Development economics


William Parienté, Joseph Gomes

Research projects

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End

Optimizing social protection in Egypt

William Parienté      
Project description:

Governments and development organizations expend a lot of effort trying to help the poorest of the poor. Oftentimes, this segment of the population requires significant assistance in the form of consumption support (i.e. cash transfer), but also complimentary services like healthcare, savings support, mentorship as well as training and capital to help them start and maintain an income generating activity (IGA). This is the idea of the internationally admired “graduation program” that was started by BRAC International and has a strong base of rigorous evidence that showcases its success across a variety of countries.
Arguably the most important (and the most expensive) part of their program is their support of the poor in pursuing an income generating activity (IGA). This often takes the form of some kind of livestock transfer or capital to start a microbusiness (like a fruit-stand, or barbershop, etc.) in addition to some basic training. There are many open questions about the best way to help get this income generating activity off the group and how to make sure it is efficient, pro table and sustainable.
For instance, does it make more sense to restrict the options people have and, for instance, train everyone on how to raise livestock so that they can help each other when problems arise and work together to get the best prices for their goods? Or is it better to give people more options to choose what they think they will be best at, even if this is more costly due to the costs of sending more specialists out to the eld to provide a variety of skills and support?
Another important question is how this type of support for the poor affects the overall economy. In particular, does providing assistance to the poor help others in the village and how does it change village-level outcomes? One could imagine that helping the poor lead more productive lives could have positive spillover effects on others in the community. It could lead to more wealth generation, more work for the village and less of a need for others in the village to support the poor freeing up resources to go towards investment in other businesses or into public goods or education. By measuring these spillovers we will be able to showcase how helping the poor could be a good strategy for helping others and for growing the overall economy.

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End

Tailor-Made Microcredit in Rural Morocco. Experimental Evidence on Loan Take-Up and Poverty Impacts

William Parienté      
Project description:

We use an RCT in rural Morocco to test whether matching loan repayments more closely with expected entrepreneurial cash ows increases the take-up and poverty impact of microcredit. The RCT combines subsequent interventions at the individual level (an estimated 3,600 participants across 40 branches) and the village level (320 villages). We introduce two new forms of individual-liability ‘tailored’ microcredit. The rst loan contract has a repayment schedule split into three equal periods. The borrower and loan of cer jointly decide on the monthly amount that the borrower repays in each of these three periods. The second contract is one where the borrower only pays interest during a 5-month grace period (and both interest and capital thereafter). The control loan has a standard, rigid contract. The main outcome variables at the individual level are credit access, loan quality (repayment behavior), incidence and profitability of self-employment, household income and consumption, and hours worked by household members. The main outcome variables at the village level are loan take-up and repayment quality.


Journal Articles

1. Gomes, Joseph. Linguistic Fractionalization and Health Information in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: The World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 34, no. Issue Supplement_1, p. S20-S25 (February 2020). doi:10.1093/wber/lhz009.

2. Armand, Alex; Atwell, Paul; Gomes, Joseph. The Reach of Radio: Ending Civil Conflict through Rebel Demobilization. In: American Economic Review, Vol. 110, no. 5, p. 1395-1429 (2020).

3. Gomes, Joseph. The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. In: Journal of Economic Growth, Vol. 25, no.2, p. 195-226 (2020). doi:10.1007/s10887-020-09177-4.

4. Desmet, Klaus; Gomes, Joseph; Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio. The geography of linguistic diversity and the provision of public goods. In: Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 143, p. 102384 (2020). doi:10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102384.

5. Glover, Dylan; Pallais, Amanda; Parienté, William. Discrimination as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Evidence from French Grocery Stores. In: The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 132, no. 3, p. 1219-1260 (2017). doi:10.1093/qje/qjx006.

6. Cogneau, Denis; Czajka, Léo; Houngbedjii, Kenneth. Le retour de l’éléphant triomphant ? Croissance et inégalités de revenu en Côte d’Ivoire (1988-2015). In: Afrique Contemporaine : Afrique et développement, , no.263/264, p. 221-225 (2017). doi:10.3917/afco.263.0221.

7. Parienté, William. Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Challenge of Access to Basic Services. In: Journal of Demographic Economics, Vol. 83, no.1, p. 31-39 (February 2017). doi:10.1017/dem.2017.3.

8. Docquier, Frédéric. The Emigration-Development Nexus: Recent Advances from the Growth Theory Perspective. In: Revue d'économie du développement, Vol. 25, no.3, p. 45 (2017). doi:10.3917/edd.313.0045.

9. Docquier, Frédéric; Leruth, Luc. Economie du développement en Belgique. In: Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, Vol. LV, no.1 (2016).

10. Parienté, William. Impact des politiques de développement : enseignements des évaluations aléatoires. In: Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, Vol. LV, no.1, p. 105-116 (2016). doi:10.3917/rpve.551.0105.

11. Docquier, Frédéric; Leruth, Luc. Économie du développement en Belgique – Aperçu des tendances actuelles en matière de recherche. In: Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, Vol. LV, no.1, p. 5-8 (2016). doi:10.3917/rpve.551.0005.

12. Banerjee, Abhijit; Duflo, Esther; Goldberg, Nathanael; Karlan, Dean; Osei, Robert; Parienté, William; Shapiro, Jeremy; Thuysbaert, Bram; Udry, Christopher. A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries. In: Science, Vol. 348, no.6236, p. 772-788 (15 May 2015). doi:10.1126/science.1260799.

13. Crépon, Bruno; Devoto, Florencia; Duflo, Esther; Parienté, William. Estimating the Impact of Microcredit on Those Who Take It Up: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Morocco. In: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Vol. 7, no.1, p. 123-150 (January 2015). doi:10.1257/app.20130535.

Working Papers

1. Joseph Flavian Gomes. The Health Costs of Ethnic Distance: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (xxx), 2020. 103 p.

2. Gomes, Joseph. The Health Costs of Ethnic Distance: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (xxx), 2020. 59 p.