See below for a complete list of publications and working papers, as well as selected works in progress. For the latter, I am happy to provide more details—and a draft paper where possible—upon request.
Remittances received by households from international migrants are of interest in an increasing number of microeconomic analyses. Making use of novel data, we measure misreporting of remittances sent by migrants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to remittance recipients in the Philippines. We obtained administrative transaction data from a sample of Filipino migrants who were clients of a popular money transfer operator (MTO). We then surveyed these migrants as well as their primary remittance recipients about the same remittance flows. Migrant-reported remittances are only 6% lower than MTO administrative records, and we cannot reject their equality. A custom smartphone app designed to facilitate migrant remittance reporting does not help raise reporting accuracy. Recipient-reported remittances are 23% lower than migrant reports on average. Recipients under-report even more when they receive remittances less frequently and when remittances make up a lower share of household income.
Can financial incentives lead households to register land in women’s names, thereby providing them with formal property rights? Can formal property ownership improve women’s economic outcomes and change political dynamics within the household? To investigate these questions, we take advantage of a bank lending policy in Myanmar that motivates men in households with land holdings above ten acres to title the surplus land in their wives’ names. We surveyed 5,068 men and women in Myanmar about land-holding, economic activity, and gendered decision-making. We find that the financial incentives provided by the bank lending policy lead to increases in women’s formal property ownership, but these exogenously assigned rights do not manifest broadly into greater economic empowerment or decision-making power for recipients. We provide suggestive evidence that local cultural norms are a significant constraint for women to achieve empowerment through formal land rights.
Works in Progress
Goal Setting for Remittances
with Dean Yang
Estimating the Impact of Social Media on Political Conflict in Myanmar
with Megan Ryan