Benjamin Krause

PhD Candidate
Development Economics and Political Economy

UC Berkeley

 
Benjamin Krause

On the 2020-2021 Job Market

I am a 6th year PhD Candidate studying development economics and political economy with a particular interest in institutional formation in weak states and ungoverned spaces.  In my research, I combine my networks and years of experience working as a humanitarian and development professional with my broad educational background, knowledge of theory and training as a microeconomist to conceive of, design, fund and implement novel randomized controlled trials (RCTs).  I similarly identify, access and employ relevant administrative data sets both in service of RCTs and to exploit quasi-random policy variations for causal identification.  I work primarily in collaboration with and in support of local government and civil society partners, and I strive to conduct experiments at-scale while minimizing deviations from normal operations.

 

Research

 

Taxation Toward Representation:

Public Goods, Tax Collection, Social Norms, and Democratic Accountability

JOB MARKET PAPER

Abstract

How does the state establish a social norm of tax compliance and what are the affects of such efforts on the state and society? While there has been much theoretical and historical work on these relationships, there is still a considerable gap in the empirical literature. In this paper, I present results of a randomized controlled trial at-scale and over several years across one of the largest cities in Haiti - a weak-state with near-zero tax compliance. In partnership with the Mayor’s office, I cross-randomize the provision of public goods (trash removal), tax collection effort (property tax invoice delivery), and public exposure of tax compliance (stickers affixed to the front door of complying buildings) over 50,000 properties, and I follow responses in the National Tax Authority’s administrative data. To identify mechanisms, within the 15,000 households assigned to receive tax invoices, I further randomize framing with different “nudges”. In addition, I collect a panel of survey data from a representative sample of households. To examine effects on other institutions and channels of accountability, I test independently observed effects on partisan and non-partisan political graffiti across the city as well as the construction of barricades during a period of particularly violent political unrest.

 
 

Other Research

Working Papers, Interventions in Progress, and Policy Reports

Public–Private ‘Partnership’:

Improving Welfare and Reducing Corruption in Haiti’s Universal Primary Education Program

Due to the acute challenges of governance in Least Developed Countries, donors are increasingly promoting Public–Private Partnerships to increase service provision. However, these hybrid arrangements create a different set of governance challenges as officials seek to hold private sector actors accountable for delivery. I examine one such effort in Haiti where the government attempted to achieve universal primary education by providing 200 million USD in subsidies directly to education entrepreneurs. I find evidence that the program’s roll–out coincided with a more than 30 percentage point increase in primary school enrollment and use a cohort study to identify causal evidence of both increased enrollment as well as household welfare improvements. Furthermore, I make use of multiple novel datasets to find that audited participants reduced grant claims by 18.9% – interpreted as a reduction in fraud – resulting in a directly observed savings of 875,000 USD per year for a conservative return of 11 USD for every dollar spent on auditing. I do not find any evidence of spillover effects. I provide additional support for my findings through an event study.

The Effect of Cash Transfers and Village Savings Groups on Youth Violence, Conflict and Moral Formation 

with J. Magruder and E. Wiseman

Ongoing USAID-funded RCT of GiveDirectly, EDC and Catholic Relief Services in Eastern DR Congo.

Digging Deeper to Understand Child Labor

with B. Faber and R. Sanchez de la Sierra

With international awareness of child labor in the production of mobile phones, laptops, and electric vehicles increasing, this report presents additional findings to complement “Artisanal Mining, Livelihoods, and Child Labor in the Cobalt Supply Chain of the Democratic Republic of Congo” (Faber et al., 2017) to inform policy responses. Based on new data from the 1,575 children surveyed across the 150 mining communities in our representative sample. Our analysis provides additional evidence that households in these communities, and in particular those dependent on child labor, are on average poor and vulnerable to income shocks. Child labor, mostly from older teenagers, is a significant contributor to the mining sector making up 13% of the artisanal mining workforce. Age-based specialization leads to the oldest children performing the most risky tasks. We further discuss heterogeneity in gender and reported motivation to work in mining. The surveys indicate that the decision for a child to work outside the home is primarily made by the parents, but children mainly decide if they are going to work in mining. Our results highlight the precarity of mining-dependent families, the risks of blanket bans against ASM, and the importance of rigorous impact evaluation for identifying risk-minimizing ways to support mining-dependent families end their reliance on child labor in cobalt extraction.

Cobalt is one of the most essential and ubiquitous elements of the modern information economy as it is critical for the rechargeable batteries that make mobile connectivity and electronic vehicles possible. However, its supply-chain, and in particular its extraction, has come under significant scrutiny by local and international advocacy groups concerned about child labor and other threats to the health and safety of miners and mining communities. To shed light on the prevalence, distribution, forms, and causes of these issues, we mapped and then conducted a series of representative surveys in the artisanal mining communities in the “copperbelt” of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - the location of the the majority of the world’s known cobalt reserves. Administered to a random sample of 150 mining communities from the 426 we identified in total, our survey contains information gathered from 2,635 households and information about 15,023 individuals. We find that households in these communities are on average poor, heavily reliant on mining and vulnerable to income shocks. 90% of all mining labor is in artisanal small-scale mining (ASM), there are no forms of collective labor organization in 65% of mining sites, and overall miners appear to capture a significantly smaller price for their output than traders capture. Furthermore, 11% of children in these communities work outside of the home, of which 23% (or an estimated 4,714 children) work in the mining sector. We find: (1) Disengaging from artisanal mining can have detrimental effects for a large number of households living in the DRC cop- per cobalt belt; (2) Maintained sourcing from ASM, coupled with providing support and incentives to miners can prevent unintended harm, while reducing the prevalence of child labor; (3) The impact of interventions targeted at reducing child labor should be rigorously evaluated prior to their implementation at scale.

 
 
 
 
 

Collaborators

The research featured here would not be possible without the generous participation of tens of thousands of survey respondents - it is to them that this work is dedicated.


Furthermore, I would like to thank the following people for their substantial contributions, creative solutions, tireless work, and (when dealing with me especially) saintly patience in the endeavor to translate research ideas into practical interventions.

Joël "Ti Chofe" Lafortune

 

Enumerators, Agents &

Community Experts

I would also like to recognize all who provide direct connections to the communities studied, who root this research in reality, carry out the difficult (often absurd) protocols and navigate all of the sensitivities necessary for success.

 

Thank you!

 

"Taxation Toward Representation

Enumerators


Berlineda Râteau

Bien-Aime Steeve Kenley

Blanc Darline

Blonde Daphta Guerrier

Casimir Mazeau

Dorvil Ronelle Laurenzia

Etienne Jimmytri

Gedeon Bijou

Guerrier Woodberline

Herolna Pierre

Inoncent Guirlene

James Germain

Jefferson Frédéric

Judith Laguerre

Junior Lundi

Lafleur Gaspard-Flis

Larue Arold

Larue Ronise

Laurenville Panel

Laurore Adam Gandhi

Marlene Frédéric

Simon Patiouko

Tham Ludger




Mayor's Agents


Andrice Claudel

Belizaire Ditel

Bernadotte Naldy

Brice Matthieu

Choutte Alex

Delille Paola

Desir Desirhson Wendy

Dumene Edwige

Duronvil Adionnel

Emile Junior Paulma

Eugene Menerie

Florestal Olrich

Jean Baptiste Yves Colvenson

Jean Jonas Frantz

Laurenceau Frantz Junior

Nacius Junette

Philidor Rock H

Poitevien Thierry

Robert Nickelson

Saint Rose Louis Kinson

Sainvilus Benito

Salla Devil

Stenor Daniel

Sylme Jacques

Vilseant Casimir

Voltaire Patrick junior

Yves Osny Alexandre





“Digging Deeper to Understand Child Labor” & “Artisanal Mining, Livelihoods, and Child Labor in the Cobalt Supply Chain of the Democratic Republic of Congo”

Enumerators


Assani Mwanambele

Banza Ngoy Andy

Cibanda Christian

Cyrille Lupembwe Kilumba

Iful Mbing Lysette

Ilunga wa kishimba

Kabongo Matshitshi Yann

Kahilu Naweji Arnold

Kaleka Rigal

Kalenga Thusal Elie

Kalindula Mwazwa Francois

Kalunga wa Kokolo Freddy

Kamwanga Nkulu Luc

Kanyinda Tshisumpa Guy Michel

Kapumba Christian

Kasongo Muwewe Cedrick

Kenge Caleb

Kibanza Katahene Pierre

Kibonda Katamanga Stella

Kigalu Nyota Nora

Kilundu Kyofwe Joseph

Kisimba Kyungu Dorcas

Kutshili Ndongji Abdon

Leandre Kabimbi Kabila

Lenge Wa Umba Irène

Makand Yav Nelly

Mark Kyenge

Matengo Marie Christelle

Mayembe Lwavwala Guillaume

Mujinga Mwamba Martine

Mukoko Valentini Vicel

Mulombwe Nawej Mike

Murishi Ndondji Cesar

Musau Kovo Alphonse

Muzang Masol Dieudonne

Mwamba Misolo Lucien

Mwamba wa Kwakaya Norbert

Ndala Kadimba Marcel

Ndaya Tshibenji Jolie

Nduenga Kabemba Rodrigue

Ngoy Matula Venant

Ngoy Mutwale Andre

Ntambwe Ndjibu Sedra

Nyembwe Malebwe Daniel

Ramazani Lupana Deogratias

Solange Kyambeya Kiwilo

Tope Nyeke Junior

Tshilombo Mwin Kavul Richard

Yav Mukaz Job

Zack Onombe Utshudi




Supervisors


Limbisa Nakitumba Sylvain Nyembo Mafuta Dolet




Translators


Ngoy Mundunga Blanchard





I am proud to provide references.  Please contact me.

 

Teaching

 
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Econometrics:

Multiple Equation Estimation (ARESEC 212)

Ethan Ligon &

Sophia Villas-Boas 

Graduate Student Instructor

Spring 2020

Introduction to the estimation and testing of economic models for the PhD students in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Includes analysis of the general linear model, asymptotic theory, instrumental variable, and the generalized method of moments. In addition, a survey of time series, analysis, limited dependent variables.

International Economic Development Policy (PP/ARESEC C253)

Alain de Janvry & 

Jean-Jacques Dethier

Graduate Student Instructor

Fall 2018 & Fall 2019

This cross-listed course for the Goldman School Masters of Public Policy and Berkeley's Masters of Development Practice emphasizes the development and application of policy solutions to developing-world problems related to poverty, macroeconomic policy, and environmental sustainability. Methods of statistical, economic, and policy analysis are applied to a series of case studies. The course is designed to develop practical professional skills for application in the international arena.

Interdisciplinary Development Seminar

(DEVP 239)

George Scharffenberger

Reader

Fall 2016

This course provides an opportunity for Berkeley's Master of Development Practice students to interact with a diverse group of invited guest speakers, including academics and practitioners. It will also provide opportunities for group discussion of basic questions, and it will provide opportunities to present ideas and discuss research and internship plans and experiences.

 
 

Past Work

 
 

CNN: Signs of Hope in Haiti

Anderson Cooper returned to Haiti two years after the earthquake. He spoke with Benjamin Krause about progress there.
January 2012

 

The World: Haiti's Slow Reconstruction

"This is one of the most uplifting places in Port-au-Prince right now."
January 2011

 

A piece I wrote for The Omaha World-Herald. November 2011


It started as a normal all-staff meeting; mynearly 300 Haitian employees that are J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) were filling the small parking lot outside our office in Port-au-Prince and taking their seats on therough wooden benches and mangled folding chairs we call office furniture. Just as I bellowed my opening greeting into the megaphone, a tap-tap slowly rolled through our office gates and right up to my side. This brightly-painted pick-up truck normally used for public transport appeared at first to be empty, but as I started to question the driver as to why he was both interrupting AND trespassing, a loud, labored cry from the back of the covered truck bed answered. I caught a quick glance of an agonizing, sweat-drenched woman nearly bursting-at-the-belly, and I snapped back to the crowd calling into the megaphone for our labor and delivery team. Within seconds our Haitian OBGYN and his team were gloved-up and crammed into the back of the covered tap-tap, and in fewer than five minutes, the woman’s screaming ebbed, and the heart-warming shrill of a baby’s first cries to this broken world filled the tap-tap and spilled into the parking lot. My nearly-silent staff erupted incheers of joy. After stabilizing both mother and child, the tap-tap pulled out of our parking lot and headed around the block to the field hospital that J/P HRO has been operating at the top of an ad hoc camp that we also manage. At one time this camp was the only golf course in all of Haiti. At its peak after the earthquake, as many as 60,000 homeless people – somewhere between the population of Grand Island and the seating capacity of Memorial Stadium – were living at the camp, and the golf course was completely covered from first tee to final turn. These days, the population of 20,000 is closer to the seating capacity of what I still know as the Qwest Center, and each week J/P HRO staff help another 20-30 families return home. The difference is quite remarkable. I have been on the ground here in Haiti since March 2010. When I arrived at this camp, it was simply beyond comprehension. People EVERYWHERE in such desperate need that never in my travels through nearly 30 developing countries had I ever confronted anything comparable. To put the earthquake in perspective, in less than 30 seconds, in a city the size of Chicago, fully HALF of all the buildings were structurally damaged or destroyed and a population larger than that of all of Nebraska was either rendered homeless or dead. When I arrived, two months after the earthquake, most of the streets were still completely covered in rubble – in some neighborhoods like “Delmas 32” where most of our camp residents used to live, the streets were buried in up to ten feet of debris for as far as the eye could see. But nearly two years have passed – and mountains have been moved, literally and figuratively. J/P HRO has been on the ground in Haiti since the beginning providing emergency medical services, and we continue to treat 1,600 patients each week at our clinics. In addition to managing the camp and assisting families return, repair and rebuild their homes, we also providefree education to 400 beautiful children, community programming and small-business training to the residents of camp and the surrounding neighborhoods and we have begun the first phases of redevelopment by repairing clinics and schools and startingnew solar-powered safe water points and recycling kiosks. Our goal is to provide comprehensive support to help families get back on their feet so to take those first few, most difficult steps towards home. In this vein, our most notable accomplishment has been the nearly 10,000 dump trucks of rubble and debris J/P HRO has hauled out of the neighborhoods over the past 18 months. As we clear the streets and tear down the condemned buildings, we uncover where home once was and where it can be again for tens of thousands of families. We’ve recently ramped up this effort and will move 2x’s more rubble in the next year – and even then there will be mountains remaining. And Port-au-Prince was never Chicago. It never had a sewage system, highways or a reliable power grid. It was the poorest capital city in the entire hemisphere BEFORE it was devastated by one of the largest disasters in all of human history. So yes, if you’re coming for the first time, you will be astounded, shocked . . . devastated. But if you had come the day before the earthquake, you would probably have felt about the same. It is not the earthquake or the delays or the politics or the coordination issues. It is the human face of injustice and poverty that leaves you so unsettled – and it should. It was all there before the earthquake –Haiti was twice as poor as any other country in our hemisphere BEFORE – and our heavy machinery is simply revealing it once again. But for those of us who have been here for the two years since the earthquake, it is miraculous how far the Haitian people have come especially given all of the challenges since the earthquake – the most pressing today are the need for land tenure reform by the Haitian Government and the need to release dedicated funds held by the international community. Moreover, it is astounding how hardworking, happy and hopeful the people of Haiti are no matter how hot it is outside or how horrible the situation is at the surface. So much hope –infectious hope. Much of it is certainly merited given how far we have come since the earthquake, but for a Nebraska boy on a Caribbean island, the juxtaposition between where we are and how much hope I see is at times incomprehensible. At around midnight I finally wrapped up my work and made my way to the field hospital to visit our newest arrival. I met baby Thierry and his mother resting peacefully in the temporary structure that is our maternity ward. Being born in a tap-tap may sound quite dramatic, but had Thierry made it to the field hospital, he would have been the 16th baby born this week in our make shift shelter – only a slight improvement from a truck bed. As I try to get Thierry to grab onto my finger, his mother tells me how happy and hopeful she is. How thankful and grateful and blessed she is. I certainly feel the same. Next month, our maternity ward and field hospital will be relocated to J/P HRO’s new permanent urgent care clinic in theneighborhood, the first of its kind for the people of Delmas 32 – just one more step down the road to help Haiti home.





Hopeful Beyond Comprehension

 

Other Print Media Coverage

The New York Times 2012 (interviewed)

Omaha World Herald 2011 (profile)

The Associated Press 2011 (interviewed)

Xavier University 2009 (brief profile)

Johns Hopkins University (brief profile)

Xavier University 2007 (brief profile)

Xavier University 2003 (award)

 

Get in Touch

710b University Hall
Agricultural & Resource Economics
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-3310

 
 

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