Projects in theme: Development, Institutions And Demographic Change

Blood of the Innocents: Stigma and the Unintended Consequences of Biomedical Interventions for HIV-Positive Children in Botswana

This project traces some of the sociocultural repercussions of Botswana’s highly successful Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program and nationwide antiretroviral drug rollout. The project asks why stigma against HIV-positive children appears to be increasing in response to highly effective treatment and prevention efforts (which global health experts predict should lead to decreased stigma).

Caste Politics and Local Election Outcomes in Rural India

Munshi uses data from a village in India to examine the role of caste politics in determining local election outcomes in rural India and how these elections affect the provision of basic services, including lighting and sanitation. He finds that if an ethnic group in a particular political unit is sufficiently large it can solve political commitment problems that might otherwise cause people to vote for candidates who on average share their views, but are not otherwise qualified or capable.

Conditional Cash Transfers to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections in Mexico

This project evaluates conditional economic incentives for the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in high-risk populations in Mexico. The study focuses on willingness to accept cash transfers conditional on being free of sexually transmitted infections in key populations in Mexico, including men who have sex with men in Mexico City. Involved in this project is contingency evaluation techniques; econometric analyses, and cost effectiveness evaluation.

Designing, Implementing, and Validating the Next Generation of Teacher Evaluations

In this two year project Tyler will conduct a largely qualitative study of the constraints and opportunities that arise when a state or urban school districts attempt to design and implement a new and more rigorous teacher evaluation system.

Dowry and Marriage Age in India

Sautmann looks at the connection between population growth, age at marriage and dowry in India. Using an economic framework that incorporates search frictions she finds evidence for the so-called marriage squeeze hypothesis, the theory that population growth together with a large age difference at marriage can cause a surplus of women and lead to increased dowry payments.

Estimating the Impact of Housing Subsidies on Family Outcomes: Evidence from Mexico’s Housing Subsidy Programs

This project studies the effects of the housing subsidy program in Mexico, with particular focus on the notion that increased access to housing influences labor force and civic participation as well as measures of family health and well-being. Using a unique administrative data set, Hastings estimates the impact that home ownership has on economic outcomes such as labor-market stability, civic participation, and investment in savings and childhood education.

Explaining Very Low Fertility in Italy

Kertzer and White employed innovative multidisciplinary methodology and cutting-edge theory to seek a better explanation for very low fertility. They focused on Italy, a country that in the 1990s had the lowest fertility in the world, and which today has among the very lowest. Their findings support the views that both women’s employment and a transition towards secular values explains significant fertility variation at the individual level in Italy; however, there remains substantial evidence of the kind of regional grouping in fertility that is often attributed to ideational change.

Family Organization and Child Well-being in Southern Africa

This research investigates the relationship between family organization and child well-being in Southern Africa, a region with substantial variation and change in children's living arrangements due to the current HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Food Assistance and Policy Options in India

Nagavarapu initiated an innovative project along with one of Andrew Foster’s former students on the public distribution system that allocates food rations to the Indian poor. Preliminary work provides a strong circumstantial case that the rations of individuals with low social influence are being diverted by shopkeepers to the black market. Nagavarapu is now working with an NGO that is implementing a randomized trial that incorporates an alternative source of supply for these rations.

Geography, Diversity and the Origins of the Wealth of Nations

In work with a former student, they test the hypothesis that societies that are either too cohesive or too diverse will grow more slowly than those with an optimal intermediate level of diversity. It is tested using the fact that the process of human migration out of Africa created substantial variation in genetic diversity across the globe, with those populations that are furthest from Africa being more homogenous. The evidence is supportive of the optimal diversity hypothesis and robust to consideration of other hypotheses such as those related to climate or opportunities for trade.