Economist, historian, professor, dog lover, Argentinean, American by choice, New Yorker in training; not necessarily in that order.
I am an economic historian who specializes in the long-term economic development of the Americas. My research takes me around the world to gather historical data from a variety of archives.
My research agenda answers questions about development and growth in historical perspective. Specifically, I ask: Why are some nations richer than others? What are the determinants of inequality? These are quintessential questions that have inspired many economists since the appearance of economics as a discipline. I explore these questions with a special focus on the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
A very basic question in economic history is how to measure and compare the standard of living experienced by people in different historical settings through time. Tracing living standards in the very long run allows us to understand how major factors such as technological change (e.g. the Industrial Revolution), trade (e.g. globalization), and institutions (e.g. rule of law) impact the economic well-being of the bulk of the population.
More recently, my research agenda looks at how institutions affect short-term and long-run outcomes in Latin America. I have looked into the long-term impact of mining and labor coercion in Latin America and immigrant assimilation in Argentina.
I am currently working on three major research agendas. The first tracks voluntary and involuntary migrants to Latin America during colonial times. For Spanish settlers, I am interested in identifying where they settled and the reasons they chose those places. I am also examining the fate of African enslaved people during colonial times. Considering these two migration flows jointly, this project will shed light on the long-term impact of these flows on their destinations. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation. The second looks at 20th-century postal banking in the United States. Did the system have a measurable impact on financial access or did it simply displace savings from private banks? The third focuses on retrospective voting in the U.S.
I am a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research. I also serve on the Editorial board of the PNAS Nexus, Journal of Economic History, the European Review of Economic History, the Revista de Historia Económica, and the Revista de Investigaciones de Historia Económica. I am a trustee of the Economic History Association, the Cliometrics Society, and the European Historical Economics Society. I am also a member of NSF-funded Global Prices and Income History Group and of the advisory board of the Maddison Project and Measuring Worth. I held visiting appointments at the London School of Economics and Universidad Carlos III. My work has been featured in a variety of media outlets such as 538, Vox, Broadstreet, Nada es Gratis, El Pais, the Political Economy Forum, Faculti, and Peter Frankopan's podcast. I have periodically made guest appearances in radio and TV shows about the state of the U.S. macroeconomy. I have also contributed in the History Channel's series The Engineering that Built the World. I teach courses in macroeconomics, economic history, and topics in economic development.
Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, I got my B.A. in Economics at the Argentine Catholic University and a M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas. I obtained my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics at the University of California, Davis. After college, I worked as a financial and economic analyst for a few years in my home country. Before joining the City University of New York as an associate professor, I was a tenured faculty member at Middlebury College and I held visiting appointments at the London School of Economics and Universidad Carlos III. I have lived in 9 countries (not counting my home countries Argentina and the U.S.) and find myself at home in big cities.