Poor people often exhibit puzzlingly high sensitivity to low prices of important consumer health goods. This paper proposes decision costs as one explanation: whether a person buys at a price depends on whether she carefully considers the offer, which itself depends on...Read More..
Even compared with neighbouring countries, latrine use is especially uncommon in India. How might caste – historically associated with sanitation inequality – interact with government sanitation policy?Using data from Rajasthan state, we investigate the effect of caste-based reservations for village chairmen...Read More..
Ending widespread open defecation and pursuing feasible methods of safe excreta disposal must be the top policy priorities for India. This paper draws policy lessons from the first 10 years of latrine construction under India’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), which...Read More..
Do the repayment requirements of the classic microfinance contract inhibit investment in high-return but illiquid business opportunities among the poor? Using a field experiment, we compare the classic contract which requires that repayment begin immediately after loan disbursement to a contract that includes a...Read More..
Poor sanitation remains a major public health concern linked to several important health outcomes; emerging evidence indicates a link to childhood stunting. In India over half of the population defecates in the open; the prevalence of stunting remains very high. Recently published...Read More..
A survey of the functioning of the National Old-Age Pension Scheme in two districts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh reveals that beneficiaries have difficulties in accessing the banking system and face inordinate delays in receiving their meagre pensions. Yet, the scheme functions as an important provider...Read More..
Indian children are very short, on average, compared with children living in other countries. Because height reflects early life health and net nutrition, and because good early life health also helps brains to grow and capabilities to develop, widespread growth...Read More..
Few papers in the literature provide quantitative analysis of the difficult circumstances faced by children of short-term labour migrants. This paper uses new survey data from rural northwest India to study both children who migrate and those left behind. It...Read More..
The nutritional value of toilets: How much international variation in child height can sanitation explain?
Physical height is an important economic variable reflecting health and human capital. Puzzlingly, however, differences in average height across developing countries are not well explained by differences in wealth. In particular, children in India are shorter, on average, than children...Read More..
Financial stress is widely believed to cause health problems. However, policies seeking to relieve financial stress by limiting debt levels of poor households may directly worsen their economic well-being. We evaluate an alternative policy –increasing the repayment flexibility of debt contracts....Read More..
Effects of Rural Sanitation on Infant Mortality and Human Capital: Evidence from India’s Total Sanitation Campaign
Over a billion people worldwide defecate openly without a toilet or latrine, with profound health consequences: over two million children under 5 die from diarrheal disease each year; chronic infection prevents surviving children from reaching human capital potentials. Although it...Read More..
Some experimental participants are averse to compound lotteries: they prefer simple lotteries that depend on only one random event, even when the simple lotteries offer lower expected value. This paper proposes that many behavioral “investments” represent more compound risk for...Read More..
Reference-dependent decision-making – the core of behavioral economics’ prospect theory – makes people more likely to choose an outcome that they expect to receive. Reference-dependence therefore may imply the perpetuation of disadvantage: people who do not expect an opportunity may...Read More..
Cognitive Limits, Apparent Impatience, and Monthly Consumption Cycles: Theory and Evidence from the South African Pension
Larger reactions to earlier incentives are usually attributed to time preference. However, cognitive limits could also generate behavior that appears impatient. We present a simple model illustrating “local” intertemporal decisions, then apply this interpretation to the puzzle of monthly consumption increases upon...Read More..
We compare the administrative data on the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MG-NREGA) with the estimates of public works employment from a large-scale survey undertaken by India's National Sample Survey Office. A widely held concern...Read More..
Economic theory and conventional wisdom suggest that time preference can cause or perpetuate poverty. Might poverty also or instead cause impatient or impulsive behavior? This paper reports a randomized lab experiment and a partially randomized field experiment, both in India,...Read More..