Bruce Wydick

Department of Economics
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94117

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2017Hope as Aspirations, Agency, and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico
with Travis J. Lybbert
in The Economics of Poverty Traps, Christopher B. Barrett, Michael R. Carter, and Jean-Paul Chavas, editors
September 2016Hope as Aspirations, Agency, and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico
with Travis J. Lybbert: w22661
Work in positive psychology decomposes hope into aspirations, agency, and pathways. Operating in the context of an economic model developed with this framework, we review the literature on hope from philosophy, theology, psychology, and its relationship to emerging work on aspirations in development economics. We then present one-month follow-up results from an experimental study based on a hope intervention in Oaxaca, Mexico among 601 indigenous women with access to microfinance loans. Our early experimental results suggest that the intervention raised aspirations approximately a quarter of a standard deviation, significantly raised a hope index among the treated subjects, and had positive but statistically insignificant results on enterprise revenues and profits.

Forthcoming: Hope as Aspirations, Agency, and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico, Travis J. Lybbert, Bruce Wydick. in The Economics of Poverty Traps, Barrett, Carter, and Chavas. 2017

August 2013Keeping the Doctor Away: Experimental Evidence on Investment in Preventative Health Products
with Jennifer M. Meredith, Jonathan Robinson, Sarah Walker: w19312
Household investment in preventative health products is low in developing countries even though benefits from these products are very high. What interventions most effectively stimulate demand? In this paper, we experimentally estimate demand curves for health products in Kenya, Guatemala, India, and Uganda and test whether (1) information about health risk, (2) cash liquidity, (3) peer effects, and (4) intra-household differences in preferences affect demand. We find households to be highly sensitive to price and that both liquidity and targeting women increase demand. We find no effect of providing information, although genuine learning occurred, and we find no evidence of peer effects, although subjects discussed the product purchase decision extensively.

Published: Meredith, Jennifer & Robinson, Jonathan & Walker, Sarah & Wydick, Bruce, 2013. "Keeping the doctor away: Experimental evidence on investment in preventative health products," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 196-210. citation courtesy of

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