nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2006‒07‒21
twelve papers chosen by
Jeong-Joon Lee
Towson University

  1. Convergence in a Stochastic Dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin Model By Partha Chatterjee; Malik Shukayev
  2. Group versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines By Xavier Gine; Dean Karlan
  3. Small and Medium Enterprise in India - Overcoming Policy Constraints to Achieving Rapid Growth in a Globalizing Economy By Morris Sebastian; Basant Rakesh
  4. ICT Use in the Developing World: An Analysis of Differences in Computer and Internet Penetration By Menzie D. Chinn; Robert W. Fairlie
  5. Measuring corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia : a critique of the cross-country indicators By Knack, Stephen
  6. Leisure Externalities: Implications for Growth and Welfare By Mihaela Pintea
  7. The Relationship Between Government Size and Economic Growth: Evidence From a Panel Data Analysis By Yesim Kustepeli
  8. Inter-Caste Differences in Formal Sector Earnings in India: Has the Rise of Caste-Based Politics had an Impact? By Sumon Kumar Bhaumik; Manisha Chakrabarty
  9. Production-weighted Estimates of Aggregate Protection in Rich Countries toward Developing Countries By David Roodman
  10. Aid Project Proliferation and Absorptive Capacity By David Roodman
  11. The Economics of Young Democracies: Policies and Performance By Ethan Kapstein; Nathan Converse
  12. Competitive Proliferation of Aid Projects: A Model By David Roodman

  1. By: Partha Chatterjee; Malik Shukayev
    Abstract: The authors characterize the equilibrium for a small economy in a dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin model with uncertainty. They show that, when trade is balanced period-by-period, the per capita output and consumption of a small open economy converge to an invariant distribution that is independent of the initial wealth. Further, at the invariant distribution, with probability one there are some periods in which the small economy diversifies. These results are in sharp contrast with those of deterministic dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin models, in which permanent specialization and non-convergence occur. One key feature of the authors' model is the presence of market incompleteness as a result of the period-by-period trade balance. The importance of market incompleteness, and not just uncertainty, in achieving the authors' results is illustrated through an analytical example. Further, numerical simulations show that the convergence occurs more quickly as the magnitude of the shocks increases. Thus, the results extend the predictions of income convergence, standard in one-sector neoclassical growth models, to the dynamic multicountry Heckscher-Ohlin environment.
    Keywords: Economic models
    JEL: F43 O41
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Xavier Gine (World Bank); Dean Karlan (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)
    Abstract: Group liability is often portrayed as the key innovation that led to the explosion of the microcredit movement, which started with the Grameen Bank in the 1970s and continues on today with hundreds of institutions around the world. Group lending claims to improve repayment rates and lower transaction costs when lending to the poor by providing incentives for peers to screen, monitor and enforce each other’s loans. However, some argue that group liability creates excessive pressure and discourages good clients from borrowing, jeopardizing both growth and sustainability. Therefore, it remains unclear whether group liability improves the lender’s overall profitability and the poor’s access to financial markets. We worked with a bank in the Philippines to conduct a field experiment to examine these issues. We randomly assigned half of the 169 pre-existing group liability “centers” of approximately twenty women to individual-liability centers (treatment) and kept the other half as-is with group liability (control). We find that the conversion to individual liability does not affect the repayment rate, and leads to higher growth in center size by attracting new clients.
    Keywords: Microfinance, group liability, joint liability, social capital, micro-enterprises, informal economies
    JEL: C93 D71 D82 D91 G21 O12 O16 O17
  3. By: Morris Sebastian; Basant Rakesh
    Abstract: Sustained very high rate of growth (above 8% in the context today in India) would be able to achieve (since a labour productivity growth of 4 to 4.5 % is to be factored in) a labour absorption rate of 3.5 to 4% which is about a percent above the growth in the rate of the workforce. But slower growth of around 6% which is what India seems to be achieving in the 90s on an average would keep disguised unemployment alive for long. Similarly, the transformation of firms and especially SMEs which have little autonomous capacity is itself a function of growth oriented policies. In the nineties labour has been sufficiently flexible to allow rapid growth whenever demand was high. In any case the unorganised workers, did not have the ability to resist hire and fire. Demand has been lower than possible otherwise since the rupee especially in comparison to the East Asian currencies has not been aggressively priced. Lacking a very rapid growth in the market sufficient to overcome disguised unemployment, the transformation of these industries has itself been affected. Similarly the continuation of tariff inversion, high and uncompensated energy taxes hurt manufacturing and especially the small and medium sector whose dependence on relative factor cost is higher. The slow movement towards de-reservation has further attenuated the process. The dynamic inefficiencies and distortions are far more significant than the static efficiency penalty that the economy pays in the continuation of reservation. Without these corrections the move to have “free-trade” agreements with the ASEAN countries would hurt manufacturing in India and especially the SMEs. Many of the traditional small firms are in clusters, and a cluster oriented approach would be important for their success. A strategy based on leveraging trade names /brand names, many of which could be argued to be "geographic indicators", with much equity world wide, would require immediate changes in our intellectual property rights regime. Costs of excise registration and dealing with excise authorities are too large, and there is a 'fixed' component to this cost which cannot be spread over a large value of turnover. Only significantly lower excise rates for small firms could compensate them sufficiently. The criteria of "with and without the use of power" in the Factories Act, be entirely dispensed with. All units with more than 50 employees including the entrepreneur and family labour, be brought /retained under (all) the provisions of the Factories Act. And all other units be entirely exempt from its provisions. Credit is the single most important constraint for small firms. Incentivisation of priority sector targets is the solution. The policy of directed lending to small firms (the targets for priority sector lending) ought to shift from targets or quotas to incentives to banks for lending to small firms. Responsible risk taking in lending would have to re-emerge. Tax based incentives for banks and financial intermediaries are possible. Statutory Reserves based incentives for banks too are possible. Concessions on interest rates are dysfunctional, though the margin above PLR rates ought to be subject to a ceiling. State Finance Corporations which could play a crucial role in financing of SMEs would have to go through quick restructuring and refocus on promotion of new enterprises typically where vast positive external effects are anticipated, such as in technology based small firms, promising industries, nodal industries, industrial estate corporations, in exchanging specific infrastructural support to existing clusters of small firms, etc. Investments in infrastructure especially general roads, power, railways, and water supply would help to improve the performance of small firms significantly. For all small firms power and water continue to remain constraints shamefully after nearly 10 years of reform. These can easily come down at least for export industries if the taxes and cross subsidies on them are made vattable. Despite the Electricity Act 2003, it is shameful that open-access has not been extended to SMEs. Technology based and skill labour using industries such as IT, BT, pharmaceuticals and auto oriented industries, also need to be exploited. In automobiles taxes are still very large and the inverted tariffs / high cost of materials and energy that are uncompensated hurt the prospects of India emerging as a base for manufactures. In IT, Biotechnology, pharmaceutical industries and other related offshoring activities the challenges lie in bringing about better IPR regimes that reduces the risk faced by foreign firms in their operations in India. IPR regimes requiring much insight would have to be worked work out that is able to balance the interest of Indian firms and yet lead to much industrial relocation. The addition of a petty patent register could considerably enhance the extraction of value from the many innovations that take place in the SME sector. Municipal infrastructure is inadequate and its correction in at least a few cities is of crucial importance to the growth of the off-shoring activities and growth in these industries. Financial institutions could usefully develop strong venture capital arms to finance innovative small firms that have a good potential to emerge in the near future in many industries. Problems with government procurement which are ‘designed to fail’ keeps alive a very large market for shoddy goods among SMEs. Merging of the umpteen laws and regulations into one wherever feasible can reduce the currently large costs of SMEs in dealing with government.
    Keywords: Small-Firms; Industry-structure; India; SME; International-Trade; Globalisation; Country-studies; economic-development
    JEL: O1
    Date: 2006–07–11
  4. By: Menzie D. Chinn (University of Wisconsin, Madison and NBER); Robert W. Fairlie (University of California, Santa Cruz and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Computer and Internet use, especially in developing countries, has expanded rapidly in recent years. Even in light of this expansion in technology adoption rates, penetration rates differ markedly between developed and developing countries and across developing countries. To identify the determinants of cross-country disparities in personal computer and Internet penetration, both currently and over time, we examine panel data for 161 countries over the 1999-2004 period. We explore the role of a comprehensive set of economic, demographic, infrastructure, institutional and financial factors in contributing to the global digital divide. We find evidence indicating that income, human capital, the youth dependency ratio, telephone density, legal quality and banking sector development are associated with technology penetration rates. Overall, the factors associated with computer and Internet penetration do not differ substantially between developed and developing countries. Estimates from Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions reveal that the main factors responsible for low rates of technology penetration rates in developing countries are disparities in income, telephone density, legal quality and human capital. In terms of dynamics, our results indicate fairly rapid reversion to long run equilibrium for Internet use, and somewhat slower reversion for computer use, particularly in developed economies. Financial development, either measured as bank lending or the value of stocks traded, is also important to the growth rate of Internet use.
    Keywords: technology, development, digital divide, Internet, computers
    JEL: O30 L96
    Date: 2006–07
  5. By: Knack, Stephen
    Abstract: This paper assesses corruption levels and trends among countries in the transition countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) based on data from several sources that are both widely used and cover most or all countries in the region. Data from firm surveys tend to show improvement in most types of administrative corruption, but little change in " state capture " in the region. Broader, subjective corruption indicators tend to show somewhat greater improvement in ECA than in non-ECA countries on average. A " primer on corruption indicators " discusses definitional and methodological differences among data sources that may account in large part for the apparently conflicting messages they often provide. This discussion concludes that depending on one ' s purpose, it may be more appropriate to use data from a single source rather than a composite index because of the loss of conceptual precision in aggregation. A second conclusion is that the gains in statistical precision from aggregating sources of corruption data likely are far more modest than often claimed because of interdependence among data sources. The range of detailed corruption measures available in firm surveys are exploited to show that broad, perceptions-based corruption assessments appear to measure primarily administrative corruption, despite their stated criteria placing great weight on " state capture. " Finally, the paper emphasizes the need for scaling up data initiatives to fill significant gaps between our conceptual definitions of corruption and the operational definition embodied in the existing measures.
    Keywords: Governance Indicators,Poverty Monitoring & Analysis,Scientific Research & Science Parks,Science Education,Corruption & Anitcorruption Law
    Date: 2006–07–01
  6. By: Mihaela Pintea (Department of Economics, Florida International University)
    Abstract: This paper develops a neoclassical growth model with leisure externalities. Ignoring positive (negative) leisure externalities leads to equilibrium consumption, labor and capital that are too high (low) and leisure that is too low (high). The government should tax (subsidize) labor income according to whether the leisure externality is positive or negative. The level of this tax (subsidy) depends on the elasticity of individual and average leisure and the consumption tax. Equilibrium dynamics are characterized, and two shocks to the economy are analyzed – an increase in the growth rate of labor productivity, and an increase in the tax on labor income – by simulating a calibrated economy. Adjustment processes of key variables in a competitive and centrally planned economy with and without leisure externalities are also compared.
    Keywords: externalities, transitional dynamics, economic growth
    JEL: D91 O40
    Date: 2006–07
  7. By: Yesim Kustepeli (Department of Economics, Faculty of Business, Dokuz Eylül University)
    Abstract: Using a panel data analysis, the relationship between government size and economic growth is investigated for the 1994-2001 period. The results show that relatively small sizes of government are detrimental to economic growth, while medium sized government affects it positively.
    Keywords: government size, economic growth, panel data, new European Union members and candidates
    JEL: E62 O40
    Date: 2005–12–06
  8. By: Sumon Kumar Bhaumik (Brunel University); Manisha Chakrabarty (Keele University, Centre for Economic Research and School of Economic and Management Studies)
    Abstract: Since 1989, there has been a sharp increase in the role of caste in determining political fortunes at both state and federal levels in India. As a consequence, significant inter-caste differences in earnings have the potential to stall the process of economic reforms. Yet, the patterns and determinants of such differences remain unexplored. We address this lacuna in the literature, and explore the determinants of the differences in inter-caste earnings in India during the 1987-99 period, using the 43rd and 55th rounds of National Sample Survey (NSS). Our results suggest that earnings differences between upper castes and SC/ST have declined between 1987 and 1999, and (b) inter-caste differences in earnings can be explained largely by corresponding differences in educational endowment and returns on age (and, hence, experience). However, differences in returns on education do not explain inter-caste earnings differences to a great extent.
    Keywords: Inequality, Caste, India
    JEL: O15 O17
    Date: 2006–06
  9. By: David Roodman
    Abstract: A challenge in the development of aggregate indexes of trade protection is finding weights to put on various tariffs that a) reflect their importance to exporters and b) are not endogenous to the protection being measured. One common basis for weights is actual imports; but these, as is well-known, are endogenous. Various authors have worked to correct this endogeneity, but doing so is difficult in product areas where protection is both high and widespread. For this reason, I develop a new set of estimates of overall protection in rich countries with respect to developing ones that eschews import weights as much as possible in favor of weights based on the value of exporter’s total production in each product area. The results are generally much higher than those from the Bouët et al. (2004) “MAcMap” data set; there, weights are based on imports of large reference groups of countries. I conclude that product areas in which protection is high and widespread are systematically de-emphasized when using pure MAcMap weights to aggregate across major product groups. In particular, when gauging rich-country protection with respect to developing countries, agriculture is de-emphasized. I also develop estimates of trade-distorting subsidies by country and commodity and translate these into tariffequivalents with the methodology of Cline (2004) in order to estimate overall protection levels. Agricultural tariffs dominate subsidies in trade-distorting effect, and agricultural protection in turn dominates goods protection generally. Japan is most protective, largely because of rice tariffs near 900%, followed by Norway and Switzerland. Because of their greater reliance on agriculture, the poorest countries face higher trade barriers than wealthier developing countries, despite tariff preferences.
    Keywords: Doha Round, measuring trade openness, agricultural subsidies
    JEL: F13 O19 H25
    Date: 2005–08
  10. By: David Roodman
    Abstract: Much public discussion about foreign aid has focused on whether and how to increase its quantity. But recently aid quality has come to the fore, by which is meant the effectiveness of the aid delivery process. This paper focuses on one process problem, the proliferation of aid projects and the associated administrative burden for recipients. It models aid delivery as a set of production activities (projects) with two inputs, the donor’s aid and a recipient-side resource, and two outputs, namely, development and “throughput,” which proxies for the private benefits for both donor and recipient of implementing projects, from kickbacks to career rewards for disbursing. The donor’s allocation of aid across projects is taken as exogenous while the recipient’s allocation of its resource is modeled and subject to a budget constraint. Unless the recipient cares purely about development, increasing aid can reduce development in some circumstances. Sunk costs, representing the administrative burden for the recipient of donor meetings and reports, are introduced. Using data on the distribution of projects by size and country, simulations of aid increases are run in order to examine how the project distribution evolves, how the recipient’s resource allocation responds, and how this affects development if the recipient is not a pure development optimizer. With Cobb-Douglas production, a threshold is revealed beyond which marginal aid effectiveness drops sharply. It occurs when development maximization calls for the recipient to withdraw from some donor-backed projects—but the recipient does not, for the sake of throughput. Donors can push back this threshold by moving to larger projects if there are scale economies in aid projects.
    Keywords: Foreign aid, donor coordination, project proliferation, absorptive capacity
    JEL: F35 O20
    Date: 2006–01
  11. By: Ethan Kapstein; Nathan Converse
    Abstract: Since the “third wave” of democratization began in 1974, nearly 100 states have adopted democratic forms of government, including, of course, most of the former Soviet bloc nations. Policy-makers in the west have expressed the hope that this democratic wave will extend even further, to the Middle East and onward to China. But the durability of this new democratic age remains an open question. By some accounts, at least half of the world’s young democracies—often referred to in the academic literature as being “unconsolidated” or “fragile”—are still struggling to develop their political institutions, and several have reverted back to authoritarian rule. Among the countries in the early stages of democratic institution building are states vital to U.S. national security interests, including Afghanistan and Iraq. The ability of fledgling democracies to maintain popular support depends in part on the ability of their governments to deliver economic policies that meet with widespread approval. But what sorts of economic policies are these, and are they necessarily the same as the policies required for tackling difficult issues of economic stabilization and reform? Conversely, what sorts of economic policies are most likely to spark a backlash against young and fragile democratic regimes? Do the leaders of young democracies face trade-offs as they ponder their electoral and economic strategies? These are among the questions we explore in this paper, which provides an overview of the monograph we are currently writing on the economics of young democracies. We do so first by exploring the hypothesized relationships between democratic politics and economic policy, as well as the findings of several important empirical studies with respect to the economic performance of young democracies around the world. We then provide some descriptive statistics on how the new democracies have fared in practice, making use of a new dataset that we have compiled (and which, among other things, is more up-to-date than most others cited herein). Do the data reveal any distinctive economic patterns with respect to democratic consolidation and reversal? We will show that they do. In particular, we find that deteriorating or stagnant economic performance constitutes a red flag or warning signal that the country is at risk of democratic reversal. Moreover, we find considerable variation in economic performance, suggesting that the design of political institutions in new democracies may have a significant influence on the probability of their survival.
    Keywords: Democratic transition
    JEL: O10 N40
    Date: 2006–03
  12. By: David Roodman
    Abstract: The proliferation of aid projects may overburden recipient governments with reporting requirements, donor visits, and other administrative overhead, siphoning off scarce domestic recipient resources, such as tax revenue or the time of skilled government officials, from directly productive use. But greater oversight may also improve the administration of projects, increasing development. I present a model of aid projects that reflects both sides of this coin. It posits a distinction between national-level governance and project-level governance. A donor can raise project-level governance above the baseline national level by requiring oversight activities of the recipient, although the benefits from doing so are less where national-level governance is already high. The model assumes that larger projects demand proportionally less oversight activity from the recipient. Comparative statics analysis suggests that to maximize development, projects should be larger where aid volume is higher, to avoid overburdening recipient administrative capacity; where recipient resources are scarcer, for the same reason; and where national governance is good, since the marginal benefit of oversight is then lower. A multi-donor generalization shows how donors that are imperfectly altruistic, caring most about the success of their own projects, will tend to sink into competitive proliferation, in which each donor subdivides its aid budget into smaller projects to raise the marginal productivity of the recipient’s resources in those projects and attract them away from other donors. The inefficiency arises from the lack of a market among donors for recipient resources. In a Nash equilibrium, competitive proliferation reduces overall development. But the smallest (selfish) donors can gain. This would discourage them from cooperating with other donors to contain competitive proliferation.
    Keywords: Foreign aid, donor coordination, project proliferation
    JEL: F35 O20
    Date: 2006–06

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