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Monica Escaleras, Ph.D. - Florida Atlantic University. Boca Raton, FL, US

Monica Escaleras, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of the Business and Economics Polling Initiative | Florida Atlantic University


Monica Escaleras is an expert in natural disasters and political economy.







2016 FAU Talon Award Recipient: Monica Escaleras BEPI




Monica Escaleras is an associate professor of economics and is the founder and director of the Business and Economics Polling Initiative (BEPI) in the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University.

The Initiative provides a laboratory for students to learn all aspects of survey research process from data collection up to presentations at professional conferences. Through hands-on activities, BEPI offers students the opportunity to develop new skills that help them in their professional development. In addition, results of the polls are regularly featured in several leading media outlets such as the Sun Sentinel, Washington Post, MSNBC, Reuters and MarketWatch – giving significant exposure to FAU. Escaleras also serves in the South Florida Culture Platform Steering Committee and supervises graduate students’ research projects. In 2016, Escaleras received the FAU National Alumni Association Degree of Difference Award and was a finalist for the FAU Distinguished Teacher of the Year award.

Escalera's scholarship focuses on natural disasters and political economy and her research has been published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Public Economics, Canadian Journal of Economics, Public Choice and Southern Economics Journal. She teaches Macroeconomics and Money and Banking.

Escaleras earned her bachelor’s degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College, her master’s degree from the University of Florida and her Ph.D. in Economics from Florida International University. Prior to joining Florida Atlantic University, Escaleras was an assistant professor at The College of Charleston.

Areas of Expertise (7)


Business Administration

Business and Economics Polling

Natural Disasters

Political Economy

Agricultural Economics


Education (1)

Florida International University: Ph.D. 2003

Affiliations (1)

  • Director, Business and Economics Polling Initiative

Selected Media Appearances (12)

Hispanic consumers have positive outlook for economy following second quarter of 2023 closing: FAU poll

CBS 12  


"Views of their own personal financial situation were unchanged, however, as persistent high prices and expenses continued to weigh on consumers," Escaleras explained in the news release.

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Could DeSantis lose Florida in the 2024 primary? Here's what his poll swing could mean.

Tallahassee Democrat  


After Trump was indicted in New York in April for falsifying business records, he opened a 28-point lead on DeSantis in a Florida Atlantic University poll.

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Hispanic consumer confidence ‘slightly stronger’ heading into new year



A Florida Atlantic University study tracking consumer confidence among Hispanics in the United States found that attitudes toward the economy and personal financial situations improved as 2023 started.

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FAU poll: Biden leads Trump in Florida as president’s approval rating goes underwater

The Palm Beach Post  


“For independents in Florida, this election is not about beating or re-electing Donald Trump like it is for partisans,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI in the College of Business. “Instead, these voters are looking for solutions to immigration, the economy and health care.”

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‘Things are not favorable for us.’ Hispanics more pessimistic amid coronavirus crisis.

Miami Herald  


“Why I think we are seeing a huge drop is because we never had the shock of a pandemic, something that affects the health of individuals,” said Monica Escalera, professor of Economics at FAU. “Even if consumers want to buy, we cannot buy.”

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Hispanics' Consumer Confidence Plummets As Coronavirus Paralyzes The Country

Latin Times  


Hispanics' consumer confidence weakened at the end of 2019 as concerns grew that the longest economic expansion in history was due to end. But the first cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. led to massive quarantines, millions of job losses and fears that the sweeping economic fallout may not be short-lived, said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI.

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FAU’s poll finds Joe Biden with 36-point lead over Bernie Sanders in Florida

Florida Politics  


“Florida has been a strong Biden firewall state since we started polling a year ago,” Monica Escaleras, director of the FAU BEPI, stated in a news release. “With voters’ attitudes becoming more fixed on their choices, there is nothing in this data that suggests a change in the direction of this race at this time.”

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Joe Biden expands lead in Florida primary, FAU poll shows

Florida Politics  


“Joe Biden continues to be in a very strong position in Florida,” said Monica Escaleras, FAU BEPI director. “However, it will be interesting to see what impact the early contests in New Hampshire and Iowa will have on voters in Florida regarding their support for Biden.”

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Among Hispanic Floridians, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders all beat Donald Trump

Florida Politics  


“Sanders’ support with Hispanics in Florida mimics trends seen in general population polls,” said Monica Escalares, BEPI director. “He has strong youth support and struggles to capture older voters.”

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FAU poll: Gwen Graham far out front in Democratic race for governor

Florida Politics  


“One factor driving Graham’s lead is her support among females,” said FAU-BEPI director Monica Escaleras. “As the only female candidate, she leads the field with 32 percent of the female vote. Males also support her, but to a lesser degree at 25 percent.” [...]

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Rick Scott’s lead over Bill Nelson shrinks, poll shows

Florida Politics  


“It appears that these popular policies favor Democrats,” said Monica Escaleras, director of the BEPI. [...]

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Minimum wage

Florida Weekly  


“There has long been a debate about minimum wage, and raising it,” said Monica Escaleras, associate professor of economics in the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University. “There are pros and cons to raising it, and the question is which is greater when minimum wage goes up: the mitigation businesses have to do (like charging consumers more), or the benefit to workers?” [...]

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Selected Articles (5)

The Effects of Infrastructure Service Disruptions and Socio-Economic Vulnerability on Hurricane Recovery


Monica Escaleras et al.

2019 Hurricanes and extreme weather events can cause widespread damage and disruption to infrastructure services and consequently delay household and community recovery. A subset of data from a cross-sectional survey of 989 households in central and south Florida is used to examine the effects of Hurricane Irma on post-disaster recovery eight months after the landfall. Using logistic regression modeling, we find that physical damage to property, disruption of infrastructure services such as loss of electric power and cell phone/internet services and other factors (i.e., homeowner’s or renter’s insurance coverage, receiving disaster assistance and loss of income) are significant predictors of post-disaster recovery when controlling for age and race/ethnicity.

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Does Fiscal Decentralization Affect Infrastructure Quality? An Examination Of US States

Contemporary Economic Policy

Monica Escaleras, Peter T Calcagno

2018 A transportation network is vital to an economy. However, the U.S. highway infrastructure suffers from insufficient maintenance creating inefficiencies such as increased travel times and increase in accidents. The means to fund the infrastructure and their maintenance is a point of debate. In this paper, we examine the role of political institutions and decision‐making on the quality of highway infrastructure by focusing on the role of fiscal decentralization. Using generalized linear model estimation on state data from 1992 to 2012, we find evidence that fiscal decentralization improves infrastructure quality. These results are robust to the choice of control variables and method of estimation. (JEL D73, H42, H72)

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Fiscal decentralization and institutional quality on the business environment

Economics Letters

Monica Escaleras, Eric P Chiang


Using country panel data from 2004 to 2012, we empirically analyze the effect of fiscal decentralization on the likelihood of business-friendly environments. Our results show that fiscal decentralization improves the business environment and the effect is strongest among lower-income countries.

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Public sector corruption and natural hazards

Public Finance Review

Monica Escaleras, Charles Register

2016 Public sector corruption has been shown to increase death rates and damages from natural disasters. We consider whether natural hazards can lead to rising levels of public sector corruption. This might seem unlikely since natural hazards are predetermined, naturally occurring events. However, when the distinction between hazards and disasters is considered, it becomes clear that corruption may well increase the likelihood that any new hazard will become a disaster, increasing the existing level of corruption within a given country. Based on standard estimation techniques, we find a statistically significant, positive relation between predetermined natural hazards and public sector corruption.

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The high cost of low quality infrastructure when natural disasters strike

The Journal of Developing Areas

Monica Escaleras, Charles Register

2016 There is clear evidence embedded in the geological record of natural disasters such as volcanic activity, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and the like striking earth for many millennia. Interestingly and for as yet unknown reasons, there has been a fourfold increase in such disasters over the last four decades. While the reason or reasons for this spike is yet to be understand (randomness, long-term trends or perhaps global warming), it has led to a great deal of research into the relationships between natural disasters and socio-economic factors. While many could be listed, research into whether disasters spawn public sector corruption, how effective mitigation actions such as tidal buoys and seismographs can prove to be, whether institutions such as property rights play a role in determining a disaster’s devastation and the impact of disasters on differing country’s economic growth serve as good examples.

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