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Risk, shocks, and well-being

  • Senior Research Fellow

Somanathan, Rohini

Rohini Somanathan is a professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics  and a WinEED co-founder. She received her PhD in 1996 from Boston University and held faculty positions at Emory University, the University of Michigan and the Indian Statistical Institute before joining the Delhi School of Economics in 2005. Her research focuses on how social institutions interact with public policies to shape patterns of economic and social inequality.  She is particularly interested in exploring the intellectual and ideological environment within which state policy is created and justified. Within the broad area of development economics, she has worked on group identity and public goods, access to microfinance, child nutrition programs and environmental health.  As part of her professional and other activities, she is on the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association, on the governing body of the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research and a trustee of the NGO SRIJAN. She has also been part of the annual consultations on the Budget in the Ministry of Finance in India.   Webpage: Click here

  • Research Associate

Godlonton, Susan

Susan Godlonton is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Williams College and a non-resident research affiliate of the Markets, Trade and Institutions division at the International Food Policy Res

  • Center Director

Gebreheiwot, Tagel

Tagel Gebrehiwot is Center Director and a research fellow at the Environment and Climate Research Center (ECRC). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Twente, the Netherlands.


Earth Observation for Flood and Drought Resilience in Ethiopia

Flooding and drought pose severe risks to Ethiopia’s economy and society. Recent analysis by EDRI in collaboration with Vivid Economics and the University of Oxford shows that even modest hydrological variation can affect GDP in the Awash River basin by as much as 5%, with prolonged dry periods causing output to fall by more than 20%.


Positional concern, gender, and household expenditures: A case study in Yunnan province

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to attempt to investigate farmer's positional concerns in rural China, and how the positional concerns correlate with household expenditures on visible goods. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conduct a survey-based experiment to measure farmers' positional concerns, and employ econometric models to examine the determinants of the degree of positional concern and how the positional concern affects household expenditures on visible goods.


Automobile usage and urban rail transit expansion: Evidence from a natural experiment in Beijing, China

Using individual travel diary data collected before and after a rail transit expansion in urban Beijing, the impact of urban rail accessibility improvement on the usage of rail transit, automobiles, buses, walking and bicycling, as well as the cross-area externality induced by congestion alleviation, is estimated. The results show that rail transit usage significantly increased for commuters residing in the affected areas and that the additional rail passengers were previously auto users, rather than bus passengers.


Who will be affected by a congestion pricing scheme in Beijing

Equity concerns have been an important obstacle to adopting congestion pricing, in both developed and developing countries. However, the existing evidence on the equity effects of congestion pricing has come only from developed countries. In this paper, we shed light on the distributional consequences of a congestion pricing scheme currently under consideration in Beijing. We find that under this scheme, which covers the areas within the city's third ring road, a very small proportion of motorized trips would be subject to the full congestion charge.


Superstitions, street traffic, and subjective well-being

Congestion plays a central role in urban and transportation economics. Existing estimates of congestion costs rely on stated or revealed preferences studies. We explore a complementary measure of congestion costs based on self-reported happiness. Exploiting quasi-random variation in daily congestion in Beijing that arises because of superstitions about the number four, we estimate a strong effect of daily congestion on self-reported happiness.


Adoption and disadoption of electric cookstoves in urban Ethiopia: Evidence from panel data

Previous studies on improved cook stove adoption in developing countries use cross-sectional data, which make it difficult to control for unobserved heterogeneity and investigate what happens to adoption over time. We use robust non-linear panel data and hazard models on three rounds of panel data from urban Ethiopia to investigate the determinants of adoption and disadoption of electric cook stoves over time.


Optimal Expectations and the Welfare Cost of Climate Variability

Uncertainty about the future is an important determinant of well-being, especially in developing countries where financial markets and other market failures result in ineffective insurance mechanisms. However, separating the effects of future uncertainty from realised events, and then measuring the impact of uncertainty on utility, presents a number of empirical challenges.


The Impact of Food Price Inflation on Subjective Well-being: Evidence From Urban Ethiopia

The world has experienced dramatic food price inflation in recent years, which sparked social unrest and riots in various developing countries. In this paper, we use a novel approach to measure the impact of food price inflation on subjective well-being of urban households in Ethiopia, a country which exhibited one of the highest rates of food price inflation during 2007–2008.


Household-Level Consumption in Urban Ethiopia: The Effects of a Large Food Price Shock

We use survey data to investigate how urban households in Ethiopia coped with the food price shock in 2008. Qualitative data indicate that the high food price inflation was by far the most adverse economic shock between 2004 and 2008, and that a significant proportion of households had to adjust food consumption in response. Regression results indicate that households with low asset levels, and casual workers, were particularly adversely affected by high food prices.