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Title: Essays in development economics and economic history
Author: Miotto, Martina
ISNI:       0000 0005 0292 9718
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis consists of three chapters. Each chapter can be read as an independent piece of research, since the topics studied are different in nature and in the methodologies applied. However, all chapters delve into topics of development economics, looking at it from an historical perspective, as in Chapters 1 and 2, or from a contemporary policy perspective, as in Chapter 3. In the first chapter, I study the impact of European colonialism in Africa on the present status of women. The historical literature suggests that a critical determinant of persistent gender inequality is the colonial cash crop system. This favoured men's entry into the cash economy and excluded women, whose workload increased as they provided additional labour in their husbands' cash crop fields. By contrast, contemporary economic literature suggests that raising the status of women in the labour force could improve gender norms. I take districts with different levels of participation in cash crop agriculture and compare outcomes for the contemporary female descendants, using exogenous land suitability as the instrument for cash crop production. My findings show a persistent positive effect of cash crop agriculture on women's status, measured as higher agency within the household and less willingness to justify husbands' violence. The intergenerational transmission of culture plays a key role in explaining the long-run persistent effect, which is especially prevalent in regions whose cash crops were cocoa and palm oil. In the second chapter, a collaboration with Luigi Pascali, we show that navigation patterns and ship speed changed as a result of the adoption of the chronometer, a tool invented to precisely measure longitude at sea. Combining historical data on navigation for the period 1750-1855 with climatological data on cloud coverage, we find that navigation changed around the years 1825-1834, the decade in which most historical sources place the mass diffusion of the chronometer. We find that ships became faster in more overcast areas when using the chronometer, as they did not need to rely on celestial navigation when using the chronometer. As sailing speed reduction contributed to the transport revolution of the nineteenth century, this paper quantifies how this technology contributed to this process. Finally, in the third chapter, which is joint with Kristina Czura and Andreas Menzel, we present the results of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) we conducted on a sample of 1,000 female garment workers in three factories in Bangladesh, offering access to free sanitary pads at work to 500 of the workers. We cross-randomised participation in information sessions for hygienic menstrual health care implemented by an experienced local NGO, and we vary the salience of commonly perceived taboos in the pad collection process. We find effects of the free pads and information sessions on self-reported pad use, but not of the taboo variations. We find effects on absenteeism and adherence to traditional restrictive and health-adverse taboos surrounding menstruation, but not on worker turnover or selfreported well-being at work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory ; HC Economic History and Conditions ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman