Marcel Fafchamps

Marcel Fafchamps
Stanford University | SU · Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

PhD

About

288
Publications
49,588
Reads
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16,768
Citations
Introduction
For those of you who request a full text of my papers, all the papers since 1996 are available on my Stanford website at https://web.stanford.edu/~fafchamp/research.html.
Additional affiliations
November 2013 - present
Stanford University
Position
  • Fellow
July 1999 - October 2013
University of Oxford
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (288)
Article
Research has documented labor conflict within foreign-owned, and especially Chinese-owned, manufacturing firms in sub-Saharan economies. Yet, systematic comparisons of foreign versus domestic firms are rare, and it remains unclear whether labor conflict is a phenomenon that affects emerging industries or is specific to foreign firms. Drawing on a l...
Article
SMS information campaigns are increasingly used for policy. A field experiment is conducted to study information sharing through mobile phone messages. Subjects are rural households in Mozambique who have access to mobile money. In the baseline intervention, subjects receive an SMS containing simple instructions on how to redeem a voucher for mobil...
Article
We examine patterns of adoption of a new airtime transfer service over time. We document a strong positive correlation between own adoption and increased usage of the new airtime transfer platform by social neighbours. We examine the possible sources of this correlation by distinguishing between network externalities that extend after adoption and...
Article
Experiment evidence to date indicates that subjects follow a trigger strategy in finitely repeated games: they punish bad contractual performance by reducing future offers and the threat of punishment disciplines opportunistic breach. This behavior contradicts standard game theory predictions. We conduct a repeated prisoner's dilemma (PD) game expe...
Preprint
Full-text available
SMS information campaigns are increasingly used for policy. We conduct a field experiment to study information sharing through mobile phone messages. Subjects are rural households in Mozambique who have access to mobile money. In the baseline intervention, subjects receive an SMS containing simple instructions on how to redeem a voucher for mobile...
Article
Full-text available
We use high resolution satellite data on the proportion of buildings in a 250x250 meter cell to study the evolution of human settlement in Ghana over a 40 year period. We find a strong increase in built-up area over time, mostly concentrated in the vicinity of roads, and also directly on the coast. We find strong evidence of agglomeration effects b...
Article
This paper uses a randomized controlled experiment in which farmers trained on a new rice cultivation method teach two other farmers. The results show that the intervention increases yields and farm profits among treated farmers. Teacher-trainees are effective at spreading knowledge and inducing adoption relative to just training. Incentivizing tea...
Chapter
Chapter 11 notes that social capital can be detrimental as well as beneficial to firm performance if it encourages allegiances outside the firm, for example, in the form of corruption and nepotism. Avoiding this requires creating a sense of common purpose and values that embrace partners rather than either exploiting them or pandering to particular...
Preprint
Full-text available
We evaluate the impacts of a job fair intervention that decreases meeting costs between large firms and young jobseekers, randomizing fair attendance among workers and among firms. The fairs generate a rich set of interactions between workers and firms, but very few hires: one for every twelve firms that attended. On the other hand, the fairs motiv...
Article
Full-text available
We show that helping young job-seekers signal their skills to employers generates large and persistent improvements in their labour market outcomes. We do this by comparing an intervention that improves the ability to signal skills (the ‘job application workshop’) to a transport subsidy treatment designed to reduce the cost of job search. In the sh...
Article
We investigate how individuals form social connections to access information. In our link formation game of one-way-flows, the myopic best response is to link to the node with the highest informational reach, which depends on indirect links. This strategy leads to the efficient circle network. We find that myopic best response predicts the links th...
Article
We seek to better target agricultural training by inviting current trainees to refer future trainees. Some referees are rewarded or incentivized. Training increases the adoption of recommended practices and improves performance, but not all trainees adopt. Referred trainees are 4.2% more likely to adopt than randomly selected trainees, and 3.4-3.8%...
Article
Efforts to promote financial inclusion have largely focused on microcredit and micro-savings separately, less so on promoting financial intermediation across poor borrowers and savers. Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) may enable borrowers and savers to meet each others' needs, by combining a borrowing and a commitment savings technolog...
Article
We investigate whether the prospect of redistribution hinders the formation of efficiency-enhancing groups. We conduct an experiment in a Kenyan slum, Ugandan villages, and a UK university town. We test, in an anonymous setting with no feedback, whether subjects join a group that increases their endowment but exposes them to one of three redistribu...
Article
We investigate whether social structure helps or hinders factor allocation using unusually rich data from the Gambia. Evidence indicates that land available for cultivation is allocated unequally across households; and that factor transfers are more common between neighbors, co-ethnics, and kinship-related households. Does this lead to the conclusi...
Article
We study the distribution of public services by local politicians when political support spreads through social networks. We sketch a model showing that incumbents target goods and services to individuals who would lead to the largest aggregate loss of support if they stopped supporting the incumbent. Those individuals have high betweenness central...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We run a randomized controlled experiment in which farmers trained on a new rice cultivation method (SRI) teach two other farmers selected by us. We find that farmers invited to teach others are much more likely to adopt new practices than farmers who only receive the BRAC training. Teacher farmers are effective at spreading knowledge and inducing...
Article
Mazzocco and Saini (2012) propose and implement a test of efficient risk sharing that allows for preference heterogeneity. They motivate their approach as yielding different results from those of a standard efficiency test with homogeneous preferences. We show that the standard efficiency test results are misreported in their paper and that the cor...
Article
There are many assignment processes in which agents are given the opportunity to unilaterally select a match. Resulting allocations can be inefficient if agents do not internalize the consequences of their choice on others. To test this formally, we study how other‐regarding behaviors vary across two decision contexts: when subjects make a pure all...
Article
We design a laboratory experiment to investigate matching in a decentralized market of deferred acceptance. Agents are undifferentiated and may have multiple partners; their payoff depends on who they match with. The experiment is designed in such a way that a stable configuration exists, but cannot be eyeballed by the participants due to the compu...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss a statistical procedure to carry out empirical research that combines recent insights about preanalysis plans (PAPs) and replication. Researchers send their datasets to an independent third party who randomly generates training and testing samples. Researchers perform their analysis on the training sample and are able to incorporate feed...
Article
We conduct a large scale experiment to investigate peer effects in computer assisted learning (CAL). Identification relies on three levels of randomization. We find an average 0.17 standard deviation improvement in math scores among primary school students. This average effect is the same for students treated individually or in pairs, implying that...
Article
Do individuals in a position of social influence contribute more to public goods than their less connected partners? Can we motivate these influential individuals by disclosing how others expect them to act? To answer these questions, we play a public good game on a star network. The experimental design is such that efficiency and equality consider...
Article
This paper estimates the impacts of being connected to politicians on occupational choice. Using an administrative dataset collected in 2008-2010 on 20 million individuals in the Philippines, we rely on naming conventions to assess family links to candidates in elections held in 2007 and 2010. We combine a regression discontinuity design to close e...
Chapter
Who benefits from introducing competition in the setting of an ultimatum game? We introduce a multiplayer version of the ultimatum game to subjects in Accra, Ghana, framed in a labour market setting. In this version three Proposers (employers) can make offers to three Responders (workers) at the same time. Subjects also participate in a treatment w...
Article
We gave US$1000 cash prizes to winners of a business plan competition in Africa. Participants were ranked by committees of established entrepreneurs. Each committee selected one winner among 12 candidates. Six months after the competition, we compare winners with the two runners-up in each committee: winners are about 33 percentage points more like...
Article
We run a novel field experiment to link managers of African manufacturing firms. The experiment resembles the many forms of interaction that business and community organizations offer to their members. The design features exogenous link formation, exogenous seeding of information, and exogenous assignment to treatment and placebo. We study the impa...
Article
Central place theory predicts that agglomeration can arise from external shocks. We investigate whether gold mining is a catalyst for early stages of urbanization in rural Ghana. We call this phenomenon proto-urbanization. Using cross-sectional data, we find that locations with gold mines exhibit most of the tell-tale signs of proto-urbanization. T...
Article
We contribute to the literature on the role of patenting for economic development by analyzing the impact of patent protection for software in India. We find that a proposed broadening of patent eligibility to include software in 2004 had a large positive effect on average returns for listed software companies in India. An unanticipated reversal of...
Article
We provide empirical evidence that Rwandans use the mobile phone network to transfer airtime to those affected by unexpected shocks. Using an extensive dataset on mobile phone activity in Rwanda and exploiting the quasi-random timing and location of natural disasters, we show that individuals make transfers and calls to people affected by disasters...
Article
We conduct a business plan competition to test whether survey instruments or panel judges are able to identify the fastest growing firms. Participants submitted six- to eight-page business plans and defended them before a three- or four-judge panel. We surveyed applicants shortly after they applied and one and two years after the competition. We us...
Article
We provide empirical evidence that Rwandans use the mobile phone network to transfer airtime to those affected by unexpected shocks. Using an extensive dataset on mobile phone activity in Rwanda and exploiting the quasi-random timing and location of natural disasters, we show that individuals make transfers and calls to people affected by disasters...
Article
Many studies have used self-reported dyadic data without exploiting the pattern of discordant answers. In this paper we propose a maximum likelihood estimator that deals with mis-reporting in a systematic way. We illustrate the methodology using dyadic data on inter-household transfers from the village of Nyakatoke in Tanzania, investigating the ro...
Article
Full-text available
The paper reports the result of an experimental game on asset integration and risk taking. We find some evidence that winnings in earlier rounds affect risk taking in subsequent rounds, but no evidence that real life wealth outside the experiment affects risk taking. Controlling for past winnings, participants receiving a low endowment in a round e...
Article
Mobile phone coverage has expanded considerably throughout the developing world, particularly within sub-Saharan Africa. Existing evidence suggests that increased access to information technology has improved agricultural market efficiency for consumer markets and certain commodities, but there is less evidence of its impact on producer markets. Bu...
Article
Following recent literature, we hypothesise that saving and borrowing among microfinance clients are substitutes, satisfying the same underlying demand for a regular deposit schedule and a lump-sum withdrawal. We test this using a framed field experiment among women participating in group lending in rural Pakistan. The experiment — inspired by the...
Article
Full-text available
Previous analyses of the formation and composition of community-based organizations (CBOs) have used cross section data. So, causal inference has been compromised. We obviate this problem by using data from a quasi-experiment in which villages were formed by government officials selecting and clustering households. Our findings are as follows: CBO...
Article
This paper reviews the current literature on the estimation of causal peer effects. After a discussion of causality in general, I introduce the standard peer effect model in networks and illustrate the reflection problem. I then present approaches to causal inference with observational data before introducing experimental approaches. I review estim...
Article
Standard models often predict that people should either demand to save or demand to borrow, but not both. We hypothesise instead that saving and borrowing among microfinance clients are substitutes, satisfying the same underlying demand: for a regular schedule of deposits and a lump-sum withdrawal. We test this using a framed field experiment among...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study is to estimate the bene…ts that Indian farmers derive from market and weather information delivered by their mobile phone.We conduct a controlled randomized experiment in 100 villages of Maharashtra. We …nd no statistically signi…cant average e¤ect of treatment on the price received by farmers, on crop losses resulting fro...
Article
Using census data from Nepal we examine how the partial derivatives of predicted household welfare vary with parental education.We focus on fertility, child survival, schooling, and child labor. Female education is not as strongly associated with beneficial outcomes as is often assumed. Male education often matters more, and part of the association...
Article
Mobile phone coverage has expanded considerably throughout the developing world, particularly within sub-Saharan Africa. Existing evidence suggests that increased access to information technology has improved agricultural market efficiency for consumer markets and certain commodities, but there is less evidence of its impact on producer markets. Bu...
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
In the development economics literature it is common to read that the poor cannot invest to escape their poverty because they are credit constrained, and that they are credit constrained because they lack collateral. In this paper the author deconstructs these often heard arguments and finds them fundamentally flawed. He argues that lack of collate...
Article
Full-text available
We study how knowledge about the social network of an individual researcher – as embodied in his coauthor relations – helps us in developing a more accurate prediction of his future productivity. We find that incorporating information about coauthor networks leads to a modest improvement in the accuracy of forecasts on individual output, over and a...
Article
Expansion in mobile phone coverage has improved access to information throughout the developing world, particularly within sub-Saharan Africa. The existing evidence suggests that information technology has improved market efficiency and reduced consumer prices for certain commodities. There are fewer studies assessing the impact of the technology o...
Article
Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. We follow randomized interventions implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using a free newspaper, leaflets, and text messaging. We investigate whether treatment effects were transmitted through social networks (kinship and chatting...
Article
Credit Constraints, Collateral, and Lending to the Poor In the development economics literature it is common to read that the poor cannot invest to escape their poverty because they are credit constrained, and that they are credit constrained because they lack collateral. In this paper the author deconstructs these often heard arguments and finds t...
Article
Full-text available
This study estimates the benefits that Indian farmers derive from market and weather information delivered to their mobile phones by a commercial service called Reuters Market Light (RML). We conduct a controlled randomized experiment in 100 villages of Maharashtra. Treated farmers associate RML information with a number of decisions they have made...
Article
We investigate whether available enforcement mechanisms affect who shares risk with whom in sub-Saharan Africa, by applying dyadic regression analysis to data from a lab-type experiment, surveys, and a genealogical-mapping exercise. During the experiment, participants were invited to form risk-sharing groups under three enforcement mechanisms: exte...
Article
Using a rich dataset from West Africa, we examine the household characteristics associated with membership in community-based organizations (CBOs). We find that on average it is the more fortunate members of rural society who belong in CBOs. In Senegal, the dominant criterion is land ownership. In Burkina Faso it is age and family ties with village...
Article
This paper discusses how the mechanisms that allocate workers to tasks vary systematically with isolation from markets and hence with distance from urban centers. This in turn affects social norms, household structure, and the perceived benefits of migration. The relevance of the framework is illustrated with empirical evidence from personal resear...
Chapter
Full-text available
In many developing countries poor infrastructure – including sanitation and health facilities – exposes the population to high risks of disability. Low standards of health and safety at work and at home, coupled with political, ethnic and domestic violence, also contribute to raising the risk of becoming physically disabled. The effect of physical...
Article
This chapter reviews the literature identifying the different roles that family and kinship networks play in sharing risk. After a brief overview of efficient risk sharing, we discuss the channels by which households pool risk and the motives for entering in binding informal arrangements. Informal risk sharing arrangements are often thought to be e...
Article
Full-text available
Economic development involves a structural transformation in the way people are allocated to tasks. There is a shift from self-provision to market exchange, facilitating specialization. There is also a shift from self-employment to wage employment in large firms and organizations, driven by innovation and increasing returns to scale. Changes in all...
Article
Full-text available
In a panel survey of an informal insurance network in Tanzania we find none of the tell-tale signs that insurance transfers follow reciprocal risk sharing arrangements among self-interested individuals: insurance remittances do not occur through informal loans; transfers are not regressive; and they do not fall when shocks are repeated over time. T...
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
This paper examines the incomes of individuals who have joined self-help groups in poor neighborhoods of Nairobi. Self-help groups are often advocated as a way of facilitating income pooling. We find that incomes are indeed more correlated among individuals in the same group than among individuals who belong to different groups. Using an original m...
Article
Full-text available
Patterns of correlation in innovation and contractual practices among manufacturing firms in Ethiopia and Sudan are documented. Network data that indicate whether any two firms in the utilized sample do business with each other, buy inputs from a common supplier, or sell output to a common client are used for the analysis. Only limited support is f...
Article
Combining data from the Moroccan census of manufcaturing enterprises with information from a commune survey, we test whether firm expansion is affected by local financial development. Our findings are consistent with this hypothesis: local bank availability is robustly associated with faster growth for small and medium-size firms in sectors with gr...
Article
Full-text available
Using census date from Nepal, we examine how the marginal effects of male and female education on various household welfar indicators vary with education levels. Parental education is associated with better household outcomes, but marginal effects vary with education level. Higher child survival, for instance, is associated higher primary education...
Article
Full-text available
Using village date from Tanzania, we test whether gifts and loans between households are voluntary while correcting for mis-reporting by the giving and receiving households. Tow maintained assumptions underlie our analysis: answers to a question on who people would turn to for help are good proxies for willingness to link: and, conditional on regre...
Article
This article investigates how the control and devolution of productive assets are allocated among husband and wife. Theory predicts that bargaining power within marriage depends on the division of assets upon divorce and on control over assets during marriage. Using detailed household data from rural Ethiopia, we show that assets brought to marriag...