Isaac M. Mbiti

It’s really great for a farmer to find out the price of beans in the market. But if a farmer can’t get the beans to market because there is no road, the information doesn’t really help. Cell phones can’t replace things you need from development, like roads and running water.

ISAAC M. MBITI

Visiting Assistant Professor 2010-2011
Hosted by Prof. Esther Duflo, The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Department of Economics

Isaac Mbiti is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia (formerly, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas). He specializes in development economics, with a specific interest in randomized experiments.

2010-2011 Scholars

M-Pesa: Mobile Money and its Effects in Kenya

Talk sponsored by the University of Oregon African Studies Program

M-Pesa is a mobile phone based money transfer system in Kenya which grew at a blistering pace following its inception in 2007. Dr. Mbiti examines how M-Pesa is used, its economic impacts, and the increase in cell phone usage across Africa in recent times.

Isaac Mbiti is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He specializes in development economics, with a specific interest in randomized experiments.

Prof. Mbiti earned his PhD from Brown University. He has received many grants, including fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation Compton Foundation, and the Chancellors Award from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

He was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Southern Methodist University when he visited MIT as an MLK Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, where he worked closely with Prof. Esther Duflo in the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Prof. Mbiti focused on two on-going projects: “Experimental Evidence on the Returns to Vocational Education in Kenya” and “The Impact of Monitoring Technology on the impact of remittances in Kenya”. He gave guest lectures at MIT and conducted research on randomized evaluations of interventions in Kenya.

PAPERS

"The Economic Impact of Mobile Phones” with Jenny C. Aker,  Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2010, 24(3): 207–32 (Published version of the Article can be accessed here)



The Determinants and Consequences of School Choice Errors in Kenya,” with Adrienne M. Lucas, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings,  May 2012, 102(3): 283-288.



"Access, Sorting, and Achievement: the Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya” with Adrienne M. Lucas. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 4(4): 226-253. 2012

"Does Free Primary Education Narrow Gender Differences in Schooling Outcomes? Evidence from Kenya” with Adrienne M. Lucas. Journal of African EconomiesOctober, 2012: 1-32.

“The Home Economics of E-Money: Velocity,Cash Management, and Discount Rates of M-Pesa Users” With David Weil, America Economic Review,Papers and Proceedings, May 2013

"Mobile Banking: The Impact of M-Pesa in Kenya” with David Weil, in NBER Volume on African Economic Successes, edited by Sebastian Edwards, Simon Johnson and David Weil, University of Chicago Press (forthcoming) 



"Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya" with Adrienne M. Lucas. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (forthcoming)



"Monsoon Wedding? The Effect of Female Labor Demand on Marriage Markets in India"

The previous version of this paper was titled: "Moving Women: Household Composition, Labor Demand and Crop Choice"

 

POLICY REPORTS

"Access and Quality in the Kenyan Education System: A Review of the Progress, Challenges and Potential Solutions" with Rachel Glennerster, Michael Kremer, and Kudzai Takavarasha. Report for Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, May 2011

"Youth and Livelihoods: A Review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programs for Youth” with Jamie McCasland and Holly Reed. International Rescue Committee, New York, 2011 
 

IN PROGRESS

"Vocational Education in Kenya” with Joan Hicks,  Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel

"Increasing the Development Impact of Migrant Remittances: A Field Experiment Among Kenyan Migrants in the USA” with Dean Yang

"Returns to Apprenticeship Training in Ghana" with Morgan Hardy and Jamie McCasland 

TOP