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.
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.
Moscona, Jacob, Nathan Nunn, and James A Robinson. "Kinship and Conflict: Evidence from Segmentary Lineage Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa." Working Paper. Revision Requested, Econometrica.
Abstract: We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around 'segmentary lineages' are more prone to conflict. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the aid 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 and conflict across 145 African ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find that segmentary lineage societies experience more conflicts and particularly ones that are retaliatory, long in duration, and large in scale.
Moscona, Jacob. "Agricultural Development and Structural Change, Within and Across Countries." Working Paper.
Abstract: 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 income growth, employment, and land use in the agricultural sector; it also reduced urban development and manufacturing employment. Using an analogous identification strategy across countries, I find that agricultural productivity increased country-level specialization in agricultural production and reduced urbanization. I find no evidence that agricultural productivity growth increased national income on average. Consistent with theory, estimated effects are most pronounced for districts and countries that were more open to trade in 1960; agricultural productivity growth had a negative impact on income in countries that were most open.
Moscona, Jacob. "The Management of Aid and Conflict in Africa." Working Paper.
Abstract: This study investigates the relationship between the management 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 measuring the quality of project preparation, monitoring, and evaluation -- I find that better project performance reduces violent conflict across sub-national aid receiving regions. Poorly managed projects increase conflict while well-managed projects have the opposite effect. To derive causal estimates, I exploit variation in management quality driven by the assignment of project leaders. Management quality affects conflicts among local actors as well as conflicts involving the government, and matters 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.
Levy, Antoine and Jacob Moscona. Specializing in Density: Spatial Sorting and the Pattern of Trade
Abstract: This paper tests whether a country's distribution of population is an important source of comparative advantage. We develop a model in which sector-specific exports are determined by the distribution of productivity and factors of production within countries, and show how city-level data can be aggregated to measure determinants of country-level specialization. In the model, countries with higher population-weighted population density specialize in sectors that benefit most from agglomeration. Empirically, we estimate and find substantial variation within the US in the extent to which manufacturing sectors sort into dense locations. Combining this measure of ``density affinity'' with satellite data on the distribution of global population, we find that both US states and countries with higher population-weighted population density disproportionately export in sectors with high density affinity. Even conditional on aggregate endowments, the geographic distribution of population within states and countries affects comparative advantage.
Moscona, Jacob. "Downstream Effects of Research Incentives: Evidence from Agricultural Innovation."
Moscona, Jacob. "Environmental Catastrophe and the Direction of Invention."