Poverty Reduction and Equity Group, World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Rural Land, Labor and Credit Markets; Microfinance; Poverty Dynamics; Political Economy of Participatory Development; Field Experiments in Governance and Politics; Impact Evaluation of Institutional and Governance Reforms
Poverty Reduction and Equity Group, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 6, 2023
Ghazala Mansuri is a Lead Economist in the Poverty Reduction and Equity Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University and has published extensively in leading journals in Economics and Development. Her research spans four broad areas: Rural land, labor and credit markets; the economics of household behavior; the political economy of participatory development and institutional and governance reforms for development. Her research on the political economy of local development includes a number of evaluations of participatory development programs.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-02) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaIn a setting where husbands wield considerable coercive power, forms of marriage should adapt to protect the interests of women and their families. The authors study the pervasive marriage custom of watta satta in rural Pakistan, a bride exchange between families coupled with a mutual threat of retaliation. They show that watta satta may be a mechanism to coordinate the actions of two sets of in-laws, each of whom wish to restrain their sons-in-law but who only have the ability to restrain their sons. The authors' empirical results support this view. The likelihood of marital inefficiency, as measured by estrangement, domestic abuse, and wife's mental health, is significantly lower in watta satta arrangements as compared with conventional marriages, but only after properly accounting for selection.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-02) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaAlthough sharecropping has long fascinated economists, the determinants of this contractual form are still poorly understood and the debate over the extent of moral hazard is far from settled. The authors address both issues by emphasizing the role of landlord supervision. When tenant effort is observable, but at a cost to the landlord, otherwise identical share-tenants can receive different levels of supervision and have different productivity. Unique data on monitoring frequency collected from sharetenants in rural Pakistan confirm that, controlling for selection, "supervised" tenants are significantly more productive than "unsupervised" ones. Landlords' decisions regarding the intensity of supervision and the type of incentive contract to offer depend importantly on the cost of supervising tenants.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-02) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaWhen contracts are incomplete, relationship-specific investments may be underprovided due to the threat of opportunistic expropriation or holdup. The authors find evidence of such underinvestment on tenanted land in rural Pakistan. Using data from households cultivating multiple plots under different tenure arrangements, they show that land-specific investment is lower on leased plots. This result is robust to the possible effects of asymmetric information in the leasing market. Greater tenure security also increases land-specific investment on leased plots. Moreover, variation in tenure security appears to be driven largely by heterogeneity across landlords, suggesting that reputation may be important in mitigating the holdup problem.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2008) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaCommitment failure lies at the core of incomplete contract theory, yet its quantitative significance has rarely been assessed. Using detailed plot-level data from rural Pakistan, we find that non-contractible investment is underprovided on tenanted land, even after controlling for the endogeneity of leasing decisions. Our evidence also indicates that moral hazard in investment effort alone cannot explain this inefficiency. Instead, imperfect commitment appears to be the driving mechanism, since even plots taken on fixed rent contracts where all the rent is paid upfront receive lower investment than owner-cultivated plots. We further show that a considerable portion of the variation in tenancy duration, and hence in the security of tenure, is due to heterogeneity across landlords. One interpretation of this finding is that landlord reputation is important in mitigating hold-up.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2010) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaCan marriage institutions limit marital inefficiency? We study the pervasive custom of watta satta in rural Pakistan, a bride exchange between families coupled with a mutual threat of retaliation. Watta satta can be seen as a mechanism for coordinating the actions of two sets of parents, each wishing to restrain their son-in-law. We find that marital discord, as measured by estrangement, domestic abuse, and wife's mental health, is indeed significantly lower in watta satta versus "conventional" marriage, but only after accounting for selection bias. These benefits cannot be explained by endogamy, a marriage pattern associated with watta satta.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2009) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaThough sharecropping remains widespread, its determinants are still poorly understood and the debate over the extent of moral hazard is far from settled. We address both issues by analyzing the role of landlord supervision. When landlords vary in their cost of supervision, otherwise identical share-tenants can have different productivity. Unique data on monitoring frequency collected from share-tenants in rural Pakistan confirms that, controlling for selection, 'supervised' tenants are significantly more productive than 'unsupervised' ones. Also, landlords' decisions regarding monitoring and incentives offered to tenants depend importantly on the cost of supervision.
Publication( 2011-06-01) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaCan communal heterogeneity explain persistent educational inequities in developing countries? The paper uses a novel data-set from rural Pakistan that explicitly recognizes the geographic structure of villages and the social makeup of constituent hamlets to show that demand for schooling is sensitive to the allocation of schools across ethnically fragmented communities. The analysis focuses on two types of social barriers: stigma based on caste affiliation and female seclusion that is more rigidly enforced outside a girl's own hamlet. Results indicate a substantial decrease in primary school enrollment rates for girls who have to cross hamlet boundaries to attend, irrespective of school distance, an effect not present for boys. However, low-caste children, both boys and girls, are deterred from enrolling when the most convenient school is in a hamlet dominated by high-caste households. In particular, low-caste girls, the most educationally disadvantaged group, benefit from improved school access only when the school is also caste-concordant. A policy experiment indicates that providing schools in low-caste dominant hamlets would increase overall enrollment by almost twice as much as a policy of placing a school in every unserved hamlet, and would do so at one-sixth of the cost.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-02) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, Ghazala ; Fatima, FreehaDoes decentralizing the allocation of public resources reduce rent-seeking and improve equity? This paper studies a governance reform in Pakistan's vast Indus Basin irrigation system. Using canal discharge measurements across all of Punjab province, the analysis finds that water theft increased on channels taken over by local farmer organizations compared with channels that remained bureaucratically managed, leading to substantial wealth redistribution. The increase in water theft was greater along channels with larger landowners situated upstream. These findings are consistent with a model in which decentralization accentuates the political power of local elites by shifting the arena in which water rights are contested.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-02) Jacoby, Hanan G. ; Mansuri, GhazalaSurface irrigation is a common pool resource characterized by asymmetric appropriation opportunities across upstream and downstream water users. Large canal systems are also predominantly managed by the state. This paper studies water allocation under an irrigation bureaucracy subject to corruption and rent-seeking. Data on the landholdings and political influence of nearly a quarter million irrigators in Pakistan's vast Indus Basin watershed allow the construction of a novel index of lobbying power. Consistent with a model of misgovernance, the decline in water availability and land values from channel head to tail is accentuated along canals having greater lobbying power at the head than at the tail.