Essays on Development Economics

Stefano Tripodi

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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This Thesis is made of four distinct Chapters that stand independently.
In the First Chapter, I estimate the elasticity of household welfare with respect to tree cover loss for rural households in Uganda, by combining raster data on tree cover change with household-level data from the Uganda National Panel Survey. The estimated elas-ticities are generally positive, but small, suggesting that households exhibit vulnerability to tree cover loss. Moreover, households increase their expenditure for food by a larger extent than the increase in overall consumption expenditure. Households compensate this increase by reducing the budget share of tobacco and, more importantly, schooling.
In the Second Chapter, we test three variants of the Becker DeGroot Marschak (BDM) mechanism to elicit willingness to pay (WTP). The BDM involves numerous incentive-irrelevant design choices, some of which carry advantages for implementation but may deteriorate participant comprehension or trust in the mechanism, which are well-known problems with the BDM. We highlight three features and test them in the field in ru-ral Uganda, a relevant population for many recent applications. Comprehension is very high, and 86 percent of participants bid optimally for an induced-value voucher, with little variation across treatments. This gives confidence for similar applications, and sug-gests the comprehension-expediency trade-off is mild.
In the Third Chapter, we exploit knowledge of desert locust swarms behaviour, the un-derlying treatment assignment mechanism, to identify areas likely affected by the pest, and to simulate counterfactual shock exposure. We identify the causal effect of desert lo-cust swarm on farm profits in Ethiopia by modelling swarms’ movements based on local climatic and environmental characteristics. Through simulations of the flight route using historical values of its determinants, we show that a desert locust shock exhibits system-atic geographic variation in its exposure. We compare areas identified as treated to their control counterparts, and propose to condition on their expected exposure to correct for the selection bias. The findings suggest a farm profit loss of around 165% in areas hit by the shock, and a sizeable non random exposure bias.
Finally, in the Fourth Chapter, we leverage the sudden implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown measures in Uganda and we compare the incidence of violence for women whose husbands’ occupational sectors were or were not shut down during the lockdown. We find that husband’s unemployment increases the likelihood for women to experienc-ing physical violence (both sexual abuse and beating) by 4.9 percentage points, corre-sponding to a 45% increase. The effect is immediate, but vanishes after the economic shock is absorbed, and seems to be driven by women who had never been victim of violence before.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages180
ISBN (Print)9788775681150
ISBN (Electronic)9788775681167
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesPhD Series

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