The Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Center has awarded Ignacio P. Campomanes, resident fellow of the NCID at the University of Navarra, a Freedom and Prosperity Academic Grant to finance a research project titled “Paths to Prosperity: Interactions between Rule of Law, Economic and Political Freedom”. These grants aim to promote research that explores the concepts of freedom and democracy, and the mechanisms through which they affect overall prosperity.
Social assistance programs, including cash transfers, have grown rapidly in recent years and are now found in more than 130 developing countries. On the one hand, governments use cash transfers to enable poor households to reach a consumption floor and lift themselves out of poverty and, on the other hand, such transfers can also reduce incentives to work or invest as households fear losing government support if their incomes increase.
How should taxes be designed in order to achieve higher tax-collection while affecting consumption as little as possible? Is it possible to use taxes to discourage the consumption of certain goods (for example, those that exert negative environmental externalities) to a certain group of consumers, without harming the consumption of others? Or in other words, what rules allow us to design an optimal tax structure through which to achieve certain objectives while minimizing market distortions? This is the main research question that we want to study in this project proposal.
This project is a continuation of the research line initiated by the Principal Investigator of this project, Luis Alberiko Gil Alaña, in 2002 in relation to the theoretical models of long memory and fractional integration and their empirical extension linked to the analysis of poverty. The project has two parts: one theoretical and another one practical.
Irregular migration from West Africa to Europe across the Sahara and Mediterranean is extremely risky for the migrants and a key policy concern. A cluster-randomized experiment with 3,702 young men from 391 settlements in the Gambia will test three different approaches designed to reduce risky, irregular migration. The first is to provide potential migrants with better information about the risks to be faced during the journey, including testimonials from those who have attempted the journey and statistics on the likelihood of experiencing negative events en route.
Before the nineties, electricity markets all around the world were dominated by vertically-integrated, monopolistic utilities. During the eighties/nineties, many countries initiated a process of privatization and liberalization of the electricity sector. An abundant literature had studied this new scenario with the presence of private companies using different approaches and methodologies. However, starting in the 2000s when many countries consolidated the liberalization reforms, two new concerns appeared.
Countries with a high degree of ethno-linguistic diversity are often associated with underdevelopment and the under-provision of public goods. However, the existing literature, which is at the cross country level, fails to take into account the effective contact between the different ethnic groups. For a given level of ethno-linguistic diversity, we would expect the outcomes to differ depending on whether the different groups are interacting locally or not. Our premise is that the potential for interaction between people of different groups depends on the spatial distribution of diversity.
There are very few studies intended to comprehend the incentives that agents that participate in conflicts have, as well as the formulation of viable policies for conflict resolution and peacemaking. In this project, we plan to use information from the most recent literature on labour economics and novel econometric methods to reduce this deficiency.
While urbanization can bring benefits for economic, cultural and societal development, the rapid pace of urbanization that is experienced is creating enormous challenges. Especially cities in developing countries are struggling to keep pace with necessary infrastructure investment. One consequence is a phenomena referred to as “urbanization of poverty”. United Nations Water (2013) estimates that 40% of the world’s urban expansion is taking place in slums.
Education is a very important aspect of a country’s growth, and it is essential to understand how parents and/or children make decisions when making this type of investment in human capital.
The project aims to understand parents’ expectations that may affect their decisions on their child’s education and how these expectations may change over time. An essential aspect of the project is to analyze the information that these parents receive, since many social policies in the world ignore the informational component when targeting low-income households.
In developing countries, financial uncertainty has deep repercussions on both households' welfare and investment in productive activities. Bolivia is characterized by the prominence of agriculture in its economy. More than 30% of its labor force works in agriculture, and according to the last available agricultural census, 94% of Bolivian productive units are owned by families whose output surpasses 6 million tons. Thus, being of paramount importance for Bolivian food security.
Mozambique discovered substantial natural resources in recent years. Known gas reserves in the Rovuma basin have the potential to transform Mozambique into a global player in Liquefied Natural Gas exports. Being a recent democracy, and with relatively weak institutions, Mozambique also faces considerable risks of resource and revenue mismanagement in the future, particularly since media independence and penetration are low and the level of political accountability is not improving.
Technological innovation constitutes a promising alternative to allow many people in developing countries to escape a situation of poverty. This project analyzes four basic questions. First, what are the characteristics of the firms that introduce new products and/or processes in developing countries. Second, how do these firms do innovation. Third, what are the consequences of technological innovation. Finally, what are the main obstacles to innovations that these firms must overcome.
This project aims at identifying the empowerment effect of targeting transfers to women.
The identification strategy relies on a field experiment implemented among women in Macedonia to identify their willingness to pay for privately receiving a transfer instead of their husbands privately receiving the transfer.
Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) for school attendance are used in different countries. Although there are several "first generation" impact evaluation studies assessing their impact on different outcomes, there are far fewer "second generation" studies focusing on the question of how to design CCTs more efficiently.