Rafael Araujo


Assistant Professor of Economics, FGV EESP


I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at FGV EESP.

I am interested in environmental issues and their social effects.

Feel free to contact me about research, code, and data.

Email: rafael.araujo@fgv.br


Estimating the Spatial Amplification of Damage Caused by Degradation in the Amazon

with Juliano Assunção and José A. Scheinkman and Marina Hirota
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Preprint

The Value of Tropical Forests to Hydropower

Energy Economics. Preprint
Media: Folha

Going Viral: Public Attention and Environmental Action in the Amazon

with Francisco Costa and Teevrat Garg
Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, forthcoming Preprint

Working papers

The Effects of Transportation Infrastructure on Deforestation in the Amazon: A General Equilibrium Approach

with Juliano Assunção and Arthur Bragança
Media: VoxDev

Investments in transportation infrastructure can impact the environment beyond their immediate surroundings. We build an inter-regional trade model to estimate the general equilibrium effects of changes in infrastructure on deforestation. Using panel data on the evolution of the transportation network from Brazil and land use data in the Amazon, we estimate the model and find sizable effects of infrastructure on deforestation. Model simulations show that ignoring general equilibrium underestimates deforestation impacts by one quarter. We also show that this model can be used to evaluate the deforestation induced by individual projects, an essential input for public policies.

When Clouds Go Dry: An Integrated Model of Deforestation, Rainfall, and Agriculture

Deforestation of tropical forests affects rainfall, changing the productivity of the agricultural sector, the main driver of deforestation. This deforestation-rainfall mechanism is in effect even in regions that are thousands of kilometers away from the forest, but does it result in a sizable externality? I develop an integrated climate and land-use model to measure the externality impact that land use decisions have on agricultural productivity through changes in rainfall. As an application, I use pixel level climate data for the entire Amazon Rainforest and pixel level land use data for the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, one of the most important agricultural hubs in the world. I then consider a counterfactual where farmers are allowed to deforest protected areas. I find that, due to the precipitation decrease resulting from deforestation, the returns of crop production decrease by 2% with some regions losing up to 8%. Tail events increase this loss of crops production in some regions to 12%.

Efficient Forestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Evidence from a Dynamic Model

with Francisco Costa and Marcelo Sant’Anna
Media: VoxDev
R&R The Review of Economic Studies

Abstract: This paper estimates the Brazilian Amazon’s carbon-efficient forestation – i.e., when farmers internalize the social cost of carbon. We propose a dynamic discrete choice model of land use and estimate it using a panel of land use and carbon stock of 5.7 billion pixels between 2008 and 2017. Business-as-usual implies an inefficient release of 44 gigatons of CO2 in the long run resulting from deforestation of an area twice the size of France. We find that small carbon taxes can mitigate a substantial part of inefficient deforestation. Only relatively larger taxes on cattle production would achieve a similar effect.

Seeds of Disparity: the Gender Land Divide from Brazil’s Agricultural Transition

with Bruna Borges, Francisco Costa, and Kelly Santos

Gender gaps in land ownership are common across the world, favoring male-headed households with more wealth and land. In low- and middle-income countries, where women lack property, inheritance, and credit rights, these disparities contribute to gender inequality in rural areas. The adoption of advanced agricultural technology, while economically positive, can worsen gender disparities. This paper studies the impact of new agricultural technologies on female land ownership, focusing on genetically engineered (GE) soy seeds in Brazil. Despite technology’s potential to reduce gender inequality, we find a significant decline in female landownership in GE soy-exposed regions. We examine the role of mechanisms like credit access, property rights, and gender norms. We find that the effects are more pronounced where rural credit is more abundant, property rights are stronger, and gender norms are more unequal. Our findings highlight the unintended consequences of the spread of new technologies on rural asset ownership, underscoring the importance of considering gender disparities in crafting agricultural and climate change strategies.


Simulating Climate Risk Scenarios for the Amazon Rainforest

Climate Policy Initiative and AWS, 2023.
Media: O’Eco, O Globo

Mapping the Effect of Deforestation on Rainfall: a Case Study from the State of Mato Grosso

Climate Policy Initiative, 2021.
Media: Valor, O’Eco

Measuring the Indirect Effects of Transportation Infrastructure in the Amazon

Climate Policy Initiative, 2020.
with Arthur Bragança and Juliano Assunção