I am a PhD candidate at Toulouse School of Economics, doing research on environmental economics and public finance.

My job market paper is on the role of real-time satellite monitoring to fight deforestation and fires in the Brazilian Amazon forest.

Prior to the PhD, I worked at an environmental consultancy, and at the finance ministry of the state of São Paulo.


I am on the 2021-2022 job market and will attend the 2021 European Econometric Society Meeting and the 2022 ASSA virtual conference.

alipio.ferreira@tse-fr.eu |CV

Research

Satellites and fines: the role of real time monitoring in preventing tropical deforestation and fires (Job Markt Paper)
Paper | Online Appendix | Slides

Tropical deforestation emits greenhouse gases, destroys biodiversity, and generates air pollution because of the use of fire. Effectively fighting deforestation requires monitoring of vast areas, which is possible due to the availability of satellite images. However, satellites' role in fighting deforestation depends on three layers: the quality of monitoring information, the behavior of official agencies, and the behavior of farmers. The quality of monitoring is its detection rates and shares of false positives. The behavior of official agencies is the extent to which monitoring data leads to an enforcement action, such as sending agents to punish farmers. Finally, the behavior of farmers is the deforestation itself, which I decompose into a general deterrence effect, specific deterrence effect, and the extent of use of fire. Using detailed satellite and administrative data in the Brazilian Amazon forest, where deforestation is illegal, I study how monitoring alerts helped improve inspection selection and reduced deforestation in the 2011-2020 period. To identify the different results in the paper, I use event study approaches and an instrumental variable approach. I find that a 10 percentage points increase in satellite detection rates led to 1 percentage point higher probability of punishment for deforestation.


Audit selection with weak fiscal capacity: evidence from Senegal
(With Pierre Bachas, Anne Brockmeyer, Bassirou Sarr) RCT registry here | Blog post

Should low-income countries leave discretion to tax inspectors to select firms for audit or should selection be determined by risk-scoring algorithms? Does the optimal amount of discretion depend on the quantity of third-party information available and its ease of access for tax inspectors? In a context with weak fiscal capacity, leveraging inspectors’ private information could be valuable but opens the door to discrimination and corruption. This project tests which selection method (discretionary inspector selection or algorithm selection based on risk scores) is most effective in detecting firm non-compliance and increasing audit yield. An experiment in collaboration with the tax administration in Senegal is currently in the field.


Audits can hurt: effects of tax audits on firms in Senegal
(With Pierre Bachas, Anne Brockmeyer, Bassirou Sarr)


Optimal (double) taxation with tax evasion and firm growth

Tax evasion is in general a nuisance for governments, which must devote resources to fight it, and to ensure that taxpayers pay their taxes. However, if taxpayers invest avoided taxes in a productive way, governments can also benet from evasion by taxing the outcome of taxpayers investments. Moreover, by auditing past tax declarations, governments can still recover avoided taxes from the past while still beneting from the result of past evasion. This amounts to a form of double taxation which has not yet been considered in the literature. This paper models tax evasifon by rms in a dynamic setting where firms have incentives to invest all their assets. It shows that the optimal policy for the government is not to reduce evasion to zero, even when all enforcement parameters are free. In practice, evasion functions as a loan from the government to the taxpayer, where expected nes work as interest rates. The incentives outlined in this paper are likely to hold for small, financially constrained rms with high growth potential.

Policy reports

The impact of COVID-19 on formal companies in Senegal (in French), World Bank Practice Notes, 2020
(With Pierre Bachas, Anne Brockmeyer, Bassirou Sarr and Camille Semelet)

Green infrastructure and flood management. European Environmental Agency, 2017
(With Dige, G., Eichler, L., Vermeulen, J., Rademaekers, K., Adreanssens, V., Kolaszewka, D.)

Selecting indicators to measure energy poverty. European Commission, 2016
(With Rademaekers, K., Yearwood, J., Pye, S., Hamilton, I., Agnolucci, P., Anisimova, N.)

Study in support of the mid-term evaluation of the functioning and the implementation of Council Directive 2009/119/EC on Oil Stocks. European Commission, 2016.
(With Van der Lijn, N., Williams, R., Vermeulen, J.)

The Brazilian housing deficit remains high (in Portuguese), Conjuntura da Construção, June 2016
(With Ana Maria Castelo)

The profile of civil construction workers in Brazil (in Portuguese), Conjuntura da Construção, March 2015
(With Ana Maria Castelo)

Indicator shows improvement in housing supply (in Portuguese), Conjuntura da Construção, May 2013
(With Ana Maria Castelo and Robson Gonçalves)

An incomplete recovery in the construction sector (in Portuguese), Conjuntura da Construção, May 2012
(With Roberto Aragao and Robson Gonçalves)

Op-eds

Fiscal Policies in emerging countries as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, 10 November 2020, BSI Economics

Three government tasks in Brazil, 4 February 2020, BSI Economics

The unanimity rule is not for decoration (in Portuguese), 30 April 2015, Valor Econômico

Collective costs and private benefits in tax competition (in Portuguese), 5 March 2015, Valor Econômico

Bad news from Switzerland (in Portuguese), 21 February 2014, Valor Econômico

Inflation is running too high (in Portuguese), 12 February 2014, Valor Econômico (with Samy Dana)


I am also a co-founder and occasional writer at the economics website Terraço Econômico (in Portuguese). My articles can be found here.