of bid functions. Furthermore, we show that when bidders have homogeneous ex-ante private information about valuations: (1) The English auction generates more revenue than the Vickrey auction when the number of bidders is sufficiently large; and (2) the English auction is more efficient than the Vickrey auction when the information acquisition cost are relatively small. We present numerical simulations that show that these effects can be large. Our findings provide an additional explanation for the popularity of the English auction, even in settings where the bidders’ valuations are independent.

Leonardo Rezende.

Approximating multisector New Keynesian models

Economics Letters

V 163, P 193-196, 06/04/2018

A three-sector model with a suitably chosen distribution of price stickiness can closely approximate the response to aggregate shocks of New Keynesian models with a much larger number of sectors, allowing for their estimation at much reduced computational cost.

Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Fernanda Feitosa Nechio.

Banking privatization and market structure in Brazil: a dynamic structural analysis

Rand Journal of Economics

V 49, N 4, P 936-963, 05/04/2018

This article examines the effects of bank privatization on the number of bank branches operating in small isolated markets in Brazil. We estimate a dynamic game played between Brazilian public and private banks. We find private banks compete with each other as expected. We also find public banks generate positive spillovers for private banks. Our counterfactual study shows that privatization substantially reduces the number of banks. The government can mitigate the effects of privatization by providing subsidies to private banks. Our model predicts subsidy policies that reduce operating costs are more cost‐effective than entry costs for isolated markets in Brazil.

Fábio Miessi Sanches, Daniel Silva Junior, Sorawoot Srisuma.

Robust mechanism design: the curvature case

Economic Theory


This paper considers the problem of a Principal who faces a privately informed Agent and only knows one moment of the type’s distribution. Preferences are nonlinear in the allocation, and the Principal maximizes her worst-case expected profits. The robustness property of the optimal mechanism imposes restrictions on the Principal’s ex-post payoff function: subject to the allocation being nonzero, ex-post payoffs are linear in the Agent’s type. The robust mechanism entails exclusion of low types, distortions at the intensive margin and efficiency at the top. We show that, under some conditions, distortions in the optimal mechanism are decreasing in types. This monotonicity has relevant consequences for several applications discussed. Our characterization uses an auxiliary zero-sum game played by the Principal and an adversarial Nature who seeks to minimize her expected payoffs which also gives us a characterization of the worst-case distribution from the Principal’s perspective. Applications of our framework to insurance provision, optimal taxation, nonlinear pricing and regulation are discussed

Vitor Farinha Luz, Vinicius Nascimento Carrasco, Humberto Moreira, Paulo Klinger Monteiro.

Risk sharing contracts with private information and one-sided commitment

Economic Theory


In a repeated unobserved endowment economy in which agents negotiate longterm contracts with a financial intermediary, we study the risk-sharing implications of the interaction between incentive compatibility constraints (due to private information) and participation constraints (due to one-sided commitment). In particular, we assume that after a default episode, agents consume their endowment and remain in autarky forever. We find that once they are away from autarky today, if the probability of drawing the highest possible endowment shock is sufficiently small, the optimal contract prevents agents from reaching autarky tomorrow and, thus, from being “impoverished”. Moreover, an invariant cross-sectional distribution of life-time utilities (or values) exists. A numerical example shows that the mass of agents living in autarky can be zero in the limit.

Eduardo Zilberman, Vinicius Nascimento Carrasco, Pedro Hemsley.

Os efeitos da incerteza sobre a atividade econômica no Brasil

Revista Brasileira de Economia

V 72, N 2, P 144-460, 05/03/2018

Este trabalho investiga os efeitos da incerteza sobre a atividade econômica no Brasil. Para isso, são construídas diversas proxies que buscam capturar o nível de incerteza vigente na economia brasileira (incerteza doméstica) e em vários de seus principais parceiros comerciais (incerteza externa). Em seguida, são estimados diversos modelos de vetores autorregressivos (VAR) estruturais, tal como proposto por Baker, Bloom & Davis (2016). As funções de resposta ao impulso sugerem efeitos contracionistas significativos da incerteza sobre a atividade, em particular sobre o investimento. Além disso, as estimativas indicam que os efeitos da incerteza doméstica são mais acentuados do que os da incerteza externa. Pode-se afirmar, portanto, que os níveis de incerteza vigentes no Brasil desde as eleições presidenciais de 2014 representam importante fator por trás da recessão subsequente. Estima-se que caso não houvesse a expansão de incerteza doméstica observada a partir do segundo semestre de 2014, a produção industrial em 2015 teria sido, em média, entre 0,9% e 3,9% maior, dependendo da variável proxy de incerteza utilizada. No caso do IBC-Br, este teria sido entre 0,4% e 1,3% maior. Os resultados encontrados são robustos para diversas alterações no modelo.

Ricardo de Menezes Barboza, Eduardo Zilberman.

The role of social networks in cultural assimilation

Journal of Urban Economics

V 97, P 15-39, 31/12/2017

We develop a model where, in the first stage, minority individuals have to decide whether or not they want to assimilate to the majority culture while, in the second stage, all individuals (both from the majority and the minority group) embedded in a network have to decide how much effort they exert in some activity (say education). We show that the more central minority agents are located in the social network, the more they assimilate to the majority culture. We also show that denser networks tend to favor assimilation so that, for example, it is easier to assimilate in a complete network than in a star-shaped network. We show that the subgame-perfect equilibrium is not optimal because there is not enough activity and assimilation. We then endogeneize the network and show under which condition the ethnic minorities either assimilate to or separated themselves from the majority group.

Thierry Verdier, Yves Zenou.

Econometrics of Ascending Auctions by Quantile Regression

The Review of Economics and Statistics

V 99, N 5, P 944-953, 27/12/2017

This paper suggests an identification and estimation approach based on quantile regression to recover the underlying distribution of bidders' private values in ascending auctions under the IPV paradigm. The quantile regression approach provides a flexible and convenient parametrization of the private values distribution, with an estimation methodology easy to implement and with several specification tests. The quantile framework provides a new focus on the quantile level of the private values distribution, in particular the seller's optimal screening level, which can be very useful for bidders and seller. An empirical application using data from the USFS timber auctions illustrates the methodology.

Nathalie Gimenes.

Heterogeneous Sticky-Information Economies

Brazilian Review of Econometrics

V 37, N 2, P 123-152, 01/11/2017

The literature that emerged from Mankiw and Reis' (2002) proposal of sticky information as an alternative to sticky-price models has focused on economies populated with (ex-ante) identical firms. This paper analyzes the implications of heterogeneity in the degree of information stickiness among price-setting firms in different sectors for the dynamic response of the economy to various shocks. I compare multisector sticky-information models with otherwise identical one-sector economies that feature the same frequency of information updating. I find that the effects of such shocks on the output gap -- the difference between actual output and the output level that would prevail in the absence of information frictions -- are larger in heterogeneous economies.

Carlos Viana de Carvalho.

Asymmetric growth and institutions in an independent world

Journal of Political Economy

V 125, P 1245-1306, 10/10/2017

Daron Acemoglu, J. Robinson, Thierry Verdier.

Inequality redistribution and cultural integration in the welfare state

European Journal of Political Economy

V 50, P 122-140, 10/10/2017

A. Bisin, Thierry Verdier.

Search here