Articles in peer-reviewed journals

Heterogeneous Effects of Women's Schooling

Together with David Stadelmann

This article investigates the effect of women's schooling on fertility as well as on associated mechanisms by leveraging Burundi's free primary education policy (FPE) of 2005 as a natural experiment. Exogenous variation in schooling is identified through a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Our results show that educational attainment was positively influenced by Burundi's FPE for women situated at all wealth levels. However, the relevant downstream effects of schooling—measured by fertility, literacy and work outcomes—reveal heterogenous treatment effects which are moderated by women's household wealth. While poor women profit in terms of increases in literacy (6.7 percentage-point increase for each year of policy-induced schooling), remunerated employment opportunities (5.7 percentage-point increase), as well as a reduction in desired and actual fertility outcomes (6.9 percentage-point reduction in teenage childbirth), none of these effects of additional education are observed for women from the wealthier households of our sample. The evidence of such a marked heterogeneity contributes to the growing literature examining the nexus between education and fertility in developing countries and helps to evaluate under which conditions the literature's findings may generalize. 

Coastal Proximity and Individual Living Standards

Review of Development Economics

Together with David Stadelmann

We investigate georeferenced household-level data consisting of up to 128,609 individuals living in 11,261 localities across 17 coastal sub-Saharan African countries over 20 years. We analyze the relevance of coastal proximity, measured by the geographic distance to harbors, as a predictor of individual economic living standards. Our setting allows us to account for country-time fixed effects as well as individual-specific controls. Results reveal that individuals living further away from the coast are significantly poorer, measured along an array of welfare indicators. Our findings are robust to the inclusion of other geographic covariates of development such as climate (e.g., temperature, precipitation) or terrain conditions (e.g., ruggedness, land suitability). We also explore mechanisms through which coastal proximity may matter for individual welfare and decompose the estimated effect of coastal proximity via formal mediation analysis. Our results highlight the role of human capital, urbanization, and infrastructural endowments in explaining within-country differences in individual economic welfare. 

Job Market Paper

Regional Market Integration and Household Welfare:

Spatial Evidence from the East African Community

Job Market Paper

See the most recent Draft

See recent Poster Presentation @ GDEC2023

I investigate the impact of the East African Community (EAC) on household welfare using three distinct sets of longitudinal, geo-referenced household-level surveys from the three founding members Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I thereby treat the re-establishment of the EAC in 2001 – and the expansion to a customs union and common market in 2005 and 2010, respectively – as a regional policy intervention having differential effects on individual households governed by their geo-spatial location within the countries, a prediction I derive formally from a canonical New Economic Geography (NEG) model, i.e. from a quantitative spatial equilibrium with heterogenous intra-national space. To test this hypothesis, I employ a difference-in-differences specification with treatment intensity given by households’ road distance to internal EAC border crossings, effectively comparing outcomes between ‘interior’ and ‘border’ households (first difference) before and after the intervention (second difference). Results reveal that households located closer to the internal EAC border did not experience positive welfare effects following the re-establishment. Rather, the results hint at the concentration of economic activity, as measured by increased consumption as well as extensive and intensive labor market opportunities in agglomerations. 

Working Papers

Book Contributions and Blogs