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Following market liberalisation, the vehicle population in China has increased dramatically over the past few decades. This paper examines the causal impact of the opening of a heavily used high-speed rail line connecting two megacities in China in 2015, Chengdu and Chongqing, on air pollution. We use high-frequency and high spatial resolution data to track pollution along major highways linking the two cities. Our approach involves the use of an augmented regression discontinuity in time approach applied on data that have been through a meteorological normalisation process. This deweathering process involves applying machine learning techniques to account for change in meteorology in air quality time series data. Our estimates show that air pollution is reduced by 7.6% along the main affected highway. We simultaneously find increased levels of ozone pollution which is likely due to the reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels that occurred. These findings are supported using a difference-in-difference approach.
Many women in developing countries have primary responsibility for daily decisions about household expenditure, while their husbands work outside the home. Investment in financial education has long been advocated as an important way to improve the financial wellbeing of women, including their bargaining power within the home, but it can also be relatively expensive to administer. Maintaining a financial diary potentially represents a less intensive, simplified, alternative to financial education in improving female financial wellbeing. We conduct a randomized con- trolled trial among women in rural Bangladesh to compare the efficacy of teaching a standard financial curriculum with maintaining a financial diary. We find that keeping a financial diary to track spending is largely as effective as financial education in improving financial test scores and downstream financial behaviour. Using incentivized experiments, we also show that participants who maintained a financial
diary exhibited significantly higher household bargaining power. The findings suggest that maintaining a financial diary can be a cost-effective alternative to financial education in improving the financial wellbeing of women in developing countries.
This paper examines the impact of pollution from coal–fired power units on the anemic status of children and women in India. The number of coal units in the district at the time of birth significantly increases the incidence of anemia in young children; in utero exposure and exposure after birth also matters for child anemia. The number of coal units in the district has effects on anemia among women as well, although the magnitude of the impacts are smaller than in the case of young children. We find that impacts are driven by the increase in PM2.5 pollution generated by coal–fired units. Anemia is established as a significant health cost of coal–fired power generation in rapidly growing economies that use this fuel source to meet increasing energy demands.
We conduct a randomized experiment that varies one-time health insurance subsidy amounts (partial and full) in Ghana to study the impacts of subsidies on insurance enrollment and health care utilization. We find that both partial and full subsidies promote insurance enrollment in the long run, even after the subsidies expired. Although the long run enrollment rate and selective enrollment do not differ by subsidy level, long-run health care utilization increased only for the partial subsidy group. We provide evidence that this can plausibly be explained by stronger behavioral changes (learning-through-experience) in the partial subsidy group.