Friedman, Jed

Development Research Group, Development Economics, DEC
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Poverty, POV, Health, HEA
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Development Research Group
Development Economics, DEC
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Last updated August 15, 2023
Citations 378 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Cash Transfers, Food Prices, and Nutrition Impacts on Nonbeneficiary Children
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-03) Filmer, Deon ; Friedman, Jed ; Kandpal, Eeshani ; Onishi, Junko
    Cash transfer programs may generate significant general equilibrium effects that can detract from the anti-poverty goals of the program. Data from a randomized evaluation of a Philippine cash transfer program targeted to poor households show that a 9 percent increase in village income significantly raised the prices of perishable protein-rich foods while leaving other food prices unaffected. The price changes are largest in areas with the highest program saturation, where the shock to village income is on the order of 15 percent and persists more than 2.5 years after program introduction. Although significantly improving nutrition related outcomes among beneficiary children, the cash transfer worsened those same indicators among non-beneficiary children. The stunting rate of young non-beneficiary children increased by eleven percentage points, with even greater increases in the most saturated areas. Another potentially related spillover arises in local health markets: formal health care utilization by mothers and children also declined among non-beneficiary households. Failing to consider such local general equilibrium effects can overstate the net benefit of targeted cash transfers. In areas where individual targeting of social programs covers the majority of households, offering the program on a universal basis should avoid such negative impacts at little additional cost.
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    The Intergenerational Mortality Tradeoff of COVID-19 Lockdown Policies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-05) Ma, Lin ; Shapira, Gil ; de Walque, Damien ; Do, Quy-Toan ; Friedman, Jed ; Levchenko, Andrei A.
    In lower-income countries, the economic contractions that accompany lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 can increase child mortality, counteracting the mortality reductions achieved by the lockdown. To formalize and quantify this effect, this paper builds a macro-susceptible-infected-recovered model that features heterogeneous agents and a country-group-specific relationship between economic downturns and child mortality, and calibrate it to data for 85 countries across all income levels. The findings show that in low-income countries, a lockdown can potentially lead to 1.76 children’s lives lost due to the economic contraction per COVID-19 fatality averted. The ratio stands at 0.59 and 0.06 in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries, respectively. As a result, in some countries lockdowns can actually produce net increases in mortality. In contrast, the optimal lockdown that maximizes the present value of aggregate social welfare is shorter and milder in poorer countries than in rich ones, and never produces a net mortality increase.
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    The Distribution of Effort: Physical Activity, Gender Roles, and Bargaining Power in an Agrarian Setting
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-04) Friedman, Jed ; Gaddis, Isis ; Kilic, Talip ; Martuscelli, Antonio ; Palacios-Lopez, Amparo ; Zezza, Alberto
    The disutility of work, often summarily described as effort, is a primal component of economic models of worker and consumer behavior. However, empirical applications that measure effort, especially those that assess the distribution of effort across known populations, are historically scarce. This paper explores intra-household differences in physical activity in a rural agrarian setting. Physical activity is captured via wearable accelerometers that provide a proxy for physical effort expended per unit of time. In the study setting of agricultural households in Malawi, men devote significantly more time to sedentary activities than women (38 minutes per day), but also spend more time on moderate-to-vigorous activities (16 minutes). Using standardized energy expenditure as a summary measure for physical effort, women exert marginally higher levels of physical effort than men. However, gender differences in effort among married partners are strongly associated with intra-household differences in bargaining power, with significantly larger husband-wife effort gaps alongside larger differences in age and individual land ownership as well as whether the couple lives as part of a polygamous union. Physical activity -- a proxy for physical effort, an understudied dimension of wellbeing -- exhibits an unequal distribution across gender in this population.
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    Child Schooling and Child Work in the Presence of a Partial Education Subsidy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09) de Hoop, Jacobus ; Friedman, Jed ; Kandpal, Eeshani ; Rosati, Furio
    Could a partial subsidy for child education increase children's participation in paid work? In contrast to much of the theoretical and empirical child labor literature, this paper shows that child work and school participation can be complements under certain conditions. Using data from the randomized evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program in the Philippines, the analysis finds that some children, who were in neither school nor work before the program, increased participation in school and work-for-pay after the program. Earlier cash transfer programs, notably those in Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador, increased school attendance while reducing child labor. Those programs fully offset schooling costs, while the transfers under the Philippine transfers fall short of the full costs of schooling for a typical child. As a result, some beneficiary children from poor Philippine households increased work to support their schooling. The additional earnings from this work represent a substantive share of the shortfall in the schooling costs net of transfer. The paper rules out several potential alternative explanations for the increase in child labor, including changes in household productive activities, adult labor supply, and household expenditure patterns that, in principle, can arise after a cash transfer and may also affect the supply of or demand for child labor.