Research and Presentations

Published/Accepted Research

  1. "An Examination of the Effect of Inequality on Lotteries for Funding Public Goods." (with Cary Deck and Li Zhang), Accepted (2022): Journal of Public Economic Theory

    - Summary: We experimentally study the impact of inequality on the effectiveness of contests for funding public goods in a development context. We observe that the typical result of a lottery funding mechanism leading to greater funding for the public good than predicted by theory extends to groups with inequality. However, while theory suggests that increased inequality should lower total contributions to a lottery funded public good, we observe the opposite pattern. This result differs from prior results for the standard voluntary contribution mechanism where increased inequality has been found to reduce public good provision. Moreover, we find that the poor do not contribute a greater share of their endowment to the public good than do the wealthy. Thus, overall our study demonstrates the potential for community development projects, when funded with a lottery mechanism, to be highly successful even in the presence of inequality and that they may even facilitate a progressive redistribution of wealth.

  2. A Living Wage for Jamaica: Considerations for Calculation and Implementation (with Lauren Marsh and Danny Roberts). Social and Economic Studies, 2017, Vol 66(1&2) . [link]

Working Papers

  • "Do Conditional Cash Transfers create resilience against poverty? Long-run evidence from Jamaica" (Job Market Paper). Under Review . [link]

    - Summary: Conditional Cash Transfer programs (CCT) have become the prominent component of social assistance programs in many developing countries. A major objective of CCT programs is breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and building a population resilient to adverse shocks that may push a person into poverty. The literature to date has not provided conclusive evidence for the long-run impact of CCT programs on beneficiaries’ resilience against poverty. To fill this gap, I exploit the age-based eligibility thresholds and regional variation in exposure to the Jamaican CCT program to identify its long-run impact on resilience against poverty. I find that child beneficiaries of the program are 11.5 percentage points more resilient against poverty when they become adults than they would have been in the absence of the program. Moreover, these benefits are realized after the beneficiary is in their early 20’s, when they have become more integrated into the labor market. Overall, this study provides further justification for the expansion of CCTs or similar programs targeting children living in less-developed countries.

  • "Robust Estimates of Vulnerability to Poverty using Quantile Estimators." Under Review . [link]

    - Summary: I propose an alternative empirical strategy—based on estimated medians with quantile regression—to standard strategies that identify individuals/households that are vulnerable to future episodes of poverty. This methodology is robust to measurement error and outliers; it is more accurate and relies on fewer assumptions than current mean-based methodologies and so facilitate more efficient use of scarce resources; and it is simple to implement which allows easy adoption by policymakers. Moreover, this methodology is shown to provide more dynamic information about household welfare than the static poverty rate. Applying this strategy to data from Uganda to illustrate its usefulness, I find that it more accurately identifies the future poor among the general population. The accuracy is highlighted in the fact that 1 in 2 households identified as vulnerable using the median strategy were poor within 1-3 years after being identified as vulnerable compared with 1 in 5 households using mean-based empirical strategies.

Works in Progress:

  • “Determining Vulnerable to Poverty Thresholds using Machine Learning Models"

  • “A Utility Consistent Vulnerability as Expected Poverty Index"

  • “Why do people really remain poor?”

  • “Neighborhood Effects on Earnings Distributions"

Other Research/Reports:

  • “Household Consumption” in the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) 2012, 2013 and 2014.

  • “Westmoreland Modified Local Area Economic Profile (LEAP)” (2013)

Presentation of Research:

  • Public Choice Society Meeting. Nashville, Tennessee (March 2022)

  • ACM conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization. Online (October 2021)

  • EFLS brown bag University of Alabama. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (November 2021)

  • Southern Economic Association 91st Annual Meeting. Houston, Texas (November 2021)

  • Association for Mentoring and Inclusion in Economics (AMIE). Online (March 2021)

  • Southern Economic Association 90th Annual Meeting. Online (November 2020)

  • 8th Annual Caribbean Child Research Conference. Kingston, Jamaica (2015).




CV (pdf)