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

Filter

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.

Experimental Evidence on the Demand for and Costs of Rural Electrification
AuthorsKenneth Lee, Edward Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram
Year2016
TypeWorking Paper
CategoriesAfrican Development; Environment and Climate

We present results from an experiment that randomized the expansion of electric grid infrastructure in rural Kenya. Electricity distribution is the canonical example of a natural monopoly. Randomized price offers show that demand for electricity connections falls sharply with price. Experimental variation in the number of connections combined with administrative cost data reveals considerable scale economies, as hypothesized. However, consumer surplus is far less than total costs at all price levels, suggesting that residential electrification may reduce social welfare. We discuss how leakage, reduced demand (due to red tape, low reliability, and credit constraints), and spillovers may impact this conclusion.

Lee, Kenneth, Edward Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram. (2016). "Experimental Evidence on the Demand for and Costs of Rural Electrification", NBER Working Paper No. 22292.

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.

Climate and Conflict
AuthorsBurke, Marshall, Solomon M. Hsiang, and Edward Miguel
Year2015
TypeOther
CategoriesResearch Methodology; Political Economy and Conflict; Environment and Climate

We review the emerging literature on climate and conflict.We consider multiple types of human conflict, including both interpersonal conflict, such as assault and murder, and intergroup conflict, including riots and civil war. We discuss key methodological issues in estimating causal relationships and largely focus on natural experiments that exploit variation in climate over time. Using a hierarchical meta-analysis that allows us to both estimate the mean effect and quantify the degree of variability across 55 studies, we find that deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase conflict risk. Contemporaneous temperature has the largest average impact, with each 1 sd increase in temperature increasing interpersonal conflict by 2.4% and intergroup conflict by 11.3%.We conclude by highlighting research priorities, including a better understanding of the mechanisms linking climate to conflict, societies’ ability to adapt to climatic changes, and the likely impacts of future global warming.

Burke, M., S.M. Hsiang, E. Miguel. (2015). "Climate and Conflict", Annual Review of Economics. DOI: 10.1146/annurev- economics-080614-115430.