I am a Junior Research Fellow in Economics, with a focus on development economics. My research to date has looked at how mobile money services contribute to risk sharing in Tanzania and improve the business performance of microfinance clients in Uganda. I have also examined the impact of a role-model and aspirations in the form of a movie "Queen of Katwe" for secondary school students' exam performance in Uganda. Current projects examine how mobile banking technology might benefit the businesses of female entrepreneurs in Ghana and the impact of a village-based poverty alleviation programme in Uganda. 

Mobile money and risk sharing against village shocks. (Journal of Development Economics. Dec 2018)

Households in developing countries have gained increased access to remittances through the recent introduction of mobile money services. I examine the impact of these mobile money services on consumption after a rainfall shock, such as a flood or drought, for both users of mobile money and for household that don’t use mobile money but who reside in villages with other users. This allows me to determine the extent that remittances received via mobile money are shared within villages, creating wider benefits to the community. Using a difference-in-difference fixed effects specification, I find that after a village-level rainfall shock it is only users of mobile money who are able to prevent a drop in their consumption. There are no spillover effects to other members of the village. This finding has implications for how new technologies might change traditional risk sharing arrangements, and who might benefit and lose out from their spread.

 

Role models in movies: the impact of Queen of Katwe on students’ educational attainment (R&R Review of Economics and Statistics (second round))
This paper presents experimental evidence on the impact of a role model on secondary school student exam performance in Uganda. Students preparing to take their national exams were individually randomised to see either a movie featuring a female role model from a poor background succeeding at chess, Queen of Katwe, or to see a placebo movie. I find that treatment with the role-model movie leads to lower secondary school students being less likely to fail their maths exam a week later: 85% of those who watched Queen of Katwe passed the exam, whereas only 73% of those who didn’t passed. This effect is strongest for female and lower ability students. For upper secondary school students, treatment with Queen of Katwe 1 month before their exams results in an increase in their total exam score of 0.13 standard deviations. Effects of treatment are strongest for female students in the compulsory mathematics paper. In both classes, female treated students are more likely to remain in education in subsequent years, closing the gender gap with their male peers. This study highlights the power of a movie role model as a way to improve secondary school students’ educational attainment and close gender gaps

Paper: Resisting social pressure in the household using mobile money: Experimental evidence on microenterprise investment in Uganda

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