Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Biographical note: Starting my PhD

Good news!

I’m excited to announce that I'm starting my PhD at Oxford University this Fall. I'll be studying at the School of Geography and the Environment and I'll be probably working on many aspects related to transport inequality (including accessibility, transport policies, land use, spatial segregation, travel behaviour etc) with a bit of demographic perspective here and there.

I look forward to working with the researchers at The Transport Studies Unit (TSU), and particularly with my advisors Prof. David Banister and Tim Schwanen. I'm sure it's going to be a great experience.

You can imagine how excited I am actually, I cant get enough sleep some times. Oxford is a world class university and it had some brilliant 'scientists' such as Adam Smith, Amartya Sen, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Stephen Hawking, Edwin Hubble and, of course,  Rowan Atkinson, to name a few.

Some of you may have noticed I've been posting less frequently than usual. Moving from Brazil to the UK is a bit more complicated than I thought. Anyway, I expect to put the blog back on the track in a couple of days.

obs. I am taking a leave from my job at Ipea (Institute for Applied Economic Research) during this period. Hey guys, you know I'll miss you.

I'm moving this week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Causes of Informal Housing - EPAINOS 2013 Prize Winner

Every year, the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) gives the EPAINOS award to a young scientist, under 33 years old. It makes me very glad to know that this years’ winner is Daniel da Mata!  Daniel has just finished his PhD in economics at Cambridge University and he is a brilliant researcher we have here at Ipea (Institute for Applied Economic Research).

Here is his awarded paper: "Disentangling the Causes of Informal Housing"

"This article aims to measure the main determinants of the expansion of informal settlements. The focus is on how urban poverty, rural-urban migration and land use regulations impact the growth of slums. I construct a structural model to explain the determinants of informal housing. The model supports the main empirical evidence regarding slums formation and it is able to quantitatively assess the role of each determinant of slums growth. The model is calibrated and estimated to be consistent with several statistics related to the Brazilian urbanization process from 1980 to 2010. I present several counterfactual experiments to assess the role of income, migration and land use regulation. The results show that these factors explain about half of the variation in slums growth between 1980 and 2010. I also perform ex-ante evaluation of the impacts of slum upgrading interventions and show how policies may have unintended adverse effects on slums formation."

By the way: Guilherme Resende was awarded the EPAINOS prize in 2009. Guilherme is another great researcher at Ipea.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Urban Picture

An invisible frontier in Nouakchott, Capital of Mauritania

[Photography: Steve McCurry National Geographic August 1987
invisible frontier, via Human Scale Cities]

Related Links:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chart of the Day

A nice chart showing the change in life expectancy for 190 countries over the last 20 years (via Thomson Reuters).

Friday, September 6, 2013

Counting Climate Migrants

Those loyal readers of this blog shoud remember I consider More or Less as one of the best podcasts ever (a great companion for dishwashing!).

In the last episode, Tim Harford and Hannah Barnes scrutinize the statistics on climate refugees initially adopted by the United Nations. These figures were originally estimated by Professor Norman Myers, who has received much criticism by some demographers and experts on climate migrants.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New York City Land Use

Alasdair Rae has done some great maps of land use patterns in the city of New York. The maps are based on the Property Land Use Tax lot Output (PLUTO) dataset. You should check them out (the maps and the dataset!).

[click on the image to enlarge it]
[Image Credit: Alasdair Rae]

By the way, Alasdair has a history of making great 3D Density Maps:

Related Link:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bicycles access and school enrollment

Análise Real (a Brazilian economics Blog) called my attention to this paper by Profs. K. Muralidharan and N. Prakash where they analyze an Indian program "... aimed to reduce the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by providing girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school."

By the way, their results show the Cycle program has impressive results when compared to more traditional programs (i.e. conditional cash transfer). 

This paper is going to the top of my reading list! Here is the paper. And here is a video briefing on the study.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Urban Picture

Garbage Piles in London, by Francisco de Pájaro (via John Metcalfe)

[Image Credit: "Art is Trash", by Francisco de Pájaro]