Human Capital Initiative

Does Universalization of Health Work?  Evidence from Health Systems Restructuring and Maternal and Child Health in Brazil

Investigators: CDEP Afflilate Rodrigo Soares.  This project investigates a major restructuring of the health system in Brazil which was implemented as a way to operationalize the universalization of access to public health services.

Selection on Ability and the Early Career Growth in the Gender Wage Gap

Investigators: CDEP Afflilate Rodrigo Soares.  This project analyzes the effect of selection on the evolution of the gender wage gap during the first years of professional life.

Schooling, Stigma and Periods Among Adolescent Girls in Tanzania

Investigators: CDEP Afflilate Anja Tolonen.  This research project aims to explore the conditions under which the lack of adequate MHM impedes girls’ school participation in Tanzania and whether or not menstrual hygiene education for girls and boys changes girls’ wellbeing.

Assymetric Information in the Household: Fathers and Child Welfare

Investigators: CDEP Afflilate Anja Tolonen.  We posit the hypothesis that the observed difference in revealed preference is the result of asymmetric information stemming from social norms and household division of labor.

Climate Change, Health and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment

Investigators: CDEP Afflilate Belinda Archibong and CDEP Fellow Francis Annan. The goal of this project is to examine the role of climate induced disease in widening the gender gap in human capital investment, with a focus on identifying the mechanisms through which the effect occurs. 

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 Fellow 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 Kresch. 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 with CDEP Fellows Booyuel Kim and Hyuncheol Kim. 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

Migrants, Information, and Working Conditions in Bangladeshi Garment Factories

Investigator:  CDEP Affiliate Laura Boudreau, Rachel Heath, and Tyler H. McCormick.  This project examines the relationship between workers’ migration status and the working conditions they face in a household survey of garment workers in Bangladesh.

Can Enforcement Interventions by Multinationals Help Improve Labor Standards in Developing Countriesk

Investigator:  CDEP Affiliate Laura BoudreauThis project questions whether multinationals have the incentives and the capabilities to improve labor standards in developing countries. 

Evaluating an Export Promotion Scheme in Tunisia

Investigators:  CDEP Co-Director Eric VerhoogenAminur Rahman, and Giacomo Giorgi.  Project Manager: Nadia Ali. This project seeks to answer the questions: (i) does subsidizing a firm’s export business plan or office abroad help firms export to new markets or export new product variety? and (ii) do export rebates encourage firms to increase export volume, export new product varieties, and/or export to new (advanced) markets? 

Spillovers from Special Economic Zones: Evidence from Myanmar

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Amit Khandelwal, Rocco Machiavello, and Matthieu Teachout.  This project measures spillovers from the first Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, using a combination of administrative and survey data.

Time vs. State in Insurance: Experimental Evidence from Contract Farming in Kenya

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Jack Willis. This project considers the implications of this transfer across time for insurance demand, with an application to crop insurance. 

Tax Systems and Inter-Firm Trade: Evidence from the VAT in Brazil 

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate François Gerard with Joana Naritomi and Arthur Seibold.  The Value Added Tax (VAT) is a major source of tax revenue in developing countries, but many firms are often exempt from the VAT in those countries. This project use anonymized administrative data on inter-firm trade in São Paulo, Brazil, to estimate the distortionary effect of such exemptions on firms’ choices of trade partners.

Exclusionary Hiring or Assortative Matching?  The Impact of Hiring and Pay Policies on Racial Wage Differences in Brazil

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate François Gerard with David Card, Lorenzo Lagos, and Edson Severnini.  This project uses matched worker-firm data to measure the effects of firms' hiring and wage-setting policies on racial pay differences in Brazil.

Market Based Emissions Policies

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Douglas Almond with Shuang Zhang.   In this project, the investigators evaluate how firms and consumers respond to market-based policies that are supposed to improve air quality and address environmental issues.

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

Lava Jato Beyond the Headlines: Expert Perspectives on a Vast Corruption Scandal

Investigator: CDEP Affiliates Paul Lagunes and Jan Svejnar. This project looks beyond the headlines of recent corruption scandals. 

Economic Shocks and Crime: Evidence from the Brazilian Trade Liberalization

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Rodrigo SoaresThis project analyzes the effect of changes in economic conditions on crime. 

Election by Community Consensus: Effects on Political Selection and Governance

Investigator: CDEP Fellow Ashna AroraThis project analyzes the effects of incentivizing village communities in India to select their political representatives by community consensus, doing away with the need for state governments to organize official secret ballot elections. 

One-Two Punch Approach to Fighting Corruption

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?