Munir Squires

Assistant Professor at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia. 

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Research Interests

Kinship and culture

Development economics

Economic history


Vancouver School of Economics

6000 Iona Drive

Vancouver, BC Canada, V6T 1L4

Published / Accepted

Economic Consequences of Kinship: Evidence From U.S. Bans on Cousin Marriage (with Arkadev Ghosh and Sam Il Myoung Hwang)

Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2023 (link)

Links and legibility: Making sense of historical US Census automated linking methods (Tables and figures) (Appendix) (with Arkadev Ghosh and Sam Il Myoung Hwang)

The Journal of Business and Economic Statistics (link)

Linking Mobile Money Networks to “e-ROSCAs”: An Experimental Study (with Patrick Francois)

Science Advances, Jan 2021 (link)

Health Knowledge and Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa (with Anne E. Fitzpatrick, Sabrin A. Beg, Laura C. Derksen, Anne Karing, Jason T. Kerwin, Adrienne Lucas, Natalia Ordaz Reynoso)

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2021 (link)

Working papers

Health effects of cousin marriage: Evidence from US genealogical records (with Sam Il Myoung Hwang, and Deaglan Jakob)

Cousin marriage rates are high in many countries today. We provide the first estimate of the effect of such marriages on the life expectancy of offspring. By studying couples married over a century ago, we observe their offspring across the lifespan. Using US genealogical data to identify children whose parents were first cousins, we compare their years of life to the offspring of their parents’ siblings. We find that marrying a cousin leads to more than a three-year reduction in offspring life expectancy. This effect is strikingly stable across time, despite large changes in life expectancy and economic environment.

Kinship Taxation as a Constraint to Microenterprise Growth: Experimental Evidence from Kenya 

Conditionally Accepted, The Economic Journal

This paper documents strong pressure on productive entrepreneurs in a developing country setting to share their income. This ‘kinship tax’ can distort productive decisions, including investment. I conduct a lab experiment with a sample of 1805 Kenyans to quantify the importance of this tax. In my sample, one in three men men and one in five women face distortionary pressure to share income. Strikingly, this share is strongly increasing in ability, suggesting potentially large aggregate production consequences. Male entrepreneurs who receive cash grants expand their business only if they do not face distortionary kinship taxation as measured in the lab.

Linked Samples and Measurement Error in Historical US Census Data (with Sam Il Myoung Hwang)

R&R, Explorations in Economic History

The quality of historical US census data is critical to the performance of linking algorithms. We use genealogical profiles to correct errors in census names and ages. Our findings suggest a quarter to a half of names and ages are reported with error. While errors in age decline across subsequent census rounds from 1850 to 1930, errors in names do not. Error rates are decreasing in human capital. Correcting ages and names leads to 20-40% more links and fewer false positives. Reassuringly, we find that reducing such errors has no effect on estimates of intergenerational mobility.

Work in progress

Family ties and migration: Evidence from historical U.S. census data (with Arkadev Ghosh and Sam Il Myoung Hwang)