2015-01-03 Pablo Headshot





Pablo Peña PhD

Economics Researcher

I'm an economist doing research on a variety of topics

I work in my consulting firm, Microanalitica. I also have an active research agenda. My most recent research was published in the Economics of Education Review and is about relative age. Analyzing a unique policy experiment I find that children who are older in their class do better in stanrdaized tests. In adulthood, being older in the classroom is associated with higher earnings, lower fertility, and greater probabilities of attending college and marrying a spouse with college. The most interesting part of the study is that being older (younger, respectivey) relative to your classmates makes you look better (worse) in tests scores, but at the expense of slowing down (accelerating) your learning pace. If tested at the exact same age, older students would do worse than their younger classmates. The research was mentioned in Mother Jones, Publimetro and Excelsior.

In a project on personality and financial culture among youths, I found that neuroticism and extraversion are associated with less financial culture, whereas openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness are associated with more financial culture. The study was published in the International Handbook of Financial Literacy and featured in some media outlets (El Financiero, El Economista).

I have done research on the timing of death, which you can find it in Social Science & Medicine. It turns out that more people than expected die on their birthdays, particularly younger people on weekends. The findings have made some noise in popular media (Washington Post, Mother Jones, Men's Health, and Noticiero Telemundo).

In other published study I find that the performance of the aggregate economy affects how many people attain college education. Those who reach college-going age in a bad year in macroeconomic terms suffer lasting consequences. They attain less college education. This holds true even across siblings. The article was published in El Trimestre Economico, and you can find it at National Institutes of Health Public Access.

Another topic I worked on is college tuition. I found both theoretical reasons and compelling evidence causally linking colleges' wealth and tuition fees. The wealthier a college gets in terms of its endowment and donations, the higher the tuition fees it charges. The article was published in the Journal of Human Capital.

During a short stint at Mexico's National Banking Commission, I led a team of researchers in the publication of several studies on the Mexican financial system. Those studies can be found at the Commission's website.

Prior to that, I wrote Como cambiar historias (How to Change Stories) with Armando Chacon. Gary Becker wrote the prologue. The book presents testimonials and empirical evidence of successful demand-side educational interventions. It emphasizes the role of socio-emotional skills as well as the importance of role models.

Questions? Comments? Contact me at pablo [at] uchicago.edu

(c) Pablo Pena MMXVII