Research

Working Papers:

[1] "Early life access to sanitation and the evolution of childhood cognitive outcomes" [Job Market Paper]

Using distinctive longitudinal data that follows the same 8,062 children over fifteen years in four low- and middle-income countries, this paper investigates the relationship between early-life access to sanitation services and the evolution of children’s cognition. Applying a fixed effects model, I find that early access to flush toilets significantly and positively correlates with children’s vocabulary and Math scores compared to open defecation. Pit latrines also positively correlate with vocabulary scores but not Math scores, compared to open defecation, though the results vary across countries. Consistent with a health mechanism, I also find that early access to flush toilets, in relation to open defecation, is significantly positively correlated with children’s height-for-age and BMI-for-age z-scores across countries. Since evidence of community spillovers is not as strong as the association at the household level, the implication is that policy reforms should target individuals with varying country, community, and household features.

[2] "Private sanitation facilities at home and psychosocial development in adolescent girls" (jointly with Ashish K. Sedai, Ray Miller, and Lauren Vilims) [pdf here].

We examine the relationship between access to private sanitation facilities at home and psychosocial development among adolescents aged 12-22 in India and Ethiopia. Using a longitudinal two-way fixed effects model, we find that access to private sanitation (flush toilets or pit latrines in the household) is associated with significantly higher self-efficacy and self-esteem for adolescent girls but not boys. Associations are stronger for girls that live in communities with higher overall access to private sanitation, suggesting relative access may matter more for psychosocial development than absolute access. We also find a significant correlation with improved peer relations for girls in early (age 12 to 15) but not late (age 19 to 22) adolescence. We do not find evidence that results are operating through improved physical health, suggesting there may be a direct impact of private sanitation facilities at home and psychosocial development in adolescent girls. Consistent with a direct channel, we also show private sanitation at home mitigates the likelihood of missing school due to menstruation for Indian girls in early adolescence. These findings suggest interventions should consider not only the health benefits of hygienic waste management, but also the potential gains from improved sanitation experiences for women and girls.

[3] "Cooking fuels, sanitation, and labor time-use in rural and small towns of Ethiopia" (jointly with Anita A. Pena).

This panel studies households from the World Bank’s living standards measurement survey, the Ethiopian Socioeconomic Surveys (ESS), between 2012 and 2016. The aim is to investigate the determinants of households’ choice of cooking fuel and sources of drinking water in rural and small towns of Ethiopia. The econometric methods applied are the ordered probit and multinomial logit models to understand the determinants of the two basic needs. The paper also uses the panel fixed effects model to exploit the variation in access to piped water and clean cooking fuel to understand the impact on the labor time-use of the household members by gender. We find that the gender of the head of a home is not a significant determinant of the choice of cooking fuel but is essential in determining the source of drinking water. To this end, the paper hopes to exploit the variation in access to clean drinking water and investigate the impact of improved water sources on time devoted to agricultural and non-agricultural labor by gender. The policy conclusion from this paper helps guide the policy on the optimal provision of resources by gender.

[4] "Agricultural shocks and child poverty evidence from Ethiopia" (jointly with Ashish K. Sedai; Ray Miller) [pdf here].

This study shows how persistent agricultural shocks in Ethiopia affect education, health, and labor outcomes through a time-use study of young people, aged 0-22. Leveraging five rounds of the Young Lives Study from 2002-2016, we use two-way individual fixed effects and dynamic panel instrumental variable regressions to account for the unobserved heterogeneity and serial correlation in the estimation of persistent shocks. Agricultural shocks are found to significantly reduce schooling participation and time spent in schooling, deteriorate health, and increase both labor force participation and labor time. Household wealth acts as a buffer and mitigates the effects of shocks on education and health. Children from wealthy households have a higher likelihood of joining agricultural labor during shocks, but their intensity of child labor is significantly lower compared to their non-wealthy counterparts. The study recommends agricultural insurance for the poor and incentives for school participation in areas susceptible to agricultural shocks.

[5] "Farm production, marketing, and children’s nutritional outcomes in rural Zambia" (jointly with Kelvin Mulungu; Chiza Kumwenda; Lukonde Mwelwa).

Despite increasing agricultural productivity, malnutrition has remained stubbornly high among food producers in many developing countries. We provide new insights to help explain this paradox. In this study, we focus on how the difference between agricultural household nutrition requirements and production kept for home consumption (own-produced nutrition deficiency (OPND)) impacts children’s height-for-age z-scores (HAZ). We also examine if there is a relationship between OPND and market-bought foods and the role of intra-season price changes in nutrition. The analysis uses survey data from 528 households in Zambia and a control function approach to address the endogeneity of OPND. Generally, results show that OPND has a negative effect on HAZ. We find that both underproduction (relative to nutritional requirements) and OPND as a result of selling more than surplus food crops negatively impact nutrition outcomes. The latter suggests that higher productivity may not lead to adequate nutrition if additional food is sold to markets before meeting household nutrition needs. We also find OPND is not significantly associated with buying more food from the market but that it is weakly correlated with a higher diversity of market-bought foods. Households able to take advantage of higher lean season prices purchase more from the market. With imperfect food markets, designing incentives to store own-produced food has the potential to improve the nutrition outcomes of food-producing households.

[6] "Which firms employ older workers?. No. 14/2018. Working Paper, 2019" (jointly with Daniela Andrén and Nicklas Pettersson) [pdf here].

There is an increasing emphasis on the importance of allowing people as they grow older to continue to work according to their work capacity and preferences. This paper builds on earlier literature that shows that firms employ older workers, but they tend not to hire them, and provides an explorative analysis of the establishments that employ older workers in Sweden. A special focus is on how sensitive are the findings when the definition of older workers becomes more restrictive. Using rich employer-employee data from Swedish administrative registers, we find that the differences in establishments’ employment are large enough to explain some of the observed differences across definitions. The retirement age in the guaranteed pension scheme, i.e., 65 years, seems to be one of the institutional settings that affect both the employees' and employers’ decision for work after 65, but also the establishment’s size, age, and ownership.

Work in Progress:

[1] "Minimum subsistence requirement and the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC)" [pdf here]

Growth models abstract from developing country-specific traits such as poverty and minimum consumption requirement. This theoretical paper considers both the demand side and supply side and incorporates subsistence consumption needs to observe the evolution of the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC). I use an endogenous growth model with a minimum consumption requirement to achieve this. The theoretical findings confirms the existence of the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) and sustainable growth in the long run. In addition, the core finding shows that that with a minimum consumption requirement (MCR) representing poverty, the turning point of the EKC is delayed. The paper will use structural estimators to do simulations of these theoretical findings by applying them to data from developing countries.y reforms should target individuals with varying country, community, and household features.

[2] "Relationship between the net foreign asset and net domestic credit in Africa."

This paper tests the monetary approach to balance payments for Africa by using data from the World Bank for all African countries for the period 1990-2019. The study employs OLS, GMM, and Panel data modeling. Despite the variation across countries and time, the study confirms that the balance of payments for Africa is a monetary phenomenon. Most of the monetary variables are found to be significant with the exception of a proxy for interest rates.

[3] "WASH and children's time-use in some LMICs."


Other works:

[1] "Corporate income tax rate and foreign direct investment: The case of southern African economies" [pdf].

[2] "Pollution, electricity consumption, and income in the context of trade openness in Zambia" [pdf].