Publications by Type: Miscellaneous

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.
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.
Levy, Dan, Anca Dumitrescu, and Matt Sloan. 2011. “

Impact evaluation of Niger's IMAGINE program

.” Mathematica Policy Research, 1-104. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The IMAGINE program was designed to improve educational outcomes of girls in Niger. IMAGINE was funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and was a component of the three-year Threshold Program in Niger (NTP) dedicated to reducing corruption, registering more businesses, promoting land titling, and increasing girls’ school enrollment, attendance, and completion rates. In December 2009, MCC suspended the NTP in the midst of implementation due to undemocratic actions undertaken by the government. While most of the NTP components were not sufficiently implemented to allow for a rigorous evaluation of their intended impacts, the girls’ education project had been substantially implemented by that time and is thus the focus of our evaluation. The girls’ education program, locally known as IMAGINE, was implemented in 10 departments in Niger with low girls’ enrollment and primary school completion rates. Plan International, a nongovernmental organization, was responsible for implementing IMAGINE under the supervision of USAID, during 2008–2010.  The program consisted of constructing 68 primary schools and implementing a set of complementary interventions designed to increase girls’ enrollment and completion rates. The schools were based on a prototype that included three classrooms, housing for three female teachers, a preschool, and separate latrines for boys and girls equipped with hand- washing stations. Schools were deliberately located near a water source and a well was installed close by. The complementary interventions included designing and disseminating training modules for teachers, promoting extracurricular activities, providing teacher incentive awards, and conducting a mobilization campaign in support of girls’ education. Due to the suspension of the NTP, the IMAGINE program was only partially implemented. Sixty-two functional schools were constructed, but the majority of the complementary activities were not implemented. This report documents the main findings from the impact evaluation of the IMAGINE program. Overall, IMAGINE had a 4.3 percentage point positive impact on primary school enrollment, no impact on attendance, and no impact on math and French test scores. The program impacts were generally larger for girls than for boy . For girls, the program had an 8 percentage point positive impact on enrollment and a 5.4 per centage point impact on attendance. The program had no impact on girls’ math scores, though there is suggestive evidence it may have had a positive impact of 0.09 standard deviations on girls’ French test scores. No significant impacts were detected for boys’ enrollment, attendance, or test scores. Finally, impacts were larger for younger children (ages 7-10), than for those between the ages of 10 and 12.
Pande, Rohini, Michael Greenstone, Aparna Krishnan, Nicholas Ryan, and Anant Sudarshan. 2011. “

Improving human health through a market friendly emissions scheme

.” Seminar Volume for International Seminar on Global Environment and Disaster Management: Law and Society. Publisher's Version
Pande, Rohini, Esther Duflo, Michael Greenstone, and Nicholas Ryan. 2010. “

Towards an Emissions Trading Scheme for Air Pollutants in India

.” Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, 24.Abstract
Emissions trading schemes have great potential to lower pollution while minimizing compliance costs for firms in many areas now subject to traditional command-and-control regulation. This paper connects experience with emissions trading, from programs like the U.S. Acid Rain program, to lessons for implementation of a Trading Pilot Scheme in India. This experience suggests that four areas are especially important for successful implementation of an emissions trading scheme: setting the cap, allocating permits, monitoring and compliance. The introduction of emissions trading would position India as a clear leader in environmental regulation amongst emerging economies.
Hanna, Rema, Marianne Bertrand, Simeon Djankov, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2008. “Corruption in Driving Licenses in Delhi.” Economic and Political Weekly, 71-76. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper studies the process of obtaining a driving licence in Delhi. On the average, individuals pay about twice the official amount to obtain a licence and very few take the legally required driving test, resulting in many unqualified yet licenced drivers. The magnitude of distortions in the allocation of licences increases with citizens’ willingness to pay for licences. These results support the view that corruption does not merely reflect transfers from citizens to bureaucrats but that it distorts allocation. The paper also shows that partial anti-corruption measures have only a limited impact because players in this system adapt to the new environment. Specifically, a ban on agents at one regional transport office is associated with a high percentage of unqualified drivers overcoming the residency requirement and obtaining licenses at other RTOS.
Hanna, Rema, Esther Duflo, and Michael Greenstone. 2008. “Indoor Air Pollution, Health, and Economic Well-being.” Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society, 1, 1, 7-16. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Indoor air pollution (IAP) caused by solid fuel use and or traditional cooking stoves is a global health threat, particularly for women and young children. The WHO World Health Report 2002 estimates that IAP is responsible for 2.7% of the loss of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) worldwide and 3.7% in high mortality developing countries. Despite the magnitude of this problem, social scientists have only recently begun to pay closer attention to this issue and to test strategies for reducing IAP. In this paper, we provide a survey of the current literature on the relationship between indoor air pollution, respiratory health and economic well-being. We then discuss the available evidence on the effectiveness of popular policy prescriptions to reduce IAP within the household.
Hanna, Rema, Marianne Bertrand, Simeon Djankov, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2008. “Petty Corruption in Public Services: Driving Licenses in Delhi, India.” Transparency International Global Corruption Report 2008, 342-344. Publisher's VersionAbstract
While millions of dollars are spent on anti-corruption programmes each year, some analysts still maintain that corruption is nothing more than a tax: the process may be unjust or frustrating but, in the end, it provides goods and services to those who value them the most. Corruption may even ‘grease the wheels’ and speed up an all too cumbersome regulatory process. A study on how driving licences are issued in Delhi, India, finds this view highly misleading and shows precisely how corruption can dramatically alter the consequences of a policy.
Hanna, Rema, Esther Duflo, and Michael Greenstone. 2008. “Cooking Stoves, Indoor Air Pollution and Respiratory Health in Rural Orissa.” Economic and Political Weekly (Aug. 9-15, 2008), 43, 32, 71-76. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Indoor air pollution emitted from traditional fuels and cooking stoves is a potentially large health threat in rural regions. This paper reports the results of a survey of tradftional stove ownership and health among 2,400 households in rural Orissa. We find a very high incidence of respiratory illness. About one-third of the adults and half of the children in the survey had experienced symptoms of respiratory illness in the 30 days preceding the survey, with 10 per cent of adults and 20 per cent of children experiencing a serious cough. We find a high correlation between using a traditional stove and having symptoms of respiratory illness. We cannot, however, rule out the possibility that the high level of observed respiratory illness is due to other factors that also contribute to a household's decision to use a traditional stove, such as poverty, health preferences and the bargaining power of women in the household.
Andrabi, Tahir, Jishnu Das, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Tara Vishwanath, and Tristan Zajonc. 2007. “

Learning and Educational Achievements in Punjab Schools (LEAPS): Insights to inform the education policy debate

,” 1-199. Publisher's Version
Pande, Rohini. 2006. “

Profits and Politics: Coordinating Technology Adoption in Agriculture

This paper examines the political economy of coordination in a simple two-sector model in which individuals' choice of agricultural technology aspects industrialization. We demonstrate the existence of multiple equilibria; the economy is either characterized by the use of a traditional agricultural technology and a low level of industrialization or the use of a mechanized technology and a high level of industrialization. Relative to the traditional technology, the mechanized technology increases output but leaves some population groups worse off. We show that the distributional implications of choosing the mechanized technology restrict the possibility of Pareto-improving coordination by an elected policymaker, even when we allow for income redistribution.