Moscona, Jacob. "Agricultural Development and Structural Change, Within and Across Countries." Working Paper.
Abstract: The impact of agricultural productivity growth at the sub-national and national levels could be very different. While empirical analysis of agricultural development often focuses on within-country variation, standard models of structural change highlight mechanisms that operate at the country level. This study exploits rapid technological development during the Green Revolution (1960-1990) to estimate the causal effect of agricultural productivity growth on structural change both within and across countries. Across districts in India, agricultural productivity growth spurred employment and land use in the agricultural sector and reduced urbanization and the size of the non-farm labor force, particularly in manufacturing. Using an analogous identification strategy across countries, I find qualitatively similar effects -- agricultural productivity growth increased national land use and labor in agriculture and reduced urbanization. I find no evidence that agricultural productivity growth increased national income; if anything, the effect is negative, particularly for low-income countries. Agricultural productivity growth during the Green Revolution impeded structural change both at the sub-national and national level.
Moscona, Jacob, Nathan Nunn, and James A Robinson. "Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa." Working Paper.
Abstract: We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around `segmentary lineages' are more prone to conflict and civil war. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the defense of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate to larger-scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for this link between segmentary lineage organization and conflict today across 145 ethnig groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find evidence that segmentary lineage societies experience significantly more conflicts and ones that are longer in duration and larger in scale. We also find that the previously-documented relationship between adverse rainfall shocks and conflict within Africa is only found within segmentary lineage societies.
Moscona, Jacob. "Aid Delivery and Conflict in Africa." Working Paper.
Abstract: This study investigates the relationship between the administration of development aid and violent conflict in Africa. Using geo-coded data on World Bank lending projects since 1995 -- along with project-level performance score reports -- I find that, conditional on a region receiving any World Bank aid, better project performance reduces violent conflict. To derive causal estimates, I exploit variation in project performance due to the assignment of project leaders. Project performance affects conflicts among local actors as well as conflicts involving the government, and seems to matter most in regions with a recent history of violence. Broadly, these results suggest that bureaucratic performance and the management of aid projects shape the consequences of development assistance.
Moscona, Jacob, Nathan Nunn, and James A Robinson. 2017. “Keeping It in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa.” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 107(5): 565-571.
Acemoglu, Daron, Jacob Moscona, and James A Robinson. 2016. “State Capacity and American Technology: Evidence from the 19th Century.” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 106(5): 61-67.