The Hard Problem of Prediction for Conflict Prevention

In this article we propose a framework to tackle conflict prevention, an issue which has received interest in several policy areas. A key challenge of conflict forecasting for prevention is that outbreaks of conflict in previously peaceful countries are rare events and therefore hard to predict. To make progress in this hard problem, this project summarizes more than four million newspaper articles using a topic model.

The Pro-competitive Effects of Trade Agreements

How does trade policy affect competition? Using the universe of product exports by firms from eleven low and middle-income countries, we document that tariff reductions under trade agreements have strong procompetitive effects - they encourage entry and reduce the (tariff exclusive) price-cost markups of exporters. This finding, that markups fall with tariff cuts, contradicts a core prediction of standard oligopolistic competition models of trade. We extend a classic international pricing model of oligopolistic competition to include multiple countries and a rich preference structure.

Dr. Brenda Samaniego


Prof. Meredith Crowley


June 15 2022

Ali Sen (starting September 2022)

Research Interests

Productivity, Structural Change, Production Networks, and Economic Growth


Slums and Pandemics

This paper studies the role of slums in shaping the economic and health dynamics of pandemics. Using data from millions of mobile phones in Brazil, an event-study analysis shows that residents of overcrowded slums engaged in less social distancing after the outbreak of Covid-19. We develop a choice-theoretic equilibrium model in which poorer agents live in high-density slums and others do not. The model is calibrated to Rio de Janeiro. Slum dwellers account for a disproportionately high number of infections and deaths.

Amanda Chuan


Prof. Meredith Crowley

Visiting from:

May 29th 2022 - May 30th 2022

Room 35

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