Jessica Leight

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR
Washington, DC

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: International Food Policy Research Institute

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Advancing the Agency of Adolescent Girls
with Eric V. Edmonds, Benjamin Feigenberg: w27513
Can life skills be taught in early adolescence? Using a clustered randomized control trial, this study analyzes the impact of a school-based life skills intervention in grades six and seven within a sample of 2,459 girls in Rajasthan, India. Our evidence suggests that the intervention is successful in developing stronger life skills including increased agency, more equitable gender norms, and stronger socio-emotional support. Girls also drop out of school at a lower rate: we observe an approximately 25 percent decline in dropout that persists from seventh grade through the transition to high school.
January 2018Value for Money? Community Targeting in Vote-Buying and Politician Accountability
with Dana Foarta, Rohini Pande, Laura Ralston: w24194
Community targeting of vote payments — defined as the saturation of entire neighborhoods with cash prior to elections — is widespread in the developing world. In this paper, we utilize laboratory experiments conducted in the U.S. and Kenya to demonstrate that, relative to individual targeting, a vote-buying regime that distributes payments widely renders voters more tolerant of politician rent-seeking, and increases the level of politician rent-seeking observed in equilibrium. The most parsimonious model of preferences consistent with these patterns is a model in which both politicians and voters are characterized by multifaceted social preferences, encompassing reciprocity, altruism, and inequality aversion.
January 2017Misallocation, Selection and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Panel Data from China
with Tasso Adamopoulos, Loren Brandt, Diego Restuccia: w23039
We use household-level panel data from China and a quantitative framework to document the ex- tent and consequences of factor misallocation in agriculture. We find that there are substantial frictions in both the land and capital markets linked to land institutions in rural China that disproportionately constrain the more productive farmers. These frictions reduce aggregate agricultural productivity in China by affecting two key margins: (1) the allocation of resources across farmers (misallocation) and (2) the allocation of workers across sectors, in particular the type of farmers who operate in agriculture (selection). We show that selection can substantially amplify the static misallocation effect of distortionary policies by affecting occupational choices that worsen the distribution o...
May 2016Maternal Education, Parental Investment and Non-Cognitive Skills in Rural China
with Elaine M. Liu: w22233
The importance of non-cognitive skills in determining long-term human capital and labor market outcomes is widely acknowledged, but relatively little is known about how educational investments by parents may respond to non-cognitive skills early in life. This paper evaluates the parental response to variation in non-cognitive skills among their children in rural Gansu province, China, employing a household fixed effects specification; non-cognitive skills are defined as the inverse of both externalizing challenges (behavioral problems and aggression) and internalizing challenges (anxiety and withdrawal). The results suggest that on average, parents invest no more in terms of educational expenditure in children who have better non-cognitive skills relative to their siblings. However, there ...
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