nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2011‒10‒01
sixteen papers chosen by
Mark Lee
Towson University

  1. Measuring corruption: perception surveys or victimization surveys? By Thomas Roca
  2. Learning, Misallocation, and Technology Adoption: Evidence from New Malaria Therapy in Tanzania By Achyuta Adhvaryu
  3. Do rent-seeking and interregional transfers contribute to urban primacy in sub-Saharan Africa? By Kristian Behrens; Alain Pholo Bala
  4. What Drives Corruption? Evidence from North African Firms By Clara Delavallade
  5. Fertility Responses to Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV By Nicholas Wilson
  6. Industry Switching in Developing Countries By Carol Newman; John Rand; Finn Tarp
  7. Human Capital and Growth: Specification Matters By Sunde, Uwe; Vischer, Thomas
  8. Does Expanding Health Insurance Beyond Formal-Sector Workers Encourage Informality? Measuring the Impact of Mexico's Seguro Popular By Aterido, Reyes; Hallward-Driemeier, Mary; Pagés, Carmen
  9. Got Water? Social Divisions and Access to Public Goods in Rural India By Balasubramaniam, Divya; Chatterjee, Santanu; Mustard, David B.
  10. Extending Health Insurance: Effects of the National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana By Agar Brugiavini; Noemi Pace
  11. Equality of opportunities, redistribution and fiscal policies : the case of Liberia By Abras, Ana; Cuesta, Jose
  12. Social safety nets in fragile states : a community-based school feeding program in Togo By Andrews, Colin; Galliano, Elena; Turk, Carolyn; Zampaglione, Giuseppe
  13. Eye Disease and Development By Thomas Barnebeck Andersen; Carl-Johan Dalgaard; Pablo Selaya
  14. Low-income housing finance in Colombia By Arbelaez, Maria Angelica; Camacho, Carolina; Fajardo, Johanna
  15. Intrahousehold and interhousehold child nutrition inequality in Malawi By Mussa, Richard
  16. Ethnic minority children’s access to public services in Vietnam By Nguyen Viet, Cuong

  1. By: Thomas Roca (Larefi - Laboratoire d'analyse et de recherche en économie et finance internationales - Université Montesquieu - Bordeaux IV : EA2954)
    Abstract: While methodologies and survey techniques recorded progress over the years, corruption measurement remains a many-headed monster. Since 2003 and the first publication of Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer, researchers have access to population's feeling about the corruption scourge across institutions. Thereby, wider room emerged for populations' perceptions in the field of corruption quantification. In this paper, we analyze the gulf separating perceived corruption from experienced bribe situations using global household surveys in a Panel dataset. We show that the gap between these two types of data can be wide and unevenly distributed across countries. Introducing further objective and subjective data we try to puzzle out perception mechanisms.
    Keywords: Corruption, Global Corruption Barometer, Governance, CPI, Transparency International, Corruption measurement, Perception indicators, Press freedom, Econometrics, Panel Data, Household surveys.
    Date: 2011–09–18
  2. By: Achyuta Adhvaryu (School of Public Health, Yale University)
    Abstract: I show that malaria misdiagnosis, common in resource-poor settings, decreases the expected effectiveness of an important new therapy–since only a fraction of treated individuals have malaria–and reduces the rate of learning via increased noise. Using pilot program data from Tanzania, I exploit variation in the location and timing of survey enumeration to construct reference groups composed of randomly chosen, geographically and temporally proximate acutely ill individuals. I show that learning is stronger and adoption rates are higher in villages with more misdiagnosis. Subsidizing diagnostic tools or improving initial targeting of new technologies may thus accelerate uptake through learning.
    Keywords: technology adoption, learning, malaria, Tanzania
    JEL: O12 O33
    Date: 2011–09
  3. By: Kristian Behrens; Alain Pholo Bala
    Abstract: We develop an economic geography model where mobile skilled workers choose to either work in a production sector or to become part of an unproductive elite. The elite sets income tax rates to maximize its own welfare by extracting rents, thereby influencing the spatial structure of the economy and changing the available range of consumption goods. We show that either unskilled labor mobility, or rent-seeking behavior, or both, are likely to favor the occurence of agglomeration and of urban primacy. In equilibrium, the elite may tax the unskilled workers but does not tax the skilled workers, and there are rural-urban transfers towards the agglomeration. The size of the elite and the magnitude of the tax burden that falls on the unskilled decrease with product differentiation and with the expenditure share for manufacturing goods. All these results are broadly in line with observed patterns of urban primacy and economic development in sub-Saharan African countries.
    Keywords: economic geography; rent-seeking; interregional transfers; urban primacy; Sub-Saharan Africa.
    JEL: D72 F12 R12
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Clara Delavallade
    Abstract: This paper empirically analyzes the main microeconomic determinants of two forms of corruption supply, administrative corruption and state capture, by Maghrebi firms. This study is based on a new database of nearly 600 Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian firms. I show that tax evasion is a major factor in the engagement of firms in administrative corruption. The latter increases with the share of sales hidden by the firm as long as it is below half of total sales, and slightly decreases thereafter. State capture is fostered by a failing enforcement of property and contract rights. Interestingly, less competitive firms appear to engage more in both forms of corruption than the most dynamic ones. After assessing the robustness of my empirical results, I draw a comparison of the factors of corruption in North Africa, Uganda and transition countries.
    Keywords: Supply of Corruption, Administrative Corruption, State Capture, Tax Evasion, Competitiveness, North Africa
    JEL: C2 D73 O17 H32
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Nicholas Wilson (Williams College)
    Abstract: Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) interventions reduce the cumulative probability of transmission from a HIV positive woman to her child by as much as 40 percentage points. This paper is the first economic analysis of the behavioral effects of PMTCT. I examine fertility responses to the scale-up of PMTCT in Zambia, a country where approximately 15 percent of adults age 15-49 are HIV positive. My results suggest that the local introduction of PMTCT reduced pregnancy rates by up to 20 percent, that the fertility response was greater among women who were more likely to be HIV positive, and that PMTCT substantially increased breastfeeding rates.
    Keywords: Fertility; HIV/AIDS; PMTCT; reproductive technology; Zambia
    JEL: I10 J13
    Date: 2011–05
  6. By: Carol Newman; John Rand; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: Firm turnover (i.e. firm entry and exit) is a well-recognized source of sectorlevel productivity growth across developing and developed countries. In contrast, the role and importance of firms switching activities from one sector to another is little understood. Firm switchers are likely to be unique both from newly established entrants and exiting firms that close down. We build an empirical model that examines switching behaviour based on data from Vietnamese manufacturing firms during the period 2001.08. Our diagnostic shows that switching firms have different characteristics and behaviour as compared to entry and exit firms. They tend, inter alia, to be labour-intensive and seek out competitive opportunities in labour-intensive sectors in response to changes in the market environment. We also show that resource reallocations resulting from switching form an important component of productivity growth.
    Keywords: firm dynamics, sector switching, efficiency, Vietnam
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Sunde, Uwe (University of St. Gallen); Vischer, Thomas (University of St. Gallen)
    Abstract: This paper suggests that the weak empirical effect of human capital on growth in existing cross-country studies is partly the result of an inappropriate specification that does not account for the different channels through which human capital affects growth. A systematic replication of earlier results from the literature shows that both, initial levels and changes in human capital, have positive growth effects, while in isolation, each channel often appears insignificant. Moreover, the effects are heterogeneous across countries with different levels of development. The results suggest that the effect of human capital is likely to be underestimated in empirical specifications that do not account for both channels. This study therefore complements alternative explanations for the weak growth effects of human capital based on outlier observations and measurement issues.
    Keywords: human capital, growth regressions, specification
    JEL: O47 O11 O15 E24
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Aterido, Reyes (World Bank); Hallward-Driemeier, Mary (World Bank); Pagés, Carmen (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: Seguro Popular (SP) was introduced in 2002 to provide health insurance to the 50 million Mexicans without Social Security. This paper tests whether the program has had unintended consequences, distorting workers' incentives to operate in the informal sector. The analysis examines the impact of SP on disaggregated labor market decisions, taking into account that program coverage depends not only on the individual's employment status, but also on that of other household members. The identification strategy relies on the variation in SP's rollout across municipalities and time, with the difference-in-difference estimation controlling for household fixed effects. The paper finds that SP lowers formality by 0.4-0.7 percentage points, with adjustments largely occurring within a few years of the program's introduction. Rather than encouraging exit from the formal sector, SP is associated with a 3.1 percentage point reduction (a 20 percent decline) in the inflow of workers into formality. Income effects are also apparent, with significantly decreased flows out of unemployment and lower labor force participation. The impact is larger for those with less education, in larger households, and with somebody else in the household guaranteeing Social Security coverage. However, workers pay for part of these benefits with lower wages in the informal sector.
    Keywords: informality, Seguro Popular, Mexico, non-contributory social programs, social assistance
    JEL: J08 J62 I38
    Date: 2011–09
  9. By: Balasubramaniam, Divya (St. Joseph’s University); Chatterjee, Santanu (University of Georgia); Mustard, David B. (University of Georgia)
    Abstract: We use data for 436 rural districts from the 2001 Census of India to examine whether different aspects of social divisions help explain the wide variation in access to tap water across rural India. Studies linking social fragmentation to public goods usually aggregate different types of fragmentation into one index. In contrast, we use disaggregated measures of social fragmentation to show that different types of social fragmentation are associated with dramatically different outcomes for access to tap water in rural India. Communities that are heterogeneous in terms of caste (within the majority Hindu religion) have lower access to tap water than correspondingly homogeneous communities. Communities that are fragmented across religions have higher access to tap water than correspondingly homogeneous communities. This underscores the importance of heterogeneity both within and across religions. Therefore, relying on aggregate measures of social fragmentation may conceal different effects of the component measures and obscure important information regarding the design of policies related to public goods.
    Keywords: public goods, social fragmentation, water, public policy, India
    JEL: H4 O2
    Date: 2011–09
  10. By: Agar Brugiavini; Noemi Pace
    Abstract: There is considerable interest in exploring the potential of health insurance to increase the access to, and the affordability of, health care in Africa. We focus on the recent experience of Ghana, where a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) became law in 2003 and fully implemented from late 2005. Even though there is some evidence of large coverage levels, the effect of the NHIS on health care demand and out-of-pocket expenditures has still not been fully examined. This paper is an attempt to close this gap. Using nationally-representative household data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, we find that the introduction of the NHIS has a positive and significant effect on the utilisation of health care services, although it does have only a weak effect on out-of-pocket expenditure.
    Keywords: Health insurance; out-of-pocket expenses; maternity care demand
    Date: 2011–05–13
  11. By: Abras, Ana; Cuesta, Jose
    Abstract: This paper brings back the fiscal angle to the analysis of equal opportunities both by connecting traditional benefit-incidence analysis of public spending with equal opportunities and by conducting ex-ante micro-simulations on the fiscal cost of equal opportunity policies in education. Four simulations are conducted in Liberia, a country devastated by a civil war, with serious educational enrollment gaps and fiscal policies highly dependent on international aid. Results for the simulated policy scenarios (increases in teachers'salaries, elimination of both fee and non-fee costs borne by households, and targeting public spending on education to rural schools) point to very modest redistributive effects but very different patterns of winners and losers among groups of children in Liberia.
    Date: 2011–09–01
  12. By: Andrews, Colin; Galliano, Elena; Turk, Carolyn; Zampaglione, Giuseppe
    Abstract: This paper reviews a small community-based school feeding program launched in Togo in response to the 2007/08 food price crisis. The discussion focuses on the operational and policy lessons emerging from the program, to better understand opportunities for scale up and sustainability in the future. A focus of the discussion is how to build safety nets in fragile states and in situations where there is weak and fragmented government capacity to deliver services to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. In this context school feeding is explored as an entry point through the use of informal mechanisms based on the commitment of communities and civil society. The analysis is premised on quantitative and qualitative analysis carried out at program sites. The discussion identifies the operational challenges and opportunities in customizing school feeding within Togo with an emphasis on targeting, cost effectiveness, procurement and institutional aspects. Evidence on the economic and social benefits of the program is also presented, focusing on dietary impacts, as well as household and local community effects. The objective of the discussion is to share lessons learned from evaluation findings so that they can be useful for implementing similar programs in the future in Togo itself or in other countries. Findings from the analysis highlight the possibilities of implementing school feeding in a low capacity setting and the scope for using the program as a springboard towards a broader and more comprehensive social safety net.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Education For All,Safety Nets and Transfers,Disability,Rural Poverty Reduction
    Date: 2011–08–01
  13. By: Thomas Barnebeck Andersen (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark); Carl-Johan Dalgaard (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Pablo Selaya (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This research advances the hypothesis that cross-country variation in the historical incidence of eye disease has influenced the current global distribution of per capita income. The theory is that pervasive eye disease diminished the incentive to accumulate skills, thereby delaying the fertility transition and the take-off to sustained economic growth. In order to estimate the influence from eye disease incidence empirically, we draw on an important fact from the field of epidemiology: Exposure to solar ultraviolet B radiation (UVB-R) is an underlying determinant of several forms of eye disease; the most important being cataract, which is currently the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Using a satellite-based measure of UVB-R, we document that societies more exposed to UVB-R are poorer and underwent the fertility transition with a significant delay compared to the forerunners. These findings are robust to the inclusion of an extensive set of climate and geography controls. Moreover, using a global data set on economic activity for all terrestrial grid cells we show that the link between UVB-R and economic development survives the inclusion of country fixed effect.
    Keywords: Comparative development, eye disease, climate
    JEL: O11 I00 Q54
    Date: 2011–08–01
  14. By: Arbelaez, Maria Angelica; Camacho, Carolina; Fajardo, Johanna
    Abstract: This paper explores the role played by policy instruments in access to housing finance by low-income households. It also analyzes the impact of housing credit and subsidies on both the quality of life and the quality of dwelling of the beneficiaries. Using the Quality of Life Surveys conducted in Colombia in 2003 and 2008, the study finds that policy instruments aimed at easing access of low-income households to affordable housing such as subsidies and loan guarantees have played a modest role in increasing the use of mortgages as a source of funding. Despite this, subsidies were found to have had a significant impact on both the quality of dwelling and the quality of life. Therefore, this paper suggests promoting the use of both instruments by improving their design and targeting.
    Keywords: Low-income housing; Housing finance; Housing subsidies; Quality of life; Quality of dwelling; Low-income housing mortgage market
    JEL: I30 I31 R31 I32 O17 I38 R20 D61 H81 R38
    Date: 2011–08
  15. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: The allocation of resources within households may not be equal, and this may lead to different outcomes including health outcomes for household members. This paper investigates whether child nutrition inequalities are attributable to differences between households or differences within households in Malawi. Using a linear model with random effects, we derive a method to estimate the between and within contributions of both the explained and unexplained variances of child nutrition. Child nutrition is measured using height-for-age z-scores, and weight-for-height z-scores. The empirical analysis uses the 2006 multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) data. We find evidence of within household nutritional bias along gender, age, and birth order lines in Malawi. The results for rural and urban areas, as well as ethnic and religious groups show that nutrition inequalities largely stem from differences within households. Intrahousehold nutrition inequalities are however less explained by observables, while interhousehold inequalities are more explained by observables.
    Keywords: Inequality; nutrition; Malawi
    JEL: D13 I12
    Date: 2011–09–15
  16. By: Nguyen Viet, Cuong
    Abstract: This study provides an analysis of access to public services of ethnic minority children. The main data sets are from a Baseline Survey of the Program 135-II in 2007, Vietnam Household Living Standard Surveys 2004 and 2006, and the 15-percent sample of the Population and Housing Census 2009. It will provide analysis of ethnic minority children’s welfares including education, health care services, living conditions and labor, nutrition and leisure. We found that although ethnic minority children’s welfares improved overtime, their welfare remain very low compared with Kinh children.
    Keywords: Children; Public Services; Household Survey; Development; Vietnam
    JEL: J13 R20 O12
    Date: 2010–12–28

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