Nicholas Y. Li
Department of Economics
University of California
530 Evans Hall, #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2018||Government Decentralization Under Changing State Capacity: Experimental Evidence From Paraguay|
with Ernesto Dal Bó, Frederico Finan, Laura Schechter: w24879
Standard models of hierarchy assume that agents and middle managers are better informed than principals about how to implement a particular task. We estimate the value of the informational advantage held by supervisors – middle managers – when ministerial leadership – the principal – introduced a new monitoring technology aimed at improving the performance of agricultural extension agents (AEAs) in rural Paraguay. Our approach employs a novel experimental design that elicited treatment-priority rankings from supervisors before randomization of treatment. We find that supervisors did have valuable information—they prioritized AEAs who would be more responsive to the monitoring treatment. We develop a model of monitoring under different allocation rules and roll-out scales (i.e., the share o...
|March 2017||Reevaluating Agricultural Productivity Gaps with Longitudinal Microdata|
with Joan Hamory Hicks, Marieke Kleemans, Edward Miguel: w23253
Recent research has pointed to large gaps in labor productivity between the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors in low-income countries, as well as between workers in rural and urban areas. Most estimates are based on national accounts or repeated cross-sections of micro-survey data, and as a result typically struggle to account for individual selection between sectors. This paper uses long-run individual-level panel data from two low-income countries (Indonesia and Kenya). Accounting for individual fixed effects leads to much smaller estimated productivity gains from moving into the nonagricultural sector (or urban areas), reducing estimated gaps by over 80%. Per capita consumption gaps are also small once individual fixed effects are included. Estimated productivity gaps do not emer...