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Sister competition and birth order effects among marriage-aged girls: Evidence from a field experiment in rural Bangladesh

By Stephanie Zhong

Early marriage before the age of 18 is prevalent among adolescent girls in Bangladesh, but the timing of marriage is not uniform across daughters within a household, with some sisters marrying earlier than others. Using survey data from a novel field experiment from rural Bangladesh, I find that girls ages 10-21 with lower birth order tend to be married at a younger age, even when controlling for confounding nature of household size on birth order. Additionally, girls with younger sisters are more likely to be married and at a younger age than girls with younger brothers. The findings on dowry are inclusive.

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Advisors: Dr. Erica Field and Dr. Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D13, J13, O15

The Puzzle of Mobile Money Markets: An Example of Goldilocks Conditions

By Ricardo Martínez-Cid and Gonzalo Pernas

This paper investigates the supply-side and demand-side factors that explain the success of mobile money markets. Namely, we argue that there exists a set of Goldilocks conditions that best supports mobile money services. A population must have exposure to financial services to understand mobile money and have a high enough level of income to have a use for these services. However, the population must also not have access to highly developed banking architecture, such that their banking needs are already satisfied. By comparing El Salvador and Kenya, countries in different stages of development, we find empirical support for our hypothesis. Our evidence suggests that low income regions and households with some exposure to financial services are more likely to use mobile money than fully banked people who enjoy a higher income.

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Advisor: Erica Field | JEL Codes: E40, E42, G21, G23, O12, O16, O17

Effect of Slum Redevelopment on Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from Mumbai

By Suhani Jalota

As the population of urban poor living in slums increases, governments are trying to relocate people into governmentprovided free housing. Slum redevelopment affects every part of a household’s livelihood, but most importantly the health and wellbeing of younger generationsThis paper investigates the effect of slum redevelopment schemes on child stunting levels. Data was collected in fortyone buildings under the slumredevelopment program in Mumbai. The study demonstrates through a fixed effect regression analysis that an additional year of living in the building is associated with an increase in the heightforage Zscore by 0.124 standard deviations. Possible explanations include an improvement in the overall hygienic environment, sanitation conditions, indoor air pollution, and access to health and water facilities. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that water contamination, loss of livelihood and increased expenses could worsen health outcomes for residents. This study prompts more research on the health effects of slum redevelopment projects, which are becoming increasingly common in the rapidly urbanizing developing world. 

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Advisor: Erica Field, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: O12, O14, O17, O18, O22 | Tagged: Urban infrastructure, Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, Child health, Informal settlements, Project Analysis

The Impact of Micro-Banking on Health: Evidence from Self-Help Group Involvement and Child Nutrition

By Madeline Mckelway

Low income is only one nancial problem that poor families in developing countries face; impoverished households must also face irregularity of their low incomes. Self-help groups (SHGs) can enhance consumption stability by relaxing savings and credit constraints. In this study, I investigate the extent to which SHGs improve a particular dimension of household wellbeing: child nutrition. I analyze households aliated with the SHGs started by the People’s Education and Development Organization (P.E.D.O.) in rural Rajasthan, India. Children who had greater levels of exposure to household SHG membership at a young age have healthier anthropometric statuses than their siblings who had relatively less. This relationship does not appear to be driven by events coinciding with SHG involvement or by the tendency for certain children, who were also exposed to SHGs, to receive better nutrition than their siblings. These endings suggest that SHGs could improve child nutrition.

Honors Thesis


Advisor: Erica Field, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: O1, O12, O15, O16, O22 | Tagged: Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; Human Resources for Economic Development; Financial Markets in Economic Development; Project Analysis


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Jennifer Becker

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly