Sergio Urzua

Sergio Urzua is Associate Professor at the Department Of Economics, University of Maryland. His research agenda can be organized into two inter-connected areas. The first one deals with the theoretical consequences of applying standard econometric techniques to economic models where agents are heterogeneous in dimensions unobserved by the researcher. This research has demonstrated the importance of accounting for these unobserved factors – abilities, skills, capacities -, when analyzing income inequality, gender gaps, and access to public services (e.g., child-care centers). The second line of research also deals with models containing heterogeneity but from a more empirical perspective. Specifically, Sergio Urzua’s research has quantified the effects of cognitive and socio-emotional skills on labor market outcomes, schooling choices, and risky behaviors, as well as the intergenerational transmission of cognitive and socio-emotional capabilities. He has also investigated the impact of attending child-care centers on children cognitive and socio-emotional, documenting positive and negative impacts depending on the quality of the service. Prof. Urzua has participated in the economic analysis of different interventions in developing countries. The most recent research highlights the importance of accounting for costs and benefits when analyzing the impact of policy interventions.