- "Inequality and Inefficiency in Joint Projects" (with J-M. Baland and D. Ray), 2007, The Economic Journal, 117 (July), 922-935. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0297.2007.02064.x
A group of agents voluntarily participates in a joint project,
in which efforts are not perfectly substitutable. The output is divided
according to some given vector of shares. A share vector is unimprovable
if no other share vector yields a higher sum of payoffs. When the
elasticity of substitution across efforts is two or lower, only the
perfectly equal share vector is unimprovable, and all other vectors can
be improved via Lorenz domination. For higher elasticities of
substitution, perfect equality is no longer unimprovable. Our results
throw light on the connections between inequality and collective action.
- "Rosca Participation in Benin : a Commitment Issue" (with P. LeMay-Boucher), 2012, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 74 2 (April), 235-252. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0084.2011.00641.x
In the light of first-hand data from a Beninese urban household
survey in Cotonou,
we investigate several motives aiming to explain participation in
and Credit ASsociations. We provide anecdotal pieces of evidence,
descriptive statistics, FIML regressions and matching estimates which
tend to indicate that most individuals use their participation in a
rosca as a device to commit themselves to save money and to deal with
Longer version (September 2008).
Non technical summary prepared for the RES Annual Conference (2008).
- "The Divorced Financial Spheres of Beninese Spouses" (with P. LeMay-Boucher), 2014, Journal of International Development, 26, 1, 46-58. DOI: 10.1002/jid.2839.
This paper exploits an original dataset collected in Benin which features data both on income and expenditures at the individual level. We first provide evidence that suggests that husband and wife are not pooling their respective incomes and thus are not making expenditure decisions on the basis of one common budget. As we show, husband and wife are secretive and are individually allocating their personal revenue on private and public goods. We look at a simple model that helps us predict determinants of spouses' pattern of consumptions. Our empirical results indicate that spouse's influence, through his/her income, is always smaller than one self's income impact on both personal private and public goods consumption. Moreover, we find that the spouse's income variable is never significant across all the regressions simultaneously taking into account censoring and endogeneity. We also underline anthropological evidence of gender patterns of public goods expenditures which are corroborated by our results.
- "Is it All About Money? A Randomized Evaluation of the Impact of Insurance Literacy and Marketing Treatments on the Demand for Health Microinsurance in Senegal" (with J. Bonan, P. LeMay-Boucher & M. Tenikue), June 2015 (Invitation to Revise & Resubmit).
In Senegal mutual health organizations (MHOs) have been present in the greater region of Thiès for years. Despite their benefits, in some areas there remain low take-up rates. We offer an insurance literacy module, communicating the benefits from health microinsurance and the functioning of MHOs, to a randomly selected sample of households in the city of Thiès. The effects of this training, and three cross-cutting marketing treatments, are evaluated using a randomized control trial. We find that the insurance literacy module has no impact, but that our marketing treatment has a significant effect on the take up decisions of households.
Civil wars inflict considerable development costs. Understanding the relative fragility of certain segments of the population is a necessary condition to build resilience to ongoing and future violence outbreaks. This paper documents the impact of the violent civil war affecting the Democratic Republic of Congo in the period 1997–2004 on infant mortality. It adopts an instrumental variable approach to correct for the nonrandom timing and location of conflict events using mineral price index variations by district, taking account of the mineral locations and prices, as instrument. Strong and robust evidence, including mother fixed effects regressions comparing siblings, shows that conflict significantly increases girl mortality. The paper also examines the mechanisms explaining this phenomenon, with a focus on disentangling the behavioral from the biological factors. The analysis suggests that gender imbalances in infant mortality are driven by the selection induced by a higher vulnerability of boys in utero rather than by gender discrimination.
Work in Progress
- "Life and Death of Roscas: Leadership, Election and Screening" , April 2009 (Under Revision).
Previous title: "Life and Death of Roscas: If Power Corrupts, Does Powerlessness Make One Blameless?".
In this research, we shed new light on the factors influencing
the duration of informal savings groups and their risks of failure using
an original data set containing information on living and dead roscas
from Cotonou, Benin. A survival analysis highlights the role of the
leadership structure, the influence of democracy inside the group and
the importance of the screening process before accepting new members on
the probability of failure. We also put forward how incentives can be
decisive as to the success of such groups.
- "Inequality and a Repeated Joint Project", revised December 2008 (Under Revision).
Agents voluntarily contribute to an infinitely repeated joint
project. We investigate the conditions for cooperation to be a
renegotiation-proof and coalition-proof equilibrium before examining the
influence of output share inequality on the sustainability of
cooperation. When shares are not equally distributed, cooperation
requires agents to be more patient than under perfect equality. Beyond a
certain degree of share inequality, full efficiency cannot be reached
without redistribution. This model also explains the coexistence of one
cooperating and one free-riding coalition. In this case, increasing
inequality can have a positive or negative impact on the aggregate level
Presentation at the AEA Meeting 2009 (pdf)
- Evaluation of a Drinking Water Supply Project in Anantapur District (Andhra Pradesh, India)
- Early Marriages in Sub-Saharan Africa: Hoping for More Rainy Days
Using Development and Health Surveys from 20 countries in Sub Saharan Africa and attributing to each ever-married woman of our sample a measure of rainfall before marriage we show that rainfall positively influences age at first marriage in this sample. We then use rainfall as an instrument to estimate the influence of age at marriage on wives' attitude towards domestic violence. This reveals that the later teenage girls get married, the less likely they are to consider violence towards them as justified.
- Too Young to Marry: Evidence from Senegal on Child Mortality
Using DHS data from Senegal and attributing to each ever-married woman of our sample a measure of rainfall before marriage we show that rainfall positively influences age at first marriage in this sample. Since age at first birth is directly influenced by age at marriage, we use rainfall as an instrument to estimate the influence of age at marriage on first child mortality at age 1 month, 12 months and 60 months. Semiparametric estimates tend to reveal that young mothers' children are more likely not to reach the age of 1 month, 12 or 60 months. Moreover since the younger the mother the greater the chances of dying in labour, our estimates are likely to be a lower bound.