Rodrigo R. Soares is Lemann Professor of Brazilian Public Policy and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Rodrigo’s research centers on development economics, ranging from labor, human capital, and demographic economics, to crime. His work has appeared in various scientific journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and Journal of Development Economics, among various others. Before joining Columbia, Soares taught at the Sao Paulo School of Economics-FGV, where he is still and Adjunct Professor, and at PUC-Rio, the University of Maryland, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

In 2006, he was awarded the Kenneth J. Arrow Award from the International Health Economics Association for the best paper published in the field of Health Economics. Soares is also research affiliate at J-PAL Latin America, and associate editor of the Journal of Human Capital, the Journal of Demographic Economics, and the IZA Journal of Labor & Development. He received his Ph.D. in Economics under the guidance of Gary S. Becker at the University of Chicago in 2002.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in January 2007.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 10791

This paper analyzes the effect of selection on ability on the evolution of the gender wage gap during the first years of professional life. We use longitudinal data with 16 years of the early career history of formal sector workers in Brazil. The panel allows us to build a measure...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9951

We develop a search model of informal labor markets with worker and firm heterogeneity, intra-firm bargaining with imperfect substitutability across types of workers, and a comprehensive set of labor regulations, including minimum wage. Stylized facts associated with the informal sector, such as smaller firms and lower wages, emerge endogenously as...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9764
Guilherme Hirata, Rodrigo R. Soares

According to Becker's (1957) theory of taste-based employer discrimination, pure economic rents are necessary for discrimination to be observed in the labor market. Increased competition and reduced rents in the market for final goods should therefore lead to reduced labor market discrimination. We look at the natural experiment represented by...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9638

This paper estimates the effect of local labor market conditions on crime in a developing country with high crime rates. Contrary to the previous literature, which has focused exclusively on developed countries with relatively low crime rates, we find that labor market conditions have a strong effect on homicides. We...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9101
forthcoming in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2016

This paper examines the role of human capital persistence in explaining long-term development. We exploit variation induced by a state-sponsored settlement policy that attracted a pool of immigrants with higher levels of schooling to particular regions of Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th century. We show that municipalities...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8586
published in: Journal of Demographic Economics, 2015, 81 (1), 51-57

This short essay reviews Gary Becker's contributions and influence in health economics. It was originally prepared for the collection of short papers in honor of Gary Becker that is scheduled to appear in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Demographic Economics.

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7189
published in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2016, 121, 77-98

We use data from a unique survey of members of drug-trafficking gangs in favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to characterize drug-trafficking jobs and study the selection into gangs, analyzing what distinguishes gang-members from other youth living in favelas. We also estimate wage regressions for gang-members and examine their...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6773
published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2015, 112, 72–91

This paper analyzes the impact of rainfall fluctuations during the gestational period on health at birth. We concentrate on the semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil to highlight the role of water scarcity as a determinant of early life health. We find that negative rainfall shocks are robustly correlated with higher...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6371
published in: Economics of Education Review, 2016, 54, 306-320

This paper investigates the impact of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs on crime. Making use of a unique dataset combining detailed school characteristics with time and geo-referenced crime information from the city of São Paulo, Brazil, we estimate the contemporaneous effect of the Bolsa Família program on crime. We address...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5923
forthcoming in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2016

Agents operating in illegal markets cannot resort to the justice system to guarantee property rights, to enforce contracts, or to seek protection from competitors' improper behaviors. In these contexts, violence is used to enforce previous agreements and to fight for market share. This relationship plays a major role in the...