Felipe Valencia Caicedo

Assistant Professor
IZA, Research Affiliate

My research lies at the intersection of Development Economics, Economic History and Economic Growth. I am particularly interested in economic persistence with an emphasis on Latin America. I obtained my PhD from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the European Doctoral Program in 2015.

This article examines the long-term consequences of a historical human capital intervention. The Jesuit order founded religious missions amongst the Guarani, in modern-day Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Before their expulsion in 1767, missionaries instructed indigenous inhabitants in reading, writing and various crafts. Using archival records, individual and municipal data, I show that educational attainment was and remains higher (by 10-15%) 250 years later in areas of former Jesuit presence. These educational dierences have also translated into 10% higher incomes today. The positive eect of Jesuit missions emerges after comparing them with abandoned Jesuit missions and Franciscan Guarani missions. The enduring effects observed are consistent with transmission mechanisms of occupational persistence and technology adoption in agriculture.
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This paper offers the first systematic historical evidence on the role of a central actor in modern growth theory - the engineer. It collects cross-country and state level data on the labor share of engineers for the Americas, and county level data on engineering and patenting for the US during the Second Industrial Revolution. These are robustly correlated with income today after controlling for literacy, other types of higher order human capital (e.g. lawyers, physicians), demand side factors, and after instrumenting engineering using the Land Grant Colleges program. A one standard deviation increase in engineers in 1880 accounts for a 16% increase in US county income today, and patenting capacity contributes another 10%. We further show engineering density supported technological adoption and structural transformation across intermediate time periods. Our estimates help explain why countries with similar levels of income in 1900, but tenfold differences in engineers diverged in their growth trajectories over the next century. The results are supported by historical case studies from the US and Latin America.
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Using newly collected subnational data, this article establishes the within-country persistence of economic activity in the New World over the last half millennium, a period including the trauma of European colonisation, the drastic reduction of native populations and the imposition of potentially growth inhibiting institutions. High pre-colonial density areas tend to be denser today due to locational fundamentals and agglomeration effects: colonialists established settlements near existing native populations for reasons of labour, trade, knowledge and defence. These areas, identified with pre-colonial prosperity, also tend to have higher incomes today suggesting that at the subnational level, fortune persists.
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Winter 2018

ECON441 The Process of Economic Development Sections

Industrialization of an agrarian economy; how the West grew rich; history of Japanese development; technical progress and growth; evolution of the patterns of income distribution; role of international trade in development; environment and development.

Winter 2018

ECON531 Economic History of Modern Europe Sections