NBER Working Papers by Taryn Dinkelman

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Working Papers

January 2015Migration, Congestion Externalities, and the Evaluation of Spatial Investments
with Sam Schulhofer-Wohl: w20842
The direct benefits of infrastructure in developing countries can be large, but if new infrastructure induces in-migration, congestion of other local publicly provided goods may offset the direct benefits. Using the example of rural household electrification in South Africa, we demonstrate the importance of accounting for migration when evaluating welfare gains of spatial programs. We also provide a practical approach to computing welfare gains that does not rely on land prices. We develop a location choice model that incorporates missing land markets and allows for congestion in local land. Using this model, we construct welfare bounds as a function of the income and population effects of the new electricity infrastructure. A novel prediction from the model is that migration elasticities ...

Published: Dinkelman, Taryn & Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam, 2015. "Migration, congestion externalities, and the evaluation of spatial investments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 189-202. citation courtesy of

December 2013Mitigating Long-run Health Effects of Drought: Evidence from South Africa
Drought is Africa's primary natural disaster and a pervasive source of income risk for poor households. This paper documents the long-run health effects of early life exposure to drought and investigates an important source of heterogeneity in these effects. Combining birth cohort variation in South African Census data with cross-sectional and temporal drought variation, I estimate long-run health impacts of drought exposure among Africans confined to homelands during apartheid. Drought exposure in early childhood significantly raises later life male disability rates by 4% and reduces cohort size. Among a subset of homelands - the TBVC areas - disability effects are double and negative cohort effects are significantly larger. I show that differences in spatial mobility restrictions that in...
December 2010New cellular networks in Malawi: Correlates of service rollout and network performance
with Dimitrios Batzilis, Emily Oster, Rebecca Thornton, Deric Zanera: w16616
Cellular technologies have become increasingly important in the developing world; infrastructure for mobile networks has expanded dramatically over the past two decades giving access to remote areas without previous phone service. Despite this expansion, relatively little is known about the correlates of the rollout of cellular phone networks or the performance of these networks. Since the rollout of cellular networks has been largely spearheaded by an active private sector in telecommunications, how demand-side and cost-side factors affect the timing of rollout and quality of network service is of particular interest. In this paper we use new data to estimate the correlates of cellular phone access and network performance across rural areas of Malawi. We compile a dataset which combin...

Forthcoming: New Cellular Networks in Malawi: Correlates of Service Rollout and Network Performance, Dmitris Batzilis, Taryn Dinkelman, Emily Oster, Rebecca Thornton, Deric Zanera. in African Successes: Modernization and Development, Edwards, Johnson, and Weil. 2015

August 2006When Knowledge is not Enough: HIV/AIDS Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana
with James A. Levinsohn, Rolang Majelantle: w12418
The spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still fueled by ignorance in many parts of the world. Filling in knowledge gaps, particularly between men and women, is considered key to preventing future infections and to reducing female vulnerabilities to the disease. However, such knowledge is arguably only a necessary condition for targeting these objectives. In this paper, we describe the extent to which HIV/AIDS knowledge is correlated with less risky sexual behavior. We ask: even when there are no substantial knowledge gaps between men and women, do we still observe sex-specific differentials in sexual behavior that would increase vulnerability to infection? We use data from two recent household surveys in Botswana to address this question. We show that even when men and women have very simil...

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