Every 2 years, Colombia honors one young economist – under 40 – with the Juan Luis Londoño Prize, which recognizes her/his contribution to the country’s social welfare. The prize is named after an economist who died ten years ago while serving his country as Social Protection Minister.
Juan Luis (pictured) was brilliant, outgoing, funny and loved shocking people and making waves. He left a very deep imprint on social policy – especially health care reform – in Colombia.
This year´s prize has just been awarded to Raquel Bernal, who currently leads the economics research center in the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, known as CEDE.
Her work focuses mostly on early childhood development and informal markets and she is the co-author of the most widely used textbook on Impact Evaluation in Spanish. She is a very impressive economist.
In this paper we evaluate whether there are differences in adult and child outcomes between cohabiting and married households, once differences in observed characteristics are controlled for and possible endogeneity biases due to selection issues are taken into account by using an instrumental variables estimator.
We use a variety of Colombian data sources that contain a wealth of data on children’s outcome measures. We find that cohabiting households are worse-off in various dimensions including ownership of durable goods and child outcomes.
In addition, we attempt to understand the reasons why these differences arise and find evidence that cohabiting households exhibit less stable and forward looking behaviors, are characterized by less risk sharing and specialization, and exhibit less healthy behaviors and different childrearing practices.
Raquel joins a very select group which includes Alejandro Gaviria, (@agaviriau) Colombia´s current Health Minister, Felipe Barrera (@felbarrera), an education economist currently at Harvard and Ana Maria Ibañez (@anamibanez), who is now the Dean of the Economics School in Los Andes University and whose work has focused on the displaced population in Colombia.
And this is just the cream of an amazing crop of young economists that are taking economics in Colombia to a complete new level.