Economics

The Role of Subsidies in Microfinance: Evidence from The Grameen Bank

The Role of Subsidies in Microfinance: Evidence from The Grameen Bank
Journal of Development Economics, 60, October 1999, 229-248.

Morduch, J.
01/01/1999

Focuses on the role of subsidies in microfinance as evidenced by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Difficulties in maintaining high repayment rates; Role of the bank in alleviating poverty; Recognition of the myriad benefits that have been attributed to program participation.

Using Adjusted Performance Measures for Evaluating Resource Use

Using Adjusted Performance Measures for Evaluating Resource Use
Public Budgeting and Finance, Volume 19, No. 3, Fall .

Stiefel, L., Schwartz, A.E. & Rubenstein, R.
01/01/1999

Public service organizations are looking for ways to improve the evaluation of performance and resource allocation. One of the approaches is to use adjusted performance measures, which attempt to Capture factors that affect the organizational performance but are outside of the organization's control. This article illustrates the construction and use of adjusted performance measures to assess the performance of public schools, and reports findings from a study of school-based budgeting in Chicago that relates adjusted performance measures and patterns of budget allocations.

Does Microfinance Really Help the Poor?: New Evidence from Flagship Programs in Bangladesh

Does Microfinance Really Help the Poor?: New Evidence from Flagship Programs in Bangladesh
Presented at Stanford, UC-Berkeley, University of Washington, RAND, University of Toronto, Princeton, and Yale. Research Program in Development Studies, Woodrow School of Public and International Affairs. June 1998.

Jonathan Morduch
06/27/1998

The microfinance movement has built on innovations in financial intermediation that reduce the costs and risks of lending to poor households. Replications of the movement’s flagship, the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, have now spread around the world. While programs aim to bring social and economic benefits to clients, few attempts have been made to quantify benefits rigorously. This paper draws on a new cross-sectional survey of nearly 1800 households, some of which are served by the Grameen Bank and two similar programs, and some of which have no access to programs. Households that are eligible to borrow and have access to the programs do not have notably higher consumption levels than control households, and, for the most part, their children are no more likely to be in school. Men also tend to work harder, and women less. More favorably, relative to controls, households eligible for programs have substantially (and significantly) lower variation in consumption and labor supply across seasons. The most important potential impacts are thus associated with the reduction of vulnerability, not of poverty per se. The consumption-smoothing appears to be driven largely by income-smoothing, not by borrowing and lending.

The evaluation holds lessons for studies of other programs in low-income countries. While it is common to use fixed effects estimators to control for unobservable variables correlated with the placement of programs, using fixed effects estimators can exacerbate biases when, as here, programs target their programs to specific populations within larger communities.

Economic Crises: Evidence and Insights from East Asia

Economic Crises: Evidence and Insights from East Asia
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity Issue 2, p1-114, 114p.

Furman, J. & Stiglitz, J.E.
01/01/1998

Presents information on the financial crisis in East Asia. Causes of the crisis; Contrasting perspectives on East Asia's miracle and crisis; Economic impact of the financial and capital account liberalization of the 1980s to East Asia.

Issues of Climate Change and Its Impacts on the Infrastructure in the Metro East Coast (MEC) Region of the US

Issues of Climate Change and Its Impacts on the Infrastructure in the Metro East Coast (MEC) Region of the US
Report of the MEC Infrastructure Working Group, Columbia University, March .

Jacob, K. & Zimmerman, R.
01/01/1998

The infrastructure of the Metro East Coast region (MEC, with New York City at its core) is the largest, oldest, densest, and busiest in the nation. It serves some 20 million people and built assets exceed $1 trillion. Currently there is considerable stress on the system with key problems identified as: undercapacity, underinvestment, inconsistent management suburban sprawl, and lack of long-term integrated region-wide planning. These problems are exacerbated by fragmentation of governance across competing jurisdictions. Unclear funding mechanisms, spotty economic performance, and deferred infrastructure maintenance are severe stress factors. Spatial and functional inter-connectedness between different types of infrastructure allows failures to cascade through the system - at times even shutting down substantial segments, all at a high societal cost. A special problem is lack of a farsighted solid waste management strategy. Despite these severe stresses, the system somehow manages to deliver essential services to a large population.

 

Preventable Hospitalizations and Socioeconomic Status

Preventable Hospitalizations and Socioeconomic Status
Health Affairs. 1998;17:177-189.

Blustein, J., Hanson, K. & Shea, S.
01/01/1998

"Preventable" hospitalizations have been proposed as indicators of poor health plan performance. In this study of elderly Medicare beneficiaries, however, we found that preventable hospitalizations are also more common among elders of lower socioeconomic status (SES). The relationship persisted even when an up-to-date severity-of-illness adjustment system was used. To the extent that indicators of health plan "performance" reflect enrollees' characteristics, plans will be rewarded for marketing their services to wealthier, healthier, and better-educated patients. Further work is needed to clarify issues of accountability for preventable hospitalizations and other putative indices of health plan performance.

Sibling Rivalry and the Gender Gap: Evidence from Child Health Outcomes in Ghana

Sibling Rivalry and the Gender Gap: Evidence from Child Health Outcomes in Ghana
Journal of Populations Economics 11 (4), December 1998, 471 - 493.

Morduch, J. Garg, A.
01/01/1998

When capital and labor markets are imperfect, choice sets narrow, and parents must choose how to ration available funds and time between their children. One consequence is that children become rivals for household resources. In economies with pro-male bias, such rivalries can yield gains to having relatively more sisters than brothers. Using a rich household survey from Ghana, we find that on average if children had all sisters (and no brothers) they would do roughly 25-40% better on measured health indicators than if they had all brothers (and no sisters). The effects are as large as typical quantity-quality trade-offs, and they do not differ significantly by gender.

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