Have not blogged for a while as the semester got busy and the teaching honeymoon (2 courses) was over. Nonetheless here are a few of the papers that have been piling up on my desk to read and blog!
Why do many households remain exposed to large exogenous sources of nonsystematic income risk? We use a series of randomized field experiments in rural India to test the importance of price and nonprice factors in the adoption of an innovative rainfall insurance product. Demand is significantly price sensitive, but widespread take-up would not be achieved even if the product offered a payout ratio comparable to US insurance contracts. We present evidence suggesting that lack of trust, liquidity constraints, and limited salience are significant nonprice frictions that constrain demand. We suggest possible contract design improvements to mitigate these frictions. (JEL D14, D81, O12, O13, O16, O18, Q12)
We study the impact of loan regulation in rural India on child labor with an overlapping-generations model of formal and informal lending, human capital accumulation, adverse selection, and differentiated risk types. Specifically, we build a model economy that replicates the current outcome with a loan rate cap and no lender discrimination by risk using a survey of rural lenders. Households borrow primarily from informal moneylenders and use child labor. Removing the rate cap and allowing lender discrimination markedly increases capital use, eliminates child labor, and improves welfare of all household types.
Resource misallocation can lower aggregate total factor productivity (TFP). We use microdata on manufacturing establishments to quantify the potential extent of misallocation in China and India versus the United States. We measure sizable gaps in marginal products of labor and capital across plants within narrowly defined industries in China and India compared with the United States. When capital and labor are hypothetically reallocated to equalize marginal products to the extent observed in the United States, we calculate manufacturing TFP gains of 30%-50% in China and 40%-60% in India.