Academic Articles; From the web

Blattman, Christopher, Nathan Fiala, and Sebastian Martinez “Credit Constraints, Occupational Choice, and the Process of Development: Long Run Evidence from Cash Transfers in Uganda”

Abstract: How to stimulate employment and the shift from agriculture to industry in developing countries, with their young, poor, and underemployed populations? A widespread view is the poor have high returns to investment but are credit constrained. If so, infusions of capital should expand occupational choice, self-employment, and earnings. Existing evidence from established entrepreneurs shows that grants lead to business growth on the intrinsic margin. Little of this evidence, however, speaks to the young and unemployed, and how to grow employment on the extensive margin — especially transitions from agriculture to cottage industry. We study a large, randomized, relatively unconditional cash transfer program in Uganda, one designed to stimulate such structural change. We follow thousands of young adults two and four years after receiving grants equal to annual incomes. Most start new skilled trades. Labor supply increases 17%. Earnings rise nearly 50%, especially women’s. Patterns of treatment heterogeneity are consistent with credit constraints being relieved. These constraints appear less binding on men, as male controls catch up over time. Female controls do not, partly due to greater capital constraints. Finally, we go beyond economic returns and look for social externalities. Poor, unemployed men are commonly associated with social dislocation and unrest, and governments routinely justify employment programs on reducing such risks. Despite huge economic effects, we see little impact on cohesion, aggression, and collective action (Peaceful or violent). This challenges a body of theory and rationale for employment programs, but suggest the impacts on poverty and structural change alone justify public investment.

Blattman, Christopher, Nathan Fiala, and Sebastian Martinez “Credit Constraints, Occupational Choice, and the Process of Development: Long Run Evidence from Cash Transfers in Uganda,” the Social Science Research Network, May 20, 2013

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 878 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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