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This paper studies the relationship between temperature and mortality in a tropical country. Tropical countries host almost 40% of the world’s population, and populations face inherently different conditions in terms of environmental, demographic, and socio-economic conditions than their counterparts in temperate areas. Using data from over 1000 Colombian municipalities, I show that even at narrow temperature ranges, which are characteristic of the tropics, anomalously hot or cold days increase mortality. An additional day with mean temperature above 27◦C (80.6◦F) increases mortality rates by approximately 0.24 deaths per 100,000, equivalent to almost 0.7% of monthly death rates. Unlike temperate locations, I find that deaths attributed to infectious diseases and respiratory illnesses drive this relationship in the hot part of the distribution, affecting children aged 0-5 primarily. These findings uncover new factors and populations at risk after the occurrence of hot temperature shocks. These findings imply that the average person who dies after a hot temperature shock loses approximately 30 years of life.
The number of major Drug Trafficking Organizations (known as cartels) in Mexico increased from four to nine over the last two decades. This was accompanied by an increase in drug trade related violence. This paper examines the relationship between violence and competition for market share among cartels. To measure cartel presence, a difficult to measure phenomenon, I construct a novel data set of cartel presence across Mexican municipalities by scraping Google News and using natural language processing. To study how market size and structure interact with violence, I exploit two empirical strategies using within municipality variation. First, I interact heroin prices with agro-climatic conditions to grow opium poppy, using exogenous variation in demand for heroin from the 2010 OxyContin reformulation. This reformulation made OxyContin harder to abuse and led some opioid abusers to switch to heroin. Second, I exploit variation in the timing of cartel entry in a municipality. Cartel presence increases substantially after 2010 in municipalities well-suited to grow opium poppy. As more cartels enter a market, homicide rates increase. These results suggest that substantial part of the increase in violence that Mexico experienced in the last fifteen years is due to criminal groups fighting for market share of heroin, not only due to changes in government enforcement.
What are the consequences of a nationwide reform of a transfer system based on means-testing towards one of unconditional transfers? I answer this question with a quantitative model to assess the general equilibrium, inequality, and welfare effects of substituting the current U.S. income security system with a Universal Basic Income (UBI) policy. To do so, I develop an overlapping generations model with idiosyncratic income risk that incorporates intensive and extensive margins of labor supply, on-the-job learning, and child-bearing costs. The tax-transfer system closely mimics the U.S. design. I calibrate the model to the U.S. economy and conduct counterfactual analyses that implement reforms towards a UBI. I find that an expenditure-neutral reform has moderate impacts on the labor supply response of agents but induces aggregate capital and output to grow due to larger precautionary savings. A UBI of $ 1,000 monthly requires a substantial increase in the tax rate of consumption used to clear the government budget and leads to an overall decrease of the macroeconomic aggregates, stemming from a sharp drop in labor. In both cases, the economy has more disposable income but less consumption at the bottom of their distributions. The UBI economy constitutes a welfare loss at the transition if expenditure-neutral and results in a gain in the second scenario. Despite relative losses, a majority of newborn households supports both UBI reforms.