NBER Working Papers by Nava Ashraf

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Working Papers

March 2014Savings in Transnational Households: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador
with Diego Aycinena, Claudia Martinez, Dean Yang: w20024
We implemented a randomized field experiment that tested ways to stimulate savings by international migrants in their origin country. We find that migrants value and take advantage of opportunities to exert greater control over financial activities in their home countries. In partnership with a Salvadoran bank, we offered U.S.-based migrants bank accounts in El Salvador. We randomly varied migrant control over El Salvador-based savings by offering different types of accounts across treatment groups. Migrants offered the greatest degree of control accumulated the most savings at the partner bank, compared to others offered less or no control over savings. Impacts are likely to represent increases in total savings: there is no evidence that savings increases were simply reallocated from othe...
June 2010Evaluating the Effects of Large Scale Health Interventions in Developing Countries: The Zambian Malaria Initiative
with G√ľnther Fink, David N. Weil: w16069
Since 2003, Zambia has been engaged in a large-scale, centrally coordinated national anti-Malaria campaign which has become a model in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper aims at quantifying the individual and macro level benefits of this campaign, which involved mass distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets, intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women, indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic tests, and artemisinin-based combination therapy. We discuss the timing and regional coverage of the program, and critically review the available health and program rollout data. To estimate the health benefits associated with the program rollout, we use both population based morbidity measures from the Demographic and Health Surveys and health facility based mortality data as reporte...
July 2007Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia
with James Berry, Jesse M. Shapiro: w13247
The controversy over whether and how much to charge for health products in the developing world rests, in part, on whether higher prices can increase use, either by targeting distribution to high-use households (a screening effect), or by stimulating use psychologically through a sunk-cost effect. We develop a methodology for separating these two effects. We implement the methodology in a field experiment in Zambia using door-to-door marketing of a home water purification solution. We find that higher prices screen out those who use the product less. By contrast, we find no consistent evidence of sunk-cost effects.
May 2005My Policies or Yours: Does OECD Support for Agriculture Increase Poverty in Developing Countries?
with Margaret McMillan, Alix Peterson Zwane: w11289
This paper investigates the impact of rich-country agricultural support on the poor. Using non-parametric analysis we establish that the majority of poor countries are consistently net importers of food products that are heavily supported by OECD governments. Using a cross-country regression framework we measure the overall impact of agricultural support policies in rich countries on poverty and average incomes in poor countries. We find no support in the cross-country analysis for the claim that OECD polices worsen poverty in developing countries. To better understand what might drive these results, we turn to national employment and household consumption and expenditure surveys from Mexico. There are four important findings from the country case study: (1) the majority of the poorest co...

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