CV Job Market Paper Research    
  Universitat Pompeu Fabra   Department of Economics and Business  


Jacopo Ponticelli

Job market candidate

Contact information

C. Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Tel. +34 93 542 2696


Available for Interviews at:

Simposio de la Asociación Española de Economía (SAEe), December 13-15, Vigo, Spain

Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) , January 4-6, San Diego, US

RES PhD Presentation Meeting, January 19-20, London, UK



Research interests

Development, Finance, Political Economy

Placement officer

Fabrizio Germano


Nicola Gennaioli
Hans-Joachim Voth
Paula Bustos
Vasco Carvalho



"Court Enforcement and Firm Productivity: Evidence from a Bankruptcy Reform in Brazil” (Job Market Paper)
Financial reform designed to improve creditor protection is often encouraged as a way to increase credit access for firms in developing countries. In this paper, I show that when court enforcement works poorly, financial reform is ineffective in fostering both credit access and the productivity of firms. In the empirical analysis, I exploit variation in the quality of court enforcement across Brazilian judicial districts and use a panel of manufacturing firms. I find that, after the introduction of a major pro-creditor bankruptcy reform, firms operating in districts with efficient court enforcement experienced substantially higher increase in capital investment and productivity than firms operating in districts with poor court enforcement. I provide evidence that this effect is due to a higher probability of external funds being used to finance investment in new technologies. To show that the results are not driven by district-level omitted variables, I use an IV strategy based on state laws establishing the geographical boundaries of judicial districts.

"Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation: Evidence from Brazil (joint with Paula Bustos and Bruno Caprettini)
We study the effects of agricultural productivity on industrial development. Classical models of structural transformation propose several channels through which productivity growth in agriculture can speed up industrial growth. However, Matsuyama (1992) notes that in open economies a comparative advantage in agriculture can slow down industrial growth. In this paper we provide direct empirical evidence on the impact of agricultural productivity on industrial development by studying the effects of adoption of new agricultural technologies in Brazil. In particular, we use the widespread adoption of genetically engineered soybean seeds as a shock to the productivity of Brazilian agriculture and measure its effects on manufacturing firms. To establish causality, we exploit exogenous differences in soil and weather characteristics across geographical areas leading to a differential impact of the new technology on yields. We find that areas more affected by technical change in soy production experienced faster manufacturing growth. Our findings imply that if technical change is strongly labour saving, increases in agricultural productivity can lead to industrialization even in an open economy.

"Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2008 CEPR Discussion Paper N. 8513 (Joint with Hans-Joachim Voth)
Does fiscal consolidation lead to social unrest? Using cross-country evidence for the period 1919 to 2008, we examine the extent to which societies become unstable after budget cuts. The results show a clear correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. Expenditure cuts are particularly potent in fueling protests; tax rises have only small and insignificant effects. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, using a recently-developed IMF dataset on exogenous expenditure shocks, and conclude that this is not the case. While autocracies and democracies show a broadly similar responses to budget cuts, countries with more constraints on the executive are less likely to see unrest after austerity measures. Growing media penetration does not strengthen the effect of cut-backs on the level of unrest.

VOXEU: summary; media coverage: The Economist, WSJ, Time Magazine, CNN, El Pais, FAZ, The Guardian, L'Expansion, The Atlantic, among others)