Previous Werner Baer Fellows

Current Werner Baer Fellows

Luke PlutowskiLuke Plutowski
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science

My research focuses on elections, vote buying, public opinion, and voter education.  I have a regional focus in Latin America, with a particular emphasis on Brazil.  My dissertation project examines citizen attitudes toward clientelism, the exchange of goods and services for political support.  I argue that there are many the term clientelism encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, each of which may be viewed differently by the general public.  This variation in citizen attitudes toward clientelist politicians influences voting behavior and, subsequently, how parties campaign in particular districts.  Second hand data on clientelism is scarce because the subject is politically sensitive and because the practice is difficult to observe and measure.  With a Werner Baer Fellowship, I will to collect and analyze original data in Brazil over the next academic year.  I plan to conduct interviews with political elites, follow an electoral campaign during the upcoming general elections, and implement a survey with Brazilian voters.  My research will contribute to our understanding of party strategy and electoral competition in Brazil and developing democracies more generally by explaining the circumstances that lead voters to accept or reject clientelist candidates.

Gustavo S. CortesGustavo S. Cortes
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Economics

A Ph.D. Candidate in Economics Gustavo graduated in 2012 from the Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto with a B.Sc. in Economics. Gustavo primary fields of research include corporate finance and banking, international finance, and macroeconomics. His research deals primarily with the effects of financial crises on employment and investment, paying special attention to the role played by the interconnections between firms and banks. Gustavo exploits historical and present-day evidence for both emerging and advanced economies in his research. His papers are mostly focused on the two most important economic crises faced in modern history: The Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008-2010.


Thais R.S. Sant’AnaThais R.S. Sant’Ana
Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History

Based on extensive research in Brazilian archives, Thais’ dissertation examines the urban history of the Brazilian Amazon in the twentieth century. The Amazon region has largely been the focus of economic historians, studying national and global commodity booms. Despite the valuable contributions brought by these analyses, the intersections of social, urban and environmental processes taking place within the Amazon are consistently overlooked in these studies. Using Manaus as a site of inquiry, Thais examines how the capital of Amazonas state both shaped and was shaped by the peoples, landscape and economy of the Brazilian Amazon in the first half of the twentieth century. By combining these perspectives and moving beyond “boom and bust” narratives about Manaus, this research seeks to show that an analysis of “change over time” in Brazil (which often involves exploring the concept of “development”) must pay equal attention to socioeconomic, political, environmental and cultural issues. Generous grants from the Lemann Institute of Brazilian Studies, the University of Illinois History Department, and the Tinker Foundation have allowed her to conduct archival research in Manaus, Belem, Rio de Janeiro, among other Brazilian cities.

Thiago Adames
Incoming Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Economics

2017-2018 Werner Baer Fellows

Lenore Matthew

Lenore E. Matthew

2017-2018 Werner Baer Fellow
2016-2017 Lemann Graduate Fellow
2015-2016 Lemann Graduate Fellow
Ph.D. School of Social Work

 Lenore is an applied researcher, whose research focuses on social policy and program evaluation, and issues related to gender disparities in labor, health, and migration. In Brazil, Lenore has researched extensively the experience of low-income women in the informal economy, focusing on issues related to decent work, social policy, and family well-being. Lenore’s doctoral dissertation, The Work/Family Experience in The Informal Labor Market: Evidence from Informally Employed Mothers in Brazil, set forth an in-depth qualitative analysis of low-income working motherhood in the informal economy. Focusing on low-income, informally employed mothers in Salvador, Brazil, the study found that for these mothers, the work/family experience is a difficult and precarious one, shaped by persistent micro and macro-societal biases at home and in the labor market. These biases manifest along four intersecting lines: gender, race, class, and motherhood status. Going forward in policy and practice, issues of quality, affordable care provision for all working mothers, and the equitable inclusion of informally employed mothers in the labor market, must be addressed.

Renato Schwambach Viera
Renato Schwambach Viera

2017-2018 Werner Baer Fellow
2015-2016 Lemann Graduate Fellow
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

I worked in the financial sector in São Paulo between 2010 and 2012 at Fundamento Asset Management and Schroders Asset Management.  In 2012 I changed my area of activity when I joined the Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas (FIPE) for a consultancy project on the economic evaluation of transportation investments by the government of São Paulo. As Ph.D. student I worked as Research Assistant for the Brazilian Studies Association, the Regional Economics Application Laboratory (REAL) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). The Werner Baer fellowship gave me the opportunity to carry the final year of my PhD in Brazil, where I have been received as a visiting scholar in the University of São Paulo (both in the campus of São Paulo and Ribeirão Preto), and the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, São Paulo.  As of now, I am in the process of defending my PhD thesis, and I am expected to graduate in the Summer of 2018. My thesis chapters investigate: 1) the provision of free public transportation for the elderly in Brazil and how it affects individuals’ mode demand; 2) the effects of speed limit reductions on accidents and commuting time in São Paulo; 3) the effectiveness of affirmative action policies adopted between 2004 and 2012 on improving the access of disadvantaged students to Brazilian federal universities.

Guilherme AmorimGuilherme Amorim

2017-2018 Werner Baer Fellow
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Economics

During this first year of the PhD program at the University of Illinois, Guilherme successfully completed the program’s required coursework in Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory and Econometric Analysis. Meanwhile, he also continued to provide research assistantship to the “Grupo de Avaliação de Políticas Públicas e Econômicas” (GAPPE) in projects related with Industrial Organization and Applied Microeconometrics. GAPPE is a research group dedicated to the evaluation of the social impacts of economic and public policies based in the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), in Recife – Brazil. Guilherme have mainly been involved with two projects addressing issues related to Brazil. Both of which have been developed in partnership with co-authors at GAPPE. The first project exploits the quasi-experiment induced by daylight saving time policy in Brazil to assess the impact of short-term sleep deprivation as a risk factor for diabetes mellitus, using regression-discontinuity techniques (abstract follows below). The second project, a report developed for the Audiovisual Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture (SAV – MinC), provides a thorough evaluation of the Brazilian market for cinema and audiovisual products and services, drawing assessments on its future performance using estimation techniques such as the BLP method of demand estimation.