Michael Walker

Research

Publications | Working papers | Work in progress

Publications

General Equilibrium Effects of Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Kenya (with Dennis Egger, Johannes Haushofer, Edward Miguel and Paul Niehaus)
Econometrica 90(6): 2603-2643, 2022.

NBER Working Paper #26600
AEA Study Registry
Selected Coverage: Washington Post , Economist, NPR, Vox , Behavioral Scientist, Econimate (video summary)


Self-reported vs Directly Observed Face Mask Use in Kenya
(with Aleksandra Jakubowski, Dennis Egger, Carolyne Nekesa, Layna Lowe, and Edward Miguel)
JAMA Network Open 4(7):e2118830, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.18830

Medrxiv Preprint Version

The Twenty Year Economic Impacts of Deworming
(with Joan Hamory , Edward Miguel, Michael Kremer , and Sarah Baird) (author order randomized)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 118(14), 2021.

NBER Working Paper version (#27611)
AEA Study Registry Replication Data (Dataverse) OSF project page
Selected Coverage: BFI Insights Vox NPR

Falling living standards during the COVID-19 crisis: Quantitative evidence from nine developing countries
(with Dennis Egger, Edward Miguel, Shana Warren, et al.) (author order randomized)
Science Advances 7(6):eabe0997, 2021. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abe0997

Policy Brief Replication Data (Dataverse)
Selected Coverage: NPR Vox Reuters Scientific American FT

Repo runs: evidence from the tri-party repo market
(with Antoine Martin and Adam Copeland)
Journal of Finance 69(6): pp.2343-2380, 2014.

Working Papers

Targeting Impact versus Deprivation (with Johannes Haushofer, Edward Miguel, Carlos Paramo and Paul Niehaus)
NBER Working Paper No. 30138, December. R&R, American Economic Review

Informal Taxation and Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Kenya
(Under revision, please e-mail for most recent version.)

Abstract: Informal taxation, whereby households contribute to public goods outside the formal tax system, plays an important role in local public good financing in many low-income countries, yet little is known about its magnitude or incidence. Informal taxation is implemented by local leaders and trades off information advantages with potential elite capture and reduced enforcement. In contrast to formal tax systems, it is unclear how household informal tax payments respond to changes in income. This paper uses panel data on households and local leaders, combined with exogenous variation in household income from a large-scale randomized controlled trial of a one-time unconditional cash transfer to poor households, to study how informal taxation and public goods provision responds to household income shocks. The (temporary) cash transfers are not captured by local leaders: I find no effect on household informal tax payments, and recipient household payments are in line with their pre-treatment income. Informal taxes do respond to non-experimental changes in permanent income in panel data. Recipient households pay more formal self-employment taxes, though the magnitude of the increase is small relative to the transfer amount: less than 1 percent of total transfer income is captured by formal or informal taxes. I find no effects of the cash transfers on public goods provision. This suggests local leaders emphasize equity considerations by exempting these cash transfers to poor households from taxation, but miss out on opportunity to meaningfully increase public goods investment.
AEA Study Registry
Coverage: World Bank Development Impact Blog

Cash Transfers and Community Participation in Public Affairs: A Village-Level Randomized Controlled Trial in Kenya
(with Kate Orkin)
(Draft available upon request)

AEA Study Registry

Selected Work in Progress

Mask Up! Testing strategies to increase mask usage in Kenya (with Dennis Egger and Aleksandra Jakubowski)

The long-term effects of cash transfers in Kenya (with Dennis Egger, Johannes Haushofer and Edward Miguel)