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Sikandra Kurdi - Research Summary

Paris School of Economics

Public and Private Goods in Community Project Choice

Alain de Janvry, Sikandra Kurdi, and Elisabeth Sadoulet

The choice of project type under the decentralized Community Driven Development approach encompasses a decision not only between different kinds of public goods, but also about the distribution of labor incomes across the working age population during the construction phase, with skill-intensive projects generating highly paid employment for a portion of the workforce. We find that the skill-intensity of selected projects in Yemen's Labor Intensive Work Program (LIWP) increased sharply at the time of the economic crisis of 2011. We interpret this heightened preference for skill-intensive projects as a reflection of the changing age composition of the community's male population due to increased out-migration by unskilled young men and decreased employment opportunities for older skilled workers in the construction sector. This response of project choice to the changing demographic composition of the community reduced the progressive value of LIWP labor incomes and increased the regressive bias in public goods benefits.

The paper is still undergoing revisions but a working paper can be downloaded here.