ETHIOPIA |Ketki Sheth(UC Merced), Shibiru Ayalew Melesse (Arsi University) Differential Response to Leadership as a Potential Mechanism for Gender Gaps in Labor Markets:In East Africa, the gender gap in female representation in management among firms holds a high ratio. With a reduction in gender equality in workplaces; particularly Ethiopia, the issue of gender has been a popular and active research topic for no less than five years. In order to understand women's advancement in Ethiopia, the project will first us a baseline survey to better understand the extent of women's participation in management, and determine the extent, form, and manifestation of gender discrimination. The researchers will then implement several field experiments with the aim of understanding gender discrimination and the relationship between gender diversity and workplace outcomes. The project aims to promote awareness on gender inequality and provide insight into possible intervention mechanisms that can be used to achieve gender parity in the workplace.
Distributional Effects of Trade Costs and Land Market Frictions: Evidence from Ethiopia: Trade costs and land market frictions are characteristic of agricultural markets in many developing countries. While reductions in trade costs affect how inputs are allocated across commodities, reductions in land market frictions affect how inputs are allocated across farmers, who may in turn allocate those inputs to the production of different commodities. The project studies how the effects of reductions in trade costs and reductions in land market frictions interact using two unique natural experiments in Ethiopia. We exploit a large road maintenance and construction project and the rollout of land certification to identify these effects.
Year Funded: 2016 Project Status: Ongoing
TANZANIA |William Dow(UC Berkeley), Fredrick Manang (University of Dodoma), and Zachary Olson (UC Berkeley) Leveraging Mobile Technology and Financial Incentives to Increase Non-Communicable Disease Screening Rates in Tanzania: A Randomized Controlled Trial: As sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) undergoes an epidemiological transition, the prevalence of non- communicable (NCD) diseases such as hypertension and diabetes has been increasing. These diseases are easily detectable and amenable to treatment, yet throughout the continent screening and treatment take-up rates are low; e.g., only 7% of hypertensive adults in Tanzania are on medication. This study will test to what extent hypertension and diabetes screening in Tanzania can be increased via low cost and scalable text messaging that provides patient information about the diseases and where to obtain free screening. The researchers will then map the demand function by testing the effectiveness of offsetting travel and time costs via a subsidy payment, as well as testing the effectiveness of a larger incentive payment.
Year Funded: 2016 Project Status: Ongoing
UGANDA |Frederico Finan(UC Berkeley), Ernesto Dal Bo (UC Berkeley), Saint Kizito Omala (Uganda National Examinations Board, Makerere University), and David Schoenholzer (UC Berkeley) Can Centralized Teacher Transfers Improve Job Performance? One of the biggest challenges in supplying education services to poor populations is low personnel morale, low engagement and high absenteeism. This problem is particularly severe in Uganda, where teacher absenteeism rates are estimated at 27%. However, Uganda’s district-centralized teacher deployment system, where teachers are transferred every five years and can be placed in any school in a given district, offers a unique opportunity for low-cost motivation of teachers. In partnership with a rural district in Eastern Uganda, researchers will undertake a randomized control trial to study whether rewarding top-performing teachers with a future posting of their choice incentivizes teachers to improve their attendance and the quality of their teaching.
Do Conflicts Delay Local Economic Development In Africa? Most of the existing literature on the economic consequences of conflicts in Africa focus largely on the effects of conflict on economic development at the national level. However, scant evidence exists on the consequence that conflicts impose on economic development at local scales. Using quasi-experimental methods, this study explores the extent to which conflicts affect and thus, delay local economic development in Africa. Employing remotely-sensed night time satellite imagery data to measure local economic development and spatial conflict data, the study estimates the impact of conflicts on economic development in over 4000 districts across 42 countries in Africa between 1997 and 2013. With the analysis centered on the origin of conflict, the study hopes to offer further insight on how conflict disrupts economic development in Africa.
Increasing SME productivity in Uganda: Leveraging clusters to train and create linkages: Low productivity is a major constraint to growth in developing countries. Furthermore, recent micro-level evidence finds that small business owners and farmers do not fully understand how to optimize their production processes suggesting that knowledge may be a barrier to productivity growth. Small firms may also face challenges in reaching the scale required to access markets. Market segmentation is a potentially important, and understudied aspect of firm growth in developing countries. Thus, the Ugandan Investment Authority in collaboration with Makerere University has developed a cluster-level intervention to help SMEs grow. The intervention aims to: (i) provides technical training that is designed to increase productivity, and (ii) leverages bringing firms together as a cluster to to facilitate market segmentation. This study, by conducting a randomized evaluation of the cluster intervention, seeks to answer whether jointly providing technical knowledge and assistance in reaching economies of scale can cost-effectively increase productivity growth of small and medium enterprises.
Working With Village Health Teams To Increase ORS Use In Uganda: A Randomized Controlled Trial Diarrheal diseases kill roughly 700,000 children a year, almost all in poor communities Oral rehydration solution (ORS) is a very low-cost means to prevent most of these deaths. Unfortunately, usage rates of ORS remain low in many poor communities. The project will test whether providing ORS packets to Village Health Teams (VHTs) and asking them to distribute the packets to parents before a child has diarrhea can substantially increase ORS usage. Because Village Health Teams already exist in most rural Ugandan communities and ORS is so inexpensive, if this intervention is effective it can scale up rapidly.
Year Funded: 2015 Current Status: Ongoing
UGANDA |Jeremy Magruder (UC Berkeley), Sylvan Herskowitz, and Bruno Yawe (Makerere University) Do behavioral factors or financial constraints cause high levels of sports betting in urban Uganda?Sports betting on international football matches is a highly popular and rapidly spreading activity among young men in many countries across sub-Saharan Africa. This pilot explores whether high levels of betting participation are driven by behavioral factors or financial constraints. The study will include 320 market workers and motorcycle drivers in Kampala who regularly participate in sports betting. Participants will be interviewed about their bi-weekly betting, earning, and consumption behavior over a period of two months. Small wallets will be provided to randomly selected participants as a mechanism to increase mental accounting barriers between money allocated to betting and other expenditures. Randomized primes will also be used to assess whether demand for lumpy goods drives betting participation. The primary outcomes of interest will be the response of betting demand to these treatments as well as impacts on other expenditures and investments.
How do micro-entrepreneurs in urban Ethiopia formulate and learn about their savings goals?Many recent studies show that small businesses leave profitable investment opportunities unexploited. This suggests that interventions designed to improve managerial capital, such as business training, could be effective. Traditional business training, however, has had limited success in both the adoption of new business practices and on the subsequent performance of the micro-enterprise. A promising alternative is interventions targeted around simple heuristics such as separating business and personal cash, or focusing attention on profitable business practices like proper change. Motivated by this, the researchers conduct a field experiment with small business owners in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, featuring two novel interventions: (1) a poster to be conveniently placed in their business that contains highly simplified, “rule of thumb” management information, and (2) a wallet to facilitate the separation of business and personal accounts. The group receiving the poster reported increased investment and profit. Just under 60% of people actively used the wallet, but effects on profits were imprecisely estimated. The researchers conclude that the content from a business training can be cost-effectively delivered to micro-entrepreneurs and that the lack of access to simplified and convenient management information can partially explain why profitable investments commonly go unrealized.
Year Funded: 2014 Current Status: Completed
UGANDA | David Levine (UC Berkeley), Annet Adong (Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), Uganda), James Tinker (UC Berkeley)
Does a 'risk-free' fertilizer sample increase usage among smallholder farmers?Despite the well-documented benefits of fertilizer on crop yields, take-up among smallholder farmers in Uganda remains low due in part to liquidity constraints, limited information and risk aversion. This pilot aims to overcome these challenges by introducing an innovative payment mechanism: a risk-free sample. Randomly selected farmers will be offered fertilizer to use on a select portion of their plot thereby allowing them to directly compare fertilized versus non-fertilized maize yields. The farmers will only pay for the fertilizer if it increases yields. At the time of repayment, farmers will also be offered the option to purchase fertilizer for the next planting season. The comparison group will be provided the traditional fertilizer sales offer. This will help determine whether the risk-free offer increases fertilizer demand by measuring the rate of uptake during the second round sales offer, that is, whether farmers are willing to spend their own money. If successful, risk-free samples can be adapted and scaled-up by policymakers and practitioners to increase fertilizer use and increase farmer yields and profits. Read the paper here.
Year Funded: 2014 Current Status: Completed Read the full paper here.
KENYA | William Dow (UC Berkeley), Justin White (Stanford University), and Amos Njuguna (United States International University)
Do SMS Reminders improve the consistency and amount of pension savings among informal sector participants in Kenya? A key policy issue in developing countries is how to get participants in the informal sector to plan and save for retirement. The Mbao Pension Plan is a centralized micro-pension scheme targeted to informal sector workers in Kenya. To date, take-up and continued use of the product has been weak. Possible explanations include unpredictable earnings (especially for self-employment), delayed benefits, lack of familiarity with pension products, and limited experience with financial institutions. This study will provide SMS savings reminders as a mechanism for increasing the consistency and amount of pension savings among Mbao participants. Participants will be randomized to either positively- or negatively-framed reminders; the frequency of SMS notices will also be varied. Administrative data will be obtained from Kenya’s Retirement Benefits Authority, including frequency and amounts saved by participants. A survey will provide further information, including income, occupation, and use of other saving methods.
Year Funded: 2013 Current Status: Ongoing
UGANDA | David Levine (UC Berkeley) and Joseph Arineitwe Ndemere (Center for Integrated Research and Community Development Uganda (CIRCODU)
Do dynamic incentives speed up the adoption rate of solar lights? This project integrates development economics with theoretical work on dynamic incentives, by providing trade credit to small-scale entrepreneurs in an experiment in Uganda. In the study, women traders will be offered “free trials” of a good, in this case a low-cost solar lamp, with the right to return any unsold units. The traders will also be provided with dynamic incentives through the promise (and delivery) of future units at a discounted price. Outcomes will be measured through trader surveys as well as sales orders, payments, and credit records. The intervention aims to alleviate the constraints that prevent traders from creating cost-effective distribution chains for the rural poor.
Does increasing financial literacy and establishing savings habits improve banking services in urban Ethiopia? This pilot explores why the poor fail to save, where they deposit money when they do decide to save, and which interventions might increase the take-up of formal savings accounts. The study will enroll 60 taxi drivers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in a field experiment. Individuals will be randomized to receive a short-term financial literacy training (on the costs and benefits of opening a bank savings account); a series of five-dollar financial incentives for meeting pre-specified savings targets; both the training and the incentive; or nothing (control). Outcomes, including savings rates, will be collected from the logbooks of nearby commercial bank branches, to understand participants' behavior during and after the intervention.
Does providing incentives to medical providers impact their performance of Anti-Retroviral Treatment for HIV/AIDS Services? To date little is known about the effect of provider Pay-for-Performance (P4P) on HIV outcomes in developing world. The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of financial incentives for providers on HIV treatment continuity, therapy adherence, and health status for people living with HIV/AIDS. The identification strategy uses a difference-in-difference approach exploiting the geographic phase-in of P4P contracting over time. In addition, the team will construct a synthetic control group by matching of pre-intervention trends. Data include clinical medical records from patient visits, collected by the Government of Rwanda, as well as Demographic and Health Surveys linked to administrative data on Rwanda's roll-out of P4P.