My work aims to understand migration and location choices of people under constraints, both positive (driven by central policy choices) and normative (from fairness principles). I will join Boston College as an Assistant Professor after two postdocs at the Stanford King Center and at the Yale EGC — [CV].

If you are referring to me on a ‘first-name-basis’, please call me “Binta” or “Zahra”. If you need to use my full name, please use “Binta Zahra Diop”. Diop is pronounced j-oh-b / joob.

Selected work in progress

Upgrade or Migrate: The Consequences of Fertilizer Subsidies on Household Labor Allocation
[paper | twitter thread | mastodon thread]

Rural development programs often focus on increasing agricultural investment, but farmers can also benefit from investing in outmigration. I explore how input subsidies (ISPs) allow farmers to adjust their choices across both agricultural investments and outmigration. First, I use the staggered rollout of a large-scale Zambian ISP to estimate a difference-in-differences. I find that the ISP resulted in significant increases in both rates of fertilizer use (upgrades, +79%) and outmigration (+12%). Outmigration increases because farmers are funding expensive migration in two ways: (i) by selling the ISP vouchers in resale markets in the short run (+11%) and (ii) through the income effect of their increased in-farm productivity in the medium run (+14%). Second, I estimate a choice model and find that resale markets are key to efficiently re-allocate fertilizer among farmers within villages. Furthermore, the current program has three times higher upgrade rates than a revenue-neutral cash transfer program, but outmigration rates are similar. Hence, the ISP incorporating resale markets can be a better suited policy to achieve the dual objectives of enhanced food production and poverty alleviation.

The Productivity and Allocation of Labor across Ghana’s Health Facilities
BZ Diop, K Awoonor-Williams, H Ismaila, A Ofosu, MJ Williams

An Experiment to Elicit Preferences Over Definitions of Algorithmic Fairness
BZ Diop, A Panin, M Cissé


The relatively young and rural population may limit the spread and severity of Covid-19 in Africa: a modelling study” (2020), BMJ Global Health [paper]
BZ Diop, M Ngom, C Pougué Biyong, JN Pougué Biyong

Comparison between predictions and actual COVID19 progressions (click to uncover)

Predictions of the model:

The actual progression of infections:

Policy Reports (Pre-PhD)

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes” [paper]
B Cooke, BZ Diop, A Fishbane, J Hayes, A Ouss, AK Shah