nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2012‒05‒29
twelve papers chosen by
Mark Lee
Towson University

  1. Death tolls from natural disasters: Influence of interactions among fiscal decentralization, institutions and economic development By Eiji Yamamura
  2. Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia By Michael (et al.) Linnan; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  3. How Do New Cash Crops Spread or Not Spread?: The Case of Rice in a Suburban Area, Ghana By Tachibana, Towa; Sakurai, Takeshi
  4. Modeling the Welfare Implications of Agricultural Policies in Developing Countries By Jonasson, Erik; Filipski, Mateusz; Brooks, Jonathan; Taylor, J. Edward
  5. Commitment devices, opportunity windows, and institution building in Central Asia By Danne, Christian
  6. Economic reform and institutional change in Central Asia: Towards a new model of the developmental state? By Stark, Manuel; Ahrens, Joachim
  7. The Future of Convergence By Rodrik, Dani
  8. Civil Society, Public Action and Accountability in Africa By Walton, Michael; Devarajan, Shantayanan; Khemani, Stuti
  9. Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India By Hanna, Rema N.; Greenstone, Michael
  10. Role of Financial and Technology Inclusion, Remittances and Exports vis-à-vis growth: A study of Nepal By Kumar, Ronald R.
  11. The Dictator Effect: How Long Years in Office Affects Economic Development in Africa and the Near East By Papaioannou, Jason; van Zanden, Jan Luiten
  12. Family Ties, Inheritance Rights, and Successful Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Ghana By Edward Kutsoati; Randall Morck

  1. By: Eiji Yamamura
    Abstract: Previous research shows that decentralization plays a key role in the reduction of damage caused by natural disasters. The effect of decentralization will differ according a country’s level of economic development. To investigate this matter further, this paper attempts to investigate how quality of institution influences the effectiveness of decentralization. This paper uses cross-country data from 1990 to 2000 to examine how decentralization, institution, and economic development influence the number of deaths caused by natural disasters. The major findings are that decentralization reduces deaths and its effect is strengthened in countries with lower level of public sector corruption and better functioning legal systems. Furthermore, the interaction between decentralization and high quality institutions has a greater contribution to the reduction of deaths in more developed countries. This implies that decentralization makes a greater contribution to mitigating damage in countries with higher quality institutions. However, when essential technology does not exist, decentralization and quality of institution play only a minor role in the mitigation of damage in the event of a natural disaster.
    Keywords: Natural disaster, law and order, corruption, economic development.
    JEL: D73 K10 O1 Q54
    Date: 2012–05–08
  2. By: Michael (et al.) Linnan; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: Drowning is a leading cause of death among children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia, but current data greatly underestimate mortality due to drowning. This is due to the way drowning data is collected, classified and reported as well as the difficulty in correcting and adjusting the data. The sum of all the biases and uncertainties has masked the fact that drowning is a leading cause of child death in LMICs in Asia. Cost-effective, affordable and sustainable interventions appropriate for LMICs are available to address this newly recognized and significant killer of children. Large numbers of these deaths could be prevented annually if these drowning interventions were included in current country programmes. When implemented at national scale and as an integral part of country programmes, the prevention of these drowning deaths, which mostly occur in early childhood, would result in a rapid decrease in early childhood mortality.
    Keywords: child mortality; child safety; community centres; low income communities; mortality; mortality rate;
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Tachibana, Towa; Sakurai, Takeshi
    Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of rice-cultivation adoption in inland-valley bottom areas in Ghana. In West African countries, surging import of rice has shown farmers a new and potentially huge income source. Around the second largest urban area in Ghana, Kumsi, there are inland-valley bottoms which are suitable for rain-fed rice cultivation. The puzzle is that not much part of these inland-valley bottoms has been utilized for rice production. In 2001, in four villages around Kumasi, we conducted a detailed household survey both on lowland-rice and upland-maize farmers. We found that the profit from lowland-rice cultivation was significantly lower than that from upland-maize farming. This paper also examines our predictions made from the profit comparisons in 2001 with the results of rice-farmer census conducted in 2011 in the same four villages.
    Date: 2012–04
  4. By: Jonasson, Erik (Department of Economics, Lund University); Filipski, Mateusz (University of California, Davis); Brooks, Jonathan (OECD); Taylor, J. Edward (University of California, Davis)
    Abstract: This paper presents a new model which incorporates features of developing country agriculture that may be critical in shaping the welfare outcomes of alternative agricultural policies. The model features heterogeneous households linked through markets in a rural economy-wide structure, with endogenous market participation for farmers facing transactions costs. The model is used for policy simulations, including market price support, production subsidies, input subsidies, transaction cost removal, and unconditional cash transfers. Applications for six countries highlight the diversity of potential impacts of such policies. The simulation results suggest that there are circumstances under which some market interventions, such as input subsidies, may be only slightly less efficient at transferring incomes than direct payments.
    Keywords: agricultural household model; agricultural policy; simulation; transaction costs
    JEL: O12 O13 Q12 Q18
    Date: 2012–05–15
  5. By: Danne, Christian
    Abstract: This paper studies the institutional reform process in Central Asia from 1995 to 2006. I compare the institutional reform processes of Central Asian countries to those conducted in their neighbouring countries of Central and (South) Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. The paper identifies contemporaneous factors responsible for the persistence of poor institutional arrangements. Second, the paper identifies factors that have acted as commitment devices in order to achieve and sustain institutional change over the last decade. It is argued that deficiencies in the education system, and preferences of individuals and politicians are responsible for the persistence of poor institutional arrangements. External factors such as real and financial openness, fixed exchange rates, and international agreements have provided a disciplining effect for policy makers to improve institutional arrangements in Central Asia, despite poor initial conditions. Finally, there is some evidence that large external shocks may help to shift preferences towards more reliable institutional settings. --
    Keywords: Economic institutions,reforms,Central Asia
    JEL: H11 O10 P20
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Stark, Manuel; Ahrens, Joachim
    Abstract: Widely ignoring recommendations from mainstream economics, the some Central Asian countries have achieved remarkable economic growth rates since their transformational recession in the 1990s. While Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan have greatly benefitted from increasing world market prices for natural resources, particularly Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have pursued distinct country-specific policies and built up politico-institutional structures which may have also contributed to bring about economic and social progress. This paper investigates the politico-institutional foundation of these emerging market economies in Central Asia and addresses the question whether or not these marketdeveloping autocracies are on a way to become developmental states with a firm commitment to economic development in the future. --
    Keywords: Developmental State,Central Asia,Kazakhstan,Uzbekistan
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Rodrik, Dani
    Abstract: Novelists have a better track record than economists at foretelling the future. Consider then Gary Shteyngart’s timely comic novel “Super Sad True Love Story†(Random House, 2010), which provides a rather graphic vision of what lies in store for the world economy. The novel takes place in the near future and is set against the backdrop of a United States that lies in economic and political ruin. The country’s bankrupt economy is ruled with a firm hand by the IMF from its new Parthenon-shaped headquarters in Singapore. China and sovereign wealth funds have parceled America’s most desirable real estate among themselves. Poor people are designated as LNWI (“low net worth individualsâ€) and are being pushed into ghettoes. Even skilled Americans are desperate to acquire residency status in foreign lands. This is sheer fantasy of course, but one that seems to resonate well with the collective mood. A future in which the U.S and other advanced economies are forced to play second fiddle to the dynamic emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere is rapidly becoming cliché. This vision is based in part on the very rapid pace of economic growth that emerging and developing economies experienced in the run-up to the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Latin America benefited from a pace of economic development that it had not experienced since the 1970s, and Africa began to close the gap with the advanced countries for the first time since countries in the continent received their independence. Even though most of these countries were hit badly by the crisis, their recovery has also been swift. Optimism on developing countries is matched by pessimism on the rich country front. The United States and Europe have emerged from the crisis with debilitating challenges. They need to address a crushing debt burden and its unpleasant implications for fiscal and monetary policy. They also need to replace growth models which were based in many instances on finance, real estate, and unsustainable levels of borrowing. Japan has long ceased to exhibit any growth dynamism. And the eurozone’s future remains highly uncertain -- with the economic and political ramifications of its unraveling looking nothing less than scary. In such an environment, rapid growth in the developing world is the only thing that could propel the world economy forward and generate increasing demand for rich-country goods and services – the only silver lining in an otherwise dreary future. The question I address in this paper is whether this gap in performance between the developed and developing worlds can continue, and in particular, whether developing nations can sustain the rapid growth they have experienced of late. I will not have anything to say on the prospects for the advanced economies themselves, assuming, along with conventional wisdom, that their growth will remain sluggish at best. My focus is squarely on the developing and emerging countries and on the likelihood of continued convergence.
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Walton, Michael; Devarajan, Shantayanan; Khemani, Stuti
    Abstract: This paper examines the potential role of civil society action in increasing state accountability for development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It further develops the analytical framework of the World Development Report 2004 on accountability relationships, to emphasize the underlying political economy drivers of accountability and implications for how civil society is constituted and functions. It argues on this basis that the most important domain for improving accountability is through the political relations between citizens, civil society, and state leadership. The evidence broadly suggests that when higher-level political leadership provides sufficient or appropriate powers for citizen participation in holding within-state agencies or frontline providers accountable, there is frequently positive impact on outcomes. However, the big question remaining for such types of interventions is how to improve the incentives of higher-level leadership to pursue appropriate policy design and implementation. The paper argues that there is substantial scope for greater efforts in this domain, including through the support of external aid agencies. Such efforts and support should, however, build on existing political and civil society structures (rather than transplanting "best practice†initiatives from elsewhere), and be structured for careful monitoring and assessment of impact.
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Hanna, Rema N.; Greenstone, Michael
    Abstract: Using the most comprehensive data file ever compiled on air pollution, water pollution, environmental regulations, and infant mortality from a developing country, the paper examines the effectiveness of India’s environmental regulations. The air pollution regulations were effective at reducing ambient concentrations of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. The most successful air pollution regulation is associated with a modest and statistically insignificant decline in infant mortality. However, the water pollution regulations had no observable effect. Overall, these results contradict the conventional wisdom that environmental quality is a deterministic function of income and underscore the role of institutions and politics.
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Kumar, Ronald R.
    Abstract: Using the ARDL Bounds approach to cointegration technique, we explore the role of financial services, information and communications technology, remittance inflows and export liberalisation in Nepal over the periods 1975-2010. The results show that financial development, telecommunications, remittance inflows and export orientation are instrumental in improving income level both in the long and short-run, although in the latter, the effects from financial and technology inclusion and remittances have lagged negative effects. Consequently, we propose besides the need for stable macroeconomic and sound institutional structures, policies targeted towards greater financial viz. technology inclusion, investment in and integration of technology across sectors, encouraging greater remittance inflows through sound labour mobility schemes, export promotion strategies focussed towards not only addressing supply side constraints but also strengthening trade partnership at regional and international fronts as a crucial way forward to establishing a new economic order for a new Nepal.
    Keywords: Information and communications technology; financial development; trade openness; remittances; Nepal
    JEL: F24
    Date: 2011–11–02
  11. By: Papaioannou, Jason; van Zanden, Jan Luiten
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the growing literature on the links between political regimes and economic development by studying the effects of years in office on economic development. The hypothesis is that dictators who stay in office for a long time period will become increasingly corrupt, and that their poor governance will impact on economic growth (which is reduced), inflation (which increases) and the quality of institutions (which deteriorates). This may be related to the fact that their time horizon is shrinking: they develop (in the terminology developed by Olson) from ‘stationary bandits’ into ‘roving bandits’. Or they may get caught into a ‘disinformation trap’, caused by the ‘dictator dilemma’. We test these hypotheses and indeed find strong evidence for the existence of a dictator effect: the length of the rule is negatively related to economic growth and the quality of democratic institutions, and positively related to inflation. This effect is particularly strong in young states and in ‘single-party’ regimes. The negative effect of years in office was almost constant in time and did not disappear after about 1992.
    Keywords: Africa; dictatorships; economic growth; political institutions
    JEL: H7 O2 O55
    Date: 2012–05
  12. By: Edward Kutsoati; Randall Morck
    Abstract: Ghanaian custom views children as members of either their mother’s or father’s lineage (extended family), but not both. Patrilineal custom charges a man’s lineage with caring for his widow and children, while matrilineal custom places this burden on the widows’ lineage – her father, brothers, and uncles. Deeming custom inadequate, and to promote the nuclear family, Ghana enacted the Intestate Succession (PNDC) Law 111, 1985 and 1998 Children’s Act 560 to force men to provide for their widows and children, as in Western cultures. Our survey shows that, although most people die intestate and many profess to know Law 111, it is rarely implemented. Knowledge of the law correlates with couples accumulating assets jointly and with inter-vivos husband to wife transfers, controlling for education. These effects are least evident for widows of matrilineal lineage men, suggesting a persistence of traditional norms. Widows with closer ties with their own or their spouse’s lineage report greater financial support, as do those very few who benefit from legal wills or access Law 111 and, importantly, widows of matrilineal lineage. Some evidence also supports Act 560 benefiting nuclear families, especially if the decedent’s lineage is matrilineal. Overall, our study confirms African traditional institutions’ persistent importance, and the limited effects of formal law.
    JEL: G18 G23 H55 K36 O17 O55 Z1
    Date: 2012–05

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