Qualification: 
Ph.D
sefa.awaworyichurchill@rmit.edu.au

Dr. Sefa Awaworyi Churchill currently serves as Visiting Faculty at the Amrita Center for Economics & Governance (ACEG), Amritapuri.

Dr. Awaworyi Churchill is an applied economist. He conducts meta-analysis and empirical research in development economics, macroeconomics, energy economics, health economics, labour economics, microfinance and other issues related to sociology and economics.

Qualification

  • PhD Economics
  • MEd (Educational Management)
  • MSc Financial Economics
  • MSc Business
  • BSc (Hons) Mathematics

Supervisor Interests

Applied economics, Development, Microfinance, Health economics, Meta-analysis, Entrepreneurship

Supervisor Projects

PhD Current Supervisions

Grants

  1. A Quantitative Study on the Influence of Child Sponsorship on Development Outcomes. Funded by: Plan International UK from (2018 to 2019)
  2. "The Global Marketing Conference" Tokyo 26th-29th July 2018. Funded by: Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant 2018 Round 1 from (2018 to 2018)

Publications

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Title

2018

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Firm financial performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: the role of ethnic diversity”, Empirical Economics, 2018.[Abstract]


Using data from Sub-Saharan Africa, this research note examines the effect of ethnic and linguistic diversity on firms' financial performance. We measure diversity using indices of fractionalization based on the Herfindahl-type formula and find evidence of a strong positive effect of diversity on firm performance indicators such as total revenue, dividends, earnings before interest and tax, net sales/turnover and return on assets and total factor productivity. We argue that the positive effect is driven by the influence of ethnic diversity on important channels such as innovation and entrepreneurship. Our results are robust to alternative measures of fractionalization and endogeneity.

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2018

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Sustainability and Depth of Outreach: Evidence from Microfinance Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Development Policy Review, pp. 1-9, 2018.[Abstract]


The feasibility of microfinance institutions (MFIs) to expand outreach to the poorest while remaining financially sustainable has long been debated. Using data from 206 MFIs in 33 African countries, we adopt the three-stage least square technique to examine if a trade-off exists between sustainability and outreach depth. Our results confirm the existence of a trade-off. The evidence also supports ongoing subsidies for MFIs with the aim of encouraging outreach. In addition, we examine whether there is an inflection point beyond which higher interest rates reduce profitability for MFIs. We find no evidence of a threshold beyond which profitability is reduced.

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2018

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Nuhu, A., “The impact of ethnic diversity on tourism revenue and tourist arrivals”, Tourism Economics, pp. 1 - 9, 2018.

2018

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Mishra, V., “The impact of ethnic diversity on microenterprise start-ups”, Applied Economics, vol. 50, pp. 4328 - 4342, 2018.

2018

S. Appau and Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Bridging cultural categories of consumption through indeterminacy: A consumer culture perspective on the rise of African Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity”, Journal of Consumer Culture, pp. 1 - 21, 2018.

2018

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Appau, S., and Farrell, L., “Religiosity, income and wellbeing in developing countries”, Empirical Economics, pp. 1-27, 2018.[Abstract]


This study examines the relationship between religiosity, income and subjective wellbeing in a sample of developing countries using data from the World Values Survey Waves 2–6 (1990–2014). Beyond examining the effects of religiosity and income on subjective wellbeing separately and independently, we also examine how the interaction between religiosity and income affects wellbeing. Our results suggest that while both religiosity and income positively affect wellbeing, the effect of income on wellbeing is relatively stronger (quantitatively larger in size) than the effects of religiosity. Furthermore, we find evidence in favour of complementarity between religiosity and income which show stronger effects on wellbeing than the individual effects of income and religiosity.

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2018

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Farrell, L., “The impact of gambling on depression: New evidence from England and Scotland”, Economic Modelling, vol. 68, pp. 475 - 483, 2018.[Abstract]


Easy access to gambling outlets and the rise in the number of online gambling sites have led to a substantial increase in the prevalence of gambling among the British population. This increased prevalence is becoming a major problem due to the associated social and economic costs. This study investigates the effects of gambling on depression, using new data on England and Scotland, in a population-based sample. Using both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) scales of gambling addiction, we find evidence of a positive association between gambling behaviour and depression. Further, disaggregating the effects by gambling venue, our results suggest that online gambling poses a significant mental health risk compared to gambling in venues or outlets. Thus, we show that the high prevalence of gambling in Britain is associated with emotional and mental health costs.

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2018

M. Ugur, Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, and Solomon, E., “Technological Innovation and Employment in Derived Labour Demand Models: A Hierarchical Meta-Regression Analysis”, Journal of Economic Surveys, vol. 32, pp. 50–82, 2018.[Abstract]


The effect of technological innovation on employment is of major concern for workers and their unions, policy makers and academic researchers. We meta‐analyse 570 estimates from 35 primary studies that estimate a derived labour demand model. We contribute to existing attempts at evidence synthesis by addressing the risks of selection bias and that of data dependence in observational studies. Our findings indicate that: (i) hierarchical meta‐regression models are sufficiently versatile for addressing both selection bias and data dependence in observational data; (ii) innovation's effect on employment is positive but small and highly heterogeneous; (iii) only a small part of residual heterogeneity is explained by moderating factors; (iv) selection bias tends to reflect preference for upholding prevalent hypotheses on the employment effects of process and product innovations; (v) country‐specific effect‐size estimates are related to labour market and product market regulation in six OECD countries in a U‐shaped fashion; and (vi) OLS estimates reflect upward bias whereas those based on time‐differenced or within estimators reflect a downward bias. Our findings point out to a range of data quality and modelling issues that should be addressed in future research.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Laryea, E., “Crime and Ethnic Diversity: Cross-Country Evidence”, Crime & Delinquency, pp. 1 - 31, 2017.[Abstract]


Is the level of crime in countries explained by ethnic diversity? This study attempts to answer this question by providing empirical evidence that examines the effects of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization on various measures of crime rates, including prosecution and conviction rates. Drawing on data across 78 countries, our study addresses the endogenous nature of the association between ethnic diversity and crime. Our empirical findings show, rather unexpectedly and counterintuitively, that higher levels of ethnic and linguistic diversity tend to aid in the reduction of crime rates and, consequently, lead to lower prosecution and conviction rates. We advance possible reasons for this unexpected result, and outline some policy recommendations

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Mishra, V., “Trust, social networks and wellbeing in China”, Social Indicators Research, vol. 132, no. 1, pp. 313-339, 2017.[Abstract]


Using data from the World Values Survey, this study examines the associations among trust, social networks and subjective wellbeing in China. We address the endogenous nature of trust and social networks, and examine how these elements of social capital affect subjective wellbeing. We also explore the interplay between trust and social networks. Existing literature suggests that trust and social networks positively impact wellbeing, with one strand of the literature suggesting that in developed countries social capital is a stronger determinant of wellbeing than income. However, we find that this is not the case for China (a developing country) where the effects of trust and social networks on wellbeing are found to be relatively weaker compared to the effect of income.

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2017

M. Bhattacharya, Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, and Paramati, S. Reddy, “The dynamic impact of renewable energy and institutions on economic output and CO2 emissions across regions”, Renewable Energy, vol. 111, pp. 157 - 167, 2017.[Abstract]


We provide a comprehensive and robust analysis of the role of renewable energy consumption and institutions on economic growth and in combating CO2 emissions across the regions and income groups. For our empirical model, we use annual data from 85 developed and developing economies across the world over the period from 1991 to 2012. We employ various econometric techniques from panel estimations to obtain the robust results. Our findings confirm that there is significant heterogeneity across the sub-samples. Overall, results from the system-GMM and fully modified OLS indicate that the growth of renewable energy consumption has a significant positive and negative impact on economic output and CO2 emissions, respectively. Institutions have a positive influence on economic growth and a reducing effect on CO2 emissions. Our findings suggest that both renewable energy deployment and institutions are significant in promoting economic growth and reducing CO2 emissions. Finally, we suggest that institutional alignment is necessary to promote the use of renewable energy across economic activities to ensure sustainable economic development.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Marr, A., “Sustainability and outreach: A comparative study of MFIs in South Asia and Latin America”, Bulletin of Economic Research, vol. 69, no. 4, pp. 19- 41, 2017.[Abstract]


Previous studies indicate that microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have different operational strategies to MFIs in South Asia (SA). Given the recent emphasis placed on the feasibility of MFIs to achieve the dual goals of outreach and sustainability concurrently, we examine and compare the relationship between sustainability and outreach of MFIs in LAC with MFIs in SA. Our results indicate that trade-offs exist between outreach and sustainability in both regions. However, the severity of trade-off is dependent on which goal MFIs decide to focus on in each region.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Microfinance and ethnic diversity”, Economic Record, vol. 93, pp. 112–141, 2017.[Abstract]


We argue that understanding why the levels of success vary across microfinance institutions (MFIs) requires not only an understanding of the interplay between MFIs, MFI‐specific practices and macroeconomic factors, but also what role ethnic diversity plays. Thus, this study hypothesises a relationship between ethnic diversity and MFI performance. We measure ethnic diversity using indices of fractionalisation. We find that fractionalisation is associated with poorer MFI financial performance and leads to MFI mission drift. Trust and strong social networks are important mechanisms of influence; they are lower in more fractionalised countries. Results are robust to several sensitivity checks.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Farrell, L., “Investigating the relationship between smoking and subjective welfare”, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, vol. 71, pp. 1 - 12, 2017.[Abstract]


Using data from the Health Survey for England, we examine the effect of smoking behavior and smoking addiction (considering the frequency and intensity of smoking) on happiness and depression, two well-known measures of subjective wellbeing. We find that smoking and smoking addiction are associated with lower levels of happiness and higher levels of depression. This finding is robust to alternative ways of measuring smoking behavior, as well as to the methodological approach to estimation that addresses endogeneity. Specifically, comparing the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) results with the two-stage least square (2SLS) results, we find that although the OLS results overstate the effects of smoking status and addiction on wellbeing, the emerging conclusion of a negative effect of smoking behavior is still valid in the case of 2SLS.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Fractionalization, entrepreneurship, and the institutional environment for entrepreneurship”, Small Business Economics, vol. 48, pp. 577–597, 2017.[Abstract]


The vast majority of the literature on ethnicity and entrepreneurship focuses on the construct of ethnic entrepreneurship. However, very little is known about how ethnic heterogeneity affects entrepreneurship, and the institutional arrangements affecting entrepreneurship. This study attempts to fill the gap, and thus examines the effect of ethnic heterogeneity on various outcomes associated with entrepreneurship and the institutional environment for entrepreneurship. Using indices of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization, we show that ethnic heterogeneity negatively influences entrepreneurship. We argue that potential channels that can explain the negative effect of fractionalization on entrepreneurship include trust, social network, and innovation, among others. This study provides a new perspective on the existing debate that seeks to understand why the levels of entrepreneurial success vary across countries.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Smyth, R., “Ethnic Diversity and Poverty”, World Development, vol. 95, pp. 285 - 302, 2017.[Abstract]


Summary We examine the relationship between ethnic diversity and poverty for a cross-sectional sample of developing countries. We measure diversity using indices of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization, and measure poverty using the multidimensional poverty index (MPI), multidimensional poverty headcount (MPH), intensity of deprivation, poverty gap, and poverty headcount ratio. We find that ethnic and linguistic fractionalization contributes to poverty levels. Specifically, after controlling for endogeneity, we find that a standard deviation increase in ethnic fractionalization is associated with a 0.32-, 0.44- and 0.53-standard deviation increase in the MPI, MPH and the intensity of deprivation, respectively. Moreover, a standard deviation increase in ethnic fractionalization is associated with between a 0.34- and 0.63-standard deviation increase in the population living below $1.90 and $3.10, the poverty gap at $1.90 and $3.10 a day and the headcount ratio at $1.90 and $3.10 a day. Similar results are also observed for linguistic fractionalization with standardized coefficients between 0.53 and 0.93. We find that our results are robust to alternative ways to measure poverty and ethnic diversity including ethnic polarization as well as alternative approaches to address endogeneity.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Ocloo, J. Exornam, and Siawor-Robertson, D., “Ethnic Diversity and Health Outcomes”, Social Indicators Research, vol. 134, pp. 1077–1112, 2017.[Abstract]


This study hypothesizes a relationship between ethnic diversity and health outcomes. We explore the effects of ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity (measured by indices of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization) on various health outcomes in a cross-section of 91 countries. We explore outcomes relating to four major categories of health: (1) immunization rates, (2) prevalence of diseases, (3) life expectancy and mortality rates, and (4) health related infrastructure and staff. Across all dimensions examined, evidence suggests that higher heterogeneity is bad for health outcomes. We explore several potential mechanisms which could explain the observed negative effects of ethnic and linguistic diversity on health.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Valenzuela, M. Rebecca, and Sablah, W., “Ethnic diversity and firm performance: Evidence from China's materials and industrial sectors”, Empirical Economics, vol. 53, pp. 1711–1731, 2017.[Abstract]


Several studies examine the determinants of firm performance in China, but none explores the impact of ethnic diversity on firm performance. This study examines the relationship between ethnic diversity and firm performance in China by drawing on province-level indices of ethnic fractionalization and firm-level indicators of financial performance. We analyse a sample of 1079 Chinese firms in the materials and industrial sectors and find that higher ethnic heterogeneity negatively impacts on firm financial performance in these sectors. This implies that ethnic composition can explain observed divergence in firm performance of Chinese firms and that low-growth firms can gain economic benefits by minimizing ethnic heterogeneity among its workers.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Ugur, M., and Yew, S. Ling, “Does Government Size Affect Per-Capita Income Growth? A Hierarchical Meta-Regression Analysis”, Economic Record, vol. 93, pp. 142–171, 2017.[Abstract]


Since the late 1970s, the received wisdom has been that government size (measured as the ratio of total government expenditure to gross domestic product (GDP) or government consumption to GDP) is detrimental to economic growth. We conduct a hierarchical meta‐regression analysis of 799 effect‐size estimates reported in 87 primary studies to verify if this assertion is supported by existing evidence. Our findings indicate that the conventional prior belief is supported by evidence mainly from developed countries but not from less developed countries. We argue that the negative relationship between government size and economic growth in developed countries may reflect endogeneity bias.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Yew, S. L., “Are government transfers harmful to economic growth? A meta-analysis”, Economic Modelling, vol. 64, pp. 270 - 287, 2017.[Abstract]


A common perception is that government transfers are harmful to economic growth. However, existing empirical evidence on this point is mixed. Potential reasons for these conflicting results include differences in the level of economic development of the countries studied, different estimation methods and different measures of government transfers. By conducting a meta-analysis of 149 estimates reported in 23 studies, we sought to understand if – and if so, to what extent – government transfers are harmful to economic growth, as well as how important the abovementioned reasons are in explaining different findings in the literature. We found that government transfers are more detrimental to economic growth in developed countries compared to less-developed countries because such transfers can have a non-monotonic effect on growth. When government transfers are substantial, as they are in developed countries, they tend to reduce growth. We also found that the growth effects of government transfers are sensitive to the measurement of the transfers, i.e., studies that use unemployment benefits instead of social security tend to report a stronger negative growth effect.

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2017

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Farrell, L., “Alcohol and depression: Evidence from the 2014 health survey for England”, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 180, pp. 86 - 92, 2017.[Abstract]


Background A relatively large body of literature examines the association between depression and alcohol consumption, with evidence suggesting a bidirectional causal relationship. However, the endogeneity arising from this reverse causation has not been addressed in the literature. Methods Using data on 5828 respondents from the Health Survey for England (HSE), this study revisits the relationship between alcohol and depression and addresses the endogenous nature of this relationship. We use information on self-assessed depression, and control for endogeneity using the Lewbel two-staged least square (2SLS) estimation technique. Results We find that drinking alcohol promotes depression, and this is consistent across several measures of drinking behaviour including the amount of alcohol consumed, consumption intensity, alcohol dependence and risk of dependence. Conclusion While drinking may be generally accepted and in the case of England, part of the culture, this has costs in terms of both physical and mental health that ought not to be ignored. While public policy has predominantly focused on the physical aspects of excessive alcohol consumption it is possible that these policies will also have a direct positive spillover in terms of the mental health costs, through the impact of lower alcohol consumption on quality of life and wellbeing.

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2016

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill and Nuhu, A. Salim, “What has failed: microfinance or evaluation methods?”, Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, vol. 6, pp. 85–94, 2016.[Abstract]


This research note reflects on existing research and perspectives on the efficacy of microfinance as a poverty alleviation tool. We argue that while the story about the success of microfinance is widespread, its failure is also well documented at various levels. More importantly, systematic reviews of the existing research on microfinance performance do not support the efficacy of microfinance. This suggests that microfinance has failed. However, these reviews are based on studies that have adopted widely criticized empirical/quantitative techniques. Thus, in this research note, we attempt to sensitize both the research community and policy-makers to reconsider what has really failed in the context of microfinance, and act accordingly.

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2016

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Danso, J., and Appau, S., “Microcredit and poverty reduction in Bangladesh: average effects beyond publication bias”, Enterprise Development and Microfinance, vol. 27, pp. 59–72, 2016.[Abstract]


We review the empirical evidence on the impact of microcredit on poverty in Bangladesh. Drawing on evidence from eight empirical studies with 221 estimates, we examine the impact of microcredit on three proxies of poverty – income, assets, and consumption/ expenditure. After addressing issues of publication selection bias, we find that the effect of microcredit on assets and income is statistically not significant. Evidence shows a positive but weak effect of microcredit on consumption/expenditure. Meta-regression analysis reveals that sources of variations in the existing literature such as study design, data characteristics and empirical methodology can explain the differences in reported estimates.

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2015

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Okai, D., and Posso, A., “Internet Use and Ethnic Heterogeneity in a Cross-Section of Countries”, Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy, vol. 35, pp. 59–72, 2015.[Abstract]


This paper investigates the association between ethnic heterogeneity and information technology related outcomes such as Internet access and Internet use. We argue that the global digital divide, as measured by cross‐country differences in Internet access and use, could be explained by cross‐country differences in ethnic heterogeneity. We use indices of ethnic and linguistic fractionalisation as measures of ethnic heterogeneity. Using data on a cross‐section of eighty‐five countries, we find evidence of a negative association between ethnic heterogeneity and the use and access of Internet. Thus, cross‐country differences in the global digital divide can be explained by the levels of ethnic fractionalisation. Other determinants of the digital divide include income, infrastructure, literacy level, level of urbanisation and inequality.

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2012

A. Marr and Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Microfinance social performance: A global empirical study”, Applied econometrics and international development, vol. 12, pp. 51–68, 2012.[Abstract]


Over the years, microfinance has been purported to have experienced enormous progress and is seen to contribute towards poverty reduction by extending finance to people previously excluded from formal financial markets. However, the question on how microfinance social performance is assessed remains unresolved. The paper develops an original social performance rating for 878 microfinance institutions (MFIs), across all geographic regions in the world for a period of 11 years (2000-2010). Furthermore, the paper investigates whether or not the age, assets, regulation status, loans per loan officers, as well as the profit status of MFIs affect MFIs’ ability to perform socially.

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Publication Type: Book Chapter

Year of Publication Title

2015

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, “Impact of microfinance on female empowerment: A review of the empirical literature”, in Contemporary global perspectives on gender economics, IGI Global, 2015, pp. 39–54.[Abstract]


Microfinance is considered a major development tool in most developing countries. Specifically, its interventions have been targeted towards women as an empowerment tool. However, recent systematic reviews report on an inconclusive impact of microfinance on female empowerment. This chapter presents a meta-analysis of the impact of microfinance on five measures of female empowerment used in the empirical literature, namely mobility, decision-making power, control over finance, awareness and women's assets. No evidence of a meaningfully positive impact of microfinance on female empowerment is found. This is evident from all three meta-analysis tools used - fixed effects weighted averages, precision effect and funnel asymmetry tests (PET/FAT), and also the multivariate meta-regression analysis (MRA).

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