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.
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.
Kremer, Michael, and Edward Miguel. 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability." Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (3): 1007-1065.
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...
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.
Anemia is among the most widespread health problems for children in developing countries. This paper evaluates the impact of a randomized health intervention delivering iron supplementation and deworming drugs to Indian preschool children. At baseline, 69 percent were anemic and 30 percent had intestinal worm infections. Weight increased among assisted children, and preschool-participation rates rose by 5.8 percentage points, reducing absenteeism by one-fifth. Gains were especially pronounced for those most likely to be anemic at baseline. Results contribute to a growing view that school-based health programs are an effective way of promoting school attendance in less developed countries.
Bobonis, Gustavo J., Edward Miguel, and Charu Puri-Sharma. 2006. "Anemia and School Participation." Journal of Human Resources 41 (4): 692-721.
Miguel, Edward. 2006. "Book Review: Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence by Marcel Fafchamps." Economic Development and Cultural Change 54 (4): 985?987.
This article estimates the relationship between changes in industrialization and changes in social networks measures in Indonesia during 1985-97 using repeated cross sections of nationally representative surveys. We analyze a rich set of social interaction measures, including various measures of voluntary associational activity, levels of trust, and informal cooperation. Districts that experienced rapid industrialization showed significant increases in most measures of social interaction. However, districts that neighbor rapidly industrializing areas exhibited high rates of out?migration, significantly fewer community credit cooperatives, and a reduction in "mutual cooperation" as assessed by village elders. Manufacturing growth can be thought of as a proxy for income growth here. The findings are contrary to several recent claims regarding the role of social capital in economic development.
Miguel, Edward, Paul Gertler, and David I. Levine. 2006. "Does Industrialization Build or Destroy Social Networks?." Economic Development and Cultural Change 54 (2): 287-318.
This essay begins with a discussion of the recent social science literature on the impact of ethnic, racial, and religious divisions, and then proposes a set of policies that less-developed countries should follow to help them overcome ethnic conflict. It advocates the adoption of “nation-building” policies that foster the development of a common national identity. The case of Tanzania, and the contrast of Tanzania with its East African neighbor, Kenya, is the focus of this essay. It is argued that Tanzania’s serious approach to forging a common national identity attractive across ethnic groups — which takes the form of extensive linguistic, educational, and institutional reforms — offers a model for other less-developed countries that inherited ethnic divisions in the post-independence period. An overview of empirical evidence based on original field data collection is presented, which shows that this nation-building approach has allowed ethnically diverse communities in rural Tanzania to achieve considerable success in local fund-raising for primary schools, while ethnically diverse Kenyan communities have largely failed in this task.
Miguel, Edward. 2006. "Ethnic Diversity and Poverty Reduction." In Understanding Poverty, edited by Abhijit Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee, 169-184. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
We estimate the impact of poverty on crime in 19th century Bavaria, Germany. Rainfall is used as an instrumental variable for grain (rye) prices to address econometric identification problems in the existing literature. The rye price was a major determinant of living standards during this period. The rye price has a positive effect on property crime: a one standard deviation increased property crime by 8%. OLS estimates are twice as large as instrumental variable estimates, highlighting the value of our empirical approach. Higher rye prices lead to significantly less violent crime, though, and we argue that higher beer prices, caused by the higher rye prices, are a likely explanation.
Mehlum, Halvor, Edward Miguel, and Ragnar Torvik. 2006. "Poverty and Crime in 19th Century Germany." Journal of Urban Economics 59 (3): 370-388.
Scholars of economic development have argued that war can have adverse impacts on later economic performance: war destroys physical capital and infrastructure and disrupts human capital accumulation, and it may also damage institutions by creating political instability, destroying the social fabric and endangering civil liberties (World Bank, 2003). Understanding war’s impact on development is particularly important for Sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of all nations suffered from armed conﬂict during the 1980s and 1990s. The proliferation of armed conﬂict in the world’s poorest region begs the question of what role conﬂict may be playing in Africa’s disappointing economic performance. Yet the net long-run effects of war are ambiguous from the point of view of economic theory. To the extent that war impacts are limited to the destruction of capital, the neoclassical model predicts rapid economic growth postwar, converging back to steady-state growth. Several recent papers that study war impacts—including in Japan (Donald R. Davis and David E. Weinstein, 2002) and Vietnam (Miguel and Gerard Roland, 2005)—ﬁnd few persistent local impacts of U.S. bombing, with heavily bombed areas experiencing rapid recovery to prewar population and economic trends.This is consistent with the neoclassical model if war’s main consequence is to destroy capital. War could also affect...
Bellows, John and Edward Miguel. 2006. "War and Institutions: New Evidence from Sierra Leone." American Economic Review 96 (2): 394-399.
A new stylized fact in development economics is the importance of social capital in promoting economic growth. This paper examines the effect of social capital on industrialization in Indonesia. We analyze a rich set of social capital and social interaction measures, including voluntary associational activity and levels of trust and informal cooperation. The main finding is that initial social capital does not predict subsequent industrial development across 274 Indonesian districts. Though these findings are for only a single nation and may not apply everywhere, they call into question recent claims regarding social capital and economic development.
Miguel, Edward, Paul Gertler, and David I. Levine. 2005. "Does Social Capital Promote Industrialization? Evidence from a Rapid Industrializer." Review of Economics and Statistics 87 (4): 754-762.
This paper examines ethnic diversity and local public goods in rural western Kenya. The identification strategy relies on the stable historically determined patterns of ethnic land settlement. Ethnic diversity is associated with lower primary school funding and worse school facilities, and there is suggestive evidence that it leads to poor water well maintenance. The theoretical model illustrates how inability to impose social sanctions in diverse communities leads to collective action failures, and we find that school committees in diverse areas do impose fewer sanctions on defaulting parents. We relate these results to the literature on social capital and economic development and discuss implications for decentralization in less developed countries.
Miguel, Edward, and Mary Kay Gugerty. 2005. "Ethnic Diversity, Social Sanctions, and Public Goods in Kenya." Journal of Public Economics 89 (11-12): 2325-2368.