News

Less work and more pray...

Less work and more pray...

July 2, 2016

The Economist

But Messrs Campante and Yanagizawa-Drott found that the most important reason for lower growth was that Muslims choose to work fewer hours. They are seemingly no less productive in years when fasts are longer. Surveys indicate that during those years they value work less and religion and leisure more. “You could say it is a healthy shift in attitudes,” says Mr Yanagizawa-Drott.

Why Small Farmers In Tamil Nadu Borrow Money At 60% Interest

Why Small Farmers In Tamil Nadu Borrow Money At 60% Interest

July 1, 2016

By Suraj Nair - IndiaSpend

For millions of small and marginal farmers across Tamil Nadu, a state ravaged by the monsoon’s growing vagaries, the story is the same. Their state is at the forefront of India’s financial-inclusion drive, but for Tamil Nadu’s small and marginal farmers, agricultural credit from formal institutions remains notoriously hard to secure.

Could a smartphone app give Pakistan the push it needs to be polio-free?

Could a smartphone app give Pakistan the push it needs to be polio-free?

June 22, 2016

By Shehryar Nabi - Dawn

Despite being closer than they have ever been to reaching their polio-free goal, the government's campaigns still have some problems: areas are often missed by health workers and unvaccinated children continue to fall through the cracks. [...] Researchers from UC San Diego, Harvard, University of Southern California and UC Berkley pitched an initiative to the Punjab government with an aim to understand health worker behaviour.

Caught in the middle

Caught in the middle

June 4, 2016

The Economist

Big and tiny firms often find it easier to borrow than medium-sized ones [...] The Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, a spin-off from a research initiative at Harvard University, is trying out psychometric testing as a way of assessing credit risk. Would-be borrowers complete a short online survey and the software quickly generates an alternative credit score, based on attributes like conscientiousness and confidence. “We want to collateralise people’s human capital,” says Asim Khwaja, a Harvard professor and co-founder of the project.

April wasn't January

April wasn't January

May 13, 2016

By Anant Sudarshan, Santosh Harish, Michael Greenstone, and Rohini Pande - The Indian Express

Neither pollution nor congestion significantly decreased as they did during the January experiment. An enduring solution lies in scaling up the smaller, successful programmes.

How to Prevent a Disaster for Children in Developing Countries

How to Prevent a Disaster for Children in Developing Countries

May 6, 2016

By Doug Gavel - Harvard Kennedy School

The disruption and harm caused by global climate change is expected to be even more pronounced in developing countries, and children in those countries could face myriad risks, but there are actions that can be taken now to reduce those risks.  A new paper authored by Rema Hanna identifies several possible policy solutions that can ameliorate the impact of climate change on the health and safety of children living in poor countries

Building the evidence base for developing countries: An example from the effect of pollution on infant health in Mexico

Building the evidence base for developing countries: An example from the effect of pollution on infant health in Mexico

April 16, 2016

By Eva Arceo, Rema Hanna, Paulina Oliva - VOX

Pollution levels are orders of magnitude higher in lower-income countries than in the developed world. This means that studies of the health effects of pollution based on data from the latter will not necessarily be relevant to the former. This column reports on the effect of air pollution on infant mortality in Mexico City. Significant effects are found that are much larger than found in earlier work based on US data, highlighting the potential pitfalls of extrapolating findings from high-income to developing countries.

How To Get India’s Women Working? First, Let Them Out Of The House

How To Get India’s Women Working? First, Let Them Out Of The House

April 9, 2016

By Rohini Pande, Jennifer Johnson, and Eric Dodge - IndiaSpend

India boasts superior rates of women serving in political office compared to other emerging economies: the nation just swore in its 16th female Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti. Yet it lags well behind its competitors in its rate of women’s labour force participation. There is surprisingly little data to answer why. But one reason stands out: women can’t get to work.

Asking the right question to get the right policy

Asking the right question to get the right policy

April 4, 2016

By Eric Dodge, Charity Troyer Moore, and Rohini Pande - Ideas for India

There is consensus in the development community on the importance of bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners; however, misaligned incentives underlie this gap. In this article, Pande, Moore and Dodge of Harvard Kennedy School, explain how bringing policymakers together with researchers to work more iteratively ensured that data from MGNREGA - the world’s largest public works programme - became accessible and relevant to those who use it.

How doorstep banking increased savings and income in Sri Lanka

How doorstep banking increased savings and income in Sri Lanka

March 30, 2016

By Michael Callen, Suresh de Mel, Craig McIntosh, and Christopher Woodruff - Ideas For India

Recent findings in development economics indicate that microloans are likely to perform best when accompanied by financial education, insurance, and savings products. This column presents evidence from an experiment in Sri Lanka, which involved offering saving accounts with door-to-door deposit collection services to otherwise unbanked rural households. It suggests that the programme incentivised participants to increase savings by increasing their income.