The rapid advances in technology have changed the objectives of some educational systems, for instance in the United States, where developing abilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are seen as necessary for an increasing number of jobs and specializations and should not only be a vocational skill for specific workers. In this paper we evaluate an 80-hour digital fabrication workshop entitled “Makers in Residence Mexico” (MRM) that was applied in public high-schools in Mexico. Our findings suggest that students increased their confidence in technological skills as measured through the Exploration and Fabrication Technologies (EFT) index, as well as the time allocated to study after school and time allocated for invention of physical objects.
Evaluation of Makers in Residence Mexico: Creating the Conditions for Learning and Invention (together with Paulo Blikstein and Nancy Otero)
MY LATEST RESEARCH
Economic Researcher and Co-founder and CEO FAB!
I conduct research and manage the NGO FAB! in Mexico. As a researcher I seek to understand the behavior of firms, households and individuals facing directly or indirectly effects of policy interventions in order to shed light on the potential impacts of these. I am particularly interested in innovation, education and firm-growth.
As the CEO of FAB!, together with my partner Nancy Otero, we want to introduce and expand new methods of education to engage young people to STEM topics and develop young generations with more creativity and abilities for problem solving in Mexico. We use fabrication laboratories to develop workshops or classes in high-schools to accomplish our objective. Our program is based on the Transformative Learning Technologies (TLT)Lab at Stanford University. We conduct research about the impact of this program together with Paulo Blikstein, Assistant Professor and Director of TLT Lab at Stanford University.
Right now I am studing at the Fabacademy 2016. I worked as an Economic Researcher in the Economic Research Department at the Central Bank of Mexico, and was a post-doctoral fellow at The Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University, where I collaborated with the Poverty and Governance Program. I received a Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University in 2012, and a M.A. in Economic Theory and B.A. at Instituto Tecnológico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM).
Opportunity vs Necessity: Understanding the Heterogeneity of Female Micro-Entrepreneurs (with Leonardo Iacovone and Laura Juárez)
Entrepreneurs that voluntarily choose to start a business because they are able to identify a good business opportunity and act on it –opportunity entrepreneurs- are different in distinct dimensions from those who are forced to become so because of lack of other alternatives -necessity entrepreneurs. Relying on a unique dataset covering a wide array of characteristics, including cognitive, non-cognitive skills and managerial practices, for 10,000 female entrepreneurs in Mexico, we aim to understand the role of heterogeneity of micro-entreprenurs over firm performance focusing on a specific criterion: the reason for opening their business. We document significant differences on many dimensions between these two groups, most importantly in terms of profitability, management, cognitive and non-cognitive skills. At the same time, using a discriminant analysis in order to find the combination of variables that best distinguish these two groups, we show that within the group of necessity entrepreneurs, about a third of them look like opportunity ones, according to their observable characteristics. Given that the definition of opportunity (necessity) entrepreneur is clearly endogenous, in addition to the descriptive analysis, we use an instrumental variable approach to identify the causal effect of being opportunity versus necessity on profitability and management performance. Being an opportunity entrepreneur is instrumented with the state GDP growth in the same year that her business was set up. Our results confirm that businesses led by opportunity entrepreneurs are significantly more profitable and better managed than those led by necessity ones.
Forthcoming, World Bank Economic Review Papers and Proceedings