Tobacco kills more people each year than HIV/AIDs, malaria and TB combined. The number of smokers is rising in developing countries and will contribute to 1 billion premature deaths in this century unless countries implement well-known, cost-effective tobacco control policies, including higher tobacco taxes. Such taxes not only save lives but also increase revenues and reduce poverty among households whose members quit smoking.
Many authoritarian regimes wield the threat of repression to maintain power despite a lack of popular support. In such contexts, citizens who do not support the regime must assess the risk of publicly expressing their dissent and make decisions about how to behave in low-information, emotionally-charged environments. I draw from cognitive psychology to argue that the emotion of fear affects how citizens perceive and process information about repression risk. Specifically, fear makes citizens pessimistic in their perceptions of the risk of repression, and risk averse. I test the implications of this theory using a lab-in-the-field experiment with 671 urban and rural opposition supporters in Zimbabwe. I find that fear reduces participation in dissent by between 14 and 77% on a range of hypothetical and behavioral measures. There is also evidence for a cognitive channel: fear increases pessimism about others' actions and the personal risk of repression as well as risk aversion. These results suggest that emotions can be used strategically to enhance repressive threats to demobilize citizens.
Bureaucracies with field operations that cannot be easily supervised and monitored are often caught in two potential sources of dysfunctions: field agents using asymmetric information to their own advantage, and limiting fields agents’ ability to use the same information to improve projects. In his new paper, Dan Honig examines this trade-off in the context international development organizations (IDOs).
This London, UK event, co-hosted by Nesta and the Center for Global Development in Europe, will introduce the Global Innovation Fund and its mission, highlight its first investments and grants, and showcase some of the innovators.
Confirmed speakers include: Michael Anderson (CEO, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation), Owen Barder (Vice President, Center for Global Development), Geoff Mulgan (Chief Executive, Nesta), Kanini Mutooni (Director of Investments & ICT for the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub) and Alix Zwane (CEO, Global Innovation Fund).
Join Nancy Birdsall for a bipartisan conversation with Raj Shah and Michael Gerson on the future of US foreign assistance: what works, what doesn’t, why we should care, and what we should do to reform it.
Shah, USAID Administrator under President Obama, and Gerson, assistant to President George W. Bush for policy and strategic planning, are co-authors of “Foreign Assistance and the Revolution of Rigor” in the recently released second edition of Moneyball for Government.
The economic consequences of large-scale government investments in education depend on the general equilibrium (GE) effects in both the labor market and the education sector. I develop a novel general equilibrium model and derive sufficient statistics that capture the economic consequences of a massive countrywide schooling initiative implemented by the Indian government. I provide unbiased estimates of the sufficient statistics using a Regression Discontinuity design. The earnings returns to a year of education are 13.4%. The general equilibrium labor market effects are substantial: they depress the returns to skill and dampen the increase in economic benefits. These GE effects have distributional consequences across cohorts and skill groups, where as a result of the policy unskilled workers are better off and skilled workers are worse off. In the education sector, more private schools enter these markets negating concerns of crowd-out. These results indicate that researchers and policymakers need to consider the GE effects when scaling up micro-interventions.
We develop and implement a novel, mobile phone-based information clearinghouse, and experimentally evaluate its ability to overcome information asymmetries and improve public service delivery to farmers in Punjab, Pakistan. Like many crowdsourcing websites, our clearinghouse collects and disseminates ratings—here, on the success of government veterinarians in inseminating livestock. We find that, compared to control, farmers receiving ratings enjoy 27 percent higher insemination success. This effect is entirely due to increased veterinarian effort, rather than farmers switching veterinarians. Treatment farmers are also 33 percent more likely to return to a government veterinarian rather than seeking a private provider. These results suggest large welfare benefits from a low-cost information intervention, which holds out hope for improved government accountability for the poor using basic mobile technology.
Illegal disposal of toxic waste has become an issue of concern in both developing and developed countries. Recent ancedotal evidence has highlighted that hazardous waste is shipped from developed countries and illegally dumped in Africa, in particular in the area of the Horn of Africa, during road construction works. The potential health and economic consequences on the local population are devastating.
In this seminar, Caterina Gennaioli (along with Gaia Narciso, Trinity College Dublin) uses extensive data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and GPS data to analyse the relationship between recently-built roads and the health status of households. They disentangle the effect of common road pollution from the effect of hazardous waste by focusing on specific health measures which the medical literature has linked to toxic waste exposure: infant mortality, severe anaemia and a person's haemoglobin level.
In this paper I study the effects of an increase in school choice by examining a 2008 reform that made the value of Chile's (previously flat, universal) school voucher a step function of student income. This policy increased the proportion of private schools that low income, eligible children could access free of charge from 0.5 to 0.7. I identify the impact of the policy by combining its introduction with variation from a date of birth enrollment cutoff for 1st grade. I show that the differentiated voucher lowered the probability that students used public schools by a small fraction and that these students shifted out of low achievement public schools to enroll in low achievement private schools. Nonetheless, private schools where these students enrolled had better test scores and socioeconomic composition at baseline, and less experienced teachers and smaller class sizes than public schools where they would have enrolled in the absence of the program. Despite the improvement in some school observable characteristics, test scores did not increase for students more likely to move to private schools. Further analysis suggests a rise in test scores for students in public schools. These results suggest that the policy had an overall modest positive effect on test scores, but that this positive effect was caused by responses from public schools instead of by the re-sorting of students into private schools.
The private sector accounts for the considerable majority of well-paying jobs worldwide. Without the engagement of private companies, global goals for gender equality in the workplace and women’s economic empowerment will never be accomplished. How can companies move beyond traditional corporate social responsibility to combine profits with gender progress?