nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2013‒11‒16
fifteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Utrecht University

  1. Unilateral facilitation does not raise international labor migration from the Philippines By Beam, Emily; McKenzie, David; Yang, Dean
  2. Strengthening economic rights and women's occupational choice : the impact of reforming Ethiopia's family law By Hallward-Driemeier, Mary; Gajigo, Ousman
  3. Trade facilitation and country size By Amin, Mohammad; Haidar, Jamal Ibrahim
  4. Does malaria control impact education? A study of the Global Fund in Africa. By Maria Kuecken; Josselin Thuilliez; Marie-Anne Valfort
  5. Does Women's Empowerment Reduce Prevalence of Stunted and Underweight Children in Rural India? By Katsushi Imai; Samuel Kobina Annim; Veena S. Kulkarni; Raghav Gaiha
  6. The Threat of Domestic Violence and Women Empowerment: The Case of West Africa By Marcel-Cristian Voia; Saikou Amadou Diallo
  7. Where is the money? Post-disaster foreign aid flows By Becerra, Oscar; Cavallo, Eduardo; Noy, Ilan
  8. Incentives and teacher effort: further evidence from a developing country By Dang, Hai-Anh H.; King, Elizabeth M.
  9. Efficient responses to targeted cash transfers By Orazio Attanasio; Valérie Lechene
  10. Why resilience matters - the poverty impacts of disasters By Rentschler, Jun E.
  11. Examining the Determinants of Food Prices in Developing Asia By Huh , Hyeon-seung; Park, Cyn-Young
  12. Health and the Political Agency of Women By Sonia Bhalotra; Irma Clots-Figueras
  13. Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Employed Status in the Informal Sector: A Constrained Choice or Better Income Prospects? Evidence from seven West-African Countries By Pasquier-Doumer, Laure
  14. Migrants' Home Town Associations and Local Development in Mali By Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine; Mercier, Marion; Gubert, Flore; Chauvet, Lisa
  15. Targeting Ultra-poor Households in Honduras and Peru By Dean Karlan; Bram Thuysbaert

  1. By: Beam, Emily; McKenzie, David; Yang, Dean
    Abstract: Significant income gains from migrating from poorer to richer countries have motivated unilateral (source-country) policies facilitating labor emigration. However, their effectiveness is unknown. The authors conducted a large-scale randomized experiment in the Philippines testing the impact of unilaterally facilitating international labor migration. The most intensive treatment doubled the rate of job offers but had no identifiable effect on international labor migration. Even the highest overseas job-search rate that was induced (22 percent) falls far short of the share initially expressing interest in migrating (34 percent). The paper concludes that unilateral migration facilitation will at most induce a trickle, not a flood, of additional emigration.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Labor Markets,Labor Policies,Access to Finance,Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement
    Date: 2013–11–01
  2. By: Hallward-Driemeier, Mary; Gajigo, Ousman
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of strengthening legal rights on the types of economic opportunities that are pursued. Ethiopia changed its family law, requiring both spouses'consent in the administration of marital property, removing the ability of a spouse to deny permission for the other to work outside the home, and raising women's minimum age of marriage. Thus both access to resources and the removal of restrictions on employment served to strengthen women's bargaining position within the household and their ability to pursue economic opportunities. Although this reform now applies nationally, it was initially rolled out in the two chartered cities and three of Ethiopia's nine regions. Using nationally representative household surveys from just prior to the reform and five years later allows for a difference-in-difference estimation of the reform's impact. The analysis finds that women were relatively more likely to work in occupations that require work outside the home, employ more educated workers, and in paid and full-time jobs where the reform had been enacted, controlling for time and location effects. As the relative increase in women's participation in these activities was 15-24 percent higher in areas where the reform was carried out, the magnitude of the impact is significant too.
    Keywords: Gender and Law,Access to Finance,Population Policies,Gender and Development,Labor Policies
    Date: 2013–11–01
  3. By: Amin, Mohammad; Haidar, Jamal Ibrahim
    Abstract: It is argued that compared with large countries, small countries rely more on trade and therefore they are more likely to adopt liberal trading policies. The present paper extends this idea beyond the conventional trade openness measures by analyzing the relationship between country size and the number of documents required to export and import, a measure of trade facilitation. Three important results follow. First, trade facilitation does improve as country size becomes smaller; that is, small countries perform better than large countries in terms of trade facilitation. Second, the relationship between country size and trade facilitation is nonlinear, much stronger for the relatively small than the large countries. Third, contrary to what existing studies might suggest, the relationship between country size and trade facilitation does not appear to be driven by the fact that small countries trade more as a proportion of their gross domestic product than the large countries.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Free Trade,Trade Policy,Transport and Trade Logistics,Common Carriers Industry
    Date: 2013–11–01
  4. By: Maria Kuecken (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics); Josselin Thuilliez (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics); Marie-Anne Valfort (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: We examine the middle-run effects of the Global Fund's malaria control programs on the educational attainment of primary schoolchildren in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using a quasi-experimental approach, we exploit geographic variation in pre-campaign malaria prevalence (malaria ecology) and variation in exogenous exposure to the timing and expenditure of malaria control campaigns, based on individuals' years of birth and year surveyed. In a large majority of countries (14 of 22), we find that the program led to substantial increases in years of schooling and grade level as well as reductions in schooling delay. Moreover, although by and large positive, we find that the marginal returns of the Global Fund disbursements in terms of educational outcomes are decreasing. Our findings, which are robust to both the instrumentation of ecology and use of alternative ecology measures, have important policy implications on the value for money of malaria control efforts.
    Keywords: Malaria, Sub-Saharan Africa, education, quasi-experimental.
    JEL: I15 I21 O19 O55
    Date: 2013–10
  5. By: Katsushi Imai (Economics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester (UK) and RIEB, Kobe University (Japan)); Samuel Kobina Annim (Department of Economics, University of Cape Coast, Ghana); Veena S. Kulkarni (Department of Criminology, Sociology & Geography, Arkansas State University, USA); Raghav Gaiha (Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, India)
    Abstract: This study investigates whether mother's empowerment as measured by her bargaining power relative to father's affects children's nutritional status using the three rounds of NFHS data in India. First, the relative educational attainment of mothers significantly contributes to z scores pertaining to the short-term measures of nutritional status of children. Besides, the quantile regression results show strong associations between women's bargaining power and better nutritional status of children in terms of the long-term measure of nutrition at the low end of its conditional distribution. Finally, we find the relation between access to health schemes and better nutritional measures of children.
    Keywords: Child Nutrition, Malnutrition, Empowerment, Bargaining, NFHS, NCAER, Quantile Regressions, Pseudo Panel, India
    JEL: C21 C23 C26 I14
    Date: 2013–10
  6. By: Marcel-Cristian Voia (Department of Economics, Carleton University); Saikou Amadou Diallo (Health Canada)
    Abstract: In this paper we assess the significance of a set of threats of domestic violence in ten West African countries that we argue limit the potential of women in particular and the development of society. Our data consists of the most recent year of a country-specific Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), conducted in the same way for each participating country. The risk of domestic violence and the intensity of its threat are assessed using different probabilistic model specifications together with an assessment of how heterogeneous/homogenous are these effects across the set of countries. The overall results suggest that religion has played a significant role in relation to domestic violence in most countries, the exceptions being Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Area of residence has played an important positive role in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone while the level of well-being and/or household’s level of wealth have a significant negative impact on the threat of domestic violence in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal. Finally, the factor that we feel has been most important in reducing the threat of domestic violence has been improvement in the status and/or autonomy of women. This is characterized in our sample by the fact that wife is working, plays a decision making role in the family, is sexually active and has a higher level of education.
    Keywords: “threat” of domestic violence, women empowerment, West Africa
    JEL: J12 J16 I24 I25 I31
    Date: 2013–09–22
  7. By: Becerra, Oscar; Cavallo, Eduardo; Noy, Ilan
    Abstract: We describe the flows of aid after large catastrophic natural disasters by using the extensive record of bilateral aid flows, by aid sector, available through the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. For each large donor, we identify the extent of cross-sector re-allocation that is occurring in the aftermath of large disasters whereby humanitarian aid increases but other types of aid may decrease. Our evidence suggests that the expectation of large surges in post disaster aid flows is not warranted given the past diversity of experience of global foreign aid by donor and by event. We find no evidence, however, that donors reallocate aid between recipient countries (cross-recipient reallocation). These observations suggest that countries which are predicted to face increasing losses from natural disasters in the coming decades (and almost all are) should be devoting significant resources for prevention, insurance, and mitigation.
    Keywords: Foreign aid, Natural disasters, Official Development Assistance (ODA), Development Assistance Committee (DAC),
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Dang, Hai-Anh H.; King, Elizabeth M.
    Abstract: Few would contest that teachers are a very important determinant of whether students learn in school. Yet, in the face of compelling evidence that many students are not learning what they are expected to learn, how to improve teacher performance has been the focus of much policy debate in rich and poor countries. This paper examines how incentives, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary, influence teacher effort. Using school survey data from Lao PDR, it estimates new measures of teacher effort, including the number of hours that teachers spend preparing for classes and teacher provision of private tutoring classes outside class hours. The estimation results indicate that teachers increase effort in response to non-pecuniary incentives, such as greater teacher autonomy over teaching materials, and monitoring mechanism, such as the existence of an active parent-teacher association and the ability of school principals to dismiss teachers. Methodologically, the paper provides a detailed derivation of a simultaneous ordinary least squares-probit model with school random effects that can jointly estimate teacher work hours and tutoring provision.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Primary Education,Secondary Education
    Date: 2013–11–01
  9. By: Orazio Attanasio (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Valérie Lechene (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate a collective model of household consumption and test the restrictions of collective rationality using z-conditional demands in the context of a large Conditional Cash Transfer programme in rural Mexico. We show that the model is able to explain the impacts the programme has on the structure of food consumption. We use two plausible and novel distribution factors, that is variables that describe the mechanism by which decisions are reached within the household: the random allocation of a cash transfer to women, and the relative size and wealth of the husband and wife's family networks. We find that the structure we propose does better at predicting the effect of exogenous increases in household income than an alternative, unitary, structure. We cannot reject efficiency of household decisions.
    Date: 2013–10
  10. By: Rentschler, Jun E.
    Abstract: This paper presents empirical evidence of the profound and long-term damages from adverse natural events on poverty. It analyzes 30 years of macro-level damage data from disasters (including earthquakes, floods, and storms), according to income groups, and shows that low-income countries incur disproportionately large damages relative to their assets. Furthermore, the paper reviews the micro-level evidence of disaster impacts on the livelihoods of the poorest households. The evidence suggests that the poor are significantly more vulnerable and exposed to the economic and human capital losses caused by disasters. It discusses detrimental long-term consequences for the income and welfare of the poor and the presence of poverty traps that result from damages to productive assets, health, and education. The roles of migration and ex-ante behavior are also discussed. In the context of climate change, the paper underscores the importance of considering the detrimental impacts of smaller but repeated crises, for instance caused by changes in local precipitation patterns. Lastly, the paper offers a brief discussion of policy options for strengthening resilience and highlights the need for further research for understanding the complex direct and indirect effects of disasters on the poor.
    Date: 2013–11–01
  11. By: Huh , Hyeon-seung (Yonsei University); Park, Cyn-Young (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: How the price of food is determined has become a critical issue, given the drastic surges in prices in recent years and the prevailing expectation of further increases. Along this line, this paper examines the sources of food price fluctuations in 11 developing Asian countries. The working model is a block vector autoregression (VAR), and 10 variables are classified into three blocks—world, region, and country—depending on their origin and nature. Empirical evidence shows that the regional shock plays a pivotal role in explaining the variations of domestic food prices, particularly at medium- to long-term horizons. Contrary to conventional belief, the world food price shock contributes little to the dynamics of domestic food prices in developing Asia. The findings suggest Asian food markets are more integrated regionally than with the world market. The short-run movements of domestic food prices are accounted for largely by the country’s own shock. Taken together, our findings suggest that promoting food price stability would require efforts at the regional level as well as at the domestic level, reflecting the influence of region-specific factors. Extensions to the developing countries in other regions produce similar findings on the determination of food prices.
    Keywords: food price; developing Asia; Shocks; block VAR
    JEL: C32 F15 Q11
    Date: 2013–09–03
  12. By: Sonia Bhalotra; Irma Clots-Figueras
    Abstract: We investigate whether women’s political representation in state legislatures improves public provision of antenatal and early childhood health services in the districts from which they are elected, arguing that the costs of poor services in this domain are disproportionately borne by women. Using several large representative samples of data from India and accounting for potential endogeneity of politician gender and the sample composition of births, we find that a 10 percentage point increase in women’s political representation results in a 2.1 percentage point reduction in neonatal mortality, an outcome that is closely tied to investments in maternal health. Importantly, we are able to probe the underlying mechanisms. We find that politician gender exerts an impact on both the health infrastructure and the information and encouragement that recent studies suggest is important in determining the demand for public health services. Not only are more public health facilities built under women but there is an increase in antenatal care visits, institutional delivery and breastfeeding. Our findings contribute evidence in favour of women’s political representation as an under-utilised tool for addressing infectious disease and death in developing countries.
    Date: 2013–11–13
  13. By: Pasquier-Doumer, Laure
    Abstract: This paper aims at highlighting the debate on firm heterogeneity in the informal sector by testing whether entrepreneurial familial background impacts informal businesses outcomes in the West African context. In the USA, a literature aiming at understanding the high intergenerational correlation of the self-employed status shows that children of self-employed have better business performance than children of wage earners. However, it is not obvious that this result could be generalised to developing countries. Using 1-2-3 surveys collected in the commercial capitals of seven West African countries in 2001–02, this paper shows that children of self-employed, who own an informal business, do not have better business outcomes than children of wage earners, except when they choose a familial tradition in the same sector of activity. Thus, in the West African context, having a self-employed father seems not sufficient for the transmission of valuable skills and does not provide any advantage in terms of value added or sales if the activity is different from that of the father. On the other hand, informal entrepreneurs who have chosen a specific enterprise based on familial tradition have a competitive advantage. Their competitive advantage is partly explained by the transmission of enterprise-specific human capital, acquired through experiences in the same type of activity and by the transmission of social capital that guarantees a better clientele and a reputation.
    Keywords: informal sector; Entrepreneurship; Intergenerational link; Human capital; secteur informel; entreprenariat; lien intergénérationnel; capital humain;
    JEL: L26 J24 J62
    Date: 2013
  14. By: Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine; Mercier, Marion; Gubert, Flore; Chauvet, Lisa
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of migrants' Home Town Associations (HTAs) located in France on the provision of local public goods in Mali. To this end, we computed a dataset on all the HTAs that have been created by Malian migrants in France since 1981 and geo-localised their interventions on the Malian territory. Thanks to Malian census data, we also built a panel dataset informing the provision of a range of public goods in all the Malian localities over the 1976-2009 period. These two sources of data allow us to implement a double di erence strategy, and to compare localities with and without an HTA, before and after its creation. We not only assess whether "having an HTA" makes a di erence in terms of local development, but also whether the intensity of the treatment as measured by the number of HTAs intervening in each locality or the number of year under treatment leads to di erentiated impacts. We nd that Malian HTAs have signi cantly contributed to improve the provision of water amenities (mainly fountains), health centers and electricity connection over the 1987-2009 period. The impact is found to be stronger when the focus is on the earlier period (before 1998).
    Keywords: HTA; Home Town Associations; International Migration; Public Goods;
    JEL: F22 H41 H75 O55
    Date: 2013–06
  15. By: Dean Karlan (Economic Growth Center, Yale University); Bram Thuysbaert (KU Leuven)
    Abstract: For policy purposes, it is important to understand the relative efficacy of various methods to target the poor. Recently, participatory methods have received particular attention. We examine the effectiveness of a hybrid two-step process that combines a participatory wealth ranking and a verification household survey, relative to two proxy means tests (the Progress out of Poverty Index and a housing index), in Honduras and Peru. The methods we examine perform similarly to one another by various metrics. They all target most accurately in the cases of the poorest and the wealthiest households but perform with mixed results among households in the middle of the distribution. Ultimately, given similar performance, the analysis suggests that costs should be the driving consideration in choosing across methods.
    Keywords: poverty targeting, participatory wealth rankings, proxy means tests
    JEL: C81 O12 O20
    Date: 2013–10

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