nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2014‒01‒10
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Utrecht University

  1. Non-Contributory Pensions By Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler; Rosangela Bando
  2. Waging War on Poverty: Historical Trends in Poverty Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure By Liana Fox; Irwin Garfinkel; Neeraj Kaushal; Jane Waldfogel; Christopher Wimer
  3. The challenge of measuring hunger By De Weerdt, Joachim; Beegle, Kathleen; Friedman,, Jed; Gibson, John
  4. Does the Nigerian formal sector pay more than its informal sector? By Alberto Behar
  5. Gender, ethnicity and cumulative disadvantage in education : evidence from Latin American and African censuses By Tas, Emcet O.; Reimao, Maira Emy; Orlando, Maria Beatriz
  6. Public health spending and infant and child mortality in India: a state-year panel analysis By Kaushal, Kaushalendra Kumar; Abhishek, Abhishek Singh; F Ram, Faujdar Ram; Subu, S V Subramanian
  7. Outcomes, opportunity and development : why unequal opportunities and not outcomes hinder economic development By Molina, Ezequiel; Narayan, Ambar; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime
  8. South African labour market transitions during the global financial and economic crisis: Micro-level evidence from the NIDS panel and matched QLFS cross-sections By Essers, Dennis

  1. By: Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler; Rosangela Bando
    Abstract: The creation of non-contributory pension schemes is becoming increasingly common as countries struggle to reduce poverty. Drawing on data from Mexico’s Adultos Mayores Program (Older Adults Program) – a cash transfer scheme aimed at rural adults over 70 years of age – we evaluate the effects of this program on the well-being of the beneficiary population. Exploiting a quasi-experimental design whereby the program relies on exogenous geographical and age cutoffs to identify its target group, we find that the mental health of elderly adults in the program is significantly improved, as their score on the Geriatric Depression Scale decreases by 12%. We also find that the proportion of treated individuals doing paid work is reduced by 20%, with most of these people switching from their former activities to work in family businesses; treated households show higher levels of consumption expenditures (on average, an increase of 23%). Very importantly, we also rule out significant anticipation effects that might have been associated with the program transfers. Thus, overall, we find that non-contributory pension schemes target to the poor in developing countries can improve the well-being of poor older adults without having any indirect impact (through potential anticipation effects) on the earnings or savings of future program participants.
    JEL: H2 H3 I0
    Date: 2014–01
  2. By: Liana Fox; Irwin Garfinkel; Neeraj Kaushal; Jane Waldfogel; Christopher Wimer
    Abstract: Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the March Current Population Survey, we calculate historical poverty estimates based on the new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) from 1967 to 2012. During this period, poverty as officially measured has stagnated. However, the official poverty measure (OPM) does not account for the effect of near-cash transfers on the financial resources available to families, an important omission since such transfers have become an increasingly important part of government anti-poverty policy. Applying the SPM, which does count such transfers, we find that historical trends in poverty have been more favorable than the OPM suggests and that government policies have played an important and growing role in reducing poverty --- a role that is not evident when the OPM is used to assess poverty. We also find that government programs have played a particularly important role in alleviating child poverty and deep poverty, especially during economic downturns.
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2014–01
  3. By: De Weerdt, Joachim; Beegle, Kathleen; Friedman,, Jed; Gibson, John
    Abstract: There is widespread interest in the number of hungry people in the world and trends in hunger. Current global counts rely on combining each country's total food balance with information on distribution patterns from household consumption expenditure surveys. Recent research has advocated for calculating hunger numbers directly from these same surveys. For either approach, embedded in this effort are a number of important details about how household surveys are designed and how these data are then used. Using a survey experiment in Tanzania, this study finds great fragility in hunger counts stemming from alternative survey designs. As a consequence, comparable and valid hunger numbers will be lacking until more effort is made to either harmonize survey designs or better understand the consequences of survey design variation.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Food Security,Nutrition,Rural Poverty Reduction,Regional Economic Development
    Date: 2014–01–01
  4. By: Alberto Behar
    Abstract: Nigerian data from the early 2000s indicates that formal sector earnings are about 70% higher than informal sector earnings but, for men, part of this is due to an educational composition effect. The returns to education are lower in the informal sector than in the formal sector, but mainly at the post-secondary stage because formal sector earnings are more convex in education. We find no evidence that other skill acquisition methods contribute to earnings, but apprenticeships are positively associated with selection into the informal sector while vocational training or other courses tend to be coupled with work in the formal sector. These results are subject to a number of interpretations, so it remains an open question whether a person with given observed or unobserved characteristics would earn more in the formal sector.
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Tas, Emcet O.; Reimao, Maira Emy; Orlando, Maria Beatriz
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of gender and ethnicity on educational outcomes using cross-country evidence from Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. It uses the Minnesota Population Center's Integrated Public Use Microdata Series-International database, which includes individual-level data from large, harmonized, and representative samples of country censuses. Using an estimation method analogous to difference-in-differences, the paper finds that gender-based differences in literacy, primary school completion, and secondary school completion are larger for minority ethnic groups compared with others or, alternatively, ethnicity-based differences are larger for women compared with men. The findings suggest that the intersection of gender and ethnicity confers cumulative disadvantage for minority groups, especially in Latin America. The paper discusses the implications of these findings on the design of, targeting in, and resource allocation for development programs.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Education For All,Primary Education,Disability,Gender and Development
    Date: 2013–12–01
  6. By: Kaushal, Kaushalendra Kumar; Abhishek, Abhishek Singh; F Ram, Faujdar Ram; Subu, S V Subramanian
    Abstract: Background: To investigate the association between public health spending and probability of infant and child death in India. Methods: We used data from the three rounds of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted in India during 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06 to investigate the association between public health spending and probability of infant and child death. We used data from the birth history of three NFHS rounds to create state-year panels of births, infant and child deaths, state-level public finance variables, food grain production, household and individual variables for the period 1980-2005. Two-stage probit regression model is used to investigate the association. State-level per capita gross fiscal deficit is used as an instrument for estimating two-stage probit model. Findings: Findings suggest association between public health spending and infant and child mortality in India. A 10% increase in per capita public health spending is likely to reduce the probability of infant and child deaths by 0•005 (95% CI: 0•003, 0•007) and 0•003 (95% CI: 0•002, 0•004) respectively. The second and third lags of public health spending were also statistically significant. Other factors affecting infant and child death were sex of the child, birth order, mother’s age at birth of the index child, mother’s schooling and urban-rural residence. Interpretation: Public health spending was associated with probability of infant and child death in India. Our findings lend support to the government’s initiative to increase public health spending in India.
    Keywords: India, Public Spending on Health, infant and child mortality, Endogeneity, two-stage probit regression, instrument
    JEL: I18 I3 I38
    Date: 2013–09–06
  7. By: Molina, Ezequiel; Narayan, Ambar; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between inequality of opportunity and development outcomes in a cross-country setting. Scholars have long debated the impact of inequality on growth, development, and the quality of institutions in a society. The empirical relationships are however confounded by the notion that"inequality"can be seen as a composite of inequality arising from differences in effort and ability, which would tend to encourage competition and productivity, and inequality attributable to unequal opportunities, particularly in terms of access to basic goods and services, which might translate to wasted human potential and lower levels of development. The analysis in this paper applies a measure of educational opportunities that incorporates inequality between"types"or circumstance groups. Theories from economic history are used to instrument for this type of inequality in a large cross-country dataset. The results seem to confirm the hypothesis that this measure of inequality of opportunity is a better fit for structural inequality than the Gini index of income. The results suggest that inequality of endowments at the outset of history led to unequal educational opportunities, which in turn affected development outcomes such as institutional quality, infant mortality, and economic growth. The findings are robust to several checks on the instrumental variable specification.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Population Policies,Inequality,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Information Security&Privacy
    Date: 2013–12–01
  8. By: Essers, Dennis
    Abstract: This paper studies individual-level labour market transitions and their determinants in South Africa during the zenith and aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis using 2008-2010/11 panel data from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) and matched cross-sections of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) over 2008Q1-2012Q4. We uncover considerable movement in South African labour markets over the crisis period. Chances of continued employment significantly vary along gender, age and education levels and between different sorts of occupations and sectors of employment. Although we do find time variation in the economic significance of some of these explanatory variables, it remains difficult to link this variation directly to the evolution of South Africa’s economy over the course of the crisis.
    Keywords: global financial crisis; labour markets; employment; survey data; South Africa
    JEL: G01 J64
    Date: 2013–12
  9. By: Mikhail Miklyaev (Cambridge Resources International Inc., USA, Eastern Mediterranean University, Mersin 10, Turkey); Glenn Jenkins (Department of Economics, Queen's University, Canada, Eastern Mediterranean University, Mersin 10, Turkey)
    Abstract: The study evaluates economic and financial returns of the shift from indigenous type of breed to cross-breed dairy cattle for milk production. Ethiopia is characterised by the high cost of cross-breed heifers making the transition for the poor households almost impossible without a support from the government or international donors. The deterministic cost-benefit analysis revealed a very positive net present value of the activity. Sensitivity analysis was performed to identify the main risk factors affecting the households. In addition the design of the study allowed to use the sensitivity analysis to identify the economic feasibility of a wide range of the government or donors support interventions in the dairy value chain. These include the estimation of the economic benefits of the sexed semen provision, veterinary access, feed cost reduction and improved artificial insemination services. The additional analysis was performed to compare economic returns of the farms with and without fodder production.
    Keywords: Ethiopia, High-lands, cost-benefit analysis, investment appraisal, stakeholder analysis, distributive analysis, dairy farm establishment, productivity enhancement interventions, cross-breed cattle, indigenous cattle, herd projections, sexed semen, artificial insemination, low-cost feed concentrates, pro-poor interventions, chronic food insecurity, poverty reduction, sustainable development.
    JEL: D31 D61 D62 F35 Q01 Q12
    Date: 2013–12

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