Andrew Foster

Department of Economics and Community Health
Brown University
64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401/863-2537

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: DEV
NBER Affiliation: Research Associate
Institutional Affiliation: Brown University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2017Consumption Risk and Human Capital Accumulation in India
with Esther Gehrke: w24041
We study the consequences of dynamic complementarities in the production of child human capital for the relationship between risk and schooling investment in a low income setting. In contrast to previous literature, we explore the ex ante response of schooling to risk. We develop a model that incorporates, dynamic complementarity in the education production function, ex-post labor market responses by mothers to income shocks, and substitutability between maternal and child work in the household. We test the model using data from rural India, focusing particularly on the schooling of girls. We find that risk substantially reduces the probability that girls attend school. We then simulate the effects of an implicit social insurance program, modeled after the National Rural Employment Guarant...
October 2017Are There Too Many Farms in the World? Labor-Market Transaction Costs, Machine Capacities and Optimal Farm Size
with Mark R. Rosenzweig: w23909
This paper seeks to explain the U-shaped relationship between farm productivity and farm scale - the initial fall in productivity as farm size increases from its lowest levels and the continuous upward trajectory as scale increases after a threshold - observed across the world and in low-income countries. We show that the existence of labor-market transaction costs can explain why the smallest farms are most efficient, slightly larger farms least efficient and larger farms as efficient as the smallest farms. We show that to explain the rising upper tail of the U characteristic of high-income countries requires there be economies of scale in the ability of machines to accomplish tasks at lower costs at greater operational scales. Using data from the India ICRISAT VLS panel survey we find ev...
August 2017The Uptick in Income Segregation: Real Trend or Random Sampling Variance
with John R. Logan, Jun Ke, Fan Li: w23656
Recent studies have reported a reversal of an earlier trend in income segregation in metropolitan regions, from a decline in the 1990s to an increase in the 2000-2010 decade. This finding reinforces concerns about the growing overall income inequality in the U.S. since the 1970s. Yet the evidence may be systematically biased to show an upward trend because the effective sample for the American Community Survey (ACS) is much smaller than it was for Census 2000, to which it is being compared. There is a possibility that the apparent changes in disparities across census tracts result partly from a higher level of sampling variation and bias due to the smaller sample. This study uses 100% microdata from the 1940 census to simulate the impact of different sampling rates on estimates of several ...

Published: John R. Logan & Andrew Foster & Jun Ke & Fan Li, 2018. "The Uptick in Income Segregation: Real Trend or Random Sampling Variation?," American Journal of Sociology, vol 124(1), pages 185-222.

May 2008Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy
with Pedro Dal Bó, Louis Putterman: w13999
A novel experiment is used to show that the effect of a policy on the level of cooperation is greater when it is chosen democratically by the subjects than when it is exogenously imposed. In contrast to the previous literature, our experimental design allows us to control for selection effects (e.g. those who choose the policy may be affected differently by it). Our finding implies that democratic institutions may affect behavior directly in addition to having effects through the choice of policies. Our findings have implications for the generalizability of the results of randomized policy interventions.

Published: Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-29, December. citation courtesy of

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