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De Janvry, A., Finan, F., and Sadoulet, E., 2012. Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance. , The Review of Economics and Statistics. 94(3): 672-685.
The impacts of a conditional cash transfer program in Brazil was 36% larger in reducing school drop-out rates in municipalities governed by mayors who faced reelection possibilities, compared to those with lame-duck mayors.
Guiteras, R., Mobarak, A., 2016. “Does Development Aid Undermine Political Accountability? Leader and Constituent Responses to a Large-Scale Intervention”, Working Paper.
When a village leader’s role in providing an externally-funded, randomly assigned, sanitation program is not clear to constituents, treated constituents attribute credit for the program to their leader. Leaders attempt to both claim credit, and signal their ability by exerting more effort.
Padro i Miquel, G., Qian,N., Yao,Y. 2012. Social Fragmentation, Public Goods and Elections: Evidence from China. Working Paper.
Religious fractionalization in villages leads to less public good expenditures when elections are introduced — indicating that voter heterogeneity can affect the implementation of programs.
Chassang, S., i Miquel,G., and Snowberg, E., 2012. Selective Trials: A Principal-Agent Approach to Randomized Controlled Experiments. American Economic Review, 102 (4): 1279-1309.
Selective trials can disentangle the effects of treatment, and unobserved effort decisions taken by experimental subjects — which helps improve external validity.
Heckman, J., Vytlacil, E., 2005. Structural Equations, Treatment Effects, and Econometric Policy Evaluation. Econometrica, 73(3): 669-738
Authors use the marginal treatment effect (MTE) to unify different treatment parameters and constructs and compares alternative policy relevant treatment effects, thus providing a bridge between structural and treatment effect parameters.
Rosenzweig, M., Udry, C., 2016. Evidence Validity in a Stochastic World. Working Paper.
The returns to investments in agriculture and enterprises have significant inter-temporal variability due to exogenous macro-level shocks. The lower-bound confidence intervals of this variability are substantially wider than those solely on sampling error from single-year samples.
Akram, A., Chowdhury, S., and Mobarak, A., 2017. “Effects of Emigration on Rural Labor Markets”, Working Paper.
Emigration increases rural employment and wages for non-migrants. Unsubsidized households are more likely to migrate if more people in their village receive migration subsidies.
Beaman, BenYishay, A. , Magruder, and Mobarak, A., 2015. “Can Network Theory based Targeting Increase Technology Adoption?”, Working Paper.
Introducing technologies to optimal households based on network theory increases technology diffusion. Both reduced form and structural estimates suggest most farmers need to learn about a technology from multiple people before they adopt.
BenYishay, A., Mobarak, A, 2018, “Social Learning and Incentives for Experimentation and Communication,” Forthcoming, Review of Economic Studies.
Farmers are most convinced to adopt new technology by other farmers with whom they share a group identity, or who face similar agricultural conditions.
Guiteras, R., Levinsohn, J., and Mobarak, A. 2018, Demand Estimation with Strategic Complementarities: Sanitation in Bangladesh. Working Paper.
Latrine adoption by households in rural villages are strategic complements, and this effect appears to be driven by changing social norms. Simulations from a structural model predict the the optimal subsidy policies for encouraging adoption.
Kaboski, Joseph P., and Robert M. Townsend. 2012. “The Impact of Credit on Village Economies.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 4 (2): 98-133.
Thailand’s ‘Million Baht Village Fund’ increased consumption, agricultural investment, income growth, and wages, while decreasing asset growth.
Mobarak, A., Rosenzweig, M., 2013. “Informal Risk Sharing, Index Insurance, and Risk-Taking in Developing Countries,” AER: Papers and Proceedings
When formal insurance carries basis risk it is a complement to informal insurance. Weather insurance to cultivators increases high-risk high-yield production decisions, which increases wage volatility for laborers.
Munshi, K., & Rosenzweig, M. (2016). Networks and misallocation: Insurance, migration, and the rural-urban wage gap. American Economic Review, 106(1), 46-98.
Caste-based rural insurance networks can disincentivize migration and contribute to urban-rural productivity differences. Structural estimates show that small improvements in formal insurance decrease the spatial misallocation of labor by substantially increasing migration.
Buera, F., Kaboski, J., Shin, Y., 2017. “The Macroeconomics of Microfinance”, Working Paper
A macroeconomic model, validated using the results of randomized evaluations, shows different partial and general equilibrium effects of microcredit. In the long-run, economy-wide microcredit lowers savings which raises interest rates, and increases welfare particularly for the poor and marginal entrepreneurs.
Buera, F. J., Kaboski, J. P., & Shin, Y. (2017). Taking stock of the evidence on micro-financial interventions. In The Economics of Poverty Traps. University of Chicago Press.
Micro-financial interventions can help segments of the population increase their income and consumption, but there is little evidence that these interventions can lead to wide-scale, transformative impacts akin to escaping aggregate poverty traps.
Buera, F., Kaboski, J., and Shin,Y., 2014. “Macro-perspective on Asset Grants Programs: Occupational and Wealth Mobility.” American Economic Review, 104 (5): 159-64.
Provides a simple quantitative general equilibrium model of occupational choice with credit market frictions to analyze the aggregate and distributional effects of asset transfer programs. It finds that the impacts of such programs on the wealth distribution are short-lived.
Kaboski, J., Lipscomb, M, and Midrigan, V., 2014. “The Aggregate Impact of Household Saving and Borrowing Constraints: Designing a Field Experiment in Uganda.” American Economic Review, 104 (5): 171-76.
Access to cash loans leads to short-term, transitory increases in output, consumption, and investment that dissipate in the little long-run. Conversely, access to asset-financed loans leads to lower shortrun benefits, but larger increases in investment, consumption, and entrepreneurship in the long-run.
Kaboski, J. P., & Townsend, R. M. (2011). A structural evaluation of a large-scale quasi-experimental microfinance initiative. Econometrica, 79(5), 1357-1406.
Evaluates consumption and welfare impacts of a large-scale, exogenous, microcredit intervention and finds heterogeneous benefits amongst households and that the costs of the program exceed the sum of its benefits.
Lagakos, D., Mobarak, A., and Waugh, M., 2017. “The Welfare Effects of Encouraging Rural- Urban Migration”, Working Paper.
A structural model that measures the net welfare effects of seasonal migration subsidies shows that the subsidies benefit mostly the extreme poor, and that the welfare gains are larger than those obtained from unconditional cash transfers.