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October 16, 2012: Armed Conflict, Household Victimization, and Child Health: The causal impact of the 2002-2007 civil conflict in Côte d'Ivoire on children's health

The paper examines the causal impact of the 2002-2007 civil conflict in Côte d'Ivoire on children's health using household surveys collected before, during, and after the conflict, and information on the exact location and date of conflict events. The identification strategy relies on exploiting both temporal and spatial variation across birth cohorts to measure children's exposure to the conflict. It finds that children from regions more affected by the conflict suffered significant health setbacks compared with children from less affected regions. It further examines possible war impact mechanisms using rich survey data on households' experience of war. Results suggest that conflict-related household victimization, and in particular economic losses, is an important channel through which armed conflict negatively impacts child health.

Presenter: Olga N. Shemyakina, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Economics
Related Links: Paper | Presentation

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August 29, 2012: The Government perspective on taking part in a randomized evaluation: Insights from a formalization experiment in Minas Gerais—Brazil

Presenters: Luiz Zanforlin & Gustavo Henrique de Andrade
Related Links: Presentation by Miriam Bruhn and Arianna Legovini, Presentation by Luiz Zanforlin and Gustavo Henrique de Andrade

August 8, 2012: Price Subsidies, Diagnostic Tests, and Targeting of Malaria Treatment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

In response to parasite resistance to older malaria medicines, the global health community is considering making new, more effective malaria treatments called Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) available over-the-counter at heavily subsidized rates throughout Africa. While this may go a long way toward reducing under-treatment (thereby saving lives in the short-run), it is also likely to increase over-treatment, wasting subsidy dollars and contributing to drug resistance (thereby making lives harder to save in the long-run). We use data from a randomized controlled trial conducted with over 2,700 households in rural Kenya to study behavioral responses to changes in ACT prices and quantify this tradeoff. We find that ACT use increases by 59 percent in the presence of an ACT subsidy over 90 percent. However, only 56 percent of those buying such a highly subsidized ACT at retail sector drug shops test positive for malaria. We show that this share increases (without substantially compromising access) to 81 percent when the over-the-counter ACT subsidy is somewhat reduced and resources are redirected towards a subsidy for rapid malaria tests. While most of the targeting benefits come from reducing the ACT subsidy, making diagnostic tests available over-the-counter more than doubles the rate at which illnesses are tested for malaria. This high take up rate suggests that subsidizing rapid tests may have great scope to improve targeting and treatment outcomes in the longer run.

Presenter: Pascaline Dupas (Stanford University, NBER)

Related Links: Paper | Presentation

July 12, 2012: Certified to Migrate: Property Rights and Migration in Rural Mexico

Improving security of tenure over agricultural land has recently been the focus of a number of large land certification programs. While the main justification for these efforts was to increase productive investments and facilitate land rental transactions, we show that if access rights were tied to actual land use in the previous regime, these programs can also lead to increased outmigration from agrarian communities. We analyze the Mexican ejido land certification program which, from 1993 to 2006, awarded ownership certificates to 3.6 million farmers on about half the country’s agricultural land. Using the program rollout over time and space as an identification strategy, we show that households that obtained land certificates were 28% more likely to have a migrant member. The effect was larger for households with ex-ante weaker property rights and with larger off-farm opportunities. At the community level, certificates led to a 5% reduction in population, and the effects were larger in lower land quality environments. We show evidence of certificates leading to sorting, with larger farmers staying and land-poor farmers leaving in high productivity areas. We use satellite imagery to determine that, on average, cultivated land was not reduced because of the program, consistent with increases in agricultural labor productivity. Furthermore, in high productivity areas, the certification program led to an increase in cultivated land compared to low productivity ones.

Presenter: Marco Gonzalez-Navarro, University of Toronto

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July 10, 2012: Score Cards for Service: Impact Evaluation of the Burkina Faso Community Monitoring for Better Health and Education Service Delivery Project

The Burkina Faso Community Monitoring for Better Health and Education Service Delivery Project (CMP) aims to increase the quality and quantity of health and education services through empowering and capacitating individuals and communities to demand good governance and through increasing transparency and accountability of service providers. This is achieved through a community scorecard mechanism through which communities evaluate the quality of services in health and education facilities. In each village, the community itself defines evaluation criteria for schools and health facilities. They then use these criteria to identify service delivery issues and develop strategies to solve these. Progress is discussed at quarterly meetings. It is expected that this monitoring, coupled with public praising or shaming (through dissemination of scores), will elicit increased effort by health and education service providers (improved service delivery/governance), which in turn will yield improvements in human development outcomes such as under-5 mortality, weight-for-age and height-for-age z scores, and school attendance, dropout, and grade repetition rates.

The CMP includes an experimental IE component to evaluate the causal impact of the project on key outcomes, including social capital. The IE will show whether the active participation of local communities in monitoring service providers causes an increase in the quality and the quantity of service provision at health facilities and primary schools. It will provide high-quality information to inform scale-up decisions. The IE adds to existing research on community monitoring through examining the impact of a uniform intervention applied to both health and education sectors. Also, the IE adds to current knowledge by including behavioral games to understand whether the intervention has an impact on social capital in treated communities. Recent research shows that CDD projects have failed to improve development outcomes in many cases, and one reason for this may be that such programs are not improving social capital.

The IE will answer the following primary research questions through empirical estimation of program impacts. First, what are the impacts of community monitoring of health and education services delivery on human development outcomes? Second, do these impacts differ across health and education services? Third, how does the level of social capital within communities affect the outcome of community monitoring? Fourth, does the community monitoring intervention build informal institutions?
The research team now invites you to a presentation of the IE study design, baseline results, operational implications, and future research directions.

Session 1 Presenters: Anastasia Aladysheva, Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; Alexis Loye, Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population, University of Ouagadougou

Session 2 Presenters: Michael Gilligan, New York Univeristy

Related Links: Project Overview | 1st Presentation and 2nd Presentation by Cathérine Désirée Gamper | Presentation by Michael J. Gilligan | Presentation by Alexis Loye and Anastasia Aladysheva

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