Three essays on poverty, income shocks, and decision-making: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Molotsky, Adria
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Public Policy
  • This dissertation contributes to the literature on decision-making under poverty by empirically examining the relationship between income poverty and the decisions that households make due to shocks. This dissertation is composed of three essays attempting to identify ways policy can be used to influence the trajectory of poverty for generations to come. Each chapter focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of the decision-making processes of households and individuals living in poverty. In the first essay, I identify the indirect impact of the Malawi Social Cash Transfer Program on youths’ present bias, by examining the intergenerational transmission of such bias within the household from caregivers to youth. The second essay is focused on negative income shocks and marriage outcomes for youth in rural Malawi. The paper utilizes survey data from a cohort of unmarried youth and follows them over three years as they transition into and out of relationships, identifying the influence negative shocks have on these outcomes. In the final essay, I show the impacts of the Malawi Social Cash Transfer Program and the Zambia Child Grant Program on stress and affect, and, subsequently, whether these psychological indicators affect savings and intertemporal choices.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Angeles, Gustavo
  • Peterman, Amber
  • Durrance, Christine
  • Moulton, Jeremy
  • Handa, Sudhanshu
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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