AIDS deaths could have a major impact on economic development by affecting the human capital accumulation of the next generation. We estimate the impact of parent death on primary school participation using an unusual five-year panel data set of over 20,000 Kenyan children. There is a substantial decrease in school participation following a parent death and a smaller drop before the death (presumably due to pre-death morbidity). Estimated impacts are smaller in specifications without individual fixed effects, suggesting that estimates based on cross-sectional data are biased toward zero. Effects are largest for children whose mothers died and, in a novel finding, for those with low baseline academic performance.
We study cultural norms and legal enforcement in controlling corruption by analyzing the parking behavior of United Nations officials in Manhattan. Until 2002, diplomatic immunity protected UN diplomats from parking enforcement actions, so diplomats' actions were constrained by cultural norms alone. We find a strong effect of corruption norms: diplomats from high-corruption countries (on the basis of existing survey-based indices) accumulated significantly more unpaid parking violations. In 2002, enforcement authorities acquired the right to confiscate diplomatic license plates of violators. Unpaid violations dropped sharply in response. Cultural norms and (particularly in this context) legal enforcement are both important determinants of corruption.
Glewwe, Paul, and Edward A. Miguel. 2007. "The Impact of Child Health and Nutrition on Education in Less Developed Countries." In Handbook of Development Economics, Volume 4, edited by T. Paul Schultz and John Strauss, 3561-3606. Oxford: Elsevier B.V.
Hundreds of millions of children in less developed countries suffer from poor health and nutrition. Children in most less developed countries also complete far fewer years of schooling, and learn less per year of schooling, than do children in developed countries. Recent research has shown that poor health and nutrition among children reduces their time in school and their learning during that time. This implies that programs or policies that increase children's health status could also improve their education outcomes. Given the importance of education for economic development, this link could be a key mechanism to improve the quality of life in less developed countries. Many researchers have attempted to estimate the impact of child health on education outcomes, but there are formidable obstacles to obtaining credible estimates. Data are often scarce, although much less scarce than in previous decades. Even more importantly, there are many possible sources of bias when attempting to estimate relationships between child health and education. This Chapter provides an overview of what has been learned thus far. Although significant progress has been made, much more research is still needed — especially in estimating the long term impact of child health status on living standards. The chapter first reviews some basic facts about child health and education in less developed countries. It then provides a framework for analyzing the impact of health and nutrition on education, describes estimation problems and potential solutions, and summarizes recent empirical evidence, including both non-experimental and experimental studies. It concludes with suggestions for future research directions.
Many contend that President Bush's reelection and increased vote share in 2004 prove that the Iraq War was either electorally irrelevant or aided him. We present contrary evidence. Focusing on the change in Bush's 2004 showing compared to 2000, we discover that Iraq casualties from a state significantly depressed the President's vote share there. We infer that were it not for the approximately 10,000 U.S. dead and wounded by Election Day, Bush would have won nearly 2% more of the national popular vote, carrying several additional states and winning decisively. Such a result would have been close to forecasts based on models that did not include war impacts. Casualty effects are largest in "blue" states. In contrast, National Guard/Reservist call-ups had no impact beyond the main casualty effect. We discuss implications for both the election modeling enterprise and the debate over the "casualty sensitivity" of the U.S. public.
We use a randomized evaluation of a Kenyan deworming program to estimate peer effects in technology adoption and to shed light on foreign aid donors' movement towards sustainable community provision of public goods. Deworming is a public good since much of its social benefit comes through reduced disease transmission. People were less likely to take deworming if their direct first-order or indirect second-order social contacts were exposed to deworming. Efforts to replace subsidies with sustainable worm control measures were ineffective: a drug cost-recovery program reduced take-up 80 percent; health education did not affect behavior, and a mobilization intervention failed. At least in this context, it appears unrealistic for a one-time intervention to generate sustainable voluntary local public goods provision.
Miguel, Edward. 2007. "Poverty and Violence: An Overview of Recent Research and Implications for Foreign Aid." In Too Poor for Peace? Global Poverty, Conflict and Security in the 21st Century, edited by Lael Brainard and Derek Chollet, 50-59. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.