My paper, co-authored with Guigonan Serge Adjognon and Aly Sanoh, on changes in experienced food security associated with the coronavirus pandemic is now forthcoming at Food Policy. In the paper, we combine pre-pandemic survey data with follow-up phone survey data from Mali, and find some interesting—and perhaps surprising—patterns in experienced food security within Mali. Here is the abstract:Continue reading
New research by David McKenzie, Aakash Mohpal, and Dean Yang finds that exogenously increased financial aspirations lead to less borrowing and business investments two years later.
This finding is consistent with existing evidence, using observational data, of an inverted U-shaped relationship between the aspirations gap and ‘future oriented’ behavior such as investments (by me), education spending (by Phillip Ross), on saving (by Janzen et al.), and existing theoretical work (by Genicot and Ray). It is an important finding because while aspirations may be an important factor that can lead to increased ‘future oriented’ behavior, increasing aspirations by themselves may not necessarily be beneficial if setting aspirations ‘too high’ can lead to frustration and possibly a behavioral poverty trap.Continue reading
In 2014, while I was completing my M.S. degree at MSU, I worked as a research assistant on a data collection project in Mon State Myanmar. As part of this work, I designed a module to be included in a larger household survey that aimed to measure the hopes and aspirations of respondents. That initial work, which was largely a data validation effort, was published in the Journal of Development Studies in 2018.
I am now very happy to report that my paper investigating the relationship between aspirations and investment choices, using these data, is now forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Inequality. Here is the abstract:Continue reading
I am happy to announce that a short research note titled “COVID-19 and Conflict,” co-authored with Colette Salemi, is now out in World Development. It is a modest study, but one that we hope will inspire and motivate future research relating to pandemic-related disruptions and inter-group conflict. Here are some highlights:Continue reading
The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world. We all know this, and live it every single day. One of the many questions swirling around the pandemic is what are the consequences of the pandemic on outcomes other than case counts and mortality?Continue reading
In a short article on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog, my colleague Colette Salemi writes about our research on trends in conflict events and the coronavirus pandemic around the world. Basically, we really lack sufficient evidence to make credible claims about the relationship between the pandemic and violent conflict and simple time-series analysis highlights that the relationship may be highly variable across contexts.Continue reading
That is the title of a recent New York Times article, by Peter S. Goodman, Abdi Latif Dahir, and on how complications driven by the spread of the coronavirus has led to increased challenges for many people in accessing nutritious and healthy food. The article is a tour de force—reporting from Afghanistan, South Africa, India, South Sudan, and Kenya—and begins with the following vignette.
A cool paper on the impact of maternal health on child health, by Leah Bevis and Kira Villa, is now forthcoming in the Journal of Human Resources. I’ve had the opportunity to see this paper presented by both Leah and Kira at multiple conferences over the last few years. It really is excellent work by two very talented economists.
The headline result is that a mother’s health impacts their child’s health throughout childhood. Thus, previous estimates of the transmission rate of maternal health on child health at a single point in time underestimate the full effect.
I recently stumbled upon this new(ish) paper, by Benjamin Crost and Joseph Felter published in the June 2020 issue of the Journal of the European Economic Association. This paper shows a plausibly causal link between the export value of agricultural products (e.g. bananas in this case) and violent civil conflict. This is an important and interesting link because decades-old theories of economic development suggest the shift to high-value (and export-oriented) agricultural production is an important mechanism driving economic growth and poverty reduction.
Let’s dig into this bananas paper! (Okay, sorry about that.)
The natural resource curse (sometimes called “Dutch disease”) was one of my first fascinations in development economics. It represents the apparent “paradox” of a boom in natural resource wealth leading to less economic growth. There are, of course, numerous theories as to why this observation persists. One popular theory, that is repeatedly tested empirically, is that sharp and dramatic changes in the prices of these resources lead to conflict, which in turn slows economic growth.