Erica M. Field
  • Erica M. Field

  • Professor in the Department of Economics
  • Economics
  • 419 Chapel Drive, 319 Social Sciences Building, Durham, NC 27708-0097
  • Phone: (919) 660-1857
  • Homepage
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Overview

    Professor Field’s major fields of interests are development economics, labor economics, economic demography, and health. Specifically, her research focuses on the areas of marriage and family, property rights, global health, and finance and entrepreneurship. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative, and the Harvard Sustainability Science Program, among others. She has published work in various journals, including the American Economics Journal and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Her research regularly takes her out of the U.S., and she is currently working on projects that explore adolescent empowerment and education in Bangladesh, the effects of microfinance on women and households in South Asia and India, and the impacts of access to family planning resources on fertility and health in Zambia.
  • Bio

    Erica M. Field joined the Duke faculty as an associate professor in 2011. She is also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Professor Field received her Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from Princeton University in 2003 and her B.A. in economics and Latin American studies from Vassar College in 1996. Since receiving her doctorate, she has worked at Princeton, Stanford, and most recently Harvard, where she was a professor for six years before coming to Duke.
  • Specialties

    • Development Economics
    • Health Economics
    • Microeconomics
  • Education

      • Ph.D.,
      • Princeton University,
      • 2003
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Elaine Bennett Research Prize,
      • Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession,
      • January 2010
      • Sloan Research Fellowship-Economics,
      • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,
      • January 2009
      • School of Social Science/ Member,
      • Institute for Advanced Study,
      • January 2007
      • Researcher (NBER Family Members),
      • National Bureau of Economic Research,
      • January 2004
  • Recent Publications

      • B Feigenberg, E Field, R Pande, N Rigol and S Sarkar.
      • (2014).
      • DO GROUP DYNAMICS INFLUENCE SOCIAL CAPITAL GAINS AMONG MICROFINANCE CLIENTS? EVIDENCE FROM A RANDOMIZED EXPERIMENT IN URBAN INDIA.
      • Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
      • ,
      • 33
      • (4)
      • ,
      • 932-949.
      • [web]
      • N Ashraf, E Field and J Lee.
      • (2014).
      • Household Bargaining and Excess Fertility: An Experimental Study in Zambia.
      • American Economic Review
      • ,
      • 104
      • (7)
      • ,
      • 2210-2237.
      • [web]
      • B Feigenberg, E Field, R Pande, N Rigol and S Sarkar.
      • (2014).
      • Do group dynamics influence social capital gains among microfinance clients? Evidence from a randomized experiment in urban India.
      • Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
      • ,
      • 33
      • (4)
      • ,
      • 932-949.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      © 2014 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.As an intrinsic part of the classic microfinance model, group meetings are intended to employ social capital to ensure timely repayment. Recent research suggests that more frequent meetings can increase social capital among first-time clients. Using randomized variation in group meeting frequency for 174 microfinance groups in India, we demonstrate that social capital gains associated with more frequentmeetings continue to accrue across multiple lending cycles. However, these effects are reduced when group members differ in their borrowing history. In addition, clients who start with low levels of empowerment report higher social capital gains when matched with similar clients. We discuss how current microfinance policy debates overlook the creation of social capital, including through repayment meeting frequency, and we encourage regulators to undertake a holistic understanding of microfinance's impacts.

      • E Field, R Pande, J Papp and N Rigol.
      • (2013).
      • Does the classic microfinance model discourage entrepreneurship among the poor? Experimental evidence from India.
      • American Economic Review
      • ,
      • 103
      • (6)
      • ,
      • 2196-2226.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Do the repayment requirements of the classic microfinance contract inhibit investment in high-return but illiquid business opportunities among the poor? Using a field experiment, we compare the classic contract which requires that repayment begin immediately after loan disbursement to a contract that includes a two-month grace period. The provision of a grace period increased short-run business investment and long-run profits but also default rates. The results, thus, indicate that debt contracts that require early repayment discourage illiquid risky investment and thereby limit the potential impact of microfinance on microenterprise growth and household poverty.

      • E Field, R Pande, J Papp and YJ Park.
      • (2012).
      • Repayment Flexibility Can Reduce Financial Stress: A Randomized Control Trial with Microfinance Clients in India.
      • PLoS ONE
      • ,
      • 7
      • (9)
      • .
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Financial stress is widely believed to cause health problems. However, policies seeking to relieve financial stress by limiting debt levels of poor households may directly worsen their economic well-being. We evaluate an alternative policy - increasing the repayment flexibility of debt contracts. A field experiment randomly assigned microfinance clients to a monthly or a traditional weekly installment schedule (N = 200). We used cell phones to gather survey data on income, expenditure, and financial stress every 48 hours over seven weeks. Clients repaying monthly were 51 percent less likely to report feeling "worried, tense, or anxious" about repaying, were 54 percent more likely to report feeling confident about repaying, and reported spending less time thinking about their loan compared to weekly clients. Monthly clients also reported higher business investment and income, suggesting that the flexibility encouraged them to invest their loans more profitably, which ultimately reduced financial stress. © 2012 Field et al.

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