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 exploits a randomized school health intervention that provided deworming treatment to Kenyan children and utilizes longitudinal data to estimate impacts on economic outcomes up to 20 years later. The effective respondent tracking rate was 84%. Individuals who received 2 to 3 additional years of childhood deworming experience an increase of 14% in consumption expenditure, 13% in hourly earnings, 9% in non-agricultural work hours, and are 9% more likely to live in urban areas. Most effects are concentrated among males and older individuals. Given deworming's low cost, a conservative annualized social internal rate of return estimate is 37%.
Hamory, Joan, Edward Miguel, Michael Walker, Michael Kremer, and Sarah Baird. (2020). "Twenty Year Economic Impacts of Deworming", unpublished working paper.
Elections affect the division of resources in society and are occasions for political elites to make appeals rooted in voters’ self-interest. Hence, elections may erode altruistic norms and cause people to behave more selfishly. We test this intuition using Dictator Games in a lab-in-the-field experiment involving a sample of more than 1,000 individuals in Kenya and Tanzania. We adopt two approaches. First, we experimentally prime participants to think about the upcoming or most recent elections and find that this priming treatment reduces how much money participants are willing to give to other players. Second, we compare results obtained across lab rounds in Kenya taking place right before the country’s 2013 national elections and eight months prior, and find that selfishness is greater in the lab round more proximate to the election. Our results suggest that elections may affect social behavior in important—and previously unrecognized—ways.
Bjorvatn, Kjetil, Simon Galle, Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge, Edward Miguel, Daniel Posner, Bertil Tungodden, and Kelly Zhang. (2020). "Elections and Selfishness", forthcoming Electoral Studies.
The evidence-based policy movement promotes the use of empirical evidence to inform policy decision-making. While several social science disciplines are undergoing a “credibility revolution” focused on openness and replication, policy analysis has yet to systematically embrace transparency and reproducibility. We argue that policy analysis should adopt the open research practices increasingly espoused in related disciplines to advance the credibility of evidence-based policymaking. We first discuss the importance of evidence-based policy in an era of increasing disagreement about facts, analysis, and expertise. We present a novel framework for “open” policy analysis (OPA) and how to achieve it, focusing on examples of recent policy analyses that have incorporated open research practices such as transparent reporting, open data, and code sharing. We conclude with recommendations on how key stakeholders in evidence-based policy can make OPA the norm and thus safeguard trust in using empirical evidence to inform important public policy decisions.
Hoces de la Guardia, Fernando, Sean Grant, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "A Framework for Open Policy Analysis", forthcoming Science and Public Policy.
The impact of urban migration on ethnic politics is the subject of longstanding debate. “First generation” modernization theories predict that urban migration should reduce ethnic identification and increase trust between groups. “Second generation” modernization perspectives argue the opposite: urban migration may amplify ethnic identification and reduce trust. We test these competing expectations with a three-wave panel survey following more than 8,000 Kenyans over a 15-year period, providing novel evidence on the impact of urban migration. Using individual fixed effects regressions, we show that urban migration leads to reductions in ethnic identification: ethnicity’s importance to the individual diminishes after migrating. Yet urban migration also reduces trust between ethnic groups, and trust in people generally. Urban migrants become “less ethnic” and more suspicious. The results advance the literature on urbanization and politics and have implications for the potential consequences of ongoing urbanization processes around the world.
Kramon, Eric, Sarah Baird, Joan Hamory Hicks, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "Deepening or Diminishing Ethnic Divides? The Impact of Urban Migration in Kenya", forthcoming American Journal of Political Science.
In this paper, we discuss what we can learn from the past decade of microeconomic research on the impacts of household electrification, with the goal of highlighting how future initiatives can be better designed. We begin with an overview of how household electrification has traditionally been captured in official statistics and then turn to some of the historical electrification programs from around the world, paying special attention to those that are most closely related to the settings that have been studied over the past decade or so. Our main point is that providing poor households with access to electricity alone is not enough to improve economic and noneconomic outcomes in a meaningful way. The literature documents large gains from electrification in a number of settings, but in many cases, we cannot rule out the possibility that other factors—either correlated with or visibly part of the electrification efforts—are driving economic outcomes. Universal energy access is arguably an important goal for global equity considerations. But large-scale contemporary initiatives to expand residential access to electricity may not produce meaningful economic impacts unless they are combined with complementary programs that will make electrical appliances more accessible, or they are targeted towards regions that already...
Lee, Kenneth, Edward Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram. (2020). "Does Electrification Supercharge Economic Development?", Journal of Economic Perspectives, 34(1): 122-144, doi: 10.1257/jep.34.1.122.
We present results from an experiment that randomized the expansion of electric grid infrastructure in rural Kenya. Electricity distribution is a canonical example of a natural monopoly. Experimental variation in the number of connections, combined with administrative cost data, reveals considerable scale economies, as hypothesized. Randomized price offers indicate that demand for connections falls sharply with price. Among newly connected households, average electricity consumption is very low, implying low consumer surplus. We do not find meaningful medium-run impacts on economic and noneconomic outcomes. We discuss implications for current efforts to increase rural electrification in Kenya and highlight how various factors may affect interpretation.
Lee, Kenneth, Edward Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram. (2020). "Experimental Evidence on the Economics of Rural Electrification", Journal of Political Economy, 128(4): 1523-1565.
Recent research has pointed to large gaps in labor productivity between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors in low-income countries, as well as between workers in rural and urban areas. Most estimates are based on national accounts or repeated cross-sections of micro-survey data, and as a result typically struggle to account for individual selection between sectors. This paper uses long-run individual-level panel data from two low-income countries (Indonesia and Kenya) to explore these gaps. Accounting for individual fixed effects leads to much smaller estimated productivity gains from moving into the non-agricultural sector (or urban areas), reducing estimated gaps by roughly 67 to 92%. Furthermore, gaps do not emerge up to five years after a move between sectors. We evaluate whether these findings imply a re-assessment of the conventional wisdom regarding sectoral gaps, discuss how to reconcile them with existing cross-sectional estimates, and consider implications for the desirability of sectoral reallocation of labor.
Hicks, Joan Hamory, Marieke Kleemans, Nicholas Y. Li, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "Reevaluating Agricultural Productivity Gaps with Longitudinal Microdata", forthcoming Journal of the European Economic Association.
This study provides a first assessment of awareness of, attitudes toward, perceived norms regarding, and adoption of open science practices within a broadly representative sample of active economics researchers. We observe a steep increase in adoption over the last decade, with an accelerating trend: as of 2017, 93 percent of economists had used at least one such practice—including posting data, sharing study materials, and study pre-registration—rising from 33 percent a decade earlier. We document extensive variation in adoption across economics subfields. Notably, most economists appear to underestimate the trend toward research transparency in the discipline.
Swanson, Nicholas, Garret Christensen, Rebecca Littman, David Birke, Edward Miguel, Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Zenan Wang (random name order). (2020). ``Research Transparency is on the Rise in Economics'', AEA Papers and Proceedings , 110: 61-65, doi: 10.1257/pandp.20201077.
Self-control problems constitute a potential explanation for the under-investment in preventive health in low-income countries. Behavioral economics offers a tool to solve such problems: commitment devices. We conduct a field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of different types of theoretically-motivated commitment contracts in increasing preventive doctor visits by hypertensive patients in rural India. Despite achieving high take-up of such contracts in some treatment arms, we find no effects on actual doctor visits or individual health outcomes. A substantial number of individuals pay for commitment but fail to follow through on the doctor visit, losing money without experiencing health benefits. We develop and structurally estimate a pre-specified model of consumer behavior under present bias with varying levels of naivete. The results are consistent with a large share of individuals being partially naive about their own self-control problems: sophisticated enough to demand some commitment, but overly optimistic about whether a given level of commitment is suffciently strong to be effective. The results suggest that commitment devices may in practice be welfare diminishing, at least in some contexts, and serve as a cautionary tale about their role in health care.
Bai, Liang, Benjamin Handel, Edward Miguel, and Gautam Rao. (2020). "Self-Control and Demand for Preventive Health: Evidence from Hypertension in India", forthcoming Review of Economics and Statistics.
A broad overview of research transparency and open science issues in the social sciences, across two chapters (Chapters 6 and 7).
Christensen, Garret, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "Transparency and Reproducibility: Conceptualizing the Problem (Chapter 6) and Potential Solutions (Chapter 7)", in The Production of Knowledge: Enhancing Progress in Social Science, (eds.) Colin Elman, John Gerring, and James Mahoney. Cambridge University Press.
This study exploits a randomized school health intervention that provided deworming treatment to Kenyan children and utilizes longitudinal data to estimate impacts on economic outcomes up to 20 years later. The effective respondent tracking rate was 84%. Individuals who received 2 to 3 additional years of childhood deworming experience an increase of 14% in consumption expenditure, 13% in hourly earnings, 9% in non-agricultural work hours, and are 9% more likely to live in urban areas. Most effects are concentrated among males and older individuals. Given deworming's low cost, a conservative annualized social internal rate of return estimate is 37%.
Hamory, Joan, Edward Miguel, Michael Walker, Michael Kremer, and Sarah Baird. (2020). "Twenty Year Economic Impacts of Deworming", unpublished working paper.
Can a short survey instrument reliably measure a range of fundamental economic preferences across diverse settings? We focus on survey questions that systematically predict behavior in incentivized experimental tasks among German university students (Becker et al. 2016) and were implemented among representative samples across the globe (Falk et al. 2018). This paper presents results of an experimental validation conducted among low-income individuals in Nairobi, Kenya. We find that quantitative survey measures –hypothetical versions of experimental tasks –of time preference, attitude to risk and altruism are good predictors of choices in incentivized experiments, suggesting these measures are broadly experimentally valid. At the same time, we find that qualitative questions –self-assessments –do not correlate with the experimental measures of preferences in the Kenyan sample. Thus, caution is needed before treating self-assessments as proxies of preferences in new contexts.
Bauer, Michal, Julie Chytilova, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "Using survey questions to measure preferences: Lessons from an experimental validation in Kenya", forthcoming European Economic Review.
This study estimates the effect of data sharing on the citations of academic articles, using journal policies as a natural experiment. We begin by examining 17 high-impact journals that have adopted the requirement that data from published articles be publicly posted. We match these 17 journals to 13 journals without policy changes and find that empirical articles published just before their change in editorial policy have citation rates with no statistically significant difference from those published shortly after the shift. We then ask whether this null result stems from poor compliance with data sharing policies, and use the data sharing policy changes as instrumental variables to examine more closely two leading journals in economics and political science with relatively strong enforcement of new data policies. We find that articles that make their data available receive 97 additional citations (estimate standard error of 34). We conclude that: a) authors who share data may be rewarded eventually with additional scholarly citations, and b) data-posting policies alone do not increase the impact of articles published in a journal unless those policies are enforced.
Christensen G, Dafoe A, Miguel E, Moore DA, Rose AK (2019) A study of the impact of data sharing on article citations using journal policies as a natural experiment. PLoS ONE, 14(12): e0225883. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225883
Accumulating evidence indicates that environmental temperature substantially affects economic outcomes and violence, but the reasons for this linkage are only partially understood. While factors external to human beings (such as agricultural production) are known to respond adversely to high temperatures, extreme temperatures could also directly influence the internal mental processes governing decision-making. We study this by systematically evaluating the effect of thermal stress on multiple dimensions of economic decision-making, judgment, and destructive behavior with 2,000 participants in Kenya and the US who were randomly assigned to different temperatures in a laboratory. We find that heat significantly affects individuals’ willingness to voluntarily destroy other participants’ assets, with pronounced increases among those experiencing heightened political conflict in Kenya. We find that other major dimensions of economic decisionmaking are largely unaffected by temperature.
Alm°as, Ingvild, Maximilian Auffhammer, Tessa Bold, Ian Bolliger, Aluma Dembo, Solomon M. Hsiang, Shuhei Kitamura, Edward Miguel, and Robert Pickmans. (2019). "Destructive Behavior, Judgment, and Economic Decision-making under Thermal Stress", unpublished working paper.
Ethnicity has been shown to shape political, social, and economic behavior in Africa, but the underlying mechanisms remain contested. We utilize lab experiments to isolate one mechanism—an individual’s bias in favor of coethnics and against non-coethnics—that has been central in both theory and in the conventional wisdom about the impact of ethnicity. We employ an unusually rich research design involving a large sample of 1300 participants from Nairobi, Kenya; the collection of multiple rounds of experimental data with varying proximity to national elections; within-lab priming conditions; both standard and novel experimental measures of coethnic bias; and an implicit association test (IAT). We find very little evidence of an ethnic bias in the behavioral games, which runs against the common presumption of extensive coethnic bias among ordinary Africans and suggests that mechanisms other than a coethnic bias in preferences must account for the associations we see in the region between ethnicity and political, social, and economic outcomes.
Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge, Kjetil Bjorvatn, Simon Galle, Edward Miguel, Daniel Posner, Bertil Tungodden and Kelly Zhang. (2019). "Ethnically Biased? Experimental Evidence from Kenya", Journal of the European Economic Association, 2019, doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jeea/jvz003.
How large economic stimuli generate individual and aggregate responses is a central question in economics, but has not been studied experimentally. We provided one-time cash transfers of about USD 1000 to over 10,500 poor households across 653 randomized villages in rural Kenya. The implied fiscal shock was over 15 percent of local GDP. We find large impacts on consumption and assets for recipients. Importantly, we document large positive spillovers on non-recipient households and firms, and minimal price inflation. We estimate a local fiscal multiplier of 2.7. We interpret welfare implications through the lens of a simple household optimization framework.
Egger, Dennis, Johannes Haushofer, Edward Miguel, Paul Niehaus, and Michael Walker. (2019). "General Equilibrium Effects of Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Kenya", unpublished working paper.
Organized intergroup violence is almost universally modeled as a calculated act motivated by economic factors. In contrast, it is generally assumed that non-economic factors, such as an individual’s emotional state, play a role in many types of interpersonal violence, such as crimes of passion. We ask whether non-economic factors can also explain the well-established relationship between temperature and violence in a unique context where intergroup killings by drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) and other interpersonal homicides are separately documented. A constellation of evidence, including the limited influence of a cash transfer program as well as comparisons with both other DTO crime and suicides, indicate that economic factors only partially mitigate the relationship between temperature and violence that we estimate in Mexico. We argue that non-economic psychological and physiological factors that are affected by temperature, modeled here as a “taste for violence,” likely play an important role in causing both interpersonal and intergroup violence.
Baysan, Ceren, Marshall Burke, Felipe Gonzalez, Solomon Hsiang, and Edward Miguel. (2019). “Non-economic factors in violence: Evidence from organized crime, suicides and climate in Mexico”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2019, 168: 434-452, doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.10.021.
A discussion of the 2018-19 JDE Pre-results Review Pilot.
Bogdanoski, Aleksander, Andrew Foster, Dean Karlan, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "Pre-results Review at the Journal of Development Economics: Lessons learned." MeArXiv Pre-print, doi: 10.31222/osf.io/5yacr.
Large and regular seasonal price fluctuations in local grain markets appear to offer African farmers substantial inter-temporal arbitrage opportunities, but these opportunities remain largely unexploited: small-scale farmers are commonly observed to "sell low and buy high" rather than the reverse. In a field experiment in Kenya, we show that credit market imperfections limit farmers' abilities to move grain inter-temporally. Providing timely access to credit allows farmers to buy at lower prices and sell at higher prices, increasing farm revenues and generating a return on investment of 29%. To understand general equilibrium effects of these changes in behavior, we vary the density of loan offers across locations. We document significant effects of the credit intervention on seasonal price fluctuations in local grain markets, and show that these GE effects shape individual level profitability estimates. In contrast to existing experimental work, the results indicate a setting in which microcredit can improve farm profitability, and suggest that GE effects can substantially shape microcredit's effectiveness. In particular, failure to consider these GE effects could lead to underestimates of the social welfare benefits of microcredit interventions.
Burke, Marshall, Lauren Falcao Bergquist, and Edward Miguel. (2019). "Sell Low and Buy High: Arbitrage and Local Price Effects in Kenyan Markets", Quarterly Journal of Economics, 134(2): 785-842, doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjy034.
We assess evidence from randomized control trials (RCTs) on long-run economic productivity and living standards in poor countries. We first document that several studies estimate large positive long-run impacts, but that relatively few existing RCTs have been evaluated over the long-run. We next present evidence from a systematic survey of existing RCTs, with a focus on cash transfer and child health programs, and show that a meaningful subset can realistically be evaluated for long-run effects. We discuss ways to bridge the gap between the burgeoning number of development RCTs and the limited number that have been followed up to date, including through new panel (longitudinal) data, improved participant tracking methods, alternative research designs, and access to administrative, remote sensing, and cell phone data. We conclude that the rise of development economics RCTs since roughly 2000 provides a novel opportunity to generate high-quality evidence on the long-run drivers of living standards.
Bouguen, Adrien, Yue Huang, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. (2019). “Using RCT’s to Estimate Long-Run Impacts in Development Economics”, Annual Review of Economics, 11: 523-561, doi: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-080218-030333.
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. 2018. "Transparency, Reproducibility, and the Credibility of Economics Research", Journal of Economic Literature, 56(3): 920-980.
Jullien, Sinclair and Garner (2016) (henceforth JSG) state that they seek to ‘appraise the methods’ of three recent papers that estimate long-run impacts of mass deworming on educational or economic outcomes. This commentary focuses on their discussion of Baird, Hicks, Kremer and Miguel (2016) (henceforth Baird).We welcome scrutiny of our work, and appreciate the opportunity to discuss JSG. Baird finds evidence of gains in some educational and labour outcomes 10 years after a deworming programme in 75 Kenyan primary schools. Some gains are found in the full sample, and others among either males or females, in ways that are sensible given the context, e.g. there are gains in manufacturing employment among males but not females, fewer of whom work in this sector in Kenya. Below we discuss JSG’s claim that the evidence in Baird is unreliable. It is not surprising that any two scholars might interpret a body of results differently, but JSG make a series of claims that appear overstated or are somewhat misleading.
Baird, Sarah, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. (2017). "Commentary: Assessing long-run deworming impacts on education and economic outcomes: a comment on Jullien, Sinclair and Garner (2016)", International Journal of Epidemiology, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw350.
Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) and schistosomiasis infections affect more than 1 billion people, mainly in low- and middle-income countries, particularly school-age children. This chapter discusses the economics of policy choices surrounding public investments in deworming.
“Economics of Mass Deworming Programs” (co-authors Amrita Ahuja, Sarah Baird, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer), Chapter 29 in Disease Control Priorities (third edition): Volume 8, Child and Adolescent Health and Development, (eds.) D. A. P. Bundy, N. de Silva, S. Horton, D. T. Jamison, and G. C. Patton. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017.
Improved health in low-income countries could considerably improve wellbeing and possibly promote economic growth. The last decade has seen a surge in field experiments designed to understand the barriers that households and governments face in investing in health and how these barriers can be overcome, and to assess the impacts of subsequent health gains. This chapter first discusses the methodological pitfalls that field experiments in the health sector are particularly susceptible to, then reviews the evidence that rigorous field experiments have generated so far. While the link from in utero and child health to later outcomes has increasingly been established, few experiments have estimated the impacts of health on contemporaneous productivity among adults, and few experiments have explored the potential for infrastructural programs to impact health outcomes. Many more studies have examined the determinants of individual health behavior, on the side of consumers as well as among providers of health products and services.
Dupas, Pascaline, and Edward Miguel. "Impacts and Determinants of Health Levels in Low-Income Countries", 2017, Handbook of Field Experiments, (eds.) Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee.
This paper exploits an unusual transportation setting to generate some of the first revealed preference value of a statistical life (VSL) estimates from a low-income setting. We estimate the trade-offs individuals are willing to make between mortality risk and cost as they travel to and from the international airport in Sierra Leone. The setting and original dataset allow us to address some typical omitted variable concerns, and also to compare VSL estimates for travelers from different countries, all facing the same choice situation. The average VSL estimate for African travelers in the sample is US$577,000 compared to US$924,000 for non-Africans.
León, Gianmarco, and Edward Miguel. 2017. "Risky Transportation Choices and the Value of a Statistical Life", American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 9(1): 202-228, doi: 10.1257/app.20160140.
In April 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) department and Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) department convened a Guidelines Development Group meeting to review the WHO’s recommendations for the control of soil-transmitted helminths in high-risk groups. Subsequent to this meeting, the WHO will announce whether it will 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). We recently released a new meta-analysis working paper focusing on the effect of MDA on weight gain for children, which was presented at this WHO convening. In light of the mounting evidence on both the short-run impacts on child weight and long-run educational and economic effects of deworming, we believe that the expected benefits of deworming are likely to greatly exceed the cost, and that the long-standing support of WHO and other international donors and organizations for mass deworming remains scientifically justified.
Croke, Kevin, Joan Hamory Hicks, Eric Hsu, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. (2017). "Should the WHO withdraw support for mass deworming?", PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005481.
Many public health interventions provide benefits that extend beyond their direct recipients and impact people in close physical or social proximity who did not directly receive the intervention themselves. A classic example of this phenomenon is the herd protection provided by many vaccines. If these 'spillover effects' (i.e., 'herd effects') are present in the same direction as the effects on the intended recipients, studies that only estimate direct effects on recipients will likely underestimate the full public health benefits of the intervention. Causal inference assumptions for spillover parameters have been articulated in the vaccine literature, but many studies measuring spillovers of other types of public health interventions have not drawn upon that literature. In conjunction with a systematic review we conducted of spillovers of public health interventions delivered in low- and middle-income countries, we classified the most widely used spillover parameters reported in the empirical literature into a standard notation. General classes of spillover parameters include: cluster-level spillovers; spillovers conditional on treatment or outcome density, distance or the number of treated social network links; and vaccine efficacy parameters related to spillovers. We draw on high quality empirical examples to illustrate each of these parameters. We describe study designs to estimate...
Jade Benjamin-Chung, Benjamin F. Arnold, David Berger, Stephen P. Luby, Edward Miguel, John M. Colford Jr., Alan E. Hubbard. 2017. "Spillover effects in epidemiology: parameters, study designs and methodological considerations", International Journal of Epidemiology, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyx201.
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.
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 eect 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 eect, 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.
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.
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.
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, Verónica, 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].
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Aiken et al. (2015) and Davey et al (2015) draw the conclusion that the evidence for a relationship between deworming and school attendance is “weak” based on two fundamental errors in their data analysis. First, the authors redefine treatment to include pre-treatment control periods. Second, while the original research design was based on a stepped-wedge analysis that was adequately powered, the re-analysis authors undertake a clearly under-powered alternative analysis which ignores the time series element of the data, and then splits the cross-sectional analysis into two separate components, each of which has inadequate power. Examining the fully powered analysis, they report that in a fully-adjusted logistic regression model making maximum use of the data available, there is strong evidence of an improvement in school attendance. If either error is corrected, deworming significantly increases school attendance under the full range of statistical analyses considered by Davey et al. Their analysis also underestimates the impact of deworming on school attendance by neglecting violations of the SUTVA assumption generated by transmission of worm infection to nearby schools (as in Miguel and Kremer 2004).
Hicks, Joan Hamory, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. 2015. "Commentary: Deworming externalities and schooling impacts in Kenya: a comment on Aiken et al. (2015) and Davey et al. (2015)", International Journal of Epidemiology, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyv129.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 600 million people live without electricity. Despite ambitions of governments and donors to invest in rural electrification, decisions about how to extend electricity access are being made in the absence of rigorous evidence. Using a novel dataset of 20,000 geo-tagged structures in rural Western Kenya, we provide descriptive evidence that electrification rates remain very low despite significant investments in grid infrastructure. This pattern holds across time and for both poor and relatively well-off households and businesses. We argue that if governments wish to leverage existing infrastructure and economies of scale, subsidies and new approaches to financing connections are necessary.
Kenneth Lee, Eric Brewer, Carson Christiano, Francis Meyo, Edward Miguel, Matthew Podolsky, Javier Rosa, and Catherine Wolfram. "Barriers to Electrification for “Under Grid” Households in Rural Kenya", Development Engineering, 2015, doi:10.1016/j.deveng.2015.12.001.
We show that overall economic productivity is nonlinear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13 C and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries, with important implications. If future adaptation mimics past adaptation, unmitigated warming is expected to reshape the global economy by reducing average global incomes roughly 23% by 2100 and widening global income inequality, relative to scenarios without climate change.
Burke, Marshall, Solomon Hsiang, and Edward Miguel. 2015. "Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production", Nature, doi:10.1038/nature15725.
Quantitative estimates of the impacts of climate change on economic outcomes are important for public policy. We show that the vast majority of estimates fail to account for well-established uncertainty in future temperature and rainfall changes, leading to potentially misleading projections. We reexamine seven well-cited studies and show that accounting for climate uncertainty leads to a much larger range of projected climate impacts and a greater likelihood of worst-case outcomes, an important policy parameter. Incorporating climate uncertainty into future economic impact assessments will be critical for providing the best possible information on potential impacts.
Burke, Marshall, John Dykema, David Lobell, Edward Miguel, and Shanker Satyanath. 2015. "Incorporating Climate Uncertainty into Estimates of Climate Change Impacts, with Applications to U.S and African Agriculture." Review of Economics and Statistics, 97(2): 461-471, 10.1162/REST_a_00478.
The journal article is central to the research communication process. Guidelines for authors define what aspects of the research process should be made available to the community to evaluate, critique, reuse, and extend. Scientists recognize the value of transparency, openness, and reproducibility. Improvement of journal policies can help those values become more evident in daily practice and ultimately improve the public trust in science, and science itself.
B. A. Nosek, G. Alter, G. C. Banks, D. Borsboom, S. D. Bowman, S. J. Breckler, S. Buck, C. D. Chambers, G. Chin, G. Christensen, M. Contestabile, A. Dafoe, E. Eich, J. Freese, R. Glennerster, D. Goroff, D. P. Green, B. Hesse, M. Humphreys, J. Ishiyama, D. Karlan, A. Kraut, A. Lupia, P. Mabry, T. A. Madon, N. Malhotra, E. Mayo-Wilson, M. McNutt, E. Miguel, E. Levy Paluck, U. Simonsohn, C. Soderberg, B. A. Spellman, J. Turitto, G. VandenBos, S. Vazire, E. J. Wagenmakers, R. Wilson, and T. Yarkoni. “Promoting an Open Research Culture: Author guidelines for journals could help to promote transparency, openness, and reproducibility”, Science, 2015, 26 June 2015 348(6242): 1422-1425, 10.1126/science.aab2374.
Two articles published earlier this year in the International Journal of Epidemiology have re-ignited the debate over the World Health Organization’s long-held recommendation of mass-treatment of intestinal helminths in endemic areas. In this note, we discuss the content and relevance of these articles to the policy debate, and review the broader research literature on the educational and economic impacts of deworming. We conclude that existing evidence still indicates that mass deworming is a cost-effective health investment for governments in low-income countries where worm infections are widespread.
Hicks, Joan Hamory, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. “The Case of Mass Treatment of Intestinal Helminths in Endemic Areas”, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2015, 9(10): e0004214. 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004214.
Ethnic favoritism is seen as antithetical to development. This paper provides credible quantification of the extent of ethnic favoritism using data on road building in Kenyan districts across the 1963-2011 period. Guided by a model it then examines whether the transition in and out of democracy under the same president constrains or exacerbates ethnic favoritism. Across the 1963 to 2011 period, we find strong evidence of ethnic favoritism: districts that share the ethnicity of the president receive twice as much expenditure on roads and have four times the length of paved roads built. This favoritism disappears during periods of democracy.
Burgess, Robin, Remi Jedwab, Edward Miguel, Ameet Morjaria, and Gerard Padró i Miquel. 2015. "The Value of Democracy: Evidence from Road Building in Kenya." 2015, American Economic Review, 105(6): 1817-1851, 10.1257/aer.20131031.
The impact of armed conflict on the environment is of major public policy importance. We use a geographically disaggregated dataset of civil war violence together with satellite imagery of land cover to test whether war facilitated or prevented forest loss in Sierra Leone. The conflict data set allows us to establish where rebel groups were stationed and where battles and attacks occurred. The satellite data enables to us to monitor the change in forest cover (total, primary, and secondary) in all of Sierra Leone's 151 chiefdoms, between 1990 (prior to the war) and 2000 (just prior to its end). The results suggest that conflict in Sierra Leone acted as a brake on local deforestation: conflict-ridden areas experienced significantly less forest loss relative to their more conflict-free counterparts.
Burgess, Robin, Edward Miguel, and Charlotte Stanton. (2015). "War and deforestation in Sierra Leone", Environmental Research Letters, 10 (2015) 095014.
In a study of the effect of civil war exposure on local collective action outcomes in Sierra Leone, Bellows and Miguel (2009) employ a coefﬁcient stability approach to assess the importance of omitted variable bias building on Altonji et al. (2005a). Here we clarify the econometric assumptions underlying Bellows and Miguel (2009), and extend their analysis using data on dependent variable reliability ratios and the method developed in Oster (2015).
Gonzalez, Felipe and Edward Miguel. 2015. "War and Local Collective Action in Sierra Leone: A Comment on the Use of Coefficient Stability Approaches." 2015, Journal of Public Economics, 128: 30-33, 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.05.004.
We discuss how evidence and theory can be combined to provide insight on the appropriate subsidy level for health products, focusing on the specific case of deworming. Although intestinal worm infections can be treated using safe, low-cost drugs, some have challenged the view that mass school-based deworming should be a policy priority. We review well-identified research which both uses experimental or quasiexperimental methods to demonstrate causal relationships and adequately accounts for epidemiological externalities from deworming treatment, including studies of deworming campaigns in the Southern United States, Kenya, and Uganda. The existing evidence shows consistent positive impacts on school participation in the short run and on academic test scores, employment, and income in the long run, while suggesting that most parents will not pay for deworming treatment that is not fully subsidized. There is also evidence for a fiscal externality through higher future tax revenue, which may exceed the cost of the program. Our analysis suggests that the economic benefits of school-based deworming programs are likely to exceed their costs in places where worm infestations are endemic. This would likely be the case even if the benefits were only a fraction of estimates in the existing literature.
Amrita Ahuja, Sarah Baird, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, and Shawn Powers. (2015). "When Should Governments Subsidize Health? The Case of Mass Deworming", World Bank Economic Review, 10.1093/wber/lhv008.
We survey recent progress toward research transparency in the social sciences and make the case for standards and practices that help realign scholarly incentives with scholarly values. There is growing appreciation for the advantages of experimentation in the social sciences, but accompanying these changes is a growing sense that incentives, norms, and institutions under which social science operates undermine gains from improved research design. We describe promising, bottom-up innovations in the social sciences, including the three core practices of: disclosure; registration and preanalysis plans; and open data and materials. We also assess common objections to the move toward greater transparency, and argue that new practices need to be implemented in a way that does not stifle creativity or create excess burden. [Link to abstract] [Link to PDF reprint] [Link to full text]
E. Miguel, C. Camerer, K. Casey, J. Cohen, K. M. Esterling, A. Gerber, R. Glennerster, D. P. Green, M. Humphreys, G. Imbens, D. Laitin, T. Madon, L. Nelson, B. A. Nosek, M. Petersen, R. Sedlmayr, J. P. Simmons, U. Simonsohn, M. Van der Laan. 2014. "Promoting Transparency in Social Science Research." Science, 10.1126/science.1245317.
A comment by Buhaug et al. attributes disagreement between our recent analyses and their review articles to biased decisions in our meta-analysis and a difference of opinion regarding statistical approaches. The claim is false. Buhaug et al.’s alteration of our metaanalysis misrepresents findings in the literature, makes statistical errors, misclassifies multiple studies, makes coding errors, and suppresses the display of results that are consistent with our original analysis. We correct these mistakes and obtain findings in line with our original results, even when we use the study selection criteria proposed by Buhaug et al. We conclude that there is no evidence in the data supporting the claims raised in Buhaug et al.
Hsiang, Solomon M., Marshall Burke, and Edward Miguel. (2014). "Reconciling climate-conflict meta-analyses: reply to Buhaug et al.", Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1276-z.
Cane, Mark A., Marshall Burke, Solomon M. Hsiang, David B. Lobell, Kyle C. Meng, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, “Temperature and violence”, Nature Climate Change, 2014, 4, 234-235, 10.1038/nclimate2171.
We combine data from a randomized evaluation and a laboratory experiment to measure the causal impact of human capital on respect for earned property rights, a component of social preferences with important implications for economic growth and development. We find that higher academic achievement reduces the willingness of young Kenyan women to appropriate others' labor income, and shifts players toward a 50-50 split norm in a modified dictator game. This study demonstrates that education may have long-run impacts on social preferences, norms and institutions beyond the human capital directly produced.
Jakiela, Pamela, Edward Miguel, and Vera L. te Velde. 2014. "You've Earned It: Estimating the Impact of Human Capital on Social Preferences," Experimental Economics, 10.1007/s10683-014-9409-9.
Scholars have identified ethnic divisions as a leading cause of underdevelopment, due partially to their adverse effects on public goods. We investigate this issue in post-war Sierra Leone, one of the world's poorest and most ethnically diverse countries. To address concerns over endogenous local ethnic composition, we use an instrumental variables strategy using earlier census data on ethnicity and include several historical and geographic covariates. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that local diversity is not associated with worse public goods provision across multiple outcomes and specifications, with precisely estimated zeros. We investigate the role of historical factors in generating the findings.
Glennerster, Rachel, Edward Miguel, and Alexander D. Rothenberg. 2013. "Collective Action in Diverse Sierra Leone Communities." Economic Journal 123 (568): 285-316.
The literature on the determinants of democratization was long dominated by a view that claimed a central role for economic development (“modernization”). Acemoglu et al. (2008, 2009) have recently challenged the robustness of empirical support for the modernization hypothesis. As an alternative they claim that democratization is likely to occur in moments of economic crisis. An article in a leading economics journal by Bruckner and Ciccone (2011) appears to offer strong support for this latter view; it claims that lagged adverse GDP shocks generated by poor rainfall generate “windows of opportunity” for democratization in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper, we present evidence that this provocative finding does not survive several sensible robustness checks, leading us to doubt if the paper offers new insights into the process of democratization.
Manuel Barron, Edward Miguel and Shanker Satyanath. 2013. "Economic Shocks and Democratization in Africa", Political Science Research and Methods, Available on CJO 2013 doi:10.1017/psrm.2013.27.
Ethnic identities are believed to be powerful motivators of behavior in Africa, but the source of their salience in political and social affairs remains debated. One perspective holds that ethnic identities are salient in Africa because they reflect traditional loyalties to kith and kin. By this view, ethnic identities are hardwired - intrinsically part of who people are - and their salience follows directly from their link to people's natural makeup. A contrary perspective argues that ethnicity is salient because it is functional. The world is a competitive place, proponents of this position hold, and in that world ethnicity serves as a useful tool for mobilizing people, policing boundaries, and building coalitions that can be deployed in the struggle for power and scarce resources. By this view, the salience of ethnicity is intrinsically bound up in political competition. In keeping with the conventional wisdom in the scholarly literature (e.g. Bates 1983; Horowitz 1985; Young 1976), we find strong evidence in favor of the latter perspective. In departure from that literature, however, we draw our conclusions from cross-national survey data rather than case studies and anecdotal evidence. This approach permits us to generalize across settings and puts us in a much stronger...
Eifert, Benn, Edward Miguel, and Daniel N. Posner. 2013. "Political Competition and Ethnic Identification in Africa." In Voting and Democratic Citizenship in Africa, edited by Michael Bratton, 61-78. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
A rapidly growing body of research examines whether human conflict can be affected by climatic changes. Drawing from archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology, we assemble and analyze the 60 most rigorous quantitative studies and document, for the first time, a remarkable convergence of results. We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict across a range of spatial and temporal scales and across all major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate's influence is substantial: for each 1 standard deviation (1σ) change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%. Because locations throughout the inhabited world are expected to warm 2 to 4σ by 2050, amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical impact of anthropogenic climate change.
Hsiang, Solomon M., Marshall Burke, and Edward, Miguel. 2013. "Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict." Science, 10.1126/science.1235367.
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.
We investigate the impact of U.S. bombing on later economic development in Vietnam. The Vietnam War featured the most intense bombing campaign in military history and had massive humanitarian costs. We use a unique U.S. military dataset containing bombing intensity at the district level (N = 584) to assess whether the war damage led to persistent local poverty traps. We compare the heavily bombed districts to other districts controlling for district demographic and geographic characteristics, and use an instrumental variable approach exploiting distance to the 17th parallel demilitarized zone. U.S. bombing does not have negative impacts on local poverty rates, consumption levels, infrastructure, literacy or population density through 2002. This finding indicates that even the most intense bombing in human history did not generate local poverty traps in Vietnam.
Miguel, Edward, and Gerard Roland. 2011. "The Long-run Impact of Bombing Vietnam." Journal of Development Economics 96 (1): 1-15.
In 2004, the Hugo Chávez regime in Venezuela distributed the list of several million voters who had attempted to remove him from office throughout the government bureaucracy, allegedly to identify and punish these voters. We match the list of petition signers distributed by the government to household survey respondents to measure the economic effects of being identified as a Chávez political opponent. We find that voters who were identified as Chávez opponents experienced a 5 percent drop in earnings and a 1.3 percentage point drop in employment rates after the voter list was released.
Hsieh, Chang-Tai, Edward Miguel, Daniel Ortega, and Francisco Rodriguez. 2011. "The Price of Political Opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3 (2): 196-214.
Most nations have experienced an internal armed conflict since 1960. Yet while civil war is central to many nations' development, it has stood at the periphery of economics research and teaching. The past decade has witnessed a long overdue explosion of research into war's causes and consequences. We summarize progress, identify weaknesses, and chart a path forward. Why war? Existing theory is provocative but incomplete, omitting advances in behavioral economics and making little progress in key areas, like why armed groups form and cohere, or how more than two armed sides compete. Empirical work finds that low per capita incomes and slow economic growth are both robustly linked to civil war. Yet there is little consensus on the most effective policies to avert conflicts or promote postwar recovery. Cross-country analysis of war will benefit from more attention to causal identification and stronger links to theory. We argue that micro-level analysis and case studies are also crucial to decipher war's causes, conduct, and consequences. We bring a growth theoretic approach to the study of conflict consequences to highlight areas for research, most of all the study of war's impact on institutions. We conclude with a plea for new and better data.
Blattman, Christopher, and Edward Miguel. 2010. "Civil War." Journal of Economic Literature 48 (1): 3-57.
This article draws on data from over 35,000 respondents in 22 public opinion surveys in 10 countries and finds strong evidence that ethnic identities in Africa are strengthened by exposure to political competition. In particular, for every month closer their country is to a competitive presidential election, survey respondents are 1.8 percentage points more likely to identify in ethnic terms. Using an innovative multinomial logit empirical methodology, we find that these shifts are accompanied by a corresponding reduction in the salience of occupational and class identities. Our findings lend support to situational theories of social identification and are consistent with the view that ethnic identities matter in Africa for instrumental reasons: because they are useful in the competition for political power.
Eifert, Benn, Edward Miguel, and Daniel N. Posner. 2010. "Political Competition and Ethnic Identification in Africa." American Journal of Political Science 54 (2): 494-510.
Two billion people are infected with intestinal worms. In many areas, the majority of schoolchildren are infected, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for school-based mass deworming. The key area for debate is not whether deworming medicine works--in fact, the medical literature finds that treatment is highly effective, and thus the standard of care calls for treating any patient known to harbor an infection. As the authors of the Cochrane systematic review point out, a critical issue in evaluating current soil-transmitted helminth policies is whether the benefits of deworming exceed the costs or whether it would be more prudent to use the money for other purposes. While in general we think the Cochrane approach is very valuable, we argue below that many of the underlying studies of deworming suffer from three critical methodological problems: treatment externalities in dynamic infection systems, inadequate measurement of cognitive outcomes and school attendance, and sample attrition. We then argue that the currently available evidence from studies that address these issues is consistent with the consensus view expressed by other reviews and by policymakers that deworming is a very cost-effective way to increase school participation and has a high benefit to cost ratio.
Bundy, Donald A. P., Michael Kremer, Hoyt Bleakley, Matthew C. H. Jukes, and Edward Miguel. 2009. "Deworming and Development: Asking the Right Questions, Asking the Questions Right." PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 3 (1): e362.
We study a randomized evaluation of a merit scholarship program in which Kenyan girls who scored well on academic exams had school fees paid and received a grant. Girls showed substantial exam score gains, and teacher attendance improved in program schools. There were positive externalities for girls with low pretest scores, who were unlikely to win a scholarship. We see no evidence for weakened intrinsic motivation. There were heterogeneous program effects. In one of the two districts, there were large exam gains and positive spillovers to boys. In the other, attrition complicates estimation, but we cannot reject the hypothesis of no program effect.
Kremer, Michael, Edward Miguel, and Rebecca Thorton. 2009. "Incentives to Learn." Review of Economics and Statistics 91 (3): 437-456.
This study exploits a new longitudinal dataset to examine selective migration among 1,500 Kenyan youth originally living in rural areas. We examine whether migration rates are related to individual "ability", broadly defined to include cognitive aptitude as well as health, and then use these estimates to determine how much of the urban-rural wage gap in Kenya is due to selection versus actual productivity differences. Whereas previous empirical work has focused on schooling attainment as a proxy for cognitive ability, we employ an arguably preferable measure, a pre-migration primary school academic test score. Pre-migration randomized assignment to a deworming treatment program provides variation in health status. We find a positive relationship between both measures of human capital (cognitive ability and deworming) and subsequent migration, though only the former is robust at standard statistical significance levels. Specifically, an increase of two standard deviations in academic test score increases the likelihood of rural-urban migration by 17%. Accounting for migration selection due to both cognitive ability and schooling attainment does not explain more than a small fraction of the sizeable urban-rural wage gap in Kenya, suggesting that productivity differences across sectors remain large.
Miguel, Edward, and Joan Hamory. 2009. "Individual Ability and Selection into Migration in Kenya." United Nations Development Programme: Human Development Reports Research Paper 45.
We study the brutal 1991-2002 Sierra Leone civil war using nationally representative household data on conflict experiences, postwar economic outcomes, local politics and collective action. Individuals whose households directly experienced more intense war violence are robustly more likely to attend community meetings, more likely to join local political and community groups, and more likely to vote. Tests using prewar controls and alternative samples suggest that selection into victimization is unlikely to be driving the results. More speculatively, the findings could help partially explain the rapid postwar political and economic recoveries observed in Sierra Leone and after several other recent African civil wars.
Bellows, John, and Edward Miguel. 2009. "War and Local Collective Action in Sierra Leone." Journal of Public Economics 93 (11-12): 1144-1157.
Armed conflict within nations has had disastrous humanitarian consequences throughout much of the world. Here we undertake the first comprehensive examination of the potential impact of global climate change on armed conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. We find strong historical linkages between civil war and temperature in Africa, with warmer years leading to significant increases in the likelihood of war. When combined with climate model projections of future temperature trends, this historical response to temperature suggests a roughly 54% increase in armed conflict incidence by 2030, or an additional 393,000 battle deaths if future wars are as deadly as recent wars. Our results suggest an urgent need to reform African governments' and foreign aid donors' policies to deal with rising temperatures.
Burke, Marshall B., Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, John A. Dykema, and David B. Lobell. 2009. "Warming Increases the Risk of Civil War in Africa." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (49): 20670-20674.
Understanding the possible pitfalls of survey data is critical for empirical research. Among other things, poor data quality can lead to biased regression estimates, potentially resulting in incorrect interpretations that mislead researchers and policymakers alike. Common data problems include difficulties in tracking respondents and high survey attrition, enumerator error and bias, and respondent reporting error. This paper describes and analyzes these issues in Round 1 of the Kenyan Life Panel Survey (KLPS-1), collected in 2003-2005. The KLPS-1 is an innovative longitudinal dataset documenting a wide range of outcomes for Kenyan youths who had originally attended schools participating in a deworming treatment program starting in 1998. The careful design of this survey allows for examination of an array of data quality issues.
Baird, Sarah, Joan Hamory Hicks, and Edward Miguel. (2008). “Tracking, Attrition and Data Quality in the Kenyan Life Panel Survey Round 1 (KLPS-1)”, University of California CIDER Working Paper #C08-151.
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.
Fisman, Raymond, and Edward Miguel. 2007. "Corruption, Norms and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets." Journal of Political Economy 115 (6): 1020-1048.
This chapter is devoted to discussions of how assessments of early childhood development (ECD) interventions in developing countries can be improved and extended. There are estimates that ECD problems are widespread in developing countries, increasing evidence that what happens in early childhood affects significantly options and productivities over the life cycles but very little systematic evidence to support that the impacts of these ECD programs are large or, more importantly, that the benefit-to-cost ratios of ECD interventions are high – particularly in light of the heterogeneous market, policy, and cultural contexts across developing countries that may limit the transferability of inferences from one context to another. Therefore the returns are potentially great not only for those who already are persuaded that more resources should be devoted to EDC interventions in developing countries in order that they can make their case more persuasively but also for those who are concerned more broadly about prioritizing resource allocations across what might seem to be a number of strong but difficult-to-compare alternatives ranging from other human resource investments to physical infrastructure investments to...
Behrman, Jere, Paul Glewwe, and Edward Miguel. (2007). "Methodologies to Evaluate Early Childhood Development Programs", World Bank Doing Impact Evaluation #9.
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.
Evans, David K., and Edward Miguel. 2007. "Orphans and Schooling in Africa: A Longitudinal Analysis." Demography 44 (1): 35-57.
Dozens of countries around the world have suffered civil conflicts in the past few decades, with the highest concentration in Sub-Saharan Africa. The direct humanitarian consequences of war for survivors are enormous in physical insecurity, loss of property, and psychological trauma. There may also be lasting economic development costs for societies that experience violent civil conflicts. And the international “spillover” effects of conflicts can be large for neighboring countries faced with refugee flows, lawlessness on their borders, and the illicit trades in drugs, arms, and minerals that proliferate in conflict zones. This insecurity has foreign policy implications for the United States along multiple dimensions. But what causes this insecurity and what can be done about it? In this chapter, I first describe recent academic research that finds a strong link leading from poverty to violence in less developed countries. I then lay out some of the implications of this core finding for public policy and in particular for the design of foreign aid.
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.
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.
Karol, David, and Edward Miguel. 2007. "The Electoral Cost of War: Iraq Casualties and the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election." Journal of Politics 69 (3): 633-648.
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.
The volume Health and Economic Growth: Findings and Policy Implications is evidence of the growing awareness within economics of the important connections between health and poverty in less developed countries. The aim of this chapter is to review recent evidence on one potential channel through which health may affect income: education.
Miguel, Edward. 2005. "Health, Education, and Economic Development." In Health and Economic Growth: Findings and Policy Implications, edited by Guillem López-Casasnovas, Berta Rivera and Luis Currais, 140-168. Cambridge: MIT Press.
This study uses rainfall variation to estimate the impact of income shocks on murder in rural Tanzania. Extreme rainfall (drought or flood) leads to a large increase in the murder of "witches"--typically elderly women killed by relatives--but not other murders. The findings provide novel evidence on the role of income shocks in causing violent crime, and religious violence in particular.
Miguel, Edward. 2005. "Poverty and Witch Killing." Review of Economic Studies 72 (4): 1153-1172.
Social scientists studying entrepreneurship have emphasized three distinct sets of variables: the institutional environment, sociological variables, and personal and psychological characteristics. We are conducting surveys in five large developing and transition economies to better understand entrepreneurship. In this short paper, using over 2,000 interviews from a pilot study in Russia, we find evidence that the three sets of variables matter: perceptions of the local institutional environment, social network effects, and individual characteristics are all important in determining entrepreneurial behavior.
Djankov, Simeon, Edward Miguel, Yingyi Qian, Gerard Roland, and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. 2005. "Who are Russia's Entrepreneurs?." Journal of the European Economic Association 3 (2-3): 587-597.
Estimating the impact of economic conditions on the likelihood of civil conflict is difficult because of endogeneity and omitted variable bias. We use rainfall variation as an instrumental variable for economic growth in 41 African countries during 1981-99. Growth is strongly negatively related to civil conflict: a negative growth shock of five percentage points increases the likelihood of conflict by one?half the following year. We attempt to rule out other channels through which rainfall may affect conflict. Surprisingly, the impact of growth shocks on conflict is not significantly different in richer, more democratic, or more ethnically diverse countries.
Miguel, Edward, Shanker Satyanath, and Ernest Sergenti. 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach." Journal of Political Economy 112 (4): 725-753.
This article examines how government policies affect ethnic relations by comparing outcomes across two nearby districts, one in Kenya and one in Tanzania, using colonial-era boundary placement as a "natural experiment." Despite similar geography and historical legacies, governments in Kenya and Tanzania have followed radically different language, education, and local institutional policies, with Tanzania consistently pursuing more serious nation building. The evidence suggests that nation building has allowed diverse communities in rural Tanzania to achieve considerably better local public goods outcomes than diverse communities in Kenya. To illustrate, while Kenyan communities at mean levels of diversity have 25 percent less local school funding than homogeneous communities on average, the comparable figure in the Tanzanian district is near zero. The Kenya-Tanzania comparison provides empirical evidence that serious reforms can ameliorate social divisions and suggests that nation-building should take a place on policy agendas, especially in Africa.
Miguel, Edward. 2004. "Tribe or Nation? Nation Building and Public Goods in Kenya Versus Tanzania." World Politics 56 (3): 327-362.
Intestinal helminths--including hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and schistosomiasis--infect more than one-quarter of the world's population. Studies in which medical treatment is randomized at the individual level potentially doubly underestimate the benefits of treatment, missing externality benefits to the comparison group from reduced disease transmission, and therefore also underestimating benefits for the treatment group. We evaluate a Kenyan project in which school-based mass treatment with deworming drugs was randomly phased into schools, rather than to individuals, allowing estimation of overall program effects. The program reduced school absenteeism in treatment schools by one-quarter, and was far cheaper than alternative ways of boosting school participation. Deworming substantially improved health and school participation among untreated children in both treatment schools and neighboring schools, and these externalities are large enough to justify fully subsidizing treatment. Yet we do not find evidence that deworming improved academic test scores.
Miguel, Edward, and Michael Kremer. 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities." Econometrica 72 (1): 159-217.
Miguel, Edward. 2003. "Comment on: Social Capital and Growth." Journal of Monetary Economics 50: 195-198.
OBJECTIVE: To report on the haemoglobin concentrations and prevalence of anaemia in schoolchildren in eight countries in Africa and Asia. DESIGN: Blood samples were collected during surveys of the health of schoolchildren as a part of programmes to develop school-based health services. SETTING: Rural schools in Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Vietnam. SUBJECTS: Nearly 14 000 children enrolled in basic education in three age ranges (7±11 years, 12±14 years and ≥15 years) which reflect the new UNICEF/WHO thresholds to define anaemia. RESULTS: Anaemia was found to be a severe public health problem (defined as .40% anaemic) in five African countries for children aged 7±11 years and in four of the same countries for children aged 12±14 years. Anaemia was not a public health problem in the children studied in the two Asian countries. More boys than girls were anaemic, and children who enrolled late in school were more likely to be anaemic than children who enrolled closer to the correct age. The implications of the four new thresholds defining anaemia for school-age children are examined. CONCLUSIONS: Anaemia is a significant problem in schoolchildren in sub-Saharan Africa. School-based health services which provide treatments for simple conditions that cause blood loss, such as worms, followed by...
Hall, Andrew, Emily Bobrow, Simon Brooker, Matthew Jukes, Kate Nokes, Jane Lambo, Helen Guyatt, Don Bundy, Sam Adjei, Su-Tung Wen, Satoto, Hertanto Subagio, Mohammed Zen Rafiluddin, Ted Miguel, Sylvie Moulin, Joseph de Graft Johnson, Mary Mukaka, Nathalie Roschnik, Moussa Sacko, Anna Zacher, Bonifacio Mahumane, Charles Kihamia, Lillian Mwanri, Simon Tatala, Nicholas Lwambo, Julius Siza, Le Nguyen Bao Khanh, Ha Huy Khoi, and Nguyen Duy Toan. 2001. "Anaemia in Schoolchildren in Eight Countries in Africa and Asia." Public Health Nutrition 4(3): 749-756.
Data from 46 schools in western Kenya were used to investigate the performance of school-based questionnaires, on reported blood in stool and water-contact patterns, as indicators of the prevalence of human infection with Schistosoma mansoni. Prevalence of infection was associated with the prevalence of self-reported blood in stool, recent history of swimming and recent history of fishing. It was shown that use of a threshold of 30% of subjects reporting blood in stool would identify 42.9% of the `high-prevalence’ schools (i.e. prevalence ≥ 50%) and 87.5% of the `low-prevalence’ schools (i.e. prevalence < 50%). A threshold of 25% reporting swimming would identify 57.1% and 93.7% of the high- and low-prevalence schools, respectively. Blood in stool appears to be too coarse an indicator to identify schools for mass treatment correctly. Although the use of multiple questions improved the diagnostic performance of the questionnaire in identifying the high-prevalence schools, it was unclear how questions can best be combined in other settings. However, there is a direct relationship between prevalence of S. mansoni infection and distance of the school from the lakeshore; analysis indicated that use of a threshold of 5 km...
Brooker, Simon, Edward A. Miguel, Polycarp Waswa, Robert Namunyu, Sylvie Moulin, Helen Guyatt, and Donald A.P. Bundy. 2001. "The Potential of Rapid Screening Methods for Intestinal Schistosomiasis in Western Kenya." Annals of Tropical Medicine & Parasitology 95(4): 343-351.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the patterns of single and multiple helminth infection in school children from Busia District, Kenya. DESIGN: A cross-sectional school survey using a randomly selected sample, forming part of an evaluation study of an ongoing deworming project. SETTING: Budalangi and Funyula divisions of Busia District, Western Province, Kenya. SUBJECTS: One thousand seven hundred and thirty eight school children aged 8-20 years randomly selected from those enrolled in standards 3-8 in 25 randomly selected primary schools. RESULTS: Overall, 91.7% of children were infected with either hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura or Schistosoma mansoni. Infection prevalence of each species varied considerably among schools, being most marked for S. mansoni, where prevalence was highest in lakeshore schools. Children were typically infected with two or more species of helminth. Infection intensity of each geohelminth species was higher in school children infected with multiple species than in school children with single species infections, and intensity increased with the number of concurrent infections. CONCLUSION: Helminth infections are exceptionally common among school children in Busia district, thus confirming the good sense of the school-based approach adopted by the control programme. The study also shows that there is an association between concurrent infection and the intensity of infection, which may have...
Brooker, Simon, Edward A. Miguel, Sylvie Moulin, Alfred I. Louba, Donald A.P. Bundy, and Michael Kremer. 2000. "Epidemiology of Single and Multiple Species of Helminth Infections Among School Children in Busia District, Kenya." East African Medical Journal 77(3): 157-161.