I am a behavioral economist interested in the intersection between environment and development. Understanding how social influences and incentives shape and affects human behavior in the context of markets and social dilemmas. To do so, I use experimental and quasi-experimental methods, including lab in the field and field experiments, and observational studies.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Development Economics Group at Wageningen University & Research (The Netherlands). I obtained a Ph.D. in economics from Los Andes University in 2020.
Carbon banking for small farmers in low-income countries.
we assess the impact of emerging carbon credits markets on livelihoods, farm management, and environmental outcomes for coffee farmers in Tanzania. Smallholders receive payments for the carbon fixed by trees in their plots, credits that are auctioned for companies to offset their impact. To do so, we evaluate an ongoing pilot using quasi-experimental techniques to measure short-term effects and design and evaluate a randomized control study conducted to study long-term effects. Joint with Erwin Bulte and Gerald Lesseri.
More tree better water? Deforestation and the cost of water supply in Colombia.
In this paper, we analyze the effects of the deforestation of tropical forests on the water for human consumption in Colombia. Using a national policy introduction and spatial data from forest cover from 1990-2016, we examine how deforestation rates in watersheds that supply municipalities affect the quality of water and the cost of providing it.
Food Loop Lab
Joint with Joana Wensing, Daniel Polman, and Stephanie Begemann from Wageningen University, we work on interdisciplinary research ideas about the transition toward sustainable and circular food systems from different value chain links. We analyze and discuss the challenges from various social sciences perspectives and address them.
Citizens' support for policy bundles in the transition to circular food systems. Using choice experiments to determine the willingness to support complex set policies instead of simple options.
How does the social environment affect sustainable food behaviors? We study plant-based protein choices and how the environment and social norms, values, accessibility, affordability, and physical places, play a role in individuals' decision-making. We use an Ecological Momentary Assessment, in which we follow a sample of participants for 15 days collecting data in real-time about what they eat and information about the environment.
Spreading the word!
Spillover effects of a social norm informational campaign to promote pro-environmental behavior
This paper reports a randomized field experiment designed to produce and measure spillover effects of a social norm informational campaign on residential water use in Colombia. To do so, the randomization process is at two levels. First, a percentage of households directly exposed to periodic reports is randomly assigned across eight water utilities. This is the level of saturation that ranges between 0\% and 75\%. Second, randomly assign the treatment status to households within the utilities according to the saturation. Untreated households in utilities with positive saturation are spillovers, and those in saturation zero are the control. I found that accounting for spillovers leads to higher effects water reductions, reconciling one of the critics to these interventions. In particular, in small urban municipalities with high levels of social capital. This paper emphasizes the use of social comparisons as an effective tool to promote pro-environmental behaviors. Accounting for spillovers accurately could help to diffuse desirable behaviors.
What drives household’s pro-environmental behavior?
Normative messages and water conservation
Normative informational campaigns through social comparisons have proven effective in promoting pro-environmental behaviors in water, energy, and green consumption. However, little is known about the motivations underlying this response. This paper examines the motivations to perform pro-environmental behaviors in households exposed to normative messages on water consumption. I measure a set of intrinsic, extrinsic, and social-influence motivations in households that were part of a randomized field experiment in Colombia. Findings show that emotions such as anticipated feelings of embarrassment and anticipated feelings of pride play a significant part in households' decision to reduce water consumption, in addition to what neighbors think it should be done. The evidence suggests that these motivations are pre-established characteristics of the households and not a campaign product. I also find a significant gap between what people declare and what they actually do. This is important inputs to the debate about the differences between experimental and observational studies in behavioral interventions