- development impact links
This is the sixth in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.
The productivity of workers in agriculture is generally much lower than in other sectors of the economy (Gollin, Lagakos and Waugh, 2014). This is particularly true in low-income countries, yet these countries generally have the highest shares of the population living in rural areas and working in agriculture (McMillan et al, 2014). So why don’t workers switch jobs into higher productivity (and better paid) occupations? Development economists as far back as Lewis (1954) and Sen (1966) have studied the labor market imperfections that may keep workers in low productivity agriculture despite higher wages elsewhere.
This is the fifth in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.
Do people perform better when working with friends or do their friends distract them from doing their job well? Does the effect depend on their personality traits? I investigate these questions in the context of a seafood-processing plant in Vietnam in which several workers perform the identical task – cleaning and filleting fish -- at 4-person tables in a processing room. I collaborated with the management to design and implement a field experiment in which employees were randomly assigned to positions within the room each day. I use random variation in a worker’s proximity to friends to estimate the effect of working with friends on job performance. Before the experiment, I administered a baseline survey to collect information on employees’ friendship ties and personality characteristics. I find that employees are less productive when working with friends but only when friends are close enough to socialize with each other. I also find that personality traits matter and explain a significant portion of individual differences in socializing behaviors at work. Conversely, socializing with friends explains a large portion of why workers with certain personality traits – notably, conscientiousness – are more productive workers.
This is the fourth in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.
Institutions are widely believed to be important drivers of development. Recently, economists have begun using detailed micro data to study how historical institutions can shape development outcomes decades or even centuries down the line. But for anyone interested in development, a key question is what causes institutions to change over time. Here, the evidence is more scant. In my job market paper, my co-author Erik Prawitz and I ask if large-scale emigration can be a mechanism leading to political change in origin countries.
This is the third in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.
Gender disparities in educational attainment, labor market opportunities, political representation, and many other areas of economic and social activity generally favor men around the world (Schwab et al. 2014). Gender also matters for perhaps the most fundamental activity of all: reproduction. In China, India, and several other countries in Asia, parents with daughters often keep having children until they have sons. Where parents want sons, girls tend to belong to larger families, leaving them at a disadvantage when family resources are spread thinly across many children (Jensen 2002). Girls in many of these countries are also more likely than boys to be aborted or die in infancy (Guilmoto 2012). Imbalanced sex ratios distort marriage markets and can have other harmful economic and social consequences.
- From Vox, an argument that not showing the zero on the Y-axis can sometimes be a sensible thing to do, despite what people might complain.
- Prolific book reviewer and fellow blogger Dave Evans reviews Dani Rodrik’s new book
This is the second in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.
In 2013 alone, donors pledged $31 billion to support financial inclusion programs—an attempt to deliver financial services to the 2 billion adults that do not have access to such services. In the past, microcredit and insurance programs received all of the attention, but improving the savings capacity of the poor and unbanked has recently drawn increasing attention as well. Access to a savings account has been shown to improve account holders' overall financial situation and their ability to cope with shocks. In addition, access to savings may also lead to greater educational aspirations and completion of additional years of schooling for the children of account holders.
This is the first of our series of posts by students on the job market this year.
Return migration is an important channel through which migrant-sending countries stand to benefit from international migration. Experts often cite “brain gain” as its chief benefit: migrants not only bring back their original human capital but also new skills, connections, and experience acquired in foreign countries (see for example IOM 2008, Dayton-Johnson et al. 2009, and this UN report). But whether or not domestic employers in fact value foreign work experience in production processes at home is unclear. Skills learned abroad may be irrelevant. Worse, absence from the local labor market could be detrimental if the skills that employers value depreciate as a migrant spends time abroad. In my job market paper, I examine precisely this question: do employers actually value the foreign work experience of returning migrants?
- Graeme Blair has a 5-page overview on Survey methods for Sensitive topics in the Comparative Newsletter – particularly of interest to me were references to several studies that discuss how to improve power, because the power of many of these approaches is often pretty low (I discuss three of these methods in a previous post).