Category: ICT

#SWEDOW on Steroids

The One Laptop Per Child organization is trying something new in two remote Ethiopian villages — simply dropping off tablet computers with pre-loaded programs and seeing what happens.

The goal: to see if illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn how to read all by themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and its preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programs. Continue reading

Impact Evaluation in Africa

The Journal of African Economies has just published its November issue, which is a special issue on impact evaluation.

Here is the table of contents. Here is the introductory essay by Marcel Fafchamps and Andrew Zeitlin, who write:

Two features are evident from the collection of papers presented here. First, as illustrated by the diversity of topics covered in this volume, evaluation methods can be applied to a broad range of policy questions. Such questions range from microeconomic and localized policies, such as in health and education, to policies with potential for general equilibrium and market-wide effects, such as migration and entrepreneurship. Continue reading

Mobile Phones: Does the Intrahousehold Allocation of Technology Matter?

There are good reasons to believe it does.

At least, that is the answer my coauthor Ken Lee and I come up with in a new article titled “Look Who’s Talking: The Impacts of the Intrahousehold Allocation of Mobile Phones on Agricultural Prices,” forthcoming in the Journal of Development Studies.

More specifically, in a sample of onion farmers in the Philippines, we look at whether there is a statistically significant relationship between whether anyone in a household owns a mobile phone and the price received by that household for its onions.

Failing to find any statistically significant association between the two, we then look at whether there is a statistically significant relationship between whether (i) the household head owns a mobile phone, (ii) the household head’s spouse owns a mobile phone, or (iii) any of the children in the household own a mobile phone and the price received by that household for its onions. Continue reading

Look Who’s Talking: The Impacts of the Intrahousehold Allocation of Mobile Phones on Agricultural Prices

That’s the title of a new paper by my former student Ken Lee and I, in which we study the impact of mobile phone ownership on the prices received by farmers for their onions in the Philippines.

Here is the abstract:

Using data from the Philippines, we study the impact of mobile phones on the prices agricultural producers receive for their cash crop. We first look at the impact on price of mobile phone ownership at the household level. Because this masks a considerable amount of heterogeneity, we then look at the impact on price of the intrahousehold allocation of mobile phones. We find that whether the household owns a mobile phone has no impact on price, but whether a farmer or his spouse own a mobile phone is associated with a 5- to 7-percent increase in price.

In other words, it’s not whether there is a mobile phone in your household that seems to matter, it’s whether you have a mobile phone yourself (or whether your spouse does, depending on whether we keep outliers or not). Continue reading