Hi, I'm a Demography Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. My primary research interests lie at the intersection of economics and demography, focusing on health economics, mortality, health policy and formal demography.
As an applied economic demographer, I aim to answer questions using quasi-experimental research designs to draw causal effects of real-life problems.
Before starting the Ph.D. program, I worked research analyst at the research department of the Superintendence of Pensions in Chile. I also hold a BA and MA in Economics from Universidad de Chile.
I am on the job market for the 2022-2023 academic year. Check my CV and contact me at fmenares at berkeley.edu
Job Market Paper
We study the impact of a healthcare reform that guaranteed universal access to care for a specific set of diseases. Using the universe of death and inpatient administrative records from Chile and a difference-in-difference research design, we show that deaths from the diseases covered by this reform decreased by 4.4%. The impact was larger for diseases that are amenable to health care, which decreased by 7.1%. The reform also increased surgeries by 16.3% and decreased in-hospital deaths by 6.9%. We also show that the reform has differential impacts across different groups by studying features to address mortality inequalities, e.g., we found that patients from public hospitals -the largest medical bed providers serving the most disadvantaged population- disproportionately benefited from this reform. Finally, longitudinal survey data and back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that beneficiaries had more medical visits and lower out-of-pocket health expenditures, and that this reform increased life expectancy by 0.29 years.
Work in progress
Progresa, an anti-poverty conditional cash transfer program, has been a model for similar programs in more than 60 countries. There are numerous studies focused on schooling and nutritional and health status of children and adolescents or on household consumption but effects on the health of older adult beneficiaries have been particularly understudied. In this paper, we analyze the effects of Progresa on middle-aged and older adults by gender, two decades after the program began. Our results show that Progresa had significant benefits in terms of improved hypertension diagnosis and access to treatment among older adults. Cash transfer programs could complement healthcare access by providing the resources to buy medicines prescribed. However, we did not find changes on uncontrolled hypertension using systolic and diastolic measurements. It is unclear whether this was due to insufficient medication dosage titration, or due to insufficient medication adherence.
Emma Aguila, William H. Dow, Felipe Menares, Susan W. Parker, Jorge Peniche Soomin Ryu (2022) “Long Term Effects of Social Insurance on Adult Mortality: Evidence From the Progresa Program in Mexico.”
Population Association of America (PAA)
Mortality Impact of Chile’s Explicit Health Guarantees (GES) Insurance Reform (Accepted for Oral session, 2022)