NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Erica M. Field

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Working Papers

May 2010Building Social Capital Through MicroFinance
with Benjamin Feigenberg, Rohini Pande: w16018
A number of development assistance programs promote community interaction as a means of building social capital. Yet, despite strong theoretical underpinnings, the role of repeat interactions in sustaining cooperation has proven difficult to identify empirically. We provide the first experimental evidence on the economic returns to social interaction in the context of microfinance. Random variation in the frequency of mandatory meetings across first-time borrower groups generates exogenous and persistent changes in clients' social ties. We show that the resulting increases in social interaction among clients more than a year later are associated with improvements in informal risk-sharing and reductions in default. A second field experiment among a subset of clients provides direct evidence...

Published: “The Economic Returns to Social Interaction: Experimental Evidence from Microfinance” (with Rohini Pande and Benjamin Feigenberg). Review of Economic Studies , October 2013, 80(4): 1459 - 1483 .

March 2008The Cognitive Link Between Geography and Development: Iodine Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Tanzania
with Omar Robles, Máximo Torero: w13838
An estimated 20 million children born each year are at risk of brain damage from in utero iodine deficiency, the only micronutrient deficiency known to have significant, non-reversible effects on cognitive development. Cognitive damage from iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) has potentially important implications for economic growth through its effect on human capital attainment. To gauge the magnitude of this influence, we evaluate the impact of reductions in fetal IDD on child schooling attainment that resulted from an intensive distribution of iodized oil capsules (IOC) in Tanzania. We look for evidence of improvements in cognitive ability attributable to the intervention by assessing whether children who benefited from IOC in utero exhibit higher rates of grade progression at ages 10 to...

Published: “Iodine Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Tanzania” (with Omar Robles and Maximo Torero). American Economic Journal – Applied Economics , October 2009, 1(4):140 - 169

June 2006Educational Debt Burden and Career Choice: Evidence from a Financial Aid Experiment at NYU Law School
w12282
This paper examines the influence of educational debt aversion on the career choice of law school students, including the decision to attend law school and the decision to work in public interest law. To isolate the role of debt aversion, I analyze experimental data from NYU Law School%u2019s Innovative Financial Aid Study in which two career-contingent financial aid packages were randomly assigned to participating admits. Because the packages had equivalent monetary value and differed only in the duration of indebtedness, differences in career choices associated with financial aid assignment can be attributed to psychological debt aversion. The results indicate that debt aversion matters: In classes for which the lottery was announced prior to enrollment, participants randomly assigned to...

Published: Erica Field, 2009. "Educational Debt Burden and Career Choice: Evidence from a Financial Aid Experiment at NYU Law School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, January.

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