policy reports

Economic Shocks and Human Trafficking Risks : Evidence from IOM’s Victims of Human Trafficking Database.
World Bank and IOM, 2022, Washington, DC: World Bank. drawing

Abstract The report focuses on risk factors that are expected to increase the vulnerability to human trafficking from and within origin countries such as economic shocks, measured by large, discrete changes to export commodity prices and to GDP. It also explores the role that institutions play through enforcing the rule of law, providing access to justice, and implementing anti-trafficking policies, as protective factors that could weaken the link between economic shocks and an increase in human trafficking. The analysis verifies that economic shocks are significant risk factors that increase vulnerability to human trafficking. In origin countries, economic vulnerabilities, especially those caused by global commodity price shocks, are strongly positively correlated with observed cases of trafficking. For instance, the economic shock produced by a typical decrease in export commodity prices is associated with an increase in the number of detected victims of trafficking of around 12 percent. The analysis suggests that good governance institutions and particularly a commitment to the rule of law and access to justice as well as stricter anti-trafficking policies and social assistance can have a limiting effect on the number of observed cases of trafficking following economic shocks.

Regular and sustained information on incumbent performance improves electoral accountability. (with Carlo Prato, Kristin Michelitch)
EGAP Policy Brief 71, 2020, #71. drawing

Information and electoral accountability. (with Macartan Humphreys, Valerie Mueller)
IGC Growth Brief Series 022, 2019, London: International Growth Centre. drawing

Abstract Democracy is said to give citizens agency, as elections make it possible for them to remove poorly performing politicians. However, this only works if voters know how politicians are performing and are willing to base their vote on this information. This brief presents evidence on whether providing voters with better information on candidate performance affects their behaviour and strengthens electoral channels to better politician performance. Surprisingly, the evidence on the effects of information campaigns is very mixed.

Does greater public transit access increase employment for the Israeli-Arab Population? (with Diana B. Greenwald, Amir Levi)
2018, Harvard Kennedy School. drawing

Abstract In recent years, Israeli policymakers have identified greater economic integration of the Israeli-Arab population as a pressing priority. The Israeli-Arab population experiences persistent disparities in access to public services and low rates of formal sector employment, both of which have implications for Israel's political and economic future. Two recent government resolutions -- Resolution 1539 (2010) and the larger Resolution 922 (2015) -- have offered multi-sectoral approaches to promoting economic development in Israeli-Arab localities and, thus, greater opportunities for Israel's largest minority community. In this brief, we analyze the effect public transit interventions -- an area of investment prioritized in both pieces of legislation -- on employment outcomes for Israeli-Arab citizens. Using a new dataset of public transit availability and employment across 1,322 Israeli localities, we find that an increase in the number of bus lines servicing Israeli-Arab towns is associated with a small but significant increase in employment rates between 2011 and 2015. We do not see similar effects in Jewish-majority towns, and we do not find that alternative measures of public transit access (such as the daily frequency of bus line trips or the connectivity of a town to other larger towns and cities)have as much explanatory power. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research and for the ongoing implementation of Resolution 922.

Does Information Technology Improve Public Service Delivery? (with Melina Platas, Jonathan Rodden)
EGAP Policy Brief 51, 2018, #51. drawing

Reflections on Challenges in Cumulative Learning from the Metaketa Initiative. (with Thad Dunning, Macartan Humphreys, Susan D. Hyde, Craig McIntos)
The Political Economist, 2018, Newsletter for APSA’s Political Economy Section.

Lab-in-the-field Experiments.
Newsletter of the APSA Experimental Section, 2011, 2(2): pp. 13-19. drawing