Institutions affecting public goods provision
On this topic I have considered the role of various institutional arrangements for more effective public service delivery, e.g. the impact of community sourcing of service providers for paralegal aid services to improve land rights, the effect of community-driven development programmes (CDDs) for incomes and assets of poor populations, and local governance systems in co-operative services.
Public expenditures and development
My research in this area focuses on three aspects concerning public expenditures in developing countries (primarily in Africa), and the goods and services they create.
In one line of work, I investigate the impacts of, and returns to, different types of public spending. Examples include studies in the context of Ethiopia (including the benefit incidence of local public spending) and Ghana (including the impact of central government spending on local revenues), but also methodological discussions.
Second, I concern myself with the political economy determinants of public expenditure allocation decisions, such as allocations across functional categories of spending, to different types of beneficiaries, or to long-term investments versus for quickly materialising goods and services (examples include case studies from Mozambique, and conceptual pieces).
In a third area, I consider issues of data and quantification of public expenditures (examples are a review of measurement methodologies of cross-country public expenditure data initiatives, and a reflection on how to measure agricultural spending using Mozambique‘s public accounts).
Through this research I have sought to understand the role of social capital and social networks for the material welfare of poor people. Much of my work on this topic has been either conceptual, or applied to the Ethiopian context.
Shocks and assets of the poor
In earlier work I have examined the effect of shocks on asset accumulation by the poor, for example by exploring the precautionary motive for holding assets in the face of drought, and considering the long-term effect of shocks on poverty traps.