David Mckenzie

David Mckenzie
World Bank · Development Economics Research Group

About

70
Publications
18,185
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
5,336
Citations
Citations since 2016
7 Research Items
3300 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500

Publications

Publications (70)
Article
A randomized experiment among poor entrepreneurs tested the impact of exogenously inducing higher financial aspirations. In theory, raising aspirations could have positive effects by inducing higher effort, but could also reduce effort if unmet aspirations lead to frustration. Treatment resulted in more ambitious savings goals, but nearly all indiv...
Article
We study how migrating from a poor country to a rich country affects economic beliefs, preference parameters, and household decision-making efficiency. In a ten-year follow-up survey of applicants to a migration lottery program we elicit risk and time preferences and pro-market beliefs for the migrants and the unsuccessful applicants. The successfu...
Article
A field experiment in Sri Lanka provided wage subsidies to randomly chosen microenterprises to test whether hiring additional labor benefits such firms and whether a short-term subsidy can have a lasting impact on firm employment. Using 12 rounds of surveys to track dynamics 4 years after treatment, we find that firms increased employment during th...
Article
We study how migrating from a poor country to a rich country affects economic beliefs, preference parameters, and household decision-making efficiency. In a ten-year follow-up survey of applicants to a migration lottery program we elicit risk and time preferences and pro-market beliefs for the migrants and the unsuccessful applicants. The successfu...
Article
This paper uses a unique survey to examine the nature and extent of knowledge flows that result from the international mobility of researchers whose initial education was in small island countries. Current migrants produce substantially more research than similar-skilled return migrants and non-migrants. Return migrants have no greater research imp...
Article
We conduct randomized experiments around a large-scale financial literacy course in Mexico City to understand the reasons for low take-up among a general population, and to measure the impact of this financial education course. Our results suggest that reputational, logistical, and specific forms of behavioral constraints are not the main reasons f...
Article
Standard models of investment predict that credit-constrained firms should grow rapidly when given additional capital, and that how this capital is provided should not affect decisions to invest in the business or consume the capital. We randomly gave cash and in-kind grants to male- and female-owned microenterprises in urban Ghana. For women runni...
Article
Seasonal and temporary migration programs are widely used around the world, yet there is scant evidence as to their development impacts. Absent such evidence, it is difficult to evaluate whether the proliferation of temporary worker programs in recent years is a useful development. This article reviews studies that attempt to measure impacts of sea...
Article
Over 200 million people worldwide live outside their country of birth and typically experience large gains in material well-being by moving to where incomes are higher. But effects of migration on subjective well-being are less clear, with some studies suggesting that migrants are miserable in their new locations. Observational studies are potentia...
Article
Over 200 million people worldwide live outside their country of birth and typically experience large gains in material well-being by moving to where wages are higher. But, the effect of this migration on other dimensions of well-being such as health are less clear and existing evidence is ambiguous because of potential for self-selection bias. In t...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted a field experiment in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to test which government actions work to encourage informal firms to register. We find zero or negative impacts of information and free cost treatments and a significant but small increase in formalization from inspections. The local average treatment effect estimates of the inspection impac...
Article
Take-up of voluntary financial education programs is typically extremely low. This paper reports on randomized experiments around a large financial literacy course offered in Mexico City to understand the reasons for low take-up, and to measure the impact of financial education. It documents that the general public displays little interest in such...
Article
Most migration surveys do not ask about the legal status of migrants due to concerns about the sensitivity of this question. List randomization is a technique that has been used in a number of other social science applications to elicit sensitive information. This paper trials this technique by adding it to surveys conducted in Ethiopia, Mexico, Mo...
Article
Efforts to make it easier for firms to register formally are the most common form of business regulatory reform over the past decade. While there is evidence that large reforms have resulted in some increases in registration rates, recent experimental evidence suggests very few informal firms choose to register when given information about how to d...
Article
Business training programs are a popular policy option to try to improve the performance of enterprises around the world. The last few years have seen rapid growth in the number of evaluations of these programs in developing countries. This paper undertakes a critical review of these studies with the goal of synthesizing the emerging lessons and un...
Article
There has long been a concern among policymakers that too much of remittances are consumed and too little saved, limiting the development impact of migration. Financial literacy programs have become an increasingly popular way to try and address this issue, but to date there is no evidence that they are effective in inducing savings among remittanc...
Article
The authors conduct a randomized experiment among women in urban Sri Lanka to measure the impact of the most commonly used business training course in developing countries, the Start-and-Improve Your Business program. They work with two representative groups of women: a random sample of women operating subsistence enterprises and a random sample of...
Article
Full-text available
Remittances are a major source of external finance for many developing countries but the cost of sending remittances remains high for many migration corridors. International efforts to lower costs by facilitating the entry of new financial products and new cost comparison information sources rely heavily on the financial literacy of migrants. This...
Article
Full-text available
We conduct a field experiment in Sri Lanka providing informal firms incentives to formalize. Information about the registration process and reimbursement of direct costs has no effect. Payments equivalent to one-half to one month (alternatively, 2 months) of the median firm’s profits leads to registration of around one-fifth (alternatively, one-hal...
Article
Full-text available
Cashing Up Do small businesses in developing economies benefit from an infusion of cash or of capital, such as inventory or materials, and is the effect a momentary blip or a sustained expansion? De Mel et al. (p. 962 ) have extended their study of one-time cash or capital transfers to a group of randomized business owners in Sri Lanka to look at t...
Article
This paper uses a unique survey designed by the authors to compare migrant children who enter New Zealand through a random ballot with children in the home country of Tonga whose families were unsuccessful participants in the same ballots. We find that migration increases height and reduces stunting of infants and toddlers, but also increases BMI a...
Article
This research note presents an analysis of the development impacts of Australia's Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme. We estimate the gain per participating household to be approximately A$2600, which is a 39% increase in per-capita annual income in participating households. The aggregate impact to date is small, but the experience of New Zealand...
Article
Full-text available
Small-scale entrepreneurs typically cite access to finance as the most important constraint to growth. Recent randomized experiments have shown the return to capital to be very high for the average microenterprise in Sri Lanka. An intervention was designed to improve access to credit among these high-return microenterprises without subsidizing inte...
Article
Full-text available
Standard models of investment predict that credit-constrained firms should grow rapidly when given additional capital, and that how this capital is provided should not affect decisions to invest in the business or consume the capital. The authors randomly gave cash and in-kind grants to male- and female-owned microenterprises in urban Ghana. Their...
Article
Full-text available
The term "brain drain" dominates popular discourse on high-skilled migration, and for this reason, we use it in this article. However, as Harry Johnson noted, it is a loaded phrase implying serious loss. It is far from clear that such a loss actually occurs in practice; indeed, there is an increasing recognition of the possible benefits that skille...
Article
The impact of migration on food security and child health is likely to differ depending on whether children themselves migrate or whether they remain behind while other household members migrate. However, existing studies have not been able to examine how impacts differ in these two scenarios because parallel data are required for both the sending...
Article
Camine, señora, camine! (Walk, lady, walk!) The current global financial crisis has caused output to drop in many developing countries, with the World Bank estimating that 55 million more people will live on less than $1.25 a day than expected precrisis. The extent to which the crisis will have long-term impacts depends on how poor people respond t...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal migration programs are widely used around the world, and are increasingly seen as offering a potential triple-win -- benefiting the migrant, sending country, and receiving country. Yet there is a dearth of rigorous evidence as to their development impact, and concerns about whether the time periods involved are too short to realize much in...
Article
Full-text available
Standard models of the migration decision assume potential migrants are well informed of the employment opportunities available in different labour markets, and decide whether or not to migrate on this basis. This paper uses new survey data collected in Tonga and Vanuatu to assess the information migrants and potential migrants have about employmen...
Article
How much do migrants stand to gain in income from moving across borders? Answering this question is complicated by non-random selection of migrants from the general population, which makes it hard to obtain an appropriate comparison group of non-migrants. New Zealand allows a quota of Tongans to immigrate each year with a random ballot used to choo...
Article
Full-text available
Wage subsidies have long been used by Governments as part of their active labor market policies to generate employment for the disadvantaged or to sustain employment during downturns. The current global financial crisis has seen such policies return to prominence, with many developed nations using such policies to try and reduce lay-offs. Nicholas...
Article
Using data from surveys of enterprises in Sri Lanka after the December 2004 tsunami, the authors undertake the first microeconomic study of the recovery of the private firmsin a developing country following a major natural disaster. Disaster recovery in low-income countries is characterized by the prevalence of relief aid rather than of insurance p...
Article
Brain drain has long been one of the most common concerns developing countries have about migration, particularly for small countries where high-skilled emigration rates are highest. However, while economic theory suggests a number of possible benefits, in addition to costs, from skilled emigration, the evidence base on many of these is very limite...
Article
We report on the results of a field experiment in Sri Lanka in which we stimulated formal registration of informal firms with fewer than 15 employees by providing information and incentive payments. The direct monetary and time costs of registration in Sri Lanka are modest. Moreover, for the median firm in our sample, registration implies no additi...
Article
Full-text available
The impacts of international emigration and remittances on incomes and poverty in sending areas are increasingly studied with household survey data. But comparing households with and without emigrants is complicated by a triple-selectivity problem: first, households self-select into emigration; second, in some emigrant households everyone moves whi...
Article
Personalized Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other forms of hardware needed to collect survey data electronically have become more affordable and powerful in recent years, leading to their use in a number of surveys in developing countries. Simple use of these devices can offer the prospect of more timely data entry and greater accuracy in guiding re...
Article
We use randomized grants to generate shocks to capital stock for a set of Sri Lankan microenterprises. We find the average real return to capital in these enterprises is 4.6%-5.3% per month (55%-63% per year), substantially higher than market interest rates. We then examine the heterogeneity of treatment effects. Returns are found to vary with entr...
Article
Full-text available
Households and communities in the Pacific Islands increasingly will have some of their most productive members regularly absent due to growing opportunities for seasonal work abroad. If these absences are costly for the family left behind the net development benefit of seasonal migration will be less than what it appears from remittances and repatr...
Article
Full-text available
This paper shows that increases in the minimum wage rate can have ambiguous effects on the working hours and welfare of employed workers in competitive labor markets. The reason is that employers may not comply with the minimum wage legislation and instead pay a lower subminimum wage rate. If workers are risk neutral, we prove that working hours an...
Article
Full-text available
Households and communities in the Pacific islands are increasingly likely to have some of their most productive members regularly absent due to growing opportunities for seasonal work abroad. If these absences are costly for the family left behind, the net development benefits of seasonal migration will be less than what they appear from remittance...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyzes data from a randomized experiment on mean returns to capital in Sri Lankan micro-enterprises. The findings show greater returns among men than among women; indeed, returns were not different from zero for women. The authors explore different explanations for the lower returns among female owners, and find no evidence that the ge...
Article
A strong theoretical argument for focusing on access to finance is that financial market imperfections can result in large inefficiencies, as firms with productive investment opportunities underinvest. Lack of access to finance is a frequent complaint of microenterprises, which account for a large share of employment in developing countries. Howeve...
Article
Full-text available
Temporary migration programs for unskilled workers are increasingly being proposed as a way to both relieve labour shortages in developed countries and aid development in sending countries without entailing many of the costs associated with permanent migration. New Zealand’s new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program is designed with both these...
Article
New Zealand’s new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program allows workers from the Pacific Islands to come to New Zealand for up to seven months to work in the horticulture and viticulture industries. One of the explicit objectives of the program is to encourage economic development in the Pacific. In this paper we report on the results of a base...
Article
A sample of 561 Sri Lanka microenterprise owners affected to various extents by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami were surveyed five times at quarterly intervals between March 2005 and April 2006. Mental health recovery was measured through questions on return to normalcy and change in life outlook. Business profits were used to measure liveli...
Article
Full-text available
We use randomized grants to generate shocks to capital stock for a set of Sri Lankan microenterprises. We find the average real return to capital in these enterprises is 4.6%–5.3% per year), substantially higher than market interest rates. We then examine the heterogeneity of treatment effects. Returns are found to vary with entrepreneurial ability...
Article
Full-text available
I modify the uniform-price auction rules in allowing the seller to ration bidders. This allows me to provide a strategic foundation for underpricing when the seller has an interest in ownership dispersion. Moreover, many of the so-called "collusive-seeming" equilibria disappear.
Article
The aim of this paper is to measure the returns to migration using non-experimental data taking both observed and unobserved characteristics into account. A significant challenge related to migration research and the issues of unobserved heterogeneity is that the standard 2stage least squares estimator (2SLS) is strictly only applicable to situatio...
Article
Full-text available
ABSTRACT : This paper looks at how well Finland performs in high growth entrepreneurship and uses data from the Global Entrepreneurship monitor to benchmark Finland against other European countries. It is found that Finland’s prevalence rate of high growth entrepreneurial activity lags significantly behind most of its European and all of its Scandi...
Article
Migration to New Zealand and consequent remittance inflows are dominant features of many Pacific Island countries. Evaluating the effect of these people and money flows on incomes and poverty in the Pacific is potentially complicated by the non-random selection of emigrants. This paper uses the randomization provided by an immigration ballot under...
Article
Millions of people emigrate every year in search of better opportunities. Anecdotes of emigrants with over-optimistic expectations about the incomes they can earn abroad suggest excessive migration pressure. Yet there is almost no statistical evidence on how accurately emigrants predict the incomes that they will earn working abroad. In this paper,...
Article
People migrate to improve their well-being. Yet a large literature suggests that migration can be a stressful process, with potentially negative impacts on mental health. However, to truly understand the effect of migration one must compare the mental health of migrants to what their mental health would be had they stayed in their home country. The...
Article
Full-text available
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effect...
Article
Full-text available
Capital inflows to the Pacific islands from aid, foreign investment and remittances are an important source of development finance. Remittances are the fastest growing; they now total US$ 400 million per year and can be expected to grow even further as labour mobility is used to deal with seasonal labour shortages in Australia and New Zealand and l...
Article
Full-text available
Pacific Island economies are some of the most remittance- dependent in the world. Proposals to lower the costs of sending money across borders are a core recommendation of recent international studies that aim to enhance the development impact of remittances. The potential increase in remittances that recipient countries can expect from such polici...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to measure the returns to migration using non-experimental data taking both observed and unobserved characteristics into account. A significant challenge related to migration research and the issues of unobserved heterogeneity is that the standard 2stage least squares estimator (2SLS) is strictly only applicable to situatio...
Article
Full-text available
Migration of workers from developing to developed countries and the resulting remittance flows are important development policies. World Bank calculations show that restrictions on international migration have larger welfare costs than the more widely studied restrictions on international trade. But estimated gains from migration may be affected by...
Article
This paper aims to address a gap in our understanding of immigrant health issues by examining the determinants of excess weight--an important indicator of current and future health. The paper combines data drawn from recent large health surveys to identify how the weight of recent immigrants compares with that of native-born people, and how the lik...
Article
Market research data are utilized to examine the use of changes in shopping behavior as a method of mitigating the effects of the 2002 Argentine economic crisis. Although the total quantity and real value of goods purchased fell during the crisis, consumers are found to be spending more days shopping. This increase in shopping frequency occurs thro...
Article
Households allocating time between market and non-market uses should respond to income variations by adjusting the time devoted to shopping search and other home production activities. In this paper, we exploit high-frequency household expenditure data to examine the use of changes in shopping intensity as a method of mitigating the effects of the...
Article
Is migration a good investment? To determine the income gains from migration, one must compare the earnings of the migrant to what they would have earned in their home country. The latter is unobserved, and is usually proxied by the earnings of stayers of a similar age and education to the migrant. This approach is not very convincing because if th...
Article
Full-text available
Measuring the gain in income from migration is complicated by non-random selection of migrants from the general population, making it difficult to obtain an appropriate comparison group of non-migrants. This paper uses a migrant lottery to overcome this problem, providing an experimental measure of the income gains from migration. New Zealand allow...
Article
Full-text available
The impacts of international emigration and remitta nces on incomes and poverty in sending areas are increasingly studied with household survey data . But comparing households with and without emigrants is complicated by a triple-selectivity pr oblem: first, households self-select into emigration; second, in some emigrant households everyone moves...
Article
Full-text available
The impacts of international migration on development in the sending countries, and especially the effects on remaining household members, are increasingly studied. However, comparisons of households in developing countries with and without migrants are complicated by a double-selectivity problem: households self-select into migration, and among ho...

Network

Cited By