The lack of reliable development statistics for many poor countries has led the U.N. to call for a “data revolution” (United Nations, 2013).
We partnered with a micro-lender in Mali to randomize credit offers at the village level. Then, in no-loan control villages, we gave cash grants to randomly selected households. These grants led to higher agricultural investments and profits, thus showing that liquidity constraints bind with respect to agricultural investment.
How Has the Developing World Changed since the Late 1990s? A Dynamic and Multidimensional Taxonomy of Developing Countries - Working Paper 375
Many existing classifications of developing countries are dominated by income per capita (such as the World Bank’s low, middle and high income thresholds), thus neglecting the multidimensionality of the concept of ‘development’. Even those deemed to be the main ‘alternatives’ to the income-based classification have income per capita heavily weighted within a composite indicator.
How Should Donors Respond to Resource Windfalls in Poor Countries? From Aid to Insurance - Working Paper 372
Natural resources are being discovered in more countries, both rich and poor. Many of the new and aspiring resource exporters are low-income countries that are still receiving substantial levels of foreign aid.
We report on a randomized field experiment using price incentives to address both economic and gender inequality in land tenure formalization.
While measured remittances by migrant workers have soared in recent years, macroeconomic studies have difficulty detecting their effect on economic growth. We review existing explanations for this puzzle and propose three new ones. First, we offer evidence that a large majority of the recent rise in measured remittances may be illusory—arising from changes in measurement, not changes in real financial flows.
Reliable estimates of the effects of violence on economic outcomes are scarce. We exploit the manyfold increase in homicides in 2008-2011 in Mexico resulting from its war on organized drug traffickers to estimate the effect of drug-related homicides on house prices.
Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States - Working Paper 360
We perform the first comprehensive fiscal incidence analyses in Brazil and the US, including direct cash and food transfers, targeted housing and heating subsidies, public spending on education and health, and personal income, payroll, corporate income, property, and expenditure taxes.
Development as Diffusion: Manufacturing Productivity and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Missing Middle - Working Paper 357
We consider economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa from the perspective of slow convergence of productivity, both across sectors and across firms within sectors.
Many countries in Africa suffer high rates of underemployment or low rates of productive employment; many also anticipate large numbers of people to enter the workforce in the near future. This paper asks the question: Are African firms creating fewer jobs than those located in other parts of the world? And, if so, why?
The Median Is the Message: A Good-Enough Measure of Material Well-Being and Shared Development Progress - Working Paper 351
We argue that survey-based median household consumption expenditure (or income) per capita be incorporated into standard development indicators, as a simple, robust, and durable indicator of typical individual material well-being in a country.