I'm a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Demography, working on the CenSoc Project 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 my Ph.D. in Demography, I worked as a 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.
Check my CV and contact me at fmenares at berkeley.edu
Job Market Paper
with Pablo Muñoz
We study the impact of a healthcare reform that standardized procedures across health providers to guarantee the timely coverage of a set of diseases. Using the universe of death records from Chile and a difference-in-differences research design, we show that mortality from the diseases covered by this reform decreased by 4.4%. The impact was larger on deaths from diseases more amenable to health care, which decreased by 7.1%. Among inpatients with covered diseases, the reform led to a 6.9% decrease in deaths and a 15% increase in surgeries. Our results suggest that this reform increased life expectancy by 0.39 years, creating benefits that largely outweighed its costs.
Progresa, an anti-poverty conditional cash transfer program, has been a model for similar programs in more than 60 countries. Numerous studies have found positive impacts on schooling, the nutritional and health status of children and adolescents, and household consumption. However, the 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 adult health, focusing on a high prevalence chronic condition: hypertension. Our results show that Progresa had significant benefits in terms of improved hypertension diagnosis and use of treatment drugs. However, we did not find significant changes in uncontrolled hypertension as measured by systolic and diastolic blood pressure biomarkers in household survey data. Thus, while cash transfer programs may facilitate financial access to healthcare visits and the ability to buy prescribed medicines, by itself the program might not improve hypertension outcomes without complementary healthcare system follow-up to ensure dosage titration and medication adherence.
Work in progress
The Impact of Disease-Specific Health Insurance Reform on Mortality
European Workshop on Econometrics and Health Economics, Madrid, Spain, 2023
European Health Economics Association PhD Conference, Bologna, Italy, 2023
Essen Health Conference, Essen, Germany, 2023
Meeting of the Midwest Econometrics Group, Cleveland, OH, USA, 2023
Southern Demographic Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 2023
Population Association of America, Atlanta, USA, 2022 (early version submitted as "Mortality Impact of Chile’s Explicit Health Guarantees Insurance Reform")