A. Mushfiq Mobarak

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Growth stability is an important objective—because development requires sustained increases in income, because volatility is costly for the poor, and because volatility deters growth. We study the determinants of average growth and its volatility as a two-equation system, and find that higher levels of democracy and diversification lower volatility, whereas(More)
Farmers face enormous production risks due to unpredictable rainfall, yet most do not have any formal insurance. One explanation for this is the existence of informal network-based risk sharing. Using a randomized controlled experiment, we study the demand for, and effects of, offering formal index-based rainfall insurance in an environment of tightly knit(More)
Biomass combustion with traditional cookstoves causes substantial environmental and health harm. Nontraditional cookstove technologies can be efficacious in reducing this adverse impact, but they are adopted and used at puzzlingly low rates. This study analyzes the determinants of low demand for nontraditional cookstoves in rural Bangladesh by using both(More)
In order to induce farmers to adopt a productive new agricultural technology, we apply simple and complex contagion diffusion models on rich social network data from 200 villages in Malawi to identify seed farmers to target and train on the new technology. A randomized controlled trial compares these theory-driven network targeting approaches to simpler(More)
Growth stability is an important objective, since ‘development’ requires sustained increases in income, since volatility is costly for the poor, and since volatility deters growth. We study the determinants of average growth and its volatility as a two-equation system, and find that higher levels of democracy, incomes and diversification lower volatility,(More)
Large literatures in economics and political science examine democracy’s impact on health, education, and other development indicators, but the political economy of electricity allocation has been ignored in previous work. Politicians determine electricity consumption patterns through state ownership and regulation (e.g. price subsidies). This study uses(More)
We examine the effect of political decentralization on pollution spillovers across jurisdictional boundaries. Upstream water use has spillover effects on downstream jurisdictions, and greater decentralization (i.e. a larger number of political jurisdictions managing the same river) may exacerbate these spillovers, as upstream communities have fewer(More)
Using panel data on water pollution in Brazilian rivers, we study inter-jurisdictional externalities when more jurisdictions start managing the same river segment. Counties split at each election cycle, which change the locations of borders. This allow us to identify the effects of border crossings and the spatial pattern of pollution as rivers approach(More)
This paper assesses financial sector development in twenty Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries. Based on data collected on a wide range of financial sector indicators, including from surveys of country economists at the IMF in 2000 and 2002, several new indices of financial development are constructed encompassing six themes: development of(More)
Poor sanitation contributes to morbidity and mortality in the developing world, but there is disagreement on what policies can increase sanitation coverage. To measure the effects of alternative policies on investment in hygienic latrines, we assigned 380 communities in rural Bangladesh to different marketing treatments-community motivation and information;(More)