nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2013‒10‒18
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Utrecht University

  1. A question of efficiency: decomposing South African reading test scores using PIRLS 2006 By Debra Shepherd
  2. Promoting Millennium Development Ideals: The Risks of Defining Development Down By Pritchett, Lant; Kenny, Charles
  3. Shared prosperity : links to growth, inequality and inequality of opportunity By Narayan, Ambar; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime; Tiwari, Sailesh
  4. Up in smoke ? agricultural commercialization, rising food prices and stunting in Malawi By Wood, Benjamin; Nelson, Carl; Kilic, Talip; Murray, Siobhan
  5. Development at the border: policies and national integration in Côte d’Ivoire and its neighbors By Cogneau, Denis; Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine; Spielvogel, Gilles
  6. Impact of Disasters and Role of Social Protection in Natural Disaster Risk Management in Cambodia By Sann VATHANA; Sothea OUM; Ponhrith KAN; Colas CHERVIER
  7. Economic and Welfare Impacts of Disasters in East Asia and Policy ResponsesL The Case of Vietnam By LeDang TRUNG
  8. Impacts of Natural Disasters on Agriculture, Food Security, and Natural Resources and Environment in the Philippines By Danilo C. ISRAEL; Roehlano M. BRIONES
  9. The impact of fertility on household economic status in Cameroon, mali and Senegal By KUEPIE Mathias; SAIDOU HAMADOU Théophile

  1. By: Debra Shepherd (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: The "bimodal" pattern of performance observed in South Africa illustrates the persistence with which learners of former Black schools continue to lag behind their "advantaged" counterparts. It is posited that the poor functioning of former Black schools accounts for this result. A nationally representative dataset of grade 5 learners and counterfactual distribution and decomposition techniques are adopted to identify the part of the performance gap that may be explained by differences in (i) the returns structure and (ii) school characteristics composition. The former is found to be 18.9 percent of the average gap and increases significantly over the outcome distribution.
    Keywords: bimodal performance, effectiveness, decomposition, South Africa
    JEL: C31 I21 I25
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Pritchett, Lant (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC and Harvrd University); Kenny, Charles (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)
    Abstract: The approach of 2015, the target date of the Millennium Development Goals, sets the stage for a global reengagement on the question of "what is development?" We argue that the post-2015 development framework for development should include Millennium Development Ideals which put into measurable form the high aspirations countries have for the well-being of their citizens. Standing alone, low bar targets like the existing Millennium Development Goals "define development down" and put at risk both domestic and global coalitions to support to an inclusive development agenda. Measuring development progress exclusively by low bar targets creates the illusion that specific targeted programs can be an adequate substitute for a broad national and global development agenda.
    Date: 2013–09
  3. By: Narayan, Ambar; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime; Tiwari, Sailesh
    Abstract: Focusing on the welfare of the less well off as a measure of real societal progress is the fundamental principle underlying the WBG indicator of"shared prosperity", namely income growth of the bottom 40 percent in every country. This paper uses a database assembled by the World Bank Group to investigate some basic characteristics of shared prosperity, particularly its relationship with overall economic growth and inequality. Initial estimates using this dataset of 79 countries show that median income growth of the bottom 40 percent (circa 2005-2010) was 4.2 percent, a high number in comparison to the 3.1 percent per capita income growth of the overall population. In addition, the low and lower-middle income countries appear to be trailing the upper middle and high income countries in boosting shared prosperity. Establishing conceptual links between income growth of the bottom 40 percent, the overall growth rate and reviewing existing evidence on how these relate to inequality, the paper discusses two main ideas. First, shared prosperity is strongly correlated with overall prosperity implying that the whole host of policies that are important to generate and sustain growth remain relevant. Second, boosting shared prosperity will also require a concerted effort to strengthen the social contract, particularly in the area of promoting equality of opportunity. Growing evidence suggests that improving access for all and reducing inequality of opportunities -- particularly those related to human capital development of children -- are not only about"fairness"and building a"just society", but also about realizing a society's aspirations of economic prosperity.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Inequality,Achieving Shared Growth,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Services&Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2013–10–01
  4. By: Wood, Benjamin; Nelson, Carl; Kilic, Talip; Murray, Siobhan
    Abstract: Diversification into high-value cash crops among smallholders has been propagated as a strategy to improve welfare in rural areas. However, the extent to which cash crop production spurs projected gains remains an under-researched question, especially in the context of market imperfections leading to non-separable production and consumption decisions, and price shocks to staple crops that might be displaced on the farm by cash crops. This study is a contribution to the long-standing debate on the links between commercialization and nutrition. It uses nationally-representative household surveydata from Malawi, and estimates the effect of household adoption of an export crop, namely tobacco, on child height-for-age z-scores. Given the endogenous nature of household tobacco adoption, the analysis relies on instrumental variable regressions, and isolates the causal effect by comparing impact estimates informed by two unique samples of children that differ in their exposure to an exogenous domestic staple food price shock during the early child development window (from conception through two years of age). The analysis finds that household tobacco production in the year of or the year after child birth, combined with exposure to an exogenous domestic staple food price shock, lowers the child height-for-age z-score by 1.27, implying a 70-percent drop in z-score. The negative effect is, however, not statistically significant among children who were not exposed to the same shock. The results put emphasis on the food insecurity and malnutrition risks materializing at times of high food prices, which might have disproportionately adverse effects on uninsured cash crop producers.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Food&Beverage Industry,Rural Poverty Reduction,Regional Economic Development
    Date: 2013–10–01
  5. By: Cogneau, Denis; Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine; Spielvogel, Gilles
    Abstract: By applying regression discontinuity designs to a set of household surveys from the 1980–90s, we examine whether Côte d’Ivoire’s aggregate wealth was translated at the borders of neighboring countries. At the border of Ghana and at the end of the 1980s, large discontinuities are detected for consumption, child stunting, and access to electricity and safe water. Border discontinuities in consumption can be explained by differences in cash crop policies (cocoa and coffee). When these policies converged in the 1990s, the only differences that persisted were those in rural facilities. In the North, cash crop (cotton) income again made a difference for consumption and nutrition (the case of Mali). On the one hand, large differences in welfare can hold at the borders dividing African countries despite their assumed porosity. On the other hand, border discontinuities seem to reflect the impact of reversible public policies rather than intangible institutional traits.
    Keywords: national integration; Africa; borders; economic geography; welfare
    JEL: O12 R12 P52
    Date: 2013–10
  6. By: Sann VATHANA (Council for Agrictultural and Rural Development, Social Protection Coordination Unit, Cambodia (CARD-SPCU)); Sothea OUM (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East-Asia (ERIA)); Ponhrith KAN (CARD-SPCU); Colas CHERVIER (CARD-SPCU)
    Abstract: The pattern of risks faced by the poor and vulnerable in rural areas of Cambodia, as a consequence of natural disaster, is posing an increasing threat to their livelihoods. One third of the past three years has been taken up either with flooding or with drought, and the drought periods were more prolonged than the floods. The damage caused by flood and drought was comparable, although the flood of 2011 was the most extensive of the disasters. This paper presents impacts of disasters on household welfare and the linking of social protection interventions to address the entitlement failure of poor and vulnerable people suffering from the impacts of flood and drought. There is a strong need at the policy level to design social protection interventions to emphasize ex-ante instruments rather than the ex post response to natural disasters as focusing on emergency assistance and relief. Cash transfers programs provide direct assistance in the form of cash to the poor. Ex-ante cash transfer programs can play a crucial role in encouraging poor households to invest in business rather than spending on food. Microfinance schemes can also help ex-ante income diversification that can bolster households against widespread natural disasters.
    Keywords: Natural disaster, Entitlement failure
    JEL: Q54 I31 H55 O53
    Date: 2013–08
  7. By: LeDang TRUNG (Indochina Research and Consulting (IRC))
    Abstract: Although Vietnam has seen remarkable economic achievements over the last twenty-five years, the country is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Unfortunately, the country is prone to many natural hazards. Vietnam is located in one of the five cyclone centers on the planet. It is estimated that Vietnam is hit by 4.3 storms and more than 3 floods per year. Though the aftermaths of natural hazards are sizable, estimating their impacts is challenging, yet crucial for policy development. This paper aims to conduct a scientific assessment of the impact of a natural catastrophe to help understand the multidimensional costs of disasters, and to draw lessons on how the impacts of natural disasters can be properly assessed. In addition, it provides an overview of the management of natural disasters and climate change in Vietnam, to see how the policy system has been working to deal with the risk of natural disasters and climate change. Finally, it identifies possible options for Vietnam to move forward to an effective disaster risk management system.
    Keywords: Natural hazards, Storms, Floods, Impact evaluation, Matched sampling, Disaster management
    JEL: Q54 Q52 C21 O53
    Date: 2013–08
  8. By: Danilo C. ISRAEL (Philippine Institute for Development Studies); Roehlano M. BRIONES (Philippine Institute for Development Studies)
    Abstract: This study quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed the impacts of natural disasters (particularly typhoons, floods and droughts) on agriculture, food security and the natural resources and environment in the Philippines. It aimed to propose recommendations as to how best to respond to the impacts of natural disasters and to suggest further studies that can be undertaken. In general, the study found that: a) typhoons, floods and droughts have an insignificant impact on overall agricultural production at the national level, yet typhoons may have a significant negative impact on paddy rice production at the provincial level; b) typhoons, as exemplified by Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, have a significant negative impact on the food security of the households in the affected areas; c) households have varying consumption and non-consumption strategies to cope with the impacts of typhoons; and d) the different impacts of typhoons, floods and droughts on the natural resources and environment have not been quantitatively assessed in detail, however available evidence suggests that these are also substantial. Based on its results and findings, the study recommends the following: a) Since typhoons may have significant negative impacts on rice production at the local level as opposed to the national level, assistance for rice farmers and the agriculture sector as a whole should be made more site-specific, zeroing in on the affected areas that actually need it; b) Those assisting affected households and areas in overcoming the resulting ill-effects of natural disasters should consider not only consumption strategies, such as the provision of emergency food aid, but also non-consumption strategies, such as the provision of post-disaster emergency employment; and c) While the available evidence suggests that the natural resources and environment sector is significantly affected by natural disasters, it is currently less considered, as attention is presently focused on agriculture. It may now be high time to provide concrete assistance to this sector, in particular the provision of defensive investments and rehabilitation expenditures to cope with these natural disasters.
    Keywords: Naturaldisasters, typhoons, floods, droughts, agriculture, food security, natural resources and the environment, Agricultural Multi-Market Model for Policy Evaluation (AMPLE)
    JEL: Q54 Q51 Q18 O53
    Date: 2013–08
  9. By: KUEPIE Mathias; SAIDOU HAMADOU Théophile
    Abstract: The purpose of this study is to measure the impact of family size on the socioeconomic status of households in three sub-Saharan African countries (Cameroon, Mali and Senegal). This study has a microeconomic tie-in with the theory of social capillarity, which states that the smaller the family, the better its chances of climbing the social ladder, and that a high birth rate hampers the probability of social mobility and can therefore impoverish families. We use recent demographic and health survey data from the three countries to test this hypothesis. These data have the advantage of providing detailed information on fertility, durable goods and households? housing characteristics. The information is used to build suitable indicators of household assets and of fertility and its instruments. Methodologically, we take rigorous tests to show that fertility can be considered as exogenous in the three countries in question. The estimates consequently find that fertility has a negative impact on the socioeconomic status of women and that this effect is strongest in Cameroon and Senegal, while it is weaker in Mali. Quantile regressions find that demographic pressure has more of a negative effect on assets when households are in the first quartile of the distribution of assets than when they are in the last quartile. These findings are robust to different alternative specifications. An obvious policy recommendation is the importance of putting in place effective family planning policies.
    Keywords: Fertility; Poverty; Household behaviour; social capillarity
    JEL: D81 D82 I11 I31 O15
    Date: 2013–10

This nep-dev issue is ©2013 by Jacob A. Jordaan. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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