Patrick McEwan

Department of Economics
Wellesley College
106 Central St.
Wellesley, MA 02481

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Institutional Affiliation: Wellesley College

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2016Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment
with Sebastian Galiani, Nadya Hajj, Pablo Ibarraran, Nandita Krishnaswamy: w22588
In a Honduran field experiment, sequences of cash transfers to poor households varied in amount of the largest (“peak”) and last (“end”) transfers. Larger peak-end transfers increased voter turnout and the incumbent party’s vote share in the 2013 presidential election, independently of cumulative transfers. A plausible explanation is that voters succumbed to a common cognitive bias by applying peak-end heuristics. Another is that voters deliberately used peak-end transfers to update beliefs about the incumbent party. In either case, the results provide experimental evidence on the classic non-experimental finding that voters are especially sensitive to recent economic activity.

Published: Sebastian Galiani & Nadya Hajj & Patrick J. McEwan & Pablo Ibarrarán & Nandita Krishnaswamy, 2019. "Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol 11(3), pages 232-260. citation courtesy of

July 2016External and Internal Validity of a Geographic Quasi-Experiment Embedded in Cluster-Randomized Experiment
with Sebastian Galiani, Brian Quistorff: w22468
This paper analyzes a geographic quasi-experiment embedded in a cluster-randomized experiment in Honduras. In the experiment, average treatment effects on school enrollment and child labor were large—especially in the poorest blocks—and could be generalized to a policy-relevant population given the original sample selection criteria. In contrast, the geographic quasi-experiment yielded point estimates that, for two of three dependent variables, were attenuated. A judicious policy analyst without access to the experimental results might have provided misleading advice based on the magnitude of point estimates. We assessed two main explanations for the difference in point estimates, related to external and internal validity.

Published: Internal and external validity of a geographical quasi-experiment embedded in a randomized control experiment, in Advances in Econometrics, Volume 38, M. Cattaneo and J. C. Escanciano (eds.), North-Holland, 2016

August 2010Education Reforms
with Susanna Loeb
in Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, Phillip B. Levine and David J. Zimmerman, editors
November 2003The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions that Use Test Scores to Rank Schools
with Kenneth Y. Chay, Miguel Urquiola: w10118
Several countries have implemented programs that use test scores to rank schools, and to reward or penalize them based on their students' average performance. Recently, Kane and Staiger (2002) have warned that imprecision in the measurement of school-level test scores could impede these efforts. There is little evidence, however, on how seriously noise hinders the evaluation of the impact of these interventions. We examine these issues in the context of Chile's P-900 program a country-wide intervention in which resources were allocated based on cutoffs in schools' mean test scores. We show that transitory noise in average scores and mean reversion lead conventional estimation approaches to greatly overstate the impacts of such programs. We then show how a regression discontinuity design ...

Published: Chay, Kenneth Y., Patrick J. McEwan and Miguel Urquiola. "The Central Role Of Noise In Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Score To Rank Schools," American Economic Review, 2005, v95(4,Sep), 1237-1258. citation courtesy of

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