Research conducted by Chris Blattman and Stefan Dercon, along with Innovations for Poverty Action and EASST Partner Institution, the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), was recently featured in an op-ed in the New York Times. In the study, five industrial factories in Ethiopia used a random lottery to assign applicants to one of three groups: 1) receiving the position they applied for at a factory; 2) receiving an alternative entrepreneurial package of training and cash; and 3) a control group, receiving nothing. Over the course of a year and after several follow up surveys with members of the three groups, the researchers found that a majority of those employed by a factory quit early on into their positions (many due to work-place conditions), and by the end of a year only a third remained. Those that received neither the job offer nor the entrepreneurial package were better off in terms of income than those that received the job offer, while those that received the entrepreneurial package raised their earnings by a third.For factory owners, high employee turnover was one of their greatest concerns, while for new factory employees, workplace injury risk increased from 4-7%.
The question remains, however, as to how to continue to ensure the safety and well-being of industrial workers while promoting industrialization-- Blattman and Dercon suggest that improved factory management practices or social insurance schemes for those seeking better employment may be the way forward.
To read the full op-ed, go here. To read the original research paper, go here.
On April 4th 2017, the spring 2017 EASST Visiting Fellows traveled to UC San Diego to present ongoing research to UCSD graduate students and faculty. Dr. Christine Simiyu presented her proposed evaluation, Take-up, Use and Impact of Reusable Sanitary Products Provision and Puberty Training on Education and Health Outcomes in Rural Kenya, and Michael Mbate presented his forthcoming research, "Partisanship and Decentralized Corruption: Evidence from Kenya".
Dr. Christine Simiyu's research seeks to evaluate the effect of puberty training and the provision of a new reusable girls' sanitation product on health and education outcomes in Western Kenya. Using audit reports from local constituencies in Kenya, Michael Mbate is using quasi-experimental methods to examine whether constituencies aligned with the central government are more likely to engage in different forms of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
Both EASST fellows will be presenting their research projects at the UC Berkeley Development Economics seminar, to take place on May 2nd, 2017 from 12:30-1:30pm in 648 Evans Hall.