A farmer on his land plot in Brazil

Recent research suggests that droughts and other natural disasters may impact farmers’ cognition as well as their agricultural income. As water becomes scarcer and the risk of a poor harvest increases, the stress of coping with a drought may cause farmers to perform worse on other mental tasks. In Brazil, researchers examined whether rainfall scarcity affected performance on cognitive tasks, and if so, whether offering rainfall insurance could help alleviate this stress.

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For small and medium firms everywhere, the lack of access to buyers can often mean higher transaction and input costs and few incentives to improve efficiency. Governments, however, have strong buying power and increased government purchasing from these firms may help with this constraint. This study uses procurement auctions by Brazil’s federal government to test if the added demand from government improved the performance of winning firms.

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Political clientelism is often deemed to undermine democratic accountability and representation. This study argues that economic vulnerability causes citizens to participate in clientelism. Researchers tested this hypothesis with a randomized control trial that reduced household vulnerability through a development intervention: constructing residential water cisterns in drought-prone areas of Northeast Brazil.

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In Progress