Rodimiro Rodrigo


Major technological changes have come with an adjustment period of stagnant productivity before the economy operates at its full potential.  The mechanism of this adoption process is still not well understood. I document that productivity increases with a five-year lag after the adoption of industrial robots in Brazil. Combining Brazil employer-employee matched data with a novel measure of robot adoption, I document that the short-term effect of robots is not on productivity but on the within-firm organization of labor across occupations. Only when the reorganization of labor stabilizes -about five years later- productivity gains kick in. I estimate a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms, endogenous robot adoption, and organizational capital accumulation. The model shows that the organizational capital mechanism explains 20% of the aggregate skills demand change observed in Brazil over the last decade.

Conferences and Seminars: AoM, EEA-ESEM, Harvard Kennedy School, U Toronto, NBER SI, NASMES, SED, GWUSB, U Delaware, U Los Andes, U Queensland, ITAM Business, Banco de México, PUC Chile, Harvard, HBS, Boston U (TPRI), LACEA–LAMES, LACEA–RIDGE, World Bank, Georgetown (Macro, Trade), GU-McDonough (Strategy), AOM (TIM–Doctoral Consortium), Wharton Innovation Doctoral Symposium.

Previous studies for developed countries show adverse short-run effects of automation on employment and earnings. In this paper, we examine whether automation by a key trade partner can hurt workers in a developing country. Combining Colombian social security records from 2011 to 2016 with U.S. robot adoption data in different industries, we find decreased employment, lower earnings, and increased dismissals in Colombian industries heavily exposed to U.S. robots. We show these results are not driven by other capital or digital technologies adopted in Colombia. Notably, regions previously exporting the most to the U.S. suffer the most from increased U.S. robot usage. Our results also reveal that certain industries benefit from automation productivity gains, offsetting the general equilibrium effects at the local labor market level.


Cheating and Incentives: Learning from a Policy Experiment, with C. Martinelli, S. Parker, and A. Pérez-Gea. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 10: 298–325, February 2018 (highlighted by the AEA webpage).

We use a database generated by a policy intervention that incentivized learning as measured by standardized exams to investigate empirically the relationship between cheating by students and cash incentives to students and teachers. We adapt methods from the education measurement literature to calculate the extent of cheating and show that cheating is more prevalent under treatments that provide monetary incentives to students (versus no incentives or incentives only to teachers). We provide evidence suggesting that students may have learned to cheat, with the number of cheating students per classroom increasing over time under treatments that provide monetary incentives to students.

This paper evaluates the impact of an intervention targeted at marginalized low-performance students in public secondary schools in Mexico City, consisting in free additional math courses, taught by undergraduate students from the most prestigious Mexican universities. We exploit the information of all students’ (treated and not treated) transcripts enrolled in participating and non-participating schools. Before the implementation of the program, participating students lagged behind non-participating ones by more than a half base point in their GPA (over 10). Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that students participating in the program observed a higher increase in their school grades, and that by the end of the school year, when the free extra courses had been offered for 10 weeks, participating students’ grades were not significantly lower than non-participating students’ grades. These results provide evidence that short and low-cost interventions can have important effects on student achievement.


Determinants of New Technology Diffusion, with M. Ayyagari and A. Weinberger 

Firm Organization Over the Life Cycle, with M. Felix 

Sugar crops and the automotive industry in Brazil: the long-run consequences of industrial policy, with W. Kerr