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.
I am on the job market 2023-2024.
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 and guaranteed the timely coverage of a set of diseases. Using Chile’s universe of death records 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 diseases more amenable to health care, where deaths decreased by 7.1%. Evidence from inpatient records indicates that the reform led to a 15% increase in surgeries and a 6.9% decrease in deaths.
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
CONFERENCES AND SEMINARS
The Impact of Disease-Specific Health Insurance on Mortality
Escuela de Gobierno, Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Santiago, Chile, 2024
Escuela de Gobierno, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Santiago, Chile, 2023
Meeting of the Midwest Econometrics Group, Cleveland, OH, USA, 2023
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
Institute for Research in Market Imperfections and Public Policy, Universidad de Chile, Chile, 2023
Population Association of America, Atlanta, USA, 2022