Research

My research interest are in applied microeconomics economics and rigorous evaluation based on econometric theory. My current research studies the bi-directional relationship between poverty and mental health. In addition, I am interested in the dynamics of poverty and the interaction of psychology, decision-making, and poverty traps.

I am interested in collaboration on different topics in on poverty; behavioral and experimental economics; applied econometrics; urban, health, and labor economics. Feel free to contact me!

Google Scholar Page.

Working Papers

  • Income, Psychological Well-being, and the Dynamics of Poverty
    (My job market paper 2018-2019. Latest draft available here Alloush_2020– Updated February 2020)

Short Abstract: Evidence across disciplines suggests a bi-directional relationship between psychological and economic well-being indicating a possible feedback loop that can trap some in poverty. However, estimating these causal links is difficult due to this simultaneity. In this paper, I use a panel GMM approach and a large-scale dataset from South Africa to estimate a system of dynamic equations where income and psychological well-being are simultaneously determined. I find evidence of nonlinear effects in both directions highlighting the vulnerability of the poor with low psychological well-being. Simulations suggest this relationship can double the overall impact of shocks and explain prolonged poverty spells.

Previous versions were circulated under the title “Unpacking the Causal Relationships between Income and Psychological Well-being”

  • Neighborhood Violence, Poverty, and Psychological Well-being (with Jeffrey Bloem)

Draft available here AlloushBloem_2020 (updated January 2020)

  • Personality Traits and Economic Shocks among the Ultra-poor (with Sikhar Mehra and Yaniv Stopnitzky)

Draft available upon request.

  • Measuring Resilience: The Role of Psychological Well-being (with Michael Carter)
  • Economic Well-being, Poverty Dynamics, and Happiness
  • Predictors of Life Satisfaction in South Africa

Peer-reviewed articles:

Economic Life in Refugee Camps (2017). World Development (95) 334-347
(with J. Ed Taylor, Anubhab Gupta, Irvin Rojas, & Ernesto Gonzalez)
access here

Economics Impact of Refugees (2016). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(27) 7449–7453
(with J. Ed Taylor, Mateusz Filipski, Anubhab Gupta, Irvin Rojas, & Ernesto Gonzalez)
open access here

Informality and Exclusion: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee data for Lebanon and Syria (2013). IZA Journal of Labor Policy 2(18)
(with Roberta Gatti, Joana Silva, & Carole Chartouni)
open access here

Ongoing projects:

Does Geographical Location Predict Happiness?

Impact Evaluation of a Poverty Graduation Program in an Urban Setting
(Principal Investigator and consultant for the World Bank, with Rene Solano & Jumana El-Aref)

Impact Evaluation of the South Africa Land Restitution Program
(with Michael Carter and Malcolm Keswell)