External Seminar by Stefan Dercon

30-04-2019 from 11:30 to 13:00
Class room 0.013, Sint-Pietersplein 7
Economics Seminars
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The future in mind: short and long-run impact of an aspirations intervention in rural ethiopia

by Stefan Dercon (University of Oxford)

(co-authors Tanguy Bernard, Kate Orkin, Alemayehu Seyoum)



We report on a five-year evaluation of a randomised field experiment in a poor remote setting in Ethiopia that aimed to shift aspirations, the way people think about their own future opportunities. We exposed a treatment group to documentaries on people from similar communities that managed to escape poverty through their own efforts in agriculture or business. Both six months and five years later, we find evidence of treatment effect leading to higher aspirations and expectations about the future, as well as increased investment of the type locally associated with moving out of poverty: in education, livestock, other assets and improved agricultural inputs, as well as more effort on the farm. We also find higher consumption spending consistent with higher life time earnings. Our results are not explained simply by exposure to video: no clear effect is found in a placebo group where individuals were exposed to a local entertainment programme. We can also show that they are not explained by direct information transmission in the videos, nor through changes in risk or time preferences. The results are robust to tests for within-village spillovers from exposure. JEL codes: D03; I31.


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