Olivia Bordeu

Welcome! I am a fifth-year Ph.D. Student in Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I am interested in economic geography broadly. In particular, I study the mechanisms behind different geographic costs or frictions.

You can reach me at obordeug@chicagobooth.edu


  • Spatial and Urban Economics
  • Development
  • Trade

Working Papers

Transportation Infrastructure in Fragmented Cities

Cities are often divided into local governments, which invest in commuting infrastructure within their jurisdictions. In this paper, I study the implications of this metropolitan fragmentation on the provision of commuting infrastructure and the distribution of economic activity. I develop a quantitative equilibrium model of a city where local governments compete for residents and workers by investing in commuting infrastructure to maximize their land value. In this framework, fragmentation leads to the underprovision of commuting infrastructure and employment decentralization. I calibrate and fit the model to the city of Santiago, Chile, which is divided into 32 municipalities (in progress).

Social Capital and Geographic Mobility

with Milena Almagro and Gregorio Caetano.

This paper explores the role of local social capital and within-household production on geographic mobility. We start by showing that lower-income households are less geographically mobile than their higher-income counterparts. Zooming in on childcare needs, we document that lower-income families rely more on local friends and relatives for their childcare needs rather than using market providers. Further, households living close to their local social networks are less likely to move, with lower income households showing the most negative effects. We propose a dynamic model of households' joint location and childcare production and estimate it by matching key moments in the data. Then, we quantify how this local social capital mechanism accounts for the patterns present in the data. Finally, we study the recently proposed American Families Plan, which heavily subsidizes market-based child care for lower-income households.

Banks and the Geography of Capital Within Borders

with Marcos SorĂ¡.