Projects

 

 

Human Capital Initiative

Getting the Poor to Enroll in Health Insurance and its Effects on their Health: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Ghana

Investigators: CDEP Fellows Patrick Asuming and Hyuncheol Kim. This project implemented randomized field interventions to understand the reasons for low enrollment in social health insurance schemes instituted in developing countries to help mitigate the effects of adverse health shocks on the poor.

Financial Incentives and the Fertility-Sex Ration Trade-off

Investigator: CDEP Fellow S Anukriti. This project explores if financial incentives can resolve the fertility-sex ratio trade-off faced by countries with persistent son preference and access to sex-selection technology.

Imperfections in Migrant Labor Networks

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Suresh Naidu with Shing-Yi Wang and Yaw Nyarko.  This project assesses the degree of selection, screening, and market power in migration to the UAE.

Teacher-Student Interactions and Child Outcomes: Evidence from Romanian Secondary Schools

Investigators: CDEP Co-Director Cristian Pop-Eleches, CDEP Affiliate Miguel Urquiola, and Ofer Malamud of the University of Chicago. A key assumption in recent work on education policy is that a given teacher has the same impact on any student, regardless of the student's characteristics. But one may wonder if teachers teach differently across students, or if they direct effort and attention towards more able or more disruptive students in the classroom.

The Big Sort: College Reputation and Labor Market Outcomes

Investigators: CDEP Affiliates Bentley MacLeod and Miguel Urquiola, CDEP Student Affiliate Evan Riehl of Columbia University and Juan Saavedra of the University of Southern California. The project considers the role college reputation and other signals of skill play in wage determination.

The Effects of Price Changes on Water Consumption and Bill Payment: Evidence from Bangalore

Investigator: CDEP Fellow Evan Plous. This project examines the effect of price changes on both the change in water consumption and bill payment behavior in a developing country setting.

Externalities and Complementarities of AIDS Prevention Interventions: Evidence from
Malawian Secondary Schools

Investigators: CDEP Co-Director Cristian Pop-Eleches, CDEP Student Affiliate Booyuel Kim, and Hyuncheol Kim of Cornell University. The project team is evaluating a randomized field experiment near Lilongwe, Malawi, to understand externalities and complementarities of three different AIDS prevention interventions: HIV/AIDS education, male circumcision, and conditional cash transfers.

Nominal Wage Rigidity in Village Labor Markets

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Supreet Kaur. This project empirically tests for downward nominal wage rigidity in markets for casual daily agricultural labor in a developing country context.

Understanding Human Capital Accumulation in Developing Countries: A Field Experiment with Adaptive Technologies

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Supreet Kaur, Heather Schofield of the University of Pennsylvania and Sidra Rehman, PhD candidate, Columbia University. The project team has introduced an inexpensive tablet-based learning platform to evaluate the effectiveness of data-driven learning approaches in a developing-country context.

 

 

Firms and Innovation Initiative

The Arrival of Fast Internet and Skilled Job Creation in Africa

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Jonas Hjort with Jonas Poulsen.  In this project, the investigators find evidence on how the expansion of fast Internet along its current frontier in developing countries affects job creation.

Unraveling the Market Structure Behind International Migration

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Suresh Naidu, with Shing-Yi Wang and Yaw Nyarko.  In this project, the investigators are investigating the human supply chain that recruits workers from India to work in construction jobs in the UAE. 

The High Cost of High-Quality Inputs as a Barrier to Upgrading

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Amit Khandelwal, CDEP Co-Director Eric Verhoogen, David Atkin of MIT and Azam Chaudhry and Shamyla Chaudry of the Lahore School of Economics.  Focusing on soccer-ball producers in Sialkot, Pakistan, the research team is carrying out a randomized experiment that provides subsidies for high‐quality rexine (the artificial leather that is the most expensive material input to the production process) to a random subset of firms.

Promoting High Impact Entrepreneurship in Mexico: A Randomized Evaluation

Investigators: CDEP Co-Director Eric Verhoogen, David Atkin of MIT, and Leonardo Iacovone and Alejandra Mendoza of the World Bank.  In this project, the investigators are working with the Mexican government to evaluate an existing program that offers matching grants to small and medium enterprises, and also implement a pilot program in which firms are evaluated by industry experts as well as government officials.

Electricity Cost and Firm Performance: Evidence from India

Investigator: CDEP Fellow Ama Baafra Abeberese. This project studies the effect of electricity constraints, specifically high electricity prices, on firms’ decisions and performance in India.

Organizational Barriers to Technology Adoption: Evidence from Soccer-Ball Producers in Pakistan

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Amit Khandelwal, CDEP Co-Director Eric Verhoogen, David Atkin of Yale University, and Azam Chaudhry and Shamyla Chaudry of the Lahore School of Economics. The project team has invented a new technology to reduce the cost of soccer-ball production, and is watching the technology diffuse among producers in Sialkot, Pakistan, the world center of the hand-stitched soccer-ball industry.

Exports and Wage Premia: Evidence from Mexican Employer-Employee Data

Investigators: CDEP Co-Director Eric Verhoogen, David S. Kaplan of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Judith Frías of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Firms that export tend to pay higher wages than firms that do not, even in the same narrow industry. Is this because they hire workers with higher skill (who would get a high wage no matter where they work) or because they pay workers a wage premium over what they would get elsewhere? The project team is investigating this question using detailed employer-employee data from Mexico.

Ethnic Divisions and Production in Firms

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Jonas Hjort. The project attempts to quantify the output loss due to ethnic diversity in production units, the source of lower output in diverse units, how the output gap in diverse units responds to increased ethnic conflict, and how workers respond to firms re-organizing production (incentives) to reduce diversity distortions.

Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll-Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico

Investigators: CDEP Student Affiliate Todd Kumler, CDEP Co-Director Eric Verhoogen, and Judith Frías of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Evasion of payroll taxes is widespread in Mexico, but giving employees the right incentives can help to reduce it. The project team shows that the 1997 pension reform in Mexico, which tied employees' pension benefits more closely to the wages firms reported on their behalf, reduced evasion for affected workers.

Ethiopia: More Sweatshops for Africa?

Investigators: Chris Blattman and Stefan Dercon, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Oxford and Chief Economist at the U.K. Department of International Development. This project attempts to measure the welfare gains of industrial work by comparing the impacts of receiving an industrial job to a microenterprise intervention and alternative forms of employment.

Self-Control at Work

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Supreet Kaur and Michael Kremer and Sendhil Mullainathan, both of Harvard University. If workers have self-control problems, they will not work as hard as they would like. This changes the logic of agency theory by partly aligning the interests of the firm and worker: both will now value contracts that elicit more effort in the future. While the implications for contracting are potentially large, there is limited field evidence on whether self-control is relevant for the workplace.

Barriers to Trade: Contracting Failures in Irrigation Markets

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Supreet Kaur and Ryan Bubb of New York University. This project explores whether enforcement constraints lead to contracting failures in rural economies.

The Real Effects of Electronic Wage Payments: A Field Experiment with Salaried Factory Workers in Bangladesh

Investigators: Emily Breza and Martin Kanz and Leora Klapper, of the World Bank. This project tests the impacts of electronic wage payments on salaried factory workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The project team compares the benefits of bank account direct deposits, mobile wallet direct deposits, and cash wage payments. The project team also plans to explore how improved financial capability translates into worker attendance, productivity, and wages.

 

 

Politics, Institutions and Conflict Initiative

One-Two Punch Approach to Fighting Corruption in Public Infrastructure

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Paul Lagunes. In this study, the question is whether civil society oversight that is explicitly supported by the relevant authorities can control corruption and improve the execution of public infrastructure projects.

African Mining Booms and Local Welfare

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Anja Tolonen This project explores how development outcomes change with extractive industries. The main focus on the project is on large-scale mining, and how the sector can create employment, change women’s empowerment, health indicators, political attitudes and criminality.

Inequality and Corruption at the Crossroads: A Multi-Method Study of Bribery and Discrimination in Latin America

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Paul Lagunes with Brian Fried and Atheendar Venkataramani.  Their article in Latin American Research Review examines how socioeconomic distinctions influence whether Mexico City police request a bribe.

Historical Origins of Persistent Inequality

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Belinda Archibong An important contribution of this paper is to understand and formally model persistent ethnic group based inequality, in particular across SSA as an outcome of payoffs from cooperation (and non-cooperation) in sequential games between local ethnic state leaders and federal autocratic regimes.

Dynamic Transparency: An Audit of Mexico's Freedrom of Information Act

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Paul Lagunes with Oscar Pocasangre.  Oscar Pocasangre and Paul Lagunes executed an 8-year-long audit study of Mexico’s freedom of information act.

Democracy, Inequality, and Economic Development

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Suresh Naidu with Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson, and Pascual Restrepo.  In this project, we look at the impact of democracy on inequality and economic growth in a panel of countries.

The Impacts of An Innovative Audit Strategy on the Amount and Incidence of Retail Tax Evasion: Mystery Shoppers and Electronic Billing Machines

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Francois Gerard with Nada Eissen and Andrew Zeitlin.  This project studies the impact of "mystery" shopper audits on tax evasion in Rwanda.

The Watchful Eye and the Cracking Whip: A Field Experiment on Corruption Monitoring in Mexico

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Paul Lagunes. In this study on corruption in urban development, Paul Lagunes randomly selected building permits to enter into a treatment group.

Improving the Effectiveness of Public Procurement

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Andrea Prat. CDEP Affiliate Andrea Prat (with Oriana Bandiera, Michael Best, and Adnan Khan), has partnered with the government of Punjab, Pakistan to improve the effectiveness of public procurement.

Elite Family Networks and the Origins of Dictatorships: Theory and Evidence from Haiti

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Suresh Naidu with Lauren Young and James Robinson.  This project investigates the role of family networks in facilitating collective action to overthrow democracy.

Bandits or States? Stationary Bandits and Taxation in Eastern Congo

Investigators: CDEP Fellow Raul Sanchez de la Sierra and Gauthier Marchais of the London School of Economics. This project seeks to provide an economic explanation to state formation by focusing on two main research questions: is a monopoly of violence a reasonable way to think about the state? and; under what circumstances is a monopoly of violence a useful characterization of the state formation process?