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 - 10 of 10
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    What Does Variation in Survey Design Reveal about the Nature of Measurement Errors in Household Consumption?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Gibson, John ; Beegle, Kathleen ; De Weerdt, Joachim ; Friedman, Jed
    This paper uses data from eight different consumption questionnaires randomly assigned to 4,000 households in Tanzania to obtain evidence on the nature of measurement errors in estimates of household consumption. While there are no validation data, the design of one questionnaire and the resources put into its implementation make it likely to be substantially more accurate than the others. Comparing regressions using data from this benchmark design with results from the other questionnaires shows that errors have a negative correlation with the true value of consumption, creating a non-classical measurement error problem for which conventional statistical corrections may be ineffective.
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    The Impact of the Food Price Crisis on Consumption and Caloric Availability in Pakistan : Evidence from Repeated Cross-sectional and Panel Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-11) Friedman, Jed ; Hong, Seo Yeon ; Hou, Xiaohui
    Welfare losses from the 2008 food price crisis in Pakistan are deepening the gap between poor and non poor populations and further increasing inequality between the provinces. To estimate welfare losses, the reduction in caloric availability at household level is measured. The analysis of calorie intake by source supports the notion that rural households were shielded from the worst effects of the crisis by their capacity to grow their own food. Compensating variation estimates suggest that the average household would need 38 percent of its total precrisis expenditure to maintain precrisis consumption levels. The impact of the food price crisis (measured as the percentage of total expenditure required to restore consumption to the precrisis level) peaked at the end of 2008 to twice as high as at the start of the year. Average household caloric availability fell by almost 8 percent between 2006 and first half of 2008. Urban households were relatively worse off than rural households during the crisis. Income gains from sales of agricultural commodities produced by rural households presumably offset the negative impact of the food crisis to some degree. The drawdown of assets over 2008-10 was another important coping mechanism, especially for households without access to land.
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    The Challenge of Measuring Hunger
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-01) De Weerdt, Joachim ; Beegle, Kathleen ; Friedman, Jed ; Gibson, John
    There is widespread interest in the number of hungry people in the world and trends in hunger. Current global counts rely on combining each country's total food balance with information on distribution patterns from household consumption expenditure surveys. Recent research has advocated for calculating hunger numbers directly from these same surveys. For either approach, embedded in this effort are a number of important details about how household surveys are designed and how these data are then used. Using a survey experiment in Tanzania, this study finds great fragility in hunger counts stemming from alternative survey designs. As a consequence, comparable and valid hunger numbers will be lacking until more effort is made to either harmonize survey designs or better understand the consequences of survey design variation.
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    The Distributional Impacts of Indonesia's Financial Crisis on Household Welfare : A 'Rapid Response' Methodology
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-09) Friedman, Jed ; Levinsohn, James
    Analyzing the distributional impacts of economic crises is an ever more pressing need. If policymakers are to intervene to help those most adversely affected, they need to identify those who have been hurt most and estimate the magnitude of the harm they have suffered. They must also respond in a timely manner. This article develops a simple methodology for measuring these effects and applies it to analyze the impact of the Indonesian economic crisis on household welfare. Using only pre-crisis household information, it estimates the compensating variation for Indonesian households following the 1997 Asian currency crisis and then explores the results with flexible nonparametric methods. It finds that virtually every household was severely affected, although the urban poor fared the worst. The ability of poor rural households to produce food mitigated the worst consequences of the high inflation. The distributional consequences are the same whether or not households are permitted to substitute toward relatively cheaper goods. Households with young children may have suffered disproportionately large adverse effects.
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    Decomposing Response Errors in Food Consumption Measurement: Implications for Survey Design from a Survey Experiment in Tanzania
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-04) Friedman, Jed ; Beegle, Kathleen ; De Weerdt, Joachim ; Gibson, John
    There is wide variation in how consumption is measured in household surveys both across countries and over time. This variation may confound welfare comparisons in part because these alternative survey designs produce consumption estimates that are differentially influenced by contrasting types of survey response error. Although previous studies have documented the extent of net error in alternative survey designs, little is known about the relative influence of the different response errors that underpin a survey estimate. This study leverages a recent randomized food consumption survey experiment in Tanzania to shed light on the relative influence of these various error types. The observed deviation of measured household consumption from a benchmark is decomposed into item-specific consumption incidence and consumption value so as to investigate effects related to (a) the omission of any consumption and then (b) the error in value reporting conditional on positive consumption. The results show that various survey designs exhibit widely differing error decompositions, and hence a simple summary comparison of the total recorded consumption across surveys will obscure specific error patterns and inhibit the lessons for improved consumption survey design. In light of these findings, the relative performance of common survey designs is discussed, and design lessons are drawn to enhance the accuracy of item-specific consumption reporting and, consequently, the measures of total household food consumption.
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    Methods of Household Consumption Measurement Through Surveys : Experimental Results from Tanzania
    ( 2010-12-01) Beegle, Kathleen ; De Weerdt, Joachim ; Friedman, Jed ; Gibson, John
    Consumption expenditure has long been the preferred measure of household living standards. However, accurate measurement is a challenge and household expenditure surveys vary widely across many dimensions, including the level of reporting, the length of the reference period, and the degree of commodity detail. These variations occur both across countries and also over time within countries. There is little current understanding of the implications of such changes for spatially and temporally consistent measurement of household consumption and poverty. A field experiment in Tanzania tests eight alternative methods to measure household consumption on a sample of 4,000 households. There are significant differences between consumption reported by the benchmark personal diary and other diary and recall formats. Under-reporting is particularly relevant in illiterate households and for urban respondents completing household diaries; recall modules measure lower consumption than a personal diary, with larger gaps among poorer households and households with more adult members. Variations in reporting accuracy by household characteristics are also discussed and differences in measured poverty as a result of survey design are explored. The study concludes with recommendations for methods of survey based consumption measurement in low-income countries.
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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.