Eduardo Polo Muro comes to UC Santa Cruz from The University of the Basque Country in Spain where he’s working on his PhD. While he’s at UC Santa Cruz, he conducts research related to his PhD program. The Great Recession in Spain heavily influenced Muro’s field of focus as he became interested in how indicators such as GDP relate to people on the individual level. His current work surrounds the consequences of unemployment on the health and well-being of individuals.
“When people talk about the recessions or the economic decisions or unemployment, people usually look at the big field, like this is the unemployment rate, or the GDP drops this percentage,” Muro said. “But behind those macro indicators, there are households and people hurting.”
His goal is to paint a picture of how factors like unemployment percentages are more than just abstract numbers and show the palpable effects on communities, whether that be health problems or alcohol and tobacco consumption.
“I wanted to show unemployment was more than just a [macro] indicator and that it was a real problem that affects individual lives and our well-being,” Muro said.
Muro’s research is taking place at a very relevant time as the unemployment rate in Spain is soaring to record highs not seen since the Great Depression due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This work may be helpful in the future for another recession or as we are seeing now, with the coronavirus,” Muro said. “A lot of people are going into unemployment now and this unemployment could also have consequences in health, and policymakers must take [this] into account when they are designing new policies.”
Although Muro has only been at UC Santa Cruz since early January 2020, he is grateful for the people who have helped him at the university, from those in International Student and Scholar Services who assisted him in arriving at this research position, to those working in the Economics Department and his peers.
“I have seen different ways to view the world and different cultures, which can only be good for a person. It lets you know that there is something else outside your own city or country,” Muro said.