nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2008‒02‒02
28 papers chosen by
Jeong-Joon Lee
Towson University

  1. Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development By Oded Galor; Quamrul Ashraf
  2. Towards a Unified Theory of Economic Growth: Oded Galor on the Transition from Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Economic Growth By Brian Snowdon
  3. East Asian Crisis and Currency Pressure: The Case of India By Pami Dua; Arunima Sinha
  4. Just Rewards?Local Politics and Public ResourceAllocation in South India By Timothy Besley; Rohini Pande; Vijayendra Rao
  5. Does work impede child's learning? The case of Senegal By Christelle Dumas
  6. Who Needs Strong Leaders? By Alberto Chong; Mark Gradstein
  7. Why Remit? The Case of Nicaragua By Naufal, George
  8. South-South Migration: The Impact of Nicaraguan Immigrants on Earnings, Inequality and Poverty in Costa Rica By Gindling, T. H.
  9. Earnings Differences between Chinese and Indian Wage Earners, 1987–2004 By Bargain, Olivier; Bhaumik, Sumon; Chakrabarty, Manisha; Zhao, Zhong
  10. The Linkages between FDI and Domestic Investment: Unravelling the Developmental Impact of Foreign Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa By Ndikumana, Leonce; Verick, Sher
  11. Bank financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Colombia By Rodriguez, Camila; Stephanou, Constantinos
  12. The impact of regional liberalization and harmonization in road transport services : a focus on Zambia and lessons for landlocked countries By Giersing, Bo; Kunaka, Charles; Raballand, Gael
  13. Enforceability of labor law : evidence from a labor court in Mexico By Sadka, Joyce; Kaplan, David S.
  14. Living on the edge -- risk, protection, behavior, and outcomes of Argentine youth By Justesen , Michael
  15. On the welfarist rationale for relative poverty lines By Ravallion, Martin
  16. Fiscal redistribution and income inequality in Latin America By Serven, Luis; Lopez, J. Humberto; Goni, Edwin
  17. Realizing the gains from trade : export crops, marketing costs, and poverty By Porto, Guido; Brambilla, Irene; Balat, Jorge
  18. Agro-manufactured export prices, wages and unemployment By Porto, Guido
  19. Risk sharing opportunities and macroeconomic factors in Latin American and Caribbean countries : A consumption insurance assessment By Ventura, Luigi
  20. Risk-based supervision of pension funds : a review of international experience and preliminary assessment of the first outcomes By Rocha, Roberto; Hinz, Richard; Brunner, Gregory
  21. How does bribery affect public service delivery ? micro-evidence from service users and public officials in Peru By Recanatini, Francesca; Montoriol-Garriga, Judit; Kaufmann, Daniel
  22. Where in the world are you ? Assessing the importance of circumstance and effort in a world of different mean country incomes and (almost) no migration By Milanovic, Branko
  23. Regulatory governance and sector performance : methodology and evaluation for Electricity distribution in Latin America By Azumendi, Sebastian Lopez; Guasch, Jose Luis; Andres, Luis
  24. Mental health patterns and consequences : results from survey data in five developing countries By Friedman, Jed; Do, Quy-Toan; Das, Jishnu
  25. Determinants of economic growth - will data tell? By Antonio Ciccone; Marek Jarocinski
  26. Promoting Peace and Democracy through Party Regulation? Ethnic Party Bans in Africa By Anika Becher; Matthias Basedau
  27. Assessing the Effect of Current Account and Currency Crises on Economic Growth By Aßmann, Christian
  28. Exports and productivity comparable evidence for 14 countries By International Study Group on Exports and Productivity

  1. By: Oded Galor; Quamrul Ashraf
    Abstract: This research contributes to the understanding of human genetic diversity within a society as a significant determinant of its economic development. The hypothesis advanced and empirically examined in this paper suggests that there are socioeconomic trade-offs associated with genetic diversity within a given society. The investigation exploits an exogenous source of cross-country variation in genetic diversity by appealing to the “out of Africa” hypothesis of human origins to empirically establish a non-monotonic effect of genetic diversity on development outcomes in the pre-colonial era. Contrary to theories that reject a possible role for human genetics in influencing economic development, this study demonstrates the economic significance of diversity in genetic traits, while abstaining entirely from conceptual frameworks that posit a hierarchy of such traits in terms of their conduciveness to the process of economic development.
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Brian Snowdon
    Abstract: An interview with Oded Galor on the development of unified growth theory.
    Keywords: Unified Growth Theory; Population; Technology; Demographic Transition; Sustained Growth
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Pami Dua (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India and Economic Cycle Research Institute, New York); Arunima Sinha (Department of Economics, Columbia University, New York, NY)
    Abstract: This paper tests and explains the impact of the East Asian crisis on India’s exchange rate. To examine this, an index of currency pressure is estimated for four countries -- Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and India covering the period just before, during and after the crisis. A contagion model with panel data for these four countries is also estimated during the crisis period. On the basis of the panel data estimates, the paper concludes that while India experienced some effects of the crisis, these were not substantive. This is partly attributed to the role of stabilisation policy in India that included intervention in the foreign exchange market by the central bank, phased tightening of monetary policy and restrictions on capital flows.
    Date: 2007–08
  4. By: Timothy Besley; Rohini Pande; Vijayendra Rao
    Abstract: This paper uses data on elected village councils in South India to examine thepolitical economy of public resource allocation. We find that the pattern ofpolicy-making reflects politicians' self-interest. Elected councillors benefit fromimproved personal access to public resources. In addition, the headcouncillor's group identity and residence influences public resource allocation.While electoral incentives do not eliminate politician opportunism, votersappear able to use their electoral clout to gain greater access to publicresources.
    Keywords: decentralization, India, Panchayat.
    JEL: H76 H11 O12
    Date: 2007–10
  5. By: Christelle Dumas (University Cergy-Pontoise-Thema. 33, bd du Port. 95011 Cergy-Pontoise. France.)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of labor performed during childhood on cognitive achievement of teenagers, measured by tests. Introduction of community fixed effects and use of multiple tests taken at the entry of primary school allows to control for unobserved heterogeneity and mea- surement error in the entry tests. We find no detrimental impact of par- ticipation of children to economic activities on their subsequent learning once controlling for the number of years of education but rather a pos- itive, though small, impact. This could come from increased monetary resources. Working more than 4 hours a week or as an employee though prevents the child to learn as much as the other children.
    Keywords: Child labor, Human capital, multiple-indicator, fixed effects.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Alberto Chong (Inter-American Development Bank); Mark Gradstein (Ben Gurion University)
    Abstract: This paper’s model suggests that a strong leader, sometimes with little legislative oversight, may nevertheless benefit from public support. The argument is that this support is induced as an attempt by the poor to counter the subversion of public protection of property rights by the rich, and to achieve this goal they are often willing to pay the price of the leader’s diversion of tax revenues for private use. The paper then examines survey data on individual attitudes toward strong leadership and finds their pattern to be consistent with the model’s predictions; specifically, support for strong leadership is inversely related to individual income and to countrywide income inequality.
    Date: 2008–01
  7. By: Naufal, George (American University of Sharjah)
    Abstract: In the last two decades remittances have gained interest due to their large size. For several developing countries remittances constitute a large portion of their GDP and sometimes exceed FDI. While FDIs are usually profit driven, it is not clear what the driving force behind remittances is. This paper presents a simple theoretical model of migrants' remitting behavior. I consider two general motivations for remitting: altruism and self-interest. Using a heteroskedastic Tobit with a known form of variance I test the findings of the theoretical model with data from Nicaragua. Evidence suggests that migrants from Nicaragua remit for altruistic reasons. Moreover some gender heterogeneity seems to exist in the remitting behavior.
    Keywords: altruism, censored regression, remittances, Central America, Nicaragua
    JEL: J61 O15 D64
    Date: 2008–01
  8. By: Gindling, T. H. (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
    Abstract: More than half of those who emigrate from developing countries move to other developing countries, yet there have been few studies of the impact of this South-South migration. In this paper, we examine the impact of migration from one developing country, Nicaragua, on the labor market in another developing country, Costa Rica. We find little evidence to support the hypothesis that Nicaraguan migration to Costa Rica was an important factor contributing to falling earnings, increased inequality or stagnating poverty in Costa Rica.
    Keywords: inequality, earnings, migration, Latin America, Costa Rica, poverty
    JEL: J61 O15
    Date: 2008–01
  9. By: Bargain, Olivier (University College Dublin); Bhaumik, Sumon (Brunel University); Chakrabarty, Manisha (Indian Institute of Management); Zhao, Zhong (IZA)
    Abstract: This paper is one of the first comprehensive attempts to compare earnings in urban China and India over the recent period. While both economies have grown considerably, we illustrate significant cross-country differences in wage growth since the late 1980s. For this purpose, we make use of comparable datasets, estimate Mincer equations and perform Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions at the mean and quantile decompositions at different points of the wage distribution. The initial wage differential in favour of Indian workers, observed in the middle and upper part of the distribution, partly disappears over time. While the 1980s Indian premium is mainly due to higher returns to education and experience, a combination of price and endowment effects explains why Chinese wages have caught up, especially since the mid-1990s. The price effect is only partly explained by the observed convergence in returns to education; the endowment effect is driven by faster increase in education levels in China and significantly accentuates the reversal of the wage gap in favour of this country for the first half of the wage distribution.
    Keywords: returns to education, earnings, India, China, quantile regression, Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition
    JEL: O15 J24 O53 P52
    Date: 2008–01
  10. By: Ndikumana, Leonce (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Verick, Sher (UNECA)
    Abstract: While the recent increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) to African countries is a welcome development, the question remains as to the impact of these resource inflows on economic development. This study posits that a key channel of the impact of FDI on development is through its effects on domestic factor markets, especially domestic investment and employment. In this context, this study analyses the two-way linkages between FDI and domestic investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. The results suggest that firstly, FDI crowds in domestic investment, and secondly, countries will gain much from measures aimed at improving the domestic investment climate. Moreover, there are alternatives to resource endowments as a means of attracting foreign investment to non-resource rich countries.
    Keywords: FDI, private investment, public investment, Africa
    JEL: E22 F21 F23 O16
    Date: 2008–01
  11. By: Rodriguez, Camila; Stephanou, Constantinos
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to shed light on current trends and policy challenges in the financing of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by banks in Colombia. The paper is motivated by the well-documented financing gap for SMEs, whose causes are complex and multi-dimensional. Based on data collection and interviews with the authorities, a representative sample of banks, and other relevant entities, the authors analyze the evolution and characterist ics of this market in recent years. Bank financing to SMEs is becoming a strategic segment for Colombian credit institutions. The current business and risk management models for SME lending are still relatively underdeveloped, but greater sophistication is expected as the market matures. Important institutional and policy constraints to SME lending remain, but are not yet binding. In order to address these constraints before they " begin to bite " , the authors identify and describe a potential policy reform agenda.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,Banks & Banking Reform,,Debt Markets,Bankruptcy and Resolution of Financial Distress
    Date: 2008–01–01
  12. By: Giersing, Bo; Kunaka, Charles; Raballand, Gael
    Abstract: Based on a detailed empirical study, this paper argues that regional liberalization of trucking services has had an important effect on transport costs and tariffs for Zambia ' s economy. Zambia is a peculiar example in Southern Africa as it benefits from relatively low transport costs compared with other landlocked countries in Africa. This is mainly because of competition between Zambian and other regional, mainly South African, operators and because of South African investments in Zambia ' s trucking industry. As a result, the costs of operators registered in Zambia and South Africa are similar. The study also demonstrates that enhancing trucking interoperability in Southern Africa would significantly impact positively the Zambian trucking industry ' s competitiveness. The main measures to significantly increase trucking competitiveness in the region would more likely derive from reducing fuel costs in Zambia, improving border-post operations, and relaxing South African truck import rules.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy & Planning,Rural Roads & Transport,Roads & Highways,Common Carriers Industry,Transport and Trade Logistics
    Date: 2008–01–01
  13. By: Sadka, Joyce; Kaplan, David S.
    Abstract: The authors analyze lawsuits involving publicly-appointed lawyers in a labor court in Mexico to study how a rigid law is enforced. They show that, even after a judge has awarded something to a worker alleging unjust dismissal, the award goes uncollected 56 percent of the time. Workers who are dismissed after working more than seven years, however, do not leave these awards uncollected because their legally-mandated severance payments are larger. A simple theoretical model is used to generate predictions on how lawsuit outcomes should depend on the information available to the worker and on the worker ' s cost of collecting an award after trial, both of which are determined in part by the worker ' s lawyer. Differences in outcomes across lawyers are consistent with the hypothesis that firms take advantage both of workers who are poorly informed and of workers who find it more costly to collect an award after winning at trial.
    Keywords: Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures,Information Security & Privacy,Legal Products,Microfinance,Bankruptcy and Resolution of Financial Distress
    Date: 2008–01–01
  14. By: Justesen , Michael
    Abstract: Risk and protective factors influence behaviors and outcomes for youth. While risk factors expose youth to risk-taking behavior that compromises well-being and hinders personal development, protective factors mediate risk and act as protective mechanisms that insulate youth from negative outcomes. This paper groups youth by risk levels using a cluster analysis methodology, and identifies the risk and protective factors that characterize these groups. Using data from a new household survey co vering youth in four urban areas of Argentina in 2005, youth are clustered by characteristics in relation to family and health, education and income, substance abuse, and crime and violence as indicators of risk and protective factors, and behaviors and consequences. Almost half of Argentine youth are at an elevated risk level, and one in four is at serious risk of experiencing negative outcomes or already suffering the consequences. The findings show, for example, that higher income protects against risk factors, such as an insecure neighborhood, and facilitates youth attending school. Furthermore, parents ' lack of education is negatively related to the behaviors and outcomes of their children.
    Keywords: Adolescent Health,Youth and Governance,Gender and Health,Population Policies,Housing & Human Habitats
    Date: 2008–01–01
  15. By: Ravallion, Martin
    Abstract: The theory and evidence supporting a relativist approach to poverty measurement are critically reviewed. Various sources of welfare interdependence are identified, including the idea of " relative deprivation " as well other (positive and negative) welfare effects for poor people of belonging to a better-off group. An economic model combines informal risk sharing with the idea of a " positio nal good, " and conditions are derived in which the relative deprivation effect dominates, implying a relative poverty measure. The paper then reviews the problems encountered in testing for welfare effects of relative deprivation and discusses the implications of micro evidence from Malawi. The results are consistent with the emphasis given to absolute level of living in development policy discussions. However, relative deprivation is still evident in the data from this poor but unequal country, and it is likely to become a more important factor as the country develops.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Economic Theory & Research,Inequality,Population Policies
    Date: 2008–01–01
  16. By: Serven, Luis; Lopez, J. Humberto; Goni, Edwin
    Abstract: Income inequality in Latin America ranks among the highest in the world. It can be traced back to the unequal distribution of assets (especially land and education) in the region. But the extent to which asset inequality translates into income inequality depends on the redistributive capacity of the state. This paper documents the performance of Latin American fiscal systems from the perspective of income redistribution using newly-available information on the incidence of taxes and transfers across the region. The findings indicate that: (i) the differences in income inequality before taxes and transfers between Latin America and Western Europe are much more modest than those after taxes and transfers; (ii) the key reason is that, in con trast with industrial countries, in most Latin American countries the fiscal system is of little help in reducing income inequality; and (iii) in countries where fiscal redistribution is significant, it is achieved mostly through transfers rather than taxes. These facts stress the need for fiscal reforms across the region to further the goal of social equity. However, different countries need to place different relative emphasis on raising tax collection, restructuring the tax system, and improving the targeting of expenditures.
    Keywords: Taxation & Subsidies,Emerging Markets,Debt Markets,Economic Theory & Research,Poverty Impact Evaluation
    Date: 2008–01–01
  17. By: Porto, Guido; Brambilla, Irene; Balat, Jorge
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of export costs in the process of poverty reduction in rural Africa. The authors claim that the marketing costs that emerge when the commercialization of export crops requires intermediaries can lead to lower participation into export cropping and, thus, to higher poverty . They test the model using data from the Uganda National Household Survey. The findings show that: i) farmers living in villages with fewer outlets for sales of agricultural exports are likely to be poorer than farmers residing in marketendowed villages; ii) market availability leads to increased household participation in export cropping (coffee, tea, cotton, fruits); and iii) households engaged in export cropping are less likely to be poor than subsistence-based households. The authors conclude that the availability of markets for agricultural export crops helps realize the gains from trade. This result uncovers the role of complementary factors that provide market access and reduce marketing costs as key building blocks in the link between the gains from export opportunities and the poor.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy & Planning,Markets and Market Access,Rural Poverty Reduction,Crops & Crop Management Systems
    Date: 2008–01–01
  18. By: Porto, Guido
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impacts of world agricultural trade liberalization on wages, employment and unemployment in Argentina, a country with positive net agricultural exports and high unemployment rates. In the estimation of these wage and unemployment responses, the empirical model allows for individual labor supply responses and for adjustment costs in labor demand. The findings show that a 10 percent increase in the price of agricultural exports would cause an increase in the Argentine employment probability of 1.36 percentage points, matched by a decline in the unemployment probability of 0.75 percentage points and an increase in labor market participation of 0.61 percentage points. Further, the unemployment rate would decl ine by 1.23 percentage points (by almost 10 percent). Expected wages would increase by 10.3 percent, an effect that is mostly driven by higher employment probabilities. This indicates that the bulk of the impacts of trade reforms originates in household responses in the presence of adjustment costs, and that failure to account for them may lead to significant biases in the welfare evaluation of trade policy.
    Keywords: Labor Markets,Labor Policies,Economic Theory & Research,,Markets and Market Access
    Date: 2008–01–01
  19. By: Ventura, Luigi
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the degree of consumption insurance enjoyed by Latin American and Caribbean countries, with respect to various reference areas, by estimating a parameter expressing the sensitivity of a country ' s consumption growth to a measure of idiosyncratic shocks to income. The paper surveys common econometric implementations of " consumption insurance tests. " The author proposes some econometric procedures in order to detect the actual presence of international risk sharing, as well as to assess the relative impact of idiosyncratic versus aggregate shocks. The evidence suggests that Latin American and Caribbean economies have been hit by non-diversifiable income shocks, that idiosyncratic risk is relatively more important than aggregate risk, and that some countries in the region appear to enjoy a certain amount of international risk diversification. The paper also identifies some macroeconomic factors that may be responsible for a higher or lower degree of risk pooling (such as international openness, financial depth, and credit availability). The findings show that the financial development of an economy is a crucial factor in determining the amount of risk sharing opportunities, as well as public expenditure. The preliminary results also suggest that trade openness and shocks to terms of trade play an important role in determining the degree of insurability of such risks.
    Keywords: Currencies and Exchange Rates,Financial Intermediation,Consumption,Economic Theory & Research,Inequality
    Date: 2008–01–01
  20. By: Rocha, Roberto; Hinz, Richard; Brunner, Gregory
    Abstract: This paper provides a review of the design and experience of risk-based pension fund supervision in several countries that have been leaders in the development of these methods. The utilization of risk-based methods originates primarily in the supervision of banks. In recent years it has increasingly been extended to other types of financial intermediaries including pension funds and insurers. The trend toward risk-based supervision of pensions is closely associated with movement toward the integration of pension supervision with that of banking and other financial services into a single national authority. Although similar in concept to the techniques developed in banking, the application to pension funds has required modifications, particularly for defined contribution funds that transfer investment risk to fund members. The countries examined provide a range of experiences that illustrate both the diversity of pension systems and approaches to risk-based supervision, but also a commonality of the focus on sound risk management and effective supervisory outcomes. The paper provides a description of pension supervision in Australia, Denmark, Mexico and the Netherlands, and an initial evaluation of the results achieved in relation to the underlying objectives.
    Keywords: Debt Markets,,Insurance & Risk Mitigation,Emerging Markets,Banks & Banking Reform
    Date: 2008–01–01
  21. By: Recanatini, Francesca; Montoriol-Garriga, Judit; Kaufmann, Daniel
    Abstract: When seeking a public service, users may be required to pay in bribes more than the official price. Consequently, some users may be discouraged and choose not to seek a service due to the higher price imposed by the bribery " tax. " This paper explores the price and quantity components of the relationship betwee n governance and service delivery using micro-level survey data. The authors construct new measures of governance using data from users of public services from 13 government agencies in Peru. For some basic services, low-income users pay a larger share of their income than wealthier ones do; that is, the bribery tax is regressive. Where there are substitute private providers, low-income users appear to be discouraged more often and not to seek basic services. Thus, bribery may penalize poorer users twice - acting as a regressive tax and discouraging access to basic services. The paper explores the characteristics of households seeking public services. Higher education and age are associated with higher probability of being discouraged. Trust in state institutions decreases the probability of being discouraged, while knowledge of mechanisms to report corruption and extent of social network increase it, suggesting that households may rely on substitutes through networks. The study complements the household analysis with supply-side analysis based on data from public officials, and constructs agency-level measures for access to public services and institutional factors. Econometric results suggest that corruption reduces the supply of services, while voice mechanisms and clarity of the public agency ' s mission increase it.
    Keywords: Governance Indicators,Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures,National Governance,Public Sector Management and Reform,Public Sector Economics & Finance
    Date: 2008–01–01
  22. By: Milanovic, Branko
    Abstract: Suppose that all people in the world are allocated only two characteristics: country where they live and income class within that country. Assume further that there is no migration. This paper shows that 90 percent of variability in people ' s global income position (percentile in world income distribution) is explained by only these two pieces of information. Mean country income (circumstance) explains 60 percent, and income class (both circumstance and effort) 30 percent of global income position. The author finds that about two-thirds of the latter number is due to circumstance (approximated by the estimated parental income class under various social mobility assumptions), which makes the overall share of circumstance unlikely to be less than 75-80 percent. On average, " drawing " one-notch higher income class (on a twenty-class scale) is equivalent to living in a 12 percent richer country. Once people are allocated their income class, it becomes important, not only whether the country they are allocated to is rich or poor, but whether it is egalitarian or not. This is particularly important for the people who " draw " low or high classes; for the middle classes, the country ' s income distribution is much less important than mean country income.
    Keywords: Inequality,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Economic Theory & Research,Income,Poverty Diagnostics
    Date: 2008–01–01
  23. By: Azumendi, Sebastian Lopez; Guasch, Jose Luis; Andres, Luis
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature that explores the link between regulatory governance and sector performance. The paper develops an index of regulatory governance and estimates its impact on sector performance, showing that indeed regulation and its governance matter. The authors use two unique databases: (i) the World Bank Performance Database, which contains detailed annual data for 250 private and public electricity companies in Latin America and the Caribbean; and (ii) the Electricity Regulatory Governance Database, which contains data on several aspects of the governance of electricity agencies in the region. The authors run different models to explain the impacts of change in ownership and different characteristics of the regulatory agency on the performance of the utilities. The results suggest that the mere existence of a regulatory agency, regardless of the utilities ' ownership, has a significant impact on performance. Furthermore, after controlling for the existence of a regulatory agency, the ownership dummies are still significant and with the expected signs. The authors propose an experience measure in order to identify the gradual impact of the regulatory agency on utility performance. The results confirm this hypothesis. In addition, the paper explores two different measures of governance, an aggregate measure of regulatory governance, and an index based on principal components, including autonomy, transparency, and accountability. The findings show that the governance of regulatory agencies matters an d has significant effects on performance.
    Keywords: National Governance,Infrastructure Regulation,Governance Indicators,Banks & Banking Reform,Emerging Markets
    Date: 2008–01–01
  24. By: Friedman, Jed; Do, Quy-Toan; Das, Jishnu
    Abstract: The social and economic consequences of poor mental health in the developing world are presumed to be significant, yet are largely under-researched. The authors argue that mental health modules can be meaningfully added to multi-purpose household surveys in developing countries, and used to investigate this relationship. Data from nationally representative surveys in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, and Mexico, along with special surveys from India and Tonga, show similar patterns of association between mental health and socioeconomic characteristics across countries. Individuals who are older, female, widowed, and report poor physical health are more likely to report worse mental health outcomes. Individuals living with others with poor mental health are also significantly more likely to report worse mental health themselves. In contrast, there is little observed relationship between mental health and poverty or education, common measures of socio-economic status. The results instead suggest that economic and multi-dimensional shocks such as illness or crisis can have a greater impact on mental health than overall levels of poverty. This may have important implications for social protection policy. The authors also find significant associations between poor mental health and lowered labor force participation (especially for women) and higher frequency visits to health centers, suggesting that poor mental health can have significant economic consequences for households and the health system. Finally, the paper discusses how measures of mental health are distinct from general subjective welfare measures such as happiness and indicate useful directions of future research.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation,Disease Control & Prevention,Gender and Health,Health Systems Development & Reform,Mental Health
    Date: 2008–01–01
  25. By: Antonio Ciccone (ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Plaça de la Mercè, 10-12. 08002 Barcelona, Spain.); Marek Jarocinski (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.)
    Abstract: Many factors inhibiting and facilitating economic growth have been suggested. Will international income data tell which matter when all are treated symmetrically a priori? We find that growth determinants emerging from agnostic Bayesian model averaging and classical model selection procedures are sensitive to income differences across datasets. For example, many of the 1975-1996 growth determinants according to World Bank income data turn out to be irrelevant when using Penn World Table data instead (the WB adjusts for purchasing power using a slightly different methodology). And each revision of the 1960-1996 PWT income data brings substantial changes regarding growth determinants. We show that research based on stronger priors about potential growth determinants is more robust to imperfect international income data. JEL Classification: E01, O47.
    Keywords: Growth regressions, robust growth determinants.
    Date: 2008–01
  26. By: Anika Becher (GIGA Institute of African Affairs); Matthias Basedau (GIGA Institute of African Affairs)
    Abstract: Since the sweeping (re)introduction of multiparty systems in the early 1990s almost all sub-Saharan countries have introduced bans on ethnic or – in more general terms – particularistic parties. Such party bans have been neglected in research, and this paper engages in a preliminary analysis of their effects on democracy and peace. Theoretically, particularistic party bans can block particularisms from entering politics but also run the risk of forcing groups to resort to extra-legal or violent means. Neutral or context-dependent effects are also possible. Applying macro-qualitative comparison and bivariate statistics on the basis of a unique inventory of party bans and readily available indicators for the dependent variables, no simple connection can be detected. Rather, context conditions seem to be of superior explanatory power. We also find a systematic connection between party bans and variables that could be conceptualized as the causes of their implementation.
    Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, party bans, ethnicity, conflict, democracy
    Date: 2008–01
  27. By: Aßmann, Christian
    Abstract: Several empirical studies are concerned with measuring the effect of currency and current account crises on economic growth. Using different empirical models this paper serves two aspects. It provides an explicit assessment of country specific factors influencing the costs of crises in terms of economic growth and controls via a treatment type model for possible sample selection governing the occurrence of crises in order to estimate the impact on economic growth correctly. The applied empirical models allow for rich intertemporal dependencies via serially correlated errors and capture latent country specific heterogeneity via random coe±cients. For accurate estimation of the treatment type model a simulated maximum likelihood approach employing efficient importance sampling is used. The results reveal significant costs in terms of economic growth for both crises. Costs for reversals are linked to country specific variables, while costs for currency crises are not. Furthermore, shocks explaining current account reversals and growth show strong significant positive correlation.
    Keywords: Currency crises, Current account reversals, Treatment Model, Discrete dependent variable, Efficient Importance Sampling, Panel Data
    JEL: C15 C23 C33 F32 O10
    Date: 2008
  28. By: International Study Group on Exports and Productivity
    Abstract: We use comparable micro level panel data for 14 countries and a set of identically specified empirical models to investigate the relationship between exports and productivity. Our overall results are in line with the big picture that is by now familiar from the literature: Exporters are more productive than non-exporters when observed and unobserved heterogeneity are controlled for, and these exporter productivity premia tend to increase with the share of exports in total sales; there is strong evidence in favour of self-selection of more productive firms into export markets, but nearly no evidence in favour of the learning-by-exporting hypothesis. We document that the exporter premia differ considerably across countries in identically specified empirical models. In a meta-analysis of our results we find that countries that are more open and have more effective government report higher productivity premia. However, the level of development per se does not appear to be an explanation for the observed cross-country differences.
    Keywords: Exports, productivity, micro data, international comparison
    JEL: D21 F14
    Date: 2007

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