David Klinowski

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Please explain what you do for living.

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the area of behavioral economics. I run experiments and other kinds of analysis to explore what motivates human behavior and how people respond to incentives.

How important in your identity is being Latino?

Being Latino is not as present in my mind as being Venezuelan. In my impression, people born and raised in Latin America tend to identify themselves with their country of origin, and to recognize themselves as different from those born and raised in other Latin American countries. It is only when they arrive to the US that they become more exposed to, or more aware of, the common Latino identity. (I for example never heard of the term Latino until I came to the US). But we Latinos are much more similar than we are distinct. Most of us speak the same language, eat similar foods, listen and dance to similar music, and look at family and life similarly. So we tend to gravitate toward each other. No surprise then that most of my friends are Latinos, and that most of what I do I do with or around Latinos. This is the main way by which the Latino identity shaped my daily life in the US.

Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?

Venezuela is a country of warm and friendly people, who somehow are able to see the bright and funny side of everything in life, even when life is so impoverished and dangerous as it is now for many Venezuelans. I appreciate this attitude toward life, but sometimes I wonder whether it has done our country more harm than good.

Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)?

No—at least not that I have been able to identify. I am extremely happy and grateful for having been able to get an education in the US.