Ted's main research focus is African economic development, including work on the economic causes and consequences of violence; the impact of ethnic divisions on local collective action; interactions between health, education, environment, and productivity for the poor; and methods for transparent social science research. He has conducted field work in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and India. Many of the datasets used in his research are posted online, either on the relevant article page (on this website) or on Dataverse

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Spillover effects on health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review
AuthorsJade Benjamin-Chung, Jaynal Abedin, David Berger, Ashley Clark, Veronica Jimenez, Eugene Konagaya, Diana Tran, Benjamin F. Arnold, Alan E. Hubbard, Stephen P. Luby, Edward Miguel and John M. Colford Jr
Year2017
TypePublished Paper
CategoriesHealth, Education and Human Capital; Research Methodology

Background: Many interventions delivered to improve health may benefit not only direct recipients but also people in close physical or social proximity. Our objective was to review all published literature about the spillover effects of interventions on health outcomes in low-middle income countries and to identify methods used in estimating these effects.  Methods: We searched 19 electronic databases for articles published before 2014 and hand-searched titles from 2010 to 2013 in five relevant journals. We adapted the Cochrane Collaboration’s quality grading tool for spillover estimation and rated the quality of evidence.  Results: A total of 54 studies met inclusion criteria. We found a wide range of terminology used to describe spillovers, a lack of standardization among spillover methods and poor reporting of spillovers in many studies. We identified three primary mechanisms of spillovers: reduced disease transmission, social proximity and substitution of resources within households. We found the strongest evidence for spillovers through reduced disease transmission, particularly vaccines and mass drug administration. In general, the proportion of a population receiving an intervention was associated with improved health. Most studies were of moderate or low quality. We found evidence of publication bias for certain spillover estimates but not for total or direct...

Jade Benjamin-Chung, Jaynal Abedin, David Berger, Ashley Clark, Veronica Jimenez, Eugene Konagaya, Diana Tran, Benjamin F. Arnold, Alan E. Hubbard, Stephen P. Luby, Edward Miguel and John M. Colford Jr. 2017. "Spillover effects on health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review", International Journal of Epidemiology, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyx039.

Analysis of statistical power reconciles drought-conflict results in Africa
AuthorsSolomon M. Hsiang, Marshall Burke, Edward Miguel, Kyle C. Meng, Mark A. Cane
Year2016
TypeWorking Paper
CategoriesResearch Methodology; Environment and Climate; African Development

Whether changes in climate substantially shape human conflict is a question of considerable recent interest to both academics and policymakers. Despite a substantial body of evidence for a strong association between climate and conflict, it remains widely claimed that large-sample empirical evidence linking climatic conditions and modern human conflict in Africa is mixed and thus any reported evidence for a strong association should be discounted. Theisen, Holterman, and Buhaug (henceforth THB) is one of the studies used to support this claim. Here we show that the results in THB are not inconsistent with earlier studies that report a substantial e ect of of climate on conflict. We demonstrate using power calculations and Monte Carlo simulations that even if a large association between climate and conflict existed in the data, the approach of THB would not be able to reliably distinguish this association from a null e ect, indicating that the approach taken by THB is statistically underpowered in this context. Therefore THB's analysis provides no basis for discarding earlier analyses and THB's conclusions drawn from this analysis overstate the extent to which they disagree with the literature. We also demonstrate that THB's stated advantage from using exceptionally high resolution data is unlikely to be realized in their analysis, since high resolution rainfall data...

Hsiang, Solomon M., Marshall Burke, Edward Miguel, Kyle C. Meng, Mark A. Cane. 2015. "Analysis of statistical power reconciles drought-conflict results in Africa", CEGA Working Paper #53, December 2015.

Appliance Ownership and Aspirations among Electric Grid and Home Solar Households in Rural Kenya
AuthorsKenneth Lee, Edward Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram
Year2016
TypePublished Paper
CategoriesAfrican Development; Environment and Climate

In this paper, we summarize the results of a recent household appliance survey conducted in Western Kenya to provide descriptive evidence on how rural households with and without grid connections, and those with home solar systems, compare in terms of the appliances they own and the appliances they aspire to own. Our data indicate that home solar users own quite different appliances compared to grid-connected households, and suggest that home solar does not satisfy the full range of household energy needs, given current appliance technologies. We also document planned expansions in centralized electricity generating capacity in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries, including Kenya. We find that the environmental advantages of decentralized solar are likely to be relatively small in countries like Kenya, where a large proportion of existing and planned grid electricity is generated without fossil fuels.

Lee, Kenneth, Edward Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram. (2016). "Appliance Ownership and Aspirations among Electric Grid and Home Solar Households in Rural Kenya", American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 106(5): 89-94, doi: 10.1257/aer.p20161097.

Can War Foster Cooperation?
AuthorsMichael Bauer, Christopher Blattman, Julie Chytilova, Joseph Henrich, Edward Miguel, and Tamar Mitts
Year2016
TypePublished Paper
CategoriesPolitical Economy and Conflict; African Development

In the past decade, nearly 20 studies have found a strong, persistent pattern in surveys and behavioral experiments from over 40 countries: individual exposure to war violence tends to increase social cooperation at the local level, including community participation and prosocial behavior. Thus while war has many negative legacies for individuals and societies, it appears to leave a positive legacy in terms of local cooperation and civic engagement. We discuss, synthesize and reanalyze the emerging body of evidence, and weigh alternative explanations. There is some indication that war violence especially enhances in-group or "parochial" norms and preferences, a finding that, if true, suggests that the rising social cohesion we document need not promote broader peace.

Bauer, Michal, Christopher Blattman, Julie Chytilova, Joseph Henrich, Edward Miguel, and Tamar Mitts. (2016). "Can War Foster Cooperation?", Journal of Economic Perspectives, 30(3): 249-274, doi: 10.1257/jep.30.3.249.

Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data
AuthorsVerĂ³nica Amarante, Marco Manacorda, Edward Miguel, and Andrea Vigorito
Year2016
TypePublished Paper
CategoriesOther; Health, Education and Human Capital

There is limited empirical evidence on whether cash transfers to poor pregnant women improve children's birth outcomes and potentially help weaken the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Using a unique array of program and social security administrative micro- data matched to longitudinal vital statistics in Uruguay, we estimate that participation in a generous social assistance program led to a sizable reduction in the incidence of low birthweight. The effect is due to faster intrauterine growth rather than longer gestational length. Our findings are consistent with improved maternal nutrition during pregnancy being a key driver of improved birthweight.

Amarante, VerĂ³nica, Marco Manacorda, Edward Miguel, and Andrea Vigorito. 2016. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Program and Social Security Data", American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2016, 8(2): 1-43, doi:10.1257/pol.20140344 [lead article].

Does Mass Deworming Affect Child Nutrition? Meta-analysis, Cost-effectiveness, and Statistical Power
AuthorsCroke, Kevin, Joan Hamory Hicks, Eric Hsu, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel
Year2016
TypeWorking Paper
CategoriesResearch Methodology; Health, Education and Human Capital

The WHO has recently debated whether to reaffirm its long-standing recommendation of mass drug administration (MDA) in areas with more than 20% prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths (hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm). There is consensus that the relevant deworming drugs are safe and effective, so the key question facing policymakers is whether the expected benefits of MDA exceed the roughly $0.30 per treatment cost. The literature on long run educational and economic impacts of deworming suggests that this is the case. However, a recent meta-analysis by Taylor-Robinson et al. (2015) (hereafter TMSDG), disputes these findings. The authors conclude that while treatment of children known to be infected increases weight by 0.75 kg (95% CI: 0.24, 1.26; p=0.0038), there is substantial evidence that MDA has no impact on weight or other child outcomes. We update the TMSDG analysis by including studies omitted from that analysis and extracting additional data from included studies, such as deriving standard errors from p-values when the standard errors are not reported in the original article. The updated sample includes twice as many trials as analyzed by TMSDG, substantially improving statistical power. We find that the TMSDG analysis is underpowered: it would conclude that MDA has no effect even if...

Croke, Kevin, Joan Hamory Hicks, Eric Hsu, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. (2016). "Does Mass Deworming Affect Child Nutrition? Meta-analysis, Cost-effectiveness, and Statistical Power", National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper #22382.

Education as Liberation?
AuthorsWilla Friedman, Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, and Rebecca Thornton
Year2016
TypePublished Paper
CategoriesPolitical Economy and Conflict; Health, Education and Human Capital; African Development

This paper studies the political and social impacts of increased education by utilizing a randomized girls’ merit scholarship programme in Kenya that raised test scores and secondary schooling. Consistent with the view that education empowers the disadvantaged to challenge authority, we find that the programme reduced the acceptance of domestic violence and political authority. Young women in programme schools also increased their objective political knowledge. We find that this rejection of the status quo did not translate into greater perceived political efficacy, community participation or voting intentions. Instead, there is suggestive evidence that the perceived legitimacy of political violence increased.

Friedman, Willa, Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, and Rebecca Thornton. 2015. "Education as Liberation?" Economica, 83(329): 1-30, 10.1111/ecca.12168.

Healing the Wounds: Learning from Sierra Leone's Post-war Institutional Reforms
AuthorsKatherine Casey, Rachel Glennerster, and Edward Miguel
Year2016
TypeBook Chapter
CategoriesPolitical Economy and Conflict; African Development

While its recent history of civil war, chronic poverty and corrupt governance would cause many to dismiss Sierra Leone as a hopeless case, the country's economic and political performance over the last decade has defied expectations. We examine how several factors—including the legacy of war, ethnic diversity, decentralization and community-driven development (CDD)—have shaped local institutions and national political dynamics. The story that emerges is a nuanced one: war does not necessarily destroy the capacity for local collective action; ethnicity affects residential choice, but does not impede local public goods provision; while politics remain heavily ethnic, voters are willing to cross ethnic boundaries when they have better information about candidates; decentralization can work even where capacity is limited, although the results are mixed; and for all of its promise, CDD does not appear to transform local institutions nor social norms. All of these findings are somewhat “unexpected,” but they are quite positive in signaling that even one of the world’s poorest, most violent and ethnically diverse societies can overcome major challenges and progress towards meaningful economic and political development.

Casey, Katherine, Rachel Glennerster, and Edward Miguel. 2016. "Healing the Wounds: Learning from Sierra Leone's Post-war Institutional Reforms." In African Successes, Volume I: Government and Institutions, edited by Sebastian Edwards, Simon Johnson, and David Weil. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Transparency, Reproducibility, and the Credibility of Economics Research
AuthorsGarret S. Christensen, Edward Miguel
Year2016
TypeWorking Paper
CategoriesResearch Methodology; Other

There is growing interest in enhancing research transparency and reproducibility in economics and other scientific fields. We survey existing work on these topics within economics, and discuss the evidence suggesting that publication bias, inability to replicate, and specification searching remain widespread in the discipline. We next discuss recent progress in this area, including through improved research design, study registration and pre-analysis plans, disclosure standards, and open sharing of data and materials, drawing on experiences in both economics and other social sciences. We discuss areas where consensus is emerging on new practices, as well as approaches that remain controversial, and speculate about the most effective ways to make economics research more credible in the future.

Christensen, Garret S., and Edward Miguel. 2016. "Transparency, Reproducibility, and the Credibility of Economics Research", forthcoming Journal of Economic Literature.

Worms at work: Long-run impacts of a child health investment
AuthorsSarah Baird, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel
Year2016
TypePublished Paper
CategoriesResearch Methodology; Health, Education and Human Capital; African Development

This study estimates long-run impacts of a child health investment, exploiting community-wide experimental variation in school-based deworming. The program increased labor supply among men and education among women, with accompanying shifts in labor market specialization. Ten years after deworming treatment, men who were eligible as boys stay enrolled for more years of primary school, work 17% more hours each week, spend more time in non-agricultural self-employment, are more likely to hold manufacturing jobs, and miss one fewer meal per week. Women who were in treatment schools as girls are approximately one quarter more likely to have attended secondary school, halving the gender gap. They reallocate time from traditional agriculture into cash crops and non-agricultural self-employment. We estimate a conservative annualized financial internal rate of return to deworming of 32%, and show that mass deworming may generate more in future government revenue than it costs in subsidies.

Baird, Sarah, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer and Edward Miguel. (2016). "Worms at work: Long-run impacts of a child health investment", Quarterly Journal of Economics, 131(4): 1637-1680, doi: 10.1093/qje/qjw022.