nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2013‒11‒02
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Utrecht University

  1. How much international variation in child height can sanitation explain? By Dean Spears
  2. Land constraints and agricultural intensification in Ethiopia: A village-level analysis of high-potential areas: By Headey, Derek D.; Dereje, Mekdim; Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob; Josephson, Anna; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum
  3. Climate Variability, Child Labour and Schooling: Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margin By Jonathan Colmer
  4. Forced displacement and behavioral change: An empirical study of returnee households in the Nuba Mountains By Asha Abdel Rahim; Dany Jaimovich; Aleksi Ylönen
  5. Differential Fertility, Human Capital, and Development By Tom Vogl
  6. The impact of food prices shocks in Uganda: First-order versus long-run effects: By Van Campenhout, Bjorn; Pauw, Karl; Minot, Nicholas
  7. Africa's Got Work to Do: Employment Prospects in the New Century By Louise Fox; Cleary Haines; Jorge Huerta Munoz; Alun H. Thomas
  8. Women’s empowerment and nutrition: An evidence review: By van den Bold, Mara; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Gillespie, Stuart
  9. Welfare and poverty impacts of India’s national rural employment guarantee scheme: Evidence from Andhra Pradesh: By Deininger, Klaus; Liu, Yanyan
  10. Aid Eectiveness in Times of Political Change: Lessons from the Post-Communist Transition By Olofsgård, Anders; Perrotta, Maria; Frot, Emmanuel
  11. Distributional effects of OPORTUNIDADES on early child development By J. L. FIGUEROA

  1. By: Dean Spears (Princeton University)
    Abstract: Physical height is an important economic variable re ecting health and human capital. Puzzlingly, however, differences in average height across developing countries are not well explained by differences in wealth. In particular, children in India are shorter, on average, than children in Africa who are poorer, on average, a paradox which is often called the Asian enigma. The primary contribution of this paper is to document that cross-country variation in sanitation statistically explains a large and important fraction of international height dierences. Over a billion people worldwide and more than half of Indian households defecate openly without using a toilet or latrine, introducing germs into the environment that cause disease and stunt children's growth. I apply three complementary empirical strategies to Demographic and Health Survey data to identify the fraction due to sanitation: country-level regressions using collapsed DHS surveys; within-country analysis of differences between India's first and second DHS surveys; and econometric decomposition of the India-Africa height difference in child-level data. Open defecation, which is exceptionally widespread in India, accounts for much of the excess stunting in India.
    Keywords: India, children, growth rate, height, sewage, wealth
    JEL: R29 D63 I10 I39 Q53
    Date: 2012–12
  2. By: Headey, Derek D.; Dereje, Mekdim; Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob; Josephson, Anna; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum
    Abstract: Highland Ethiopia is one of the most densely populated regions of Africa and has long been associated with both Malthusian disasters and Boserupian agricultural intensification. This paper explores the race between these two countervailing forces, with the goal of informing two important policy questions. First, how do rural Ethiopians adapt to land constraints? And second, do land constraints significantly influence welfare outcomes in rural Ethiopia?
    Keywords: Smallholders, Population density, Farm size, Intensification, Agricultural productivity, Land use, Land allocation, Land management,
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Jonathan Colmer (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: How does future income uncertainty affect child labour and human capital accumulation? Using a unique panel dataset, we examine the effect of changes in climate variability on the allocation of time among child labour activities (the intensive margin) as well as participation in education and labour activities (the extensive margin). We find robust evidence that increased climate variability increases the number of hours spent on farming activities while reducing the number of hours spent on domestic chores, indicating a substitution of time across child labour activities. In addition, we find no evidence of climate variability on enrolment decisions or educational outcomes, suggesting that households may spread the burden of labour across children to minimize its impact on formal education.
    Keywords: Climate Variability, Child Labour, Schooling
    JEL: D13 O12 J13 J22 Q54
    Date: 2013–10
  4. By: Asha Abdel Rahim (University of Juba); Dany Jaimovich (Goethe University Frankfurt, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration); Aleksi Ylönen (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt)
    Abstract: After the end of a civil war that lasted for more than two decades, in 2005 hundreds of thousands of displaced people started returning to their communities of origin in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. We use unique data gathered shortly after the end of the conflict in eight villages to describe the characteristics of the returnees vis-a-vis those of non-displaced households. We find important differences between them. Returned households have fewer assets than those who stayed during the conflict and are less involved in the production of cash crops. Even though returnees seem to face worse economic conditions, we find evidence that they tend to perform better on different health indicators, including a lower probability of disease-related mortality in their families. We explore the hypothesis that behavioral changes related to the experiences during displacement can explain the latter result. In particular, we use a detailed set of variables related to hygiene and sanitary habits and show that returnees are more likely to adopt these measures. We further attempt to provide causal evidence of this hypothesis using instrumental variable estimations as a way to deal with the potential bias induced by self-selection into displacement and return.
    Keywords: Forced displacement; behavioral change; conflict; Nuba Mountains; Sudan; Africa.
    JEL: O15 O12 O55 Q15
    Date: 2013–10
  5. By: Tom Vogl (Princeton University and NBER)
    Abstract: Discussions of cross-sectional fertility heterogeneity and its interaction with economic growth typically assume that the poor have more children than the rich. Micro-data from 48 developing countries suggest that this phenomenon is very recent. Over the second half of the twentieth century, these countries saw the association of economic status with fertility and the association of the number of siblings with their education flip from generally positive to generally negative. Because large families switched from investing in more education to investing in less, heterogeneity in fertility across families initially increased but now largely decreases average educational attainment. While changes in GDP per capita, women’s work, sectoral composition, urbanization, and population health do not explain the reversal, roughly half of it can be attributed to the rising aggregate education levels of the parent generation. The results are most consistent with theories of the fertility transition based on changing preferences over the quality and quantity of children, and somewhat less so with theories that incorporate subsistence consumption constraints.
    Keywords: Fertility, children, poor countries, family size, siblings, consumption
    JEL: D19 D60 I00 I32
    Date: 2013–03
  6. By: Van Campenhout, Bjorn; Pauw, Karl; Minot, Nicholas
    Abstract: We look at the immediate effects of these shocks faced by households in Uganda on their poverty and well-being. In addition, we look at the economywide impact in the long run when all markets have settled at a new equilibrium. We find that in the short run, poverty has increased substantially. However, in the longer run, we find welfare levels of rural farm households in particular to rise sharply, primarily as a result of increased returns to farm labor and agricultural land coupled with improved market prices for output sold.
    Keywords: Food prices, Wellbeing, Poverty, Computable general equilibrium (CGE), Agricultural development, Commodities,
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Louise Fox; Cleary Haines; Jorge Huerta Munoz; Alun H. Thomas
    Abstract: Estimates of the current and future structure of employment in sub-Saharan Africa (2005–20) are obtained based on household survey estimates for 28 countries and an elasticity-type model that relates employment to economic growth and demographic outcomes. Agriculture still employs the majority of the labor force although workers are shifting slowly out of the sector. Sub-Saharan Africa’s projected rapid labor force growth, combined with a low baseline level of private sector wage employment, means that even if sub-Saharan Africa realizes another decade of strong growth, the share of labor force employed in private firms is not expected to rise substantially. Governments need to undertake measures to attract private enterprises that provide wage employment, but they also need to focus on improving productivity in the traditional and informal sectors as these will continue to absorb the majority of the labor force.
    Keywords: Employment;Sub-Saharan Africa;Labor markets;Agricultural sector;Private sector;Wages;Cross country analysis;employment, labor force, agriculture, industry, services, wage employment, household enterprises, public employment, Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Date: 2013–10–01
  8. By: van den Bold, Mara; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Gillespie, Stuart
    Abstract: This paper starts by reflecting on the concept and measurement of women’s empowerment and then reviews some of the structural interventions that aim to influence underlying gender norms in society and eradicate gender discrimination. It then proceeds to review the evidence of the impact of three types of interventions—cash transfer programs, agricultural interventions, and microfinance programs—on women’s empowerment, nutrition, or both.
    Keywords: Gender, Women, Empowerment, Microfinance, Agriculture, Nutrition,
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Deininger, Klaus; Liu, Yanyan
    Abstract: India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is one of the largest public works programs globally. Understanding the impacts of NREGS and the pathway through which its impacts are realized thus has important policy implications. We use a three-round 4,000-household panel from Andhra Pradesh together with administrative data to explore short- and medium-term poverty and welfare effects of NREGS. Triple difference estimates suggest that participants significantly increase consumption (protein and energy intake) in the short run and accumulate more nonfinancial assets in the medium term.
    Keywords: employment, social safety nets, rural areas, Economic development, social policies, Public investment, Labor market, Governance,
    Date: 2013
  10. By: Olofsgård, Anders (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics); Perrotta, Maria (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics); Frot, Emmanuel (Microeconomix)
    Abstract: We argue that the tilt towards donor interests over recipient needs in aid allocation and practices may be particularly strong in new partnerships. Using the natural experiment of Eastern transition we find that commercial and strategic concerns influenced both aid flows and entry in the first half of the 1990s, but much less so later on. We also find that fractionalization increased and that early aid to the region was particularly volatile, unpredictable and tied. Our results may explain why aid to Iraq and Afghanistan has had little development impact and serve as warning for Burma and Arab Spring regimes.
    Keywords: foreign aid; development
    JEL: F35
    Date: 2013–10–22
  11. By: J. L. FIGUEROA
    Abstract: Adequate health, nutrition, and education during childhood are essential for human development. Deficits in these realms undermine the capacity to acquire the necessary skills to perform in life. Social policies addressing the causes of disadvantages in child development take up an important place in the social agenda. The Mexican Oportunidades program is such a policy. Investments in children’s health, nutrition, and education by the program are expected to facilitate children’s development. Previous studies found little effect of Oportunidades on child’s cognition and positive effects on noncognitve development. However, the majority of these studies take the average outcome as the relevant indicator of the effect of the program which overlooks the effect on the “non-average” child. A methodology capable of unveiling effects along the outcome’s distribution is proposed here. Such methodology, originally proposed by Davidson and Duclos (2013), is based on tests of stochastic dominance and is suitable for observing effects beyond the mean. Four indicators of cognitive development and one of behavioral problems (noncognitve development) are analyzed in a sample of 2,595 children aged 2 to 6 years. The sample was collected in rural communities in Mexico in 2003 as part of the evaluation of the program. Oportunidades decreases behavioral problems experienced by children exposed to the program. The ranges where the effect is found cover a large part of the distribution of the outcomes and a large proportion of the children in the sample. In comparison to other studies, additional effects by gender and ethnicity are now found. Only one indicator of cognitive development (short-term memory) shows positive effects. Nevertheless, the results for this indicator show that children with lower values of cognitive development benefitted from the program while children with higher values did not. These heterogeneous effects highlight the importance of going beyond the average effect approach.
    Keywords: Child development, Oportunidades, Distributional effects, Mexico
    JEL: I18 I38 J13
    Date: 2013–05

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.