Academic Research

My research joins that of an international community of development economists trying to understand the causes, consequences, and cure for poverty in developing countries.  Some of my research uses game theory and behavioral economics to understand the nature of poverty traps or, more hopefully, how people escape them.  Other papers focus on the design and econometric evaluation of programs that try to alleviate poverty, such as microfinance, child sponsorship, and in-kind transfers.  Below are links to some of my academic research papers:

Development Program Impacts

“Shoeing the Children: The Impact of TOMS Shoes in Rural El Salvador” (with Elizabeth Katz, Flor Calvo, Felipe Gutierrez, and Brendan Janet), May 2016. Also published as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper #WPS7822Forthcoming, World Bank Economic Review.  Media coverage in The EconomistVox.  

“Wheels of Fortune: The Economic Impact of Wheelchair Provision in Ethiopia” (with Justin Grider).   Journal of Development Effectiveness (February 2016), vol. 8, no.1, pp. 44-66.  Media coverage in Christianity Today.  

“Does Child Sponsorship Pay Off in Adulthood?  An International Study of Impacts on Income and Wealth” (with Paul Glewwe-University of Minnesota and Laine Rutledge-University of Washington).  August 2015. ForthcomingWorld Bank Economic Review. Also available as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper #7653. Media coverage in National Affairs World Bank Blog: Let’s Talk DevelopmentWhyDev.

“Do In-Kind Transfers Damage Local Markets? The Case of TOMS Shoe Donations in El Salvador” (with Elizabeth Katz and Brendan Janet), Journal of Development Effectiveness (Fall 2014) vol. 6, no.3 pp.249-267. Media coverage in The Economist Blog.

“Got Milk? The Impact of Heifer International’s Livestock Donation Program in Rwanda on Nutritional Outcomes” (with Christopher Barrett, Sarah Pedersen, Svetlana Pimkina, and Rosemary Rawlins), Food Policy (February 2014) vol.44, no.1 pp.202-213.  Media coverage in Humanosphere and Foreign Affairs.

“Does International Child Sponsorship Work? A Six-Country Study of Impacts on Adult Life Outcomes” (with Paul Glewwe-University of Minnesota and Laine Rutledge-University of Washington).   Journal of Political Economy (April 2013), vol. 121, no.2, pp.393-426.  Media coverage in BBC, USA Today, Huffington Post, and elsewhere

“Keeping the Doctor Away: Experimental Evidence on Investment in Preventative Health Products” (with Jon Robinson-UC Santa Cruz, Jennifer Meredith-University of Washington, and Sarah Walker-University of Wisconsin), BREAD working paper #336National Bureau of Economic Research working paper no. 19312Journal of Development Economics (November 2013), vol. 105, pp.196-210.

“Health and Environmental Effects from the Introduction of High-Technology Wood-Burning Stoves: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Western Guatemala” (with Kent Moriarty and Dan Ludwinski) Environment, Development and Sustainability (August 2011), vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 657–676.

“Microfinance and Home Improvement: Using Retrospective Panel Data to Measure Program Effects on Fundamental Events” (with Craig McIntosh and Gonzalo Villaran).  Special Symposium on Microfinance, World Development (June 2011), vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 922-37 

“Microfinance Lending to Female Entrepreneurs: Sacrificing Growth for Poverty Reduction?”  (with Michael Kevane, Santa Clara University.) World Development (July 2001), vol. 29, no. 7, pp. 1225-36.

“Access to Credit, Human Capital, and Class Structural Mobility” Presented at the U.C. Berkeley Development Economics Seminar, Department of Economics, March 1994.  Journal of Development Studies (August 1999), vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 131-152.

“The Impact of Credit Access on the Use of Child Labor in Household Enterprises: Evidence from Guatemala”  Presented at the U.C. Berkeley Labor Economics Seminar, Department of Economics, November 1995.  Economic Development and Cultural Change (July 1999), vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 853-69.

Economics of Hope and Aspirations 

“Hope as Aspirations, Agency and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico” (with Travis Lybbert)  NBER Working Paper W22661National Bureau of Economics Research, September 2016. 

“Developing Hope Among Impoverished Children: Using Child Self-Portraits to Measure Program Effects” (with Paul Glewwe-University of Minnesota and Phillip Ross-Boston University).  July 2016. Forthcoming, Journal of Human Resources.

“Poverty, Aspirations, and the Economics of Hope” (with Travis Lybbert)  January 2016. Forthcoming, Economic Development and Cultural Change.

“Raising Achievement Among Microentrepreneurs: An Experiment Testing Goals, Incentives, and Support Groups in Medellin, Colombia” (with Alessandra Cassar, Paulina Aguinaga, Jennifer Graham, and Lauren Skora) October 2016. Under Review.

“International Child Sponsorship and the Development of Educational and Vocational Aspirations: Multinational Evidence”  March 2014, working paper. 

“The Economics of Parenting, Self-Esteem, and Academic Performance: Theory and a Test” (with Rajeev Darolia, George Washington University)  Economica (April 2011), vol. 78, issue 310, pp. 215-239.

Microfinance, Social Capital, and Group Lending:

“Microfinance on the Margin: Why Recent Impact Studies May Understate Average Treatment Effects” (Comment)  Analysis and comment on symposium of papers presenting six randomized trials of microfinance in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics by Angelucci et al. (Mexico); Attanasio et al. (Mongolia); Augsburg et al. (Bosnia-Herzegovina); Banerjee et al. (India); Crépon et. al. (Morocco); and Tarozzi et al. (Ethiopia). November 2015. Forthcoming, Journal of Development Effectiveness.    

“Measuring Microfinance: Analyzing the Conflict between Practitioners and Researchers with Evidence from Nepal”  (with Ram Rajbanshi and Meng Huang) presented at the Pacific Conference for Development Economics, UC Davis, March 17, 2012.  Presented at the U.C. Berkeley Development Lunch Seminar, February 6, 2013. World Development (April 2015), vol. 68, pp. 30-47. 

“Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard in Joint-Liability Loan Contracts: Evidence from an Artefactual Field Experiment” (with Giorgia Barboni, Alessandra Cassar, and Arturo Rodriguez Trejo). Presented by Barboni at London School of Economics.  University of Chicago Special Issue on Field Experiments in Economics and ManagementGuest Editors: John List, Anya Samak, and Michael PriceJournal of Economics and Management (July 2013), vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 153-184.

Social Networks, Neighborhood Effects and Credit Access” (with Harmony Karp Hayes, San Francisco Foundation and Sarah Hilliker Kempf, University of California at San Francisco).  Presented at the Pacific Conference for Development Economics and at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Conference on Microfinance, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. World Development (June 2011), vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 974-82 (Special Symposium on Microfinance).

“Does Social Capital Matter?  Evidence from a Five-Country Group Lending Experiment” (with Alessandra Cassar).  Presented at the Northeast Universities Development Conference (Boston University) November, 2008, University of California and Berkeley Development seminar, February 2008, and at the University of California at Davis Department Seminar January 2008, and Cal Tech May 2008 (by Cassar).  Oxford Economic Papers (October 2010), vol. 62, pp. 715–739.

“The Effect of Social Capital on Group Loan Repayment: Evidence from Field Experiments” (with Alessandra Cassar). Presented by Crowley at the July 2005 Conference on Microfinance in Groningen, the Netherlands. Symposium on the Empirics of Microfinance. Economic Journal (February 2007), vol. 117, no. 517, pp. 85-106.

“Group Lending under Dynamic Incentives as a Borrower Discipline Device” Presented at the U.C. Berkeley Development Economics Seminar, February 2000.  Review of Development Economics (October 2001), vol. 5, pp. 406-20.

“Can Social Cohesion be Harnessed to Repair Market Failures? Evidence from Group Lending in Guatemala” Presented at the U.C. Berkeley Development Economics Seminar, Department of Economics, October 1995, and at job-market seminars.  Economic Journal  (July 1999), vol. 109, pp. 463‑75.

Credit and Financial Markets:

“Do Risky Microfinance Borrowers Really Invest in Risky Projects? A Test from Bolivian Microfinance” (with Alessandra Cassar and Eliana Zeballos, UC Davis). Presented by Zeballos at the Pacific Conference for Development Economics, March 13, 2010, University of Southern California. Journal of Development Studies (February 2014), vol. 50, no.2, pp. 276-287.

“Credit Information Systems in Less Developed Countries: Recent History and a Test” (with Craig McIntosh, UC San Diego and Jill Luoto, UC Berkeley.)  Economic Development and Cultural Change (January 2007), vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 313-334.

“Competition and Microfinance” (with Craig McIntosh, UC San Diego.)  Journal of Development Economics (December 2005), vol. 78, no. 2, pp. 271-298.

“How Efficient are the Emerging African Stock Markets?” (with Magnus Magnusson, Cambridge University.)  Journal of Development Studies (April 2002), vol. 38, no. 4, pp.41-156.

Applied Game Theory, Labor Economics, and Industrial Organization

“Does New Information Technology Undermine Media Quality? The Paradox of Commercial Public Goods” (with Man-Lui Lau, University of San Francisco). Journal of Industry, Competition, and Trade (June 2014), vol. 14, no. 2, pp.145-157.

“Hypocrisy and Hypocrites: A Game-Theoretic Note”  Faith and Economics (Spring 2012), vol. 15, pp.23-30.

“Do Race-based Preferences Perpetuate Discrimination Against Marginalized Ethic Groups?”   Journal of Developing Areas (Fall 2008), vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 165-181.

“Grandma was Right: Why Cohabitation Undermines Relational Happiness, but is Increasing Anyway”   Appendix with proofs and derivations  Kyklos: International Review for Social Sciences (November 2007), vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 617-645.

“Affirmative Action in College Admissions: Examining Labor Market Effects of Four Alternative Policies”  Contemporary Economic Policy (January 2002), vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 12-24.  

“Social Norms and the Time Allocation of Women’s Labor in Burkina Faso” (with Michael Kevane, Santa Clara University) Appendix with Proofs and Derivations available.  Review of Development Economics (February 2001)vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 119–129.