Publications by Type: Miscellaneous

Pande, Rohini, Abraham Holland, and Erica Field. Forthcoming. “Microfinance: Points of Promise.” Contemporary and Emerging Issues, for W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Ed. Jean Kimmel.
Khwaja, Asim, Tahir Andrabi, and Jishnu Das. Forthcoming. “Delivering Education: A Pragmatic Framework for Improving Education in Low-Income Countries.” Handbook of International Education.Abstract
Even as primary school enrollments have increased in most low income countries levels of learning remain low and highly unequal. Responding to greater parental demand for quality, low cost private schools have emerged as one of the fastest growing schooling options, challenging the monopoly of state provided education and broadening the set of educational providers. Historically, the rise of private schooling is always deeply intertwined with debates around who chooses what schooling is about and who represents the interests of children. We believe that this time is no different. But rather than first resolve the question of how child welfare is to be adjudicated, we argue instead for a `pragmatic framework’. In our pragmatic framework, policy takes into account the full schooling environment which includes public, private and other types of providers and is actively concerned with first alleviating constraints that prohibit parents and schools from fulfilling their own stated objectives. Using policy actionable experiments as examples, we show that the pragmatic approach can lead to better schooling for children: Alleviating constraints by providing better information, better access to finance or greater access to skilled teachers brings in more children into school and increases test scores in language and Mathematics. These areas of improvement are very similar to those where there is already abroad societal consensus that improvement is required.
Sheely, Ryan. Forthcoming. “Regimes & Randomization: Experimental Evidence from Rural Kenya.” Field Research in Authoritarian Conditions. Eds. Paul Good and Ariel Ahram. Oxford University Press.
Andrabi, Tahir, Jishnu Das, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Tara Vishwanath, and Tristan Zajonc. Forthcoming. “Learning and Educational Achievements in Punjab Schools (LEAPS): Insights to inform the education policy debate.” Forthcoming, Oxford University Press., 1-199. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There have been dramatic changes in the educational landscape of Pakistan in the new millennium. Enrollments are starting to look up with a one percentage point jump in net enrollments between 2001 and 2005. In addition, secular, co-educational and for-profit private schools have become a widespread presence in both urban and rural areas. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of private schools increased from 32,000 to 47,000 and by the end of 2005, one in every three enrolled children at the primary level was studying in a private school.

Pande, Rohini, Michael Greenstone, Janhavi Nilekani, Nicholas Ryan, Anant Sudarshan, and Anish Sugathan. 2015. “Lower Pollution, Longer Lives. Life Expectancy Gains if India Reduced Particulate Matter Pollution.” Economic and Political Weekly,February 21m 2015, 50, 8, 40-46. Publisher's VersionAbstract

India’s population is exposed to dangerously high levels of air pollution. Using a combination of ground-level in situ measurements and satellite-based remote sensing data, this paper estimates that 660 million people, over half of India’s population, live in areas that exceed the Indian National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate pollution. Reducing pollution in these areas to achieve the standard would, we estimate, increase life expectancy for these Indians by 3.2 years on average for a total of 2.1 billion life years. We outline directions for environmental policy to start achieving these gains.

Pande, Rohini. 2015. “Keeping Women Safe.” Harvard Magazine, January-February, 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Addressing the root causes of violence against women in South Asia

Callen, Michael, Joshua E. Blumenstock, Tarek Ghani, and Lucas Koepke. 2015. “Promises and Pitfalls of Mobile Money in Afghanistan: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Despite substantial interest in the potential for mobile money to positively impact the lives of the poor, little empirical evidence exists to substantiate these claims. In this paper, we present the results of a field experiment in Afghanistan that was designed to increase adoption of mobile money, and determine if such adoption led to measurable changes in the lives of the adopters. The specific intervention we evaluate is a mobile salary payment program, in which a random subset of individuals of a large firm were transitioned into receiving their regular salaries in mobile money rather than in cash.

We separately analyze the impact of this transition on both the employer and the individual employees. For the employer, there were immediate and significant cost savings; in a dangerous physical environment, they were able to effectively shift the costs of managing their salary supply chain to the mobile phone operator. For individual employees, however, the results were more ambiguous. Individuals who were transitioned onto mobile salary payments were more likely to use mobile money, and there is evidence that these accounts were used to accumulate small balances that may be indicative of savings. However, we find little consistent evidence that mobile money had an immediate or significant impact on several key indicators of individual wealth or well-being. Taken together, these results suggest that while mobile salary payments may increase the efficiency and transparency of traditional systems, in the short run the benefits may be realized by those making the payments, rather than by those receiving them.

Hanna, Rema, Vivi Alatas, Abhijit Banerjee, Benjamin Olken, Matthew Wai-Poi, and Ririn Purnamasari. 2014. “Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia.” International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), Impact Evaluation Report, 12. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Governments of developing countries often lack verifiable income information for poor people and communities. This makes targeting for social programs a challenge. This report provides results from a randomised control trial that was designed to better understand how to improve targeting in Indonesia. Specifically, during the expansion of Indonesia’s real conditional cash transfer program, Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH), we randomized three different targeting methodologies — proxy means testing, self-targeting and community targeting – across 600 villages. We found that, when poverty is defined by consumption, self-targeting identifies poorer beneficiaries than proxy means testing and it has lower administrative costs. Community targeting is less effective than proxy means testing in identifying the poor based on per capita consumption, but it results in higher satisfaction levels with the program.

Pande, Rohini, Michael Greenstone, Raahil Madhok, and Hardik Shah. 2013. “Water Pollution and Public health in India: The Potential for a Market-friendly Approach.” Health and South Asia.Harvard South Asia Institute, Harvard University., 61-67.
Pande, Rohini, and Petia Topalova. 2013. “Women in Charge.” International Monetary Fund's "Finance and Development," June 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A policy experiment in India suggests that placing female leaders in positions of power can dramatically change public attitudes

Pande, Rohini, and Seema Jayachandran. 2013. “Choice Not Genes: Probable Cause for the India-Africa Child Height Gap.” Economic and Political Weekly, August 24, 2013, 48, 34, 77-79. Publisher's Version pande_r_-_choice_not_genes.pdf
Callen, Michael, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, Abdul Rehman Khan, Yasir Khan, and Muhammad Zia Mehmood. 2013. “Improving Public Health Delivery in Punjab, Pakistan:Issues and Opportunities.” The Lahore Journal of Economics, September 2013, 18, SE, 249-269. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Pakistan has a large and dispersed primary public health system that gives citizens access to trained doctors and staff, and to subsidized medicines. However both the use of these facilities and health outcomes remain low. Improvements in information and communications technology provide exciting opportunities to leverage technology to improve management. This paper presents a detailed qualitative and quantitative study of the institutional context in which such interventions in the public health sector in Punjab would be trialed. We describe the structure and management of primary healthcare facilities, present selected results from a survey of a representative sample of basic health units, and identify some key issues. We also report and discuss officials’ responses to the question of how services might be improved.

Khwaja, Asim, Bailey Klinge, and Carlos del Carpio. 2013. “Enterprising Psychometrics and Poverty Reduction.” Springer Brief Series: Innovative Psychology for Poverty Reduction. Eds. Sharon Panulla & Stuard C. Carr, May 17, 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There is a huge lost opportunity in emerging markets. Between 310 and 380 million of small business owners want loans, and could earn very high rates of return on that additional capital if they could get it. Banks have this capital available, and want to let it out, particularly to small businesses since competition in that segment is low, unmet demand is high, and the interest rates that can be paid are very attractive. But the connection between the banks and entrepreneurs just isn't happening, because it is extremely difficult for banks to evaluate risk and know who to lend to. The entrepreneurs running these small businesses typically lack credit history and collateral. They don't have well-fomatted trustable financial statements, and many of their transactions are with cash. So banks have no means to identify the high-potential, honest entrepreneurs. Lending to small businesses in advanced economies suffered this same problem, until the banks started evaluating and serving small business more like they serve the mass individual segment rather than treating them as mini-corporations. One of the key innovations was to use individual borrowing history of the owner to evaluate risk for the small business loan, applying quantitative credit scoring. This approach lead to a rapid expansion in profitable and sustainable small business lending, because it leveraged what information was available, and did it in a way that kept transaction costs low so that banks could make a large number of smaller loans to businesses. But what can be done in emerging markets, where credit bureaus lack the depth and breadth of coverage?

Levy, Dan, and Dean Yang. 2013. “Competing for Jobs or Creating Jobs? The Impact of Immigration on Native-Born Unemployment in Venezuela, 1980-2003.” Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse, Penn State University Press, Ed. Ricardo Hausmann and Francisco R. Rodríguez.Abstract

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Venezuela had one of the poorest economies in Latin America, but by 1970 it had become the richest country in the region and one of the twenty richest countries in the world, ahead of countries such as Greece, Israel, and Spain. Between 1978 and 2001, however, Venezuela’s economy went sharply in reverse, with non-oil GDP declining by almost 19 percent and oil GDP by an astonishing 65 percent. What accounts for this drastic turnabout? The editors of Venezuela Before Chávez, who each played a policymaking role in the country’s economy during the past two decades, have brought together a group of economists and political scientists to examine systematically the impact of a wide range of factors affecting the economy’s collapse, from the cost of labor regulation and the development of financial markets to the weakening of democratic governance and the politics of decisions about industrial policy.

Yanagizawa-Drott, David. 2013. “Propaganda vs. Education; A Case Study of Hate Radio in Rwanda.” Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies, ed. Jonathan Auerbach and Russ Castronovo. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 378-394.Abstract

sponsored propaganda on political violence. It provides evidence of the hypothesis that basic education can limit the effectiveness of propaganda by increasing access to alternative media sources. It builds on the case study of the Rwandan Genocide in Yanagizawa-Drott (2011), and shows that the propaganda disseminated by the “hate radio” station RTLM did not affect participation in violence in villages where education levels, as measured by literacy rates, were relatively high. A discussion of the potential underlying mechanisms driving the results is presented. The methodological challenges of identifying causal effects of mass media and propaganda are also described, including recent innovations using statistical methods that may be used to overcome those challenges.

Pande, Rohini, and Deanna Ford. 2012. “Gender Quotas and Female Leadership: A Review.” Background Paper for the World Development Report on Gender. April, 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Despite significant advances in education and political participation, women remain underrepresented in leadership positions in politics and business across the globe. In many countries, policy-makers have responded by introducing gender quotas in politics and increasingly, many have expressed an interest in requiring gender quotas for corporate boards. This paper reviews the evidence on the equity and efficiency impacts of gender quotas for political positions and corporate board membership. Adoption of quotas by countries is likely correlated with attitudes about women within a country. However, the randomized allocation of political quotas in India and the unanticipated introduction of board quotas in Norway have allowed researchers to provide causal analysis and this review focuses on evidence from these two settings. The Indian evidence demonstrates that quotas increase female leadership and influences policy outcomes. In addition, rather than create a backlash against women, quotas can reduce gender discrimination in the long-term. The board quota evidence is more mixed. While female entry on boards is correlated with changing management practices, this change appears to adversely influence short-run profits. Whether this is partly driven by negative perceptions of female management choices remains an open question. Returning to the broader cross-country context, we find evidence in many different settings that political and corporate entities often act strategically to circumvent the intended impact of quotas. Consistent with this, we report suggestive evidence that the design of the quota and selection systems matter for increasing female leadership.

Pande, Rohini, Lori Beaman, and Alexandra Cirone. 2012. “Politics as a Male Domain and Empowerment in India.” Chapter 14 in The Impact of Gender Quotas: Women's Descriptive, Substantive, and Symbolic Representation. Ed. S. Franceschet, M. Kook, and J. Piscopo. Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

India is the world’s largest democracy, yet female presence in India’s state and national legislatures has consistently remained under 10 percent. In contrast, female representation in Iocal village councils has risen dramatically in the last twenty years. A constitutional amendment instituted in 1993 both devolved significant powers to village councils and instituted a quota system that required that one-third of village council leader positions be reserved for women. While the mandatory nature of the quota system implied that it led to an immediate increase in descriptive representation, our work with co-authors demonstrates that it also increased substantive representation.

Banerjee, Abhijit, Rema Hanna, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2012. “


.” The Handbook of Organizational Economics. Princeton University Press, 1109-1147. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this paper, we provide a new framework for analyzing corruption in public bureaucracies. The standard way to model corruption is as an example of moral hazard, which then leads to a focus on better monitoring and stricter penalties with the eradication of corruption as the final goal. We propose an alternative approach which emphasizes why corruption arises in the first place. Corruption is modeled as a consequence of the interaction between the underlying task being performed by bureaucrat, the bureaucrat's private incentives and what the principal can observe and control. This allows us to study not just corruption but also other distortions that arise simultaneously with corruption, such as red-tape and ultimately, the quality and efficiency of the public services provided, and how these outcomes vary depending on the specific features of this task. We then review the growing empirical literature on corruption through this perspective and provide guidance for future empirical research.

Chandra, Amitabh, Jinkook Lee, P Arokiasamy, Peifeng Hu, Jenny Liu, and Kevin Feeney. 2012. “

Markers and drivers: cardiovascular health of middle-aged and older indians

.” Aging in Asia: findings from new and emerging data initiatives. The National Academies Press, 387-414. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Using the 2010 pilot study of the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI), the authors examine the socioeconomic and behavioral risk factors for poor cardiovascular health among middle-aged and older Indians, focusing on self-reported and directly measured hypertension. The LASI pilot survey (N=1,683) was fielded in four states: Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, and Rajasthan. These four states were chosen to capture regional variations and socioeconomic and cultural differences. They find significant inter-state differences across multiple measures of cardiac health and risk factors for hypertension, including body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and health behaviors. In contrast to the findings from developed countries, they find education and other markers of higher socioeconomic status (SES) to be positively associated with hypertension. Among the hypertensive, however, they find that those at higher SES are less likely to be undiagnosed and more likely to be in better control of their blood pressure than respondents with low SES. They also find significant inter-state variations in hypertension prevalence, diagnosis, and management that remain even after accounting for socio economic differences, obesity, and health behaviors. They conclude by discussing these findings and their implications for public health and economic development in India and the developing country context more generally.

Khwaja, Asim, Tahir Andrabi, and Jishnu Das. 2011. “The Madrassa Controversy: The Story Does Not Fit The Facts.” Under the Drones: Modern Lives in Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands. Eds. Shahzad Bashir and Robert Crews. Harvard University Press, June 2011.Abstract

Over the last few years, US and international foreign policy concerns have focused on the rise of extremism in the Islamic world. Pakistan, considered as pivotal in the war on terror, is mentioned as prominent case. There is by now a widespread conventional narrative surrounding the role of the Pakistani educational system in the rise of religious extremism in the country. The general claim is that the public schooling system in Pakistan is failing especially for the poor. As a result, large numbers are exiting the state system both through attrition or lack of enrollment in the first place. Madrassas have proliferated to fill the vacuum as a result of the Pakistani state and society to provide mainstream schooling opportunities for its children, especially for the poorest segments of the population. This narrative has been presented in the international media and also in policy circles in the United States in many policy studies. The Af-Pak policy framework developed under the Obama administration has also highlighted this point.