- "Inequality and Inefficiency in Joint Projects" (with J-M. Baland and D. Ray), 2007, The Economic Journal, 117 (July), 922-935.
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 Rotating Savings
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 self-control problems.
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), January 2012 (Forthcoming in the Journal of International Development) 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), January 2013 (Submitted).
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.
- "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 of effort.
Presentation at the AEA Meeting 2009 (pdf)
Research in Progress:
- Causes and Impact of the Congolese Conflict
- Evaluation of a Drinking Water Supply Project in Anantapur District (Andhra Pradesh, India)
- "Early Marriages in Sub-Saharan Africa: Hoping for More Rainy Days"
- "Too Young to Marry: Evidence from Senegal on Child Mortality"
Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
(May all the beings in all the worlds be happy)