Research

Work in Progress

Inflows of FDI and Quality of Exports: Evidence from Russia
(with Beata Javorcik)

In this study, we examine whether foreign direct investment inflows facilitate upgrading of export quality in host countries. Our analysis focus on the Russian Federation, by using customs data which we merge with firm-level data from ORBIS. We show that there is a positive association between the quality of exported products by domestic firms and the presence of foreign affiliates in the upstream (input-supplying) industries. This relationship is present for exports directed to OECD countries as well as for exports destined for other markets. The impact is more pronounced for exports of relatively lower quality in the initial period. The results are robust whether we use unit values or the Khandelwal et al. (2013) approach to proxy product quality.

Health effects of in utero exposure to the Dutch Hunger Winter
(with G. Conti, P. Ekamper, G. Bijwaard, F. van Poppel, L.H. Lumey)

There is a vast literature on the health effects of in utero malnutrition, with the Dutch famine of 1944-1945 being among the most frequently studied adverse shocks. In this paper, we revisit the results of the highly influential 1970s studies of Stein et al. (1972) and Ravelli et al. (1976) who use male military recruits data to study the effects of prenatal famine exposure on mental development and obesity at age 18. Although the famine created a well-defined environment to study the effects of malnutrition, a binary indicator of exposure is mute on the mechanisms through which the famine affected these cohorts at the end of World War II. We enhance the analysis by linking the military recruits data with newly digitalised data on temperature, warfare, caloric and nutrients composition of the diet. While we find effects of in utero exposure on various health outcomes, these are concentrated on those exposed since early gestation and are driven by exposure to warfare and reduction in energy-adjusted protein intake. Moreover, we account for selection using a copula-based approach to relax the, rather restrictive, normality assumption and find evidence of both selection and scarring effects.

Mother child attachment and interactions: An Analysis using video recordings in Pro Kind
(with Gabriella Conti, Soren Kliem and Malte Sandner)

This study examines the effects of a home visiting program for first-time disadvantaged mothers on mother-child interactions. A sample of 109 dyads participating in the Pro Kind trial was videotaped during a 3-min typical play situation at the participants’ homes when the child was aged 25 months, and assessed for orientation and contingency. The results show a significant improvement of the interactions between girls and their mothers, by increasing both the persistence of girls’ positive behaviors (even in the absence of mothers’ positive behaviors). No positive impacts were detected for the boys. These results have important implications for the analysis of mother-child interactions data and the design of home visiting program

Controlling for asynchronous fieldwork in cross-national surveys.
- Coming soon.

A specification test for a single-index binary outcome model in semiparametric estimation
(with Joao Santos Silva).
- Coming soon.

Working Papers

Regression with imputed dependent variables
(with Thomas Crossley and Peter Levell)
IFS WP 19/16 ISER WP 2019-07
[Stata package]

Researchers are often interested in the relationship between two variables, with no single data set containing both. A common strategy is to use proxies for the dependent variable that are common to two surveys to impute the dependent variable into the data set containing the independent variable. We show that commonly employed regression or matching-based imputation procedures lead to inconsistent estimates. We offer an easily-implemented correction and correct asymptotic standard errors. We illustrate these with Monte Carlo experiments and empirical examples using data from the US Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).

Political Connections and Firms: Network Dimensions
(with Maurizio Bussolo and Simon Commander)
World Bank Policy Research WP No 8428 IZA DP No 11498

Business and politicians' interaction is pervasive but has mostly been analyzed with a binary approach, i.e. either a firm is connected to a politician or not. Yet the network dimensions of such connections are ubiquitous. This paper uses use a unique data set for seven economies that documents politically exposed persons and their links to companies, political parties, and other individuals. The data set is used to identify networks of connections, including their scale and composition. The analysis finds that all country networks are integrated having a Big Island. They also tend to be marked by small-world properties of high clustering and short path length. Matching the data to firm-level information, the paper examines the association between being connected and firm-level attributes. The originality of the analysis is to identify how location in a network, including the extent of ties and centrality, is correlated with firm scale and performance. In a binary approach, such network characteristics are omitted and the scale and economic impact of politically connected business may be significantly mis/under-estimated. By comparing the results of the binary approach with the network approach, the paper also assesses the biases that result from ignoring network attributes.

Refereed Journal Articles

Sebert, S., Lowry, E., Aumuller, N., et al. (2019) "Cohort profile: The DynaHEALTH consortium – a European consortium for a life-course bio-psychosocial model of healthy ageing of glucose homeostasis" International Journal of Epidemiology, 48(4): 1051–1051k.

Sacher, P., Kolotourou, M., Poupakis, S., Chadwick, P., Radley, D., and Fagg, J. (2019) "Addressing childhood obesity in low-income, ethnically diverse families: outcomes and peer effects of MEND 7–13 when delivered at scale in US communities." International Journal of Obesity, 43: 91-102.
[Press Release]

Refereed Chapters

Developmental Origins of Health Inequality, Chapter in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance, also IFS WP 19/17, HCEO WP 2019-041, and IZA DP No 12448 (with Gabriella Conti and Giacomo Mason) .