research papers

“Democracy and Aid Donorship” (with Andreas Fuchs), R&R at American Economic Journal: Economic Policy [Working Paper: AidData Working Paper 68, December 2018]

Abstract: Almost half of the world’s states provide bilateral development assistance. While previous research takes the set of donor countries as exogenous, this article explores the determinants of aid donorship. We hypothesize that democratic institutions reduce the likelihood that a country will start aid giving when it is poor and increase it when it is rich. To test this, we build a global dataset covering aid donorship since 1945 and apply an instrumental-variables strategy that exploits exogenous variation in regional waves of democratization. Our results confirm that aid initiation (and the amount of aid) is more dependent upon income in democracies.

Broken Promises – Evaluating an Incomplete Cash Transfer Program” (with Utz Pape and Laura Ralston) [Working Paper: World Bank Policy Research Working Papers, No. 141859, September 2019]

Abstract: This study uses an unconditional cash grant program in South Sudan that had to be terminated due to re-erupting violence to assess the socio-economic, behavioral and psychological consequences of operational problems in development programs. We combine survey data from face-to-face interviews and experimental data. Results from TOT and LATE estimates show that participants that received the grants as intended display significant improvements in their consumption, savings and psychological wellbeing. While we find on average no negative effects for participants that failed to receive the grant, women of this subgroup show reduced levels of trust and were less likely to migrate.

“Trees and the Grid – Electrification and Timber Consumption in Nigeria” [Working Paper: new version coming soon!]

Abstract: This study exploits large scale roll-outs of electric transmission infrastructure in Nigeria to quantify the effect of electrification on avoided deforestation. I combine data from a household panel and remote-sensing data for the years 2010–2015 to estimate the effect on deforestation rates at the grid-cell level as well as on timber use and collection at the household level. The results show a statistically significant, but marginal reduction in the deforestation rate at the grid cell level. At household level, off-farm labor increases along with rising income, leading to an significant and sizable reduction of fuelwood collection.

collected works

“BRICS and Foreign Aid” (with Gerda Asmus and Andreas Fuchs) in The World Scientific Reference on the Economies of the BRICS Countries (edited by Soo Yoon Kim), World Scientific, Singapore.

[Working Paper Version: AidData Working Paper 43, August 2017]

work in progress

“Seasonal Migration and Ambient Air Pollution in Mongolia” (with Anca Balietti, Till Baernighausen and Tillman Eymess)