Publications by Type: Miscellaneous

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.

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.

Pande, Rohini, Timothy Besley, and Vijayendra Rao. 2007. “Political Economy on Panchayats in South India.” Economic and Political Weekly. February 2007., 661-667. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Based on a study of some 500 villages in the four southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, this paper examines how the functioning of the panchayat system mandated by the 73rd amendment to the Constitution has had an impact on the economic
status of villages and the households within them. The study finds that gram panchayats, created by this massive experiment in democratic decentralisation, have had an effect on the delivery of public services, for example, in the targeting of beneficiaries of welfare programmes, but also that positive outcomes are linked to the political elites thrown up by the system.
Pande, Rohini. 2007. “Rural Credit.” In: The Oxford Companion to Economics in India. The Oxford Companion to Economics in India. Oxford University Press; 2007. Publisher's Version
Levy, Dan, and Jim Ohls. 2007. “Evaluation of Jamaica's PATH Programme: Final Report.,” MPR Reference No. 8966-090, March 2007. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This report summarizes the findings of an evaluation of a social safety net initiative, the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), which was undertaken by the Government of Jamaica, beginning in 2001. The main objectives of the initiative, which is operated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), are to achieve better targeting of welfare benefits to the poor and to increase human capital by conditioning receipt of the benefits on participants meeting certain requirements for school attendance and health care visits.

Pande, Rohini. 2007. “Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries.” In: Handbook of Development Economics, T. Schultz and J. Strauss Eds. 2007., 4, 3155-3184. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Building on the large and growing empirical literature on the political behavior of individuals in low income countries this chapter seeks to understand corruption through the lens of political economy -- particularly in terms of the political and economic differences between rich and poor countries. Our focus is on the political behavior of individuals exposed to democratic political institutions. We review the existing literature on the determinants of individual political behavior to ask whether we can understand the choice of political actors to be corrupt and, importantly, of other individuals to permit it, as a rational response to the social or the economic environment they inhabit. We also discuss the implications of this view of corruption for anti-corruption policies.

Khwaja, Asim, Ali Cheema, and Adnan Qadir. 2006. “Local Government Reforms in Pakistan: Context, Content and Causes.” Decentralization and Local Governance in Developing Countries: A Comparative Perspective. Eds. D. Mookherjee and P. Bardhan, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, July 2006.Abstract

This paper examines the recent decentralization reforms in Pakistan under General Musharraf. We highlight major aspects of this reform and analyze its evolution in a historical context to better understand potential causes behind this current decentralization. Analyzing the evolution of local government reforms in Pakistan is interesting because each of the three major reform experiments has been instituted at the behest of a non-representative centre using a ‘top down’ approach. Each of these reform experiments is a complementary change to a wider constitutional reengineering strategy devised to further centralization of political power in the hands of the non-representative centre. We argue that the design of the local government reforms in these contexts becomes endogenous to the centralization objectives of the non-representative centre. It is hoped that analyzing the Pakistani experience will help shed light on the positive political economy question of why non-representative regimes have been willing proponents of decentralization to the local level.

Pande, Rohini, and Christopher Udry. 2005. “Institutions and Development: A View from Below.” Proceedings of the 9th World Congress of the Econometric Society.Abstract

In this paper we argue the case for greater exploitation of synergies between research on specific institutions based on micro-data and the big questions posed by the institutions and growth literature. To date, the macroeconomic literature on institutions and growth has largely relied on cross-country regression evidence. This has provided compelling evidence for a causal link between a cluster of `good' institutions and more rapid long run growth. However, an inability to disentangle the effects of specific institutional channels on growth or to understand the impact of institutional change on growth will limit further progress using a cross-country empirical strategy. We suggest two research programs based on micro-data that have significant potential. The first uses policy-induced variation in specific institutions within countries to understand how these institutions influence economic activity. The second exploits the fact that the incentives provided by a given institutional context often vary with individuals' economic and political status. This can help us better understand how institutional change arises in response to changing economic and demographic pressures.

2005. “Measuring Empowerment at the Community Level: An Economist’s Perspective.” Measuring Empowerment: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives, 2005.Abstract

Experiences over the past few decades suggest a shortcoming of top-down approaches to development. Since the 1980s, the new watchwords have been “participatory” or “community-led” development and, more recently, “empowerment.” The World Bank’s Empowerment and Poverty Reduction: A Source book defines empowerment as “the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor people to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives”. Before empowerment can be integrated into development policy, however, it must be clearly conceptualized, and reliable measures must be developed. This is particularly important given that such measures of empowerment are likely to become project goals for development agencies.