Naval Postgraduate School
Graduate School of Business
and Public Policy
555 Dyer Rd
Monterey, CA 93943
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|June 2017||The Impact of Alcohol on Mental Health, Physical Fitness, and Job Performance|
with Marigee Bacolod, Yu-Chu Shen: w23542
We study the impact of legal access to alcohol on a range of behavioral and physical outcomes of U.S. Army soldiers in a regression discontinuity design. The wealth of novel data collected by the military on cognitive ability, psychological health, and family history allows us to explore how impacts vary with risk factors for alcohol consumption. Overall, we observe a large and significant increase in drinking after the 21st birthday, but the increases are largest amongst those who were depressed, had a family history of mental health problems, had better coping ability, and had higher cognitive ability. Despite the large increase in consumption, we do not find any meaningful impacts of legal access to alcohol - overall or in any sub-group - on any of the short-term outcomes we observe, in...
|December 2013||Business Literacy and Development: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural Mexico|
with Gabriela Calderon, Giacomo De Giorgi: w19740
A large share of the poor in developing countries run small enterprises, often earning low incomes. This paper explores whether the poor performance of businesses can be explained by a lack of basic business skills. We randomized the offer of a free, 48-hour business skills course to female entrepreneurs in rural Mexico. We find that those assigned to treatment earn higher profits, have larger revenues, serve a greater number of clients, are more likely to use formal accounting techniques, and more likely to be registered with the government. Indirect treatment effects on those entrepreneurs randomized out of the program, yet living in treatment villages, are economically meaningful, yet imprecisely measured. We present a simple model of experience and learning that helps interpret our ...
|December 2012||The Economics of Faith: Using an Apocalyptic Prophecy to Elicit Religious Beliefs in the Field|
with Ned Augenblick, Ernesto Dal Bó, Justin M. Rao: w18641
We model religious faith as a "demand for beliefs," following the logic of the Pascalian wager. We then demonstrate how an experimental intervention can exploit standard elicitation techniques to measure religious belief by varying prizes associated with making choices contrary to one's belief in a, crucially, falsifiable religious proposition. We implemented this approach with a group that expected the "End of the World" to happen on May 21, 2011 by offering prizes payable before and after May 21st. The results suggest the existence of a demand for extreme, sincere beliefs that was unresponsive to experimental manipulations in price.
Published: Ned Augenblick & Jesse M. Cunha & Ernesto Dal Bó & Justin M. Rao, 2016. "The economics of faith: using an apocalyptic prophecy to elicit religious beliefs in the field," Journal of Public Economics, vol 141, pages 38-49. citation courtesy of
|September 2011||The Price Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers|
with Giacomo De Giorgi, Seema Jayachandran: w17456
This paper compares how cash and in-kind transfers affect local prices. Both types of transfers increase the demand for normal goods, but only in-kind transfers also increase supply. Hence, in-kind transfers should lead to lower prices than cash transfers, which helps consumers at the expense of local producers. We test and confirm this prediction using a program in Mexico that randomly assigned villages to receive boxes of food (trucked into the village), equivalently-valued cash transfers, or no transfers. The pecuniary benefit to consumers of in-kind transfers, relative to cash transfers, equals 11% of the direct transfer.