NBER

Dilip Mookherjee

Department of Economics
Boston University
270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: 617/353-4392
Fax: 617/353-4143

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NBER Program Affiliations: DEV
NBER Affiliation: Research Associate
Institutional Affiliation: Boston University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2020Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries
with Pushkar Maitra, Sandip Mitra, Sujata Visaria: w26730
We compare two different methods of appointing a local commission agent as an intermediary for a credit program. In the Trader-Agent Intermediated Lending Scheme (TRAIL), the agent was a randomly selected established private trader, while in the Gram Panchayat-Agent Intermediated-Lending Scheme (GRAIL), he was randomly chosen from nominations by the elected village council. More TRAIL loans were taken up, but repayment rates were similar, and TRAIL loans had larger average impacts on borrowers' farm incomes. The majority of this difference in impacts is due to differences in treatment effects conditional on farmer productivity, rather than differences in borrower selection patterns. The findings can be explained by a model where TRAIL agents increased their middleman profits by helping mor...
January 2020Growth, Automation and the Long Run Share of Labor
with Debraj Ray ⓡ: w26658
We provide an argument for long-term automation and decline in the labor income share, driven by capital accumulation rather than technical progress or rising markups. We emphasize a fundamental asymmetry across physical and human capital. An individual can indefinitely replicate her claims on the former, but — after a point — her human endowment cannot be cloned and rescaled in the same way. Then ongoing capital accumulation gives rise to progressive automation, and the share of labor income converges to zero. The displacement of human labor is gradual, and real wages could rise indefinitely. The results extend to endogenous technical change.
Credit Rationing and Pass-Through in Supply Chains: Theory and Evidence from Bangladesh
with M. Shahe Emran, Forhad Shilpi, M. Helal Uddin: w26615
We extend standard models of price pass-through in an imperfectly competitive supply chain to incorporate rationing of trade credit. Credit rationing reverses predictions concerning effects of raw material import prices on pass-through to wholesale prices, and effects of regulations of intermediaries. To test these we study the effects of a policy in Bangladesh's edible oils supply chain during 2011-12 banning a layer of financing intermediaries. Evidence from a difference-in-difference estimation rejects the standard model. We find that the regulatory effort to reduce market power of financing intermediaries ended up raising consumer prices by restricting access to credit of downstream traders.
November 2014Financing Smallholder Agriculture: An Experiment with Agent-Intermediated Microloans in India
with Pushkar Maitra, Sandip Mitra, Alberto Motta, Sujata Visaria: w20709
Recent evaluations of traditional microfinance loans have found no significant impacts on borrower incomes or productive activities. We examine whether this can be remedied by (a) modifying loan features to facilitate financing of working capital needs of farmers, and (b) delegating selection of borrowers for individual liability loans to local trader-lender agents incentivized by repayment-based commissions. We conduct a field experiment in West Bengal where this design (called TRAIL) was offered in randomly selected villages. In remaining villages a more traditional design (called GBL) was offered, wherein five-member groups applied for joint liability loans with terms otherwise similar to TRAIL loans. TRAIL loans increased cultivation of potatoes (the major cash crop in the region) and ...

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