Esteban Puentes is a researcher at the Centro de Microdatos of the Universidad de Chile and an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the Universidad de Chile.
Puentes has worked on several aspects of the labor market and development. Among the topics he has studied are: female labor participation and its relationship with childcare and human capital; child labor and school drop-out, with emphasis on household characteristics; informality in the labor market separating the decision of informality in self-selection and exclusion; the dynamics of self-employment and entrepreneurship trying to describe the factors that allow for occupational transitions and how economic cycles affect self-employment; finally, he has analyzed the financial behavior in rural areas of Thailand, taking advantage of the panel data that Professor Townsend is continuously building.
Puentes has been part of the development of two important firm surveys in Chile. He participated in the sample design, questionnaire preparation and data analysis of the Longitudinal Survey of Firms and the Micro-Entrepreneurship Survey. These two surveys are the first ones in Chile that focus on firms considering all economic sectors and the whole country. A new round of the Longitudinal Survey of Firmas and the Micro-Entrepreneurship Survey are planned for 2010.
He has worked with the World Bank, the OECD and IADB to study inequality of opportunities in Chile, employment trends and changes, and has advised the Chilean Government to improve targeting of employment programs and pensions.
Presently, he is working on the differences of wageworkers, self-employed individuals and employers. Also, he is currently studying the ability that individuals have to start new businesses. Another topic he is working is the role of financial access and the lack of it, on firm profits, sales and investment.
Puentes in now in charge of an experimental evaluation of a micro-entrepreneurship programs in Chile. He is also the director of the Poverty, Income Distribution and Public Policy Program of the Master in Public Policy at Universidad de Chile.