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.
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.
Theisen (JPR, 2012) recently constructed a novel high-resolution data set of intergroup and political conflict in Kenya (1989-2004) and examined whether the risk of conflict onset and incidence responds to annual pixel-level variations in temperature and precipitation. Thiesen concluded that only extreme precipitation is associated with conflict incidence and that temperature is unrelated to conflict, seemingly at odds with recent studies that found a positive association at the pixel scale (O'laughlin et al., PNAS 2012), at the country scale (Burke et al., PNAS 2009), and at the continental scale (Hsiang et al., Nature 2011) in Africa. Here we show these ndings can be reconciled when we correct the erroneous coding of temperature-squared in Thiesen. In contrast to the original conclusions presented in Theisen, both conflict onset and conflict incidence are significantly and positively associated with local temperature in this new and independently assembled data set.
Hsiang, Solomon M; Burke, Marshall; Miguel, Edward. (2013). Reconciling Temperature-conflict Results in Kenya. CEGA Working Paper Series No. WPS-032. Center for Effective Global Action. University of California, Berkeley.
OBJECTIVE: The authors evaluated the use of conditional cash transfers as an HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention strategy to incentivise safe sex. DESIGN: An unblinded, individually randomised and controlled trial. SETTING: 10 villages within the Kilombero/Ulanga districts of the Ifakara Health and Demographic Surveillance System in rural south-west Tanzania. PARTICIPANTS: The authors enrolled 2399 participants, aged 18-30 years, including adult spouses. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomly assigned to either a control arm (n=1124) or one of two intervention arms: low-value conditional cash transfer (eligible for $10 per testing round, n=660) and high-value conditional cash transfer (eligible for $20 per testing round, n=615). The authors tested participants every 4 months over a 12-month period for the presence of common sexually transmitted infections. In the intervention arms, conditional cash transfer payments were tied to negative sexually transmitted infection test results. Anyone testing positive for a sexually transmitted infection was offered free treatment, and all received counselling. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary study end point was combined prevalence of the four sexually transmitted infections, which were tested and reported to subjects every 4 months: Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis and Mycoplasma genitalium. The authors also tested for HIV, herpes simplex virus 2 and syphilis at baseline and...
de Walque, Damien, William H. Dow, Rose Nathan, Ramadhani Abdul, Faraji Abilahi, Erick Gong, Zachary Isdahl, Julian Jamison, Boniphace Jullu, Suneeta Krishnan, Albert Majura, Edward Miguel, Jeanne Moncada, Sally Mtenga, Mathew Alexander Mwanyangala, Laura Packel, Julius Schachter, Kizito Shirima, and Carol A. Medlin. 2012. "Incentivizing Safe Sex: a Randomized Trial of Conditional Cash Transfers for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention in Rural Tanzania." BMJ Open 2:e000747.
Despite their importance, there is limited evidence on how institutions can be strengthened. Evaluating the effects of specific reforms is complicated by the lack of exogenous variation in institutions, the difficulty of measuring institutional performance, and the temptation to "cherry pick" estimates from among the large number of indicators required to capture this multifaceted subject. We evaluate one attempt to make local institutions more democratic and egalitarian by imposing participation requirements for marginalized groups (including women) and test for learning-by-doing effects. We exploit the random assignment of a governance program in Sierra Leone, develop innovative real-world outcome measures, and use a preanalysis plan (PAP) to bind our hands against data mining. The intervention studied is a "community-driven development" program, which has become a popular strategy for foreign aid donors. We find positive short-run effects on local public goods and economic outcomes, but no evidence for sustained impacts on collective action, decision making, or the involvement of marginalized groups, suggesting that the intervention did not durably reshape local institutions. We discuss the practical trade-offs faced in implementing a PAP and show how in its absence we could have generated two divergent, equally erroneous interpretations of program impacts on institutions.
Casey, Katherine, Rachel Glennerster, and Edward Miguel. 2012. "Reshaping Institutions: Evidence on Aid Impacts Using a Preanalysis Plan." Quarterly Journal of Economics 127 (4): 1755-1812.
Diarrheal diseases kill two million children every year despite the availability of effective and inexpensive technologies to improve water quality and limit the spread of pathogens. There is a growing literature on the effectiveness of such technologies but important gaps remain in understanding the demand for these products and the adoption decision. This review expands upon and complements several existing summary articles by focusing on willingness to pay for cleaner water. Willingness to pay can be measured by price randomizations that induce people to reveal their valuation in real purchase decisions or by other methods such as contingent valuation exercises in hypothetical situations and discrete choice analysis. The review conducts a systematic search for experimental evidence on willingness to pay for cleaner water.
Clair Null, Michael Kremer, Jorge Garcia Hombrados, Robyn Meeks, Edward Miguel, and Alix Petersen Zwane. (2012). “Willingness to pay for cleaner water in less developed countries: systematic review of experimental evidence”, 3ie Systematic Review 006.
Does completing a household survey change the later behavior of those surveyed? In three field studies of health and two of microlending, we randomly assigned subjects to be surveyed about health and/or household finances and then measured subsequent use of a related product with data that does not rely on subjects' self-reports. In the three health experiments, we find that being surveyed increases use of water treatment products and take-up of medical insurance. Frequent surveys on reported diarrhea also led to biased estimates of the impact of improved source water quality. In two microlending studies, we do not find an effect of being surveyed on borrowing behavior. The results suggest that limited attention could play an important but context-dependent role in consumer choice, with the implication that researchers should reconsider whether, how, and how much to survey their subjects.
Zwane, Alix Peterson, Jonathan Zinman, Eric Van Dusen, William Pariente, Clair Null, Edward Miguel, Michael Kremer, Dean S. Karlan, Richard Hornbeck, Xavier Gine, Esther Duflo, Florencia Devoto, Bruno Crepon, and Abhijit Banerjee. 2011. "Being Surveyed Can Change Later Behavior and Related Parameter Estimates." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (5): 1821-1826.
In recent years scholars have begun to focus on the consequences of individuals' exposure to civil war, including its severe health and psychological consequences. Our innovation is to move beyond the survey methodology that is widespread in this literature to analyze the actual behavior of individuals with varying degrees of exposure to civil war in a common institutional setting. We exploit the presence of thousands of international soccer (football) players with different exposures to civil conflict in the European professional leagues, and find a strong relationship between the extent of civil conflict in a player's home country and his propensity to behave violently on the soccer field, as measured by yellow and red cards. This link is robust to region fixed effects, country characteristics (e.g. rule of law, per capita income), player characteristics (e.g. age, field position, quality), outliers, and team fixed effects. Reinforcing our claim that we isolate the effect of civil war exposure rather than simple rule breaking or something else entirely, there is no meaningful correlation between our measure of exposure to civil war and soccer performance measures not closely related to violent conduct. The result is also robust to controlling for civil wars before a player's...
Miguel, Edward, Sebastian M. Saiegh, and Shanker Satyanath. 2011. "Civil War Exposure and Violence." Economics & Politics 23 (1): 59-73.
This paper estimates the impact of a large anti-poverty cash transfer program, the Uruguayan PANES, on political support for the government that implemented it. Using the discontinuity in program assignment based on a pretreatment eligibility score, we find that beneficiary households are 11 to 13 percentage points more likely to favor the current government relative to the previous government. Political support effects persist after the program ends. Our results are consistent with theories of rational but poorly informed voters who use policy to infer politicians' redistributive preferences or competence, as well as with behavioral economics explanations grounded in reciprocity.
Manacorda, Marco, Edward Miguel, and Andrea Vigorito. 2011. "Government Transfers and Political Support." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3 (3): 1-28.
Miguel, Satyanath, and Ernest Sergenti (2004), henceforth MSS, show that economic growth is negatively related to civil conflict in Africa, using annual rainfall variation as an IV for growth. Antonio Ciccone (2011) argues that thanks to rainfall's mean-reverting nature, rainfall levels are preferable to annual changes. We make three points. First, MSS's findings hold using rainfall levels as instruments. Second, Ciccone (2011) does not provide theoretical justification for preferring rainfall levels. Third, the first-stage relationship between rainfall and growth is weaker after 2000, suggesting that alternative instruments are needed when studying recent conflicts. We highlight the accumulating microeconomic evidence that adverse economic shocks lead to political violence.
Miguel, Edward, and Shanker Satyanath. 2011. "Re-examining Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3 (4): 228-232.
Many effective health products and behaviors available through the private market are not widely adopted in less developed countries. For example, fewer than 10% of households in our Kenyan study area treat their water with dilute chlorine. Using a suite of randomized evaluations, we find that information and marketing interventions do little to boost use of chlorine. However, chlorine take-up is highly sensitive to price, convenience and social context, with more than half of households using chlorine when an individually-packaged supply is delivered free to the home. The highest sustained take-up is achieved by combining free, convenient, salient, and public access through a point-of-collection chlorine dispenser system and a local promoter. More than half of households treat their water and this use continues 30 months later even though promoters are paid only for the first six months. The estimated long-run costs of this intervention at scale, including administrative costs, are between $0.25 and $0.50 per person per year.
Kremer, Michael, Edward Miguel, Sendhil Mullainathan, Clair Null, and Alix Peterson Zwane. 2011. "Social Engineering: Evidence from a Suite of Take-up Experiments in Kenya." Unpublished Working Paper.
Using a randomized evaluation in Kenya, we measure health impacts of spring protection, an investment that improves source water quality. We also estimate households' valuation of spring protection and simulate the welfare impacts of alternatives to the current system of common property rights in water, which limits incentives for private investment. Spring infrastructure investments reduce fecal contamination by 66%, but household water quality improves less, due to recontamination. Child diarrhea falls by one quarter. Travel-cost based revealed preference estimates of households' valuations are much smaller than both stated preference valuations and health planners' valuations, and are consistent with models in which the demand for health is highly income elastic. We estimate that private property norms would generate little additional investment while imposing large static costs due to above-marginal-cost pricing, private property would function better at higher income levels or under water scarcity, and alternative institutions could yield Pareto improvements.
Kremer, Michael, Jessica Leino, Edward Miguel, and Alix Peterson. 2011. "Spring Cleaning: Rural Water Impacts, Valuation, and Property Rights Institutions." Quarterly Journal of Economics 126 (1): 145-205.