NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Jesse Cunha

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers and Chapters

December 2013Business Literacy and Development: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural Mexico
with Gabriela Calderon, Giacomo De Giorgi: w19740
A large share of the poor in developing countries run small enterprises, often earning low incomes. This paper explores whether the poor performance of businesses can be explained by a lack of basic business skills. We randomized the offer of a free, 48-hour business skills course to female entrepreneurs in rural Mexico. We find that those assigned to treatment earn higher profits, have larger revenues, serve a greater number of clients, are more likely to use formal accounting techniques, and more likely to be registered with the government. Indirect treatment effects on those entrepreneurs randomized out of the program, yet living in treatment villages, are economically meaningful, yet imprecisely measured. We present a simple model of experience and learning that helps interpret our ...
December 2012The Economics of Faith: Using an Apocalyptic Prophecy to Elicit Religious Beliefs in the Field
with Ned Augenblick, Ernesto Dal Bó, Justin M. Rao: w18641
We model religious faith as a "demand for beliefs," following the logic of the Pascalian wager. We then demonstrate how an experimental intervention can exploit standard elicitation techniques to measure religious belief by varying prizes associated with making choices contrary to one's belief in a, crucially, falsifiable religious proposition. We implemented this approach with a group that expected the "End of the World" to happen on May 21, 2011 by offering prizes payable before and after May 21st. The results suggest the existence of a demand for extreme, sincere beliefs that was unresponsive to experimental manipulations in price.
September 2011The Price Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers
with Giacomo De Giorgi, Seema Jayachandran: w17456
This paper compares how cash and in-kind transfers affect local prices. Both types of transfers increase the demand for normal goods, but only in-kind transfers also increase supply. Hence, in-kind transfers should lead to lower prices than cash transfers, which helps consumers at the expense of local producers. We test and confirm this prediction using a program in Mexico that randomly assigned villages to receive boxes of food (trucked into the village), equivalently-valued cash transfers, or no transfers. The pecuniary benefit to consumers of in-kind transfers, relative to cash transfers, equals 11% of the direct transfer.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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