Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Michael Price, University of Alabama
Asymmetry in Civic Information: An Experiment on Tax Incidence among SMEs in Togo
AbstractIn many low-income countries, there is a wedge between the statutory policies on tax compliance and the practice on the ground, especially for the taxation of informal firms. This asymmetry of information on the nature of these firms' civic responsibility to pay taxes leaves much discretion to tax collectors, leading to variation in practices and further distrust and/or confusion among taxpayers and the tax authority. We ran a randomized controlled trial with 400 firms in Lome, Togo, to investigate whether alleviating this informational asymmetry improves tax incidence. We assigned half of the sample to an informational treatment about tax procedures and obligations as well as the use
of tax revenues to provide public services. Surprisingly, treated firms, who we show are now better informed, participate less in the tax system and have
worse perceptions of state actors. The results show increased participation among firms with higher revenues and decreased participation among firms with lower revenues. We consider several rationalizations of the
findings with varying degree of supportive evidence.
The Hidden Role of Piped Water in the Prevention of Obesity in Developing Countries. Experimental and Non-Experimental Evidence
AbstractChild obesity in developing countries is growing at an alarming pace. This study investigates whether expanding access to piped water at home can contribute to stopping this epidemic. It exploits experimental data from Morocco and longitudinal data from the Philippines and finds that access to piped water at home reduces childhood BMI and obesity rates. This study further shows that the effect seems to be generated by a reduction in the consumption of food prepared outside the home. Finally, the study shows that the effect of access to piped water on healthy nutritional status is hidden when access to piped water at home reduces diarrhea prevalence since this in turn increases BMI.
Improving Shock-Coping with Precautionary Savings: Effects of Mobile Banking on Transactional Sex in Kenya
AbstractFor the most vulnerable, even small negative shocks can have significant
short- and long-term impacts. Few interventions that improve shock-coping
are widely available in sub-Saharan Africa. We test whether individual precautionary
savings can mitigate a shock-coping behavior with potentially negative
spillovers: transactional sex. Sex for money is a common shock-coping
behavior in sub-Saharan Africa and is believed to be a leading driver of the
HIV/AIDS epidemic. In a field experiment in Kenya, we randomly assigned half
of 600+ participating, vulnerable women to a savings intervention that consists
of opening a mobile banking savings account labeled for emergency expenses
and individual goals. We find that the intervention led to an increase in total
mobile savings, reductions in transactional sex as a risk-coping response to
shocks, and a decrease in symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.
- O1 - Economic Development