Political Power, Elite Control and Long-Run Development: Evidence from Brazil
Claudio Ferraz, Frederico Finan and Monica Martinez-Bravo
December 2023
Journal of the European Economic Association, Accepted for Publication

Political Economy and Structural Transformation: Democracy, Regulation and Public Investment
Monica Martinez-Bravo and Leonard Wantchekon
Oxford Development Studies, November 2023: 1-19.
DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2023.2281590

Social Fragmentation, Public Goods and Local Elections: Evidence from China
Monica Martinez-Bravo, Gerard Padró i Miquel, Nancy Qian, and Yang Yao
Chapter In: Decentralised Governance Crafting Effective Democracies Around the World
London: LSE Press (edited by Jean-Paul Faguet and Sarmistha Pal), 2023
DOI: 10.31389/lsepress.dlg.f

The Rise and Fall of Local Elections in China
Monica Martinez-Bravo, Gerard Padró i Miquel, Nancy Qian, and Yang Yao
American Economic Review 112 (9), September 2022: 2921-58.
DOI: 10.1257/aer.20181249

In Vaccines We Trust? The Effects of CIA’s Vaccine Ruse on Immunization in Pakistan
Monica Martinez-Bravo and Andreas Stegmann
Journal of the European Economic Association 20 (1), February 2022: 150-186.
DOI: 10.1093/jeea/jvab018
In Tonic, The Guardian, New Scientist, Independent UK, La Vanguardia (in Spanish), Medical News Today, Global Village, Times Radio Interview (audio file), La Tarde Cadena Cope (audio file, in Spanish), CEPR VideoVox Interview.

Inequality and Psychological Well-being in Times of Covid-19: Evidence from Spain
Monica Martinez-Bravo and Carlos Sanz
SERIEs (Journal of the Spanish Economic Association) 12, November 2021: 489-548.
DOI: 10.1007/s13209-021-00255-3

The Non-Democratic Roots of Elite-Capture: Evidence from Soeharto Mayors in Indonesia
Monica Martinez-Bravo, Priya Mukherjee and Andreas Stegmann
Econometrica 85 (6), November 2017: 1991-2010.
DOI: 10.3982/ECTA14125
In VoxDev

Are Labor Supply Decisions Consistent with Neoclassical Preferences? Evidence from Indian Boat Owners
Xavier Giné, Monica Martinez-Bravo and Marian Vidal-Fernández
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 142, October 2017: 331-347.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.07.014

The Local Political Economy Effects of School Construction in Indonesia
Monica Martinez-Bravo
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 9 (2), April 2017: 256–289.
DOI: 10.1257/app.20150447

The Role of Local Officials in New Democracies: Evidence from Indonesia
Monica Martinez-Bravo
American Economic Review 104 (4), April 2014: 1244–1287.
DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.4.1244

Working Papers

Trust and Accountability in Times of Polarization
Monica Martinez-Bravo and Carlos Sanz
April 2023
Status: Submitted for Publication

Making Democracy Work: Formal Institutions and Culture in Rural China
Monica Martinez-Bravo, Gerard Padró i Miquel, Nancy Qian, Yiqing Xu and Yang Yao
June 2017
Status: Revise & Resubmit, Journal of the European Economic Association


This project studies the determinants and solutions to the phenomenon of distrust in political institutions. Public confidence in political institutions has declined in many countries over the last decades. While this is not a new phenomenon, the main drivers of political discontent are not well understood. In this project, we are collecting the most detailed individual-level dataset on perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes to understand: 1) Why do people lose trust in the political system and 2) What interventions can help individuals regain trust in the political system? We use different methodologies, including experimental, quasi-experimental, and randomized control trials. The European Research Council Consolidator Grant POLTRUSTLAB provides funding for the project. More details can be found on the website for the project here.

Inclusion Policy Lab

Together with my colleague Samuel Bentolila, we are coordinating a team of researchers that support the Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration in evaluating innovative policies to fight social exclusion.

The interventions provide complementary measures to Spain’s recently approved Minimum Income Scheme. The effectiveness of the interventions will be evaluated using Randomized Control Trials. J-PAL Europe supports the research team in a cross-partnership to promote evidence-based policymaking in Spain.

For more information:

Op-ed Article in El País “A new way of designing public policies” (in Spanish)
El País, 02 October 2022

Media mention in blog post by J-PAL describing the partnership to collaborate with the Inclusion Policy Lab “Creating a policy lab for evaluating social inclusion policy in Spain”
J-PAL, 06 September 2022

Participation in the conference “A Minimum Living Income oriented to Social Inclusion” (event in Spanish)
Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, CEMFI and J-PAL, 04 July 2022