Martín Brun

I am a PhD candidate and Research Fellow at the Department of Applied Economics of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), under the supervision of Prof. Xavier Ramos. I will join the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Tax Systems Research (FIT) at Tampere University as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Fall 2024.

I am interested in Behavioral Economics, with a particular focus on social preferences and bounded rationality. 

I am a member of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ), Economics of Inequality and Poverty Analysis (EQUALITAS), and the European (EEA), Spanish (AEE), and Uruguayan (SEU) economic associations.

Work in progress

The complexity of being fair [DRAFT AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST]

Job Market Paper
People adhere to distinct fairness views, but the understanding about the sources of such disagreement is still limited. In this paper, I focus on the complexity costs of implementing each view. I explore how fairness develops as children enter into adolescence, a period of relevant cognition change. I report from an experiment conducted with school students aged between 10 and 15. In the experiment, children decide how to distribute money between workers who completed tasks for different piece-rate payments. As children grow up, they increasingly take into account the unequal opportunities faced by the workers. I find that cognitive maturity is part of the explanation. Older and more able children are better at dealing with the complex procedures it implies: inferring counterfactual choices and incorporating them into their decisions. This leads to increased assignments for low-paid workers among meritocrats. I provide evidence on the role of the information used in their decisions. I show that drawing attention to the unequal opportunities yields no overall effect, but disclosing counterfactual choices helps closing the assignment gap across fairness views. These findings highlight the role of procedural choice on fairness adherence and introduce cognition as an additional determinant for fairness pluralism. 

Support for redistribution and cognitive ability [DRAFT AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST]

with Xavier Ramos
Individuals with higher cognitive ability have been found to be more politically influential. But it is not clear how their political preferences regarding redistribution play out, as they tend to be richer and more pro-social. We asses empirically this question by exploiting two cohort studies from the United Kingdom that measure cognitive ability during childhood and preferences during adulthood. We find that the top 10% most able individuals are more supportive for redistribution, even without controlling for their higher income. By controlling for a rich set of variables, we unveil a partial positive effect of 10.7 p.p. that prevails over negative ones. This effect appears to be focused on individuals that have volunteered in organizations, suggesting that social motives may be a consequential factor for this pivotal group of individuals.
We analyse individuals’ preferences vaccine-distribution schemes in the World, the EU, and their country of residence that emphasise circumstances rather than outcomes or effort. We link preferences to previously-measured cognition, and find that high-cognition individuals are 35% more likely to always support such schemes. These preferences are not driven by scheme convenience nor vaccine hesitancy, but appear to be caused by prosociality. We argue that this latter is linked to the perception of less equality of opportunity in society: despite having similar ideals about the role that effort and luck should play in life, high-cognition individuals perceive outcomes to be more determined by luck. 

Narratives in gender roles and growth mindset: An RCT in teaching proposals using Computational Thinking [DATA COLLECTION]

with Marcela Gomez-Ruiz, Maria Marino and Xavier Ramos

The Birth Lottery: How Gender and Socioeconomic Status Shape Political Responsiveness? [EXPERIMENT DESIGN]

with Santiago Burone and Mateo Seré

Inequality Acceptance Towards Men and Women [EXPERIMENT DESIGN]

with Xavier Ramos

Pre-PhD Publications

Why do exports react less to real exchange rate depreciations than to appreciations? Evidence from Pakistan

with Juan Pedro Gambetta and Gonzalo J. Varela Journal of Asian Economics (2022), 81: 101496[link], [thread], [blog], [news]
We examine if and why export responses to real exchange depreciations are lower than those to appreciations. We document this asymmetric response using macro-level data for Pakistan and show that export adjustments after depreciations are less than one-third as fast as those to appreciations. We use product-destination level data to examine three complementary drivers of this asymmetry: (i) information frictions that increase the search costs of finding new clients; (ii) supply constraints related limited access to credit that reduce exporters’ capacity to scale up after relative prices become more favorable; and (iii) reduced prices in US dollars offered by international buyers after local currency depreciations, akin to a pricing-to-market mechanism. We find evidence of the three drivers explaining the dampened export response to depreciations. Policymakers in developing countries should consider addressing these issues to maximize export responses to real depreciations.  

Poverty and inequality in Latin America’s research agenda: A bibliometric review

with Verónica Amarante and Cecilia RosselDevelopment Policy Review (2020), 38(4): 465-482[link]
How is research on social issues shaped in Latin America? How much attention do researchers give to poverty and inequality? What is the focus of research on these issues? The paper aims to analyse the main patterns of academic publications on poverty and inequality in Latin America. A bibliometric analysis based on different sources is used to review the main trends of publications on poverty and inequality in the region between 1990 and 2014. We find that although Latin America is widely recognized as one of the most unequal regions worldwide, poverty—not inequality—has been at the center of the region’s research agendas for many years. We detect a gradual shift in research from poverty to inequality, both in the academic literature and in the publications of international organizations. These findings provide new elements to better understand how and why researchers choose certain topics over others. This understanding is important both to gain knowledge on what researchers are prioritizing, and to shed light on the relationship between those priorities and public policies to combat poverty and inequality.

Cash transfers in Latin America: Effects on poverty and redistribution

with Verónica AmaranteEconomía (2018), 19(1): 1-31[link], [WIDER Working Paper 2016/136]
We present comparative evidence for eight Latin American countries regarding the design and effects of cash transfers (CTs). On the basis of household survey data, we analyze their coverage, importance in household income, and effects on poverty reduction and income redistribution. We present a static microsimulation to analyze the potential impacts of alternative program designs, including perfect targeting and higher budgets. Our results illustrate wide variation in terms of design, coverage, and importance in household income. CTs account for a significant portion of household income in lower deciles. Nonetheless, their effects in terms of reducing the incidence, intensity, and severity of poverty are moderate at best, and although their progressivity is high, their redistributive impact is limited. These results are mainly explained by the meager resources involved. Even under perfect targeting, the budgets allocated would be insufficient to achieve full coverage among households in the lowest part of the income distribution. 

La Lógica de los Auges de Inversión

with Andrés RiusRevista de Economía (2016), 23(2): 45-99[link]
The lack of agreement between empirically-based works and theorization could be a consequence of the application of assumptions and methodologies which are not entirely suitable to understand some conditions about the studied phenomenon. In this study we face the challenge from a different perspective, using the unusual but highly suitable tools from qualitative comparison analysis developed by Ragin (2008). We center on the study of the presence or absence of sets of conditions that prompted investment booms between 1970 and 2012 in 11 Latin American countries. The technique allows us to confirm that the presence or absence of certain conditions is important when studying the relevance of the remaining ones.

Contact information:

martin [dot] brun [at] uab [dot] catUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaDepartment of Applied EconomicsB3-074, Building B, Campus UAB, Bellaterra08193 Barcelona, Spain

Congrats on findings this! Martin (without the accent) is also fine.