Working Papers

 Household Decision Making with Violence: Implications for Transfer Programs

Many countries around the world have programs that provide transfers to women with the aim of promoting gender empowerment. It is implicitly assumed that this additional economic resources unambiguously increase women's bargaining power. However, it is also possible that men react to threats to their bargaining power through violence. In this paper, I study how intimate partner violence responds to transfers to women, and whether this response depends on the transfer being in-kind or in-cash. To this end, I develop and estimate a model of household decision making in the presence of in-kind and cash transfers, in which the weights of the husband and the wife in household utility are endogenously determined through violence. Only men can inflict violence to increase their relative weight, but violence reduces female labor productivity.  Under this framework,  the utility gains the husband can appropriate through violence are lower when the transfers are in-kind. As a result, in-kind and cash transfers have different effects. I estimate the model using data from a randomized controlled trial providing transfers to poor families in Ecuador,  either in-kind or cash. The results indicate that, on average, violence destroys 4% of female productivity with a market value of 10 USD a month. Violence also reduces the female relative weight in the overall household utility by 12%.  A cash transfer equivalent to 10% of the average household income would reduce the prevalence of violence from 17% to 10%. However, if the same transfer were in-kind, violence would decline by 3 additional percentage points. This differential effect amplifies with the size of the transfer.  

KeywordsHousehold Decision Making, In-kind vs Cash Transfers, Violence 
JEL Classification:  D13,  I38, J12

This paper analyzes the effects on teacher retention and between-school mobility of a program that rewards excellence in pedagogical practice in Chile. Teachers apply voluntarily for the award and those who succeed on a set of assessments receive a 6 percent annual wage increase for up to 10 years. A sharp regression discontinuity design is used to identify the causal effect of receiving the award. Using administrative data over several cohorts of applicants, the estimates indicate that locally the award does not alter transitions out of the school system. This suggests that around the threshold the skills rewarded by the program are not strongly correlated with the value of the teachers’ outside option. An increase in mobility, however, is observed within the school system among teachers who receive the award. These mobility patterns are consistent with the award providing a signal of teacher quality.

KeywordsEmployee Turnover Rates, Public Sector Compensation, Teachers
JEL Classification:  I21, J45, J63, M52

Journal Articles

Am. J. Epidemiol. first published online December 29, 2014 doi:10.1093/aje/kwu339

Hypertension is a leading risk factor in the global disease burden. Limited hypertension awareness is a major determinant of widespread gaps in hypertension treatment and control, especially in developing countries. We analyzed data on persons aged 50 years or older from 6 low- and middle-income countries participating in the first wave (2007–2010) of the World Health Organization’s Survey of Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE). Our estimates suggest that just 1 year of routine opportunistic hypertension screening during formal visits to medical-care providers could yield significant increases in hypertension awareness among seniors in the developing world. We also show that eliminating missed opportunities for hypertension screening in medical settings would not necessarily exacerbate existing socioeconomic differences in hypertension awareness, despite requiring at least occasional contact with a formal health-care provider for obtaining a hypertension diagnosis. Thus, routine opportunistic screening for hypertension in formal medical settings may provide a simple but reliable way to increase hypertension awareness. Moreover, the proposed approach has the added advantage of leveraging existing resources and infrastructures, as well as facilitating a direct transition from the point of diagnosis to subsequent expert counseling and clinical care for newly identified hypertension patients.

KeywordsHealth Awareness; Hypertension; Screening
JEL Classification:  I10,  I15, I18