Featured Interview:

Freakonomics podcast People I (Mostly) Admire

Steven Levitt interviews Edward Miguel to discuss one of the first randomized controlled trials in development economics, a school health intervention that provided deworming treatment to Kenyan children; the value of long-term follow-up studies for measuring impact; how climate change will impact armed conflict risk in sub-Saharan Africa; and a natural experiment on what parking violations by UN diplomats in New York City says about corruption.

Listen to the podcast episode here.


General Equilibrium Effects of Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

This study, recently published in Econometrica (2022), provides evidence on how large economic stimuli generate individual and aggregate responses. A one-time cash transfer of USD 1000 was given to over 10,500 poor households across 653 randomized villages in rural western Kenya. The implied fiscal shock was over 15 percent of local GDP. Recipient households experienced significant consumption and expenditure gains, and importantly, the study finds large positive spillovers on non-recipient households and firms. Authors estimate a local transfer multiplier of 2.5. (We also provide teaching slides for the paper here.) This article was awarded the Econometric Society’s 2024 Frisch Medal for best applied paper published in Econometrica in the previous four years.

Co-authors: Paul Niehaus, Johannes HaushoferMichael W. Walker, and Dennis Egger.

Media coverage here on VoxNPRThe Economist, and The Washington Post.


Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research

Recently, social science has seen numerous episodes of influential research that was found to be invalid when placed under rigorous scrutiny. Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research: How to Do Open Science is the first book to summarize and synthesize new approaches to combat false positives and non-reproducible findings in social science research, document the underlying problems in research practices, and teach a new generation of students and scholars how to overcome them. Created with both experienced and novice researchers in mind, Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research serves as an indispensable resource for the production of high quality social science research. The book was awarded the 2021 American Sociological Association Outstanding Publication Award – Methodology Section.

(Published by University of California Press in July 2019. Watch NBER Methods Lecture.)

Co-authors: Garret Christensen and Jeremy Freese.

Purchase via U.C. Press or Amazon.

Los Angeles Times Op-Ed:

How foreign aid to treat neglected tropical diseases yields big economic returns

As President Joe Biden announced his decision to donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, Edward Miguel calls attention to another parallel opportunity that could improve the health and well-being of billions of people. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are among the most common illnesses affecting the world’s poorest people, and most can be prevented by inexpensive treatments, as little as 50 cents per child. Miguel points to his research on the impacts of a school-based deworming program in Kenya, which demonstrates how early childhood health interventions lead to large, sustained social and economic gains. He calls on the U.S. to push investment in widespread access to NTD treatments in order to overcome this global health challenge.

Read the article here.

TEDxBerkeley Talk:

Climate, Conflict, and African Development