nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2014‒01‒17
twenty-two papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Utrecht University

  1. Coping with shocks in rural Ethiopia By Debebe, Z.Y.; Mebratie, A.D.; Sparrow, R.A.; Abebaw Ejigie, D.; Dekker, M.; Alemu, G.; Bedi, A.S.
  2. Sanitation and externalities : evidence from early childhood health in rural India By Andres, Luis A.; Briceno, Bertha; Chase, Claire; Echenique, Juan A.
  3. Intergenerational Mobility and Interpersonal Inequality in an African Economy By Lambert, Sylvie; Ravallion, Martin; Van de Walle, Dominique
  4. Informality and long-run growth By Frédéric DOCQUIER; Tobias MÜLLER; Joaquín NAVAL
  5. Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco-Working Paper 330 By Manuela Angelucci, Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman
  6. Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India By Karthik Muralidharan; Nishith Prakash
  7. Does malaria control impact education? A study of the Global Fund in Africa By Maria Kuecken; Josselin Thuilliez; Marie-Anne Valfort
  8. What explains Rwanda's drop in fertility between 2005 and 2010 ? By Bundervoet, Tom
  9. Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349 By Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury
  10. Affirmation Action, Education and Gender: Evidence from India By Guilhem Cassan
  11. Enrollment in community based health insurance schemes in rural Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India By Panda, P.; Chakraborty, A.; Dror, D.M.; Bedi, A.S.
  12. The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy By Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes
  13. Social Capital and Disaster Recovery: Evidence from Sichuan Earthquake in 2008-Working Paper 344 By Chung Wing Tse, Jianwen Wei, Yihan Wang
  14. The Geography of Inequality: Where and by How Much Has Income Distribution Changed since 1990?-Working Paper 341 By Peter Edward, Andy Sumner
  15. Self-reported health care seeking behavior in rural Ethiopia: Evidence from clinical vignettes By Mebratie, A.D.; Van de Poel, E.; Debebe, Z.Y.; Abebaw Ejigie, D.; Alemu, G.; Bedi, A.S.
  16. Inputs, Gender Roles or Sharing Norms? Assessing the Gender Performance Gap Among Informal Entrepreneurs in Madagascar By Christophe Nordman; Julia Vaillant
  17. Inequality, Ethnicity and Civil Conflict By John D. Huber; Laura Mayoral
  18. Healthcare Seeking Behavior among Self-help Group Households in Rural Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India By Raza, W.A.; Panda, P.; Van de Poel, E.; Dror, D.M.; Bedi, A.S.
  19. Context Matters for Size: Why External Validity Claims and Development Practice Don't Mix-Working Paper 336 By Lant Pritchett, Justin Sandefur
  20. Transitions in a West African Labour Market: The Role of Social Networks By Christophe Nordman; Laure Pasquier-Doumer
  21. The Impact of Temporary Work Guarantee Programs on Children's Education: Evidence from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act from India By Shreyasee Das; Abhilasha Singh
  22. Should Parents Work Away from or Close to Home? The Effect of Temporary Parental Absence on Child Poverty and Children’s Time Use in Vietnam By Nguyen, Cuong Viet; Vu, Linh Hoang

  1. By: Debebe, Z.Y.; Mebratie, A.D.; Sparrow, R.A.; Abebaw Ejigie, D.; Dekker, M.; Alemu, G.; Bedi, A.S.
    Abstract: Based on household survey data and event history interviews undertaken in a highly shock prone country, this paper investigates which shocks trigger which coping responses and why? We find clear differences in terms of coping strategies across shock types. The two relatively covariate shocks, that is, economic and natural shocks are more likely to trigger reductions in savings and in food consumption while the sale of assets and borrowing is less common. Coping with relatively idiosyncratic health shocks is met by reductions in savings, asset sales and especially a far greater reliance on borrowing as compared to other shocks. Reductions in food consumption, a prominent response in the case of natural and economic shocks is notably absent in the case of health shocks. Across all shock types, households do not rely on gifts from family and friends or on enhancing their labour supply as coping approaches. The relative insensitivity of food consumption to health shocks based on the shocks-coping analysis presented here is consistent with existing work which examines consumption insurance. However, our analysis leads to a different interpretation. We argue that this insensitivity should not be viewed as insurability of food consumption against health shocks but rather as an indication that a reduction in food consumption is not a viable coping response to a health shock as it does not provide cash to meet health care needs.
    Keywords: Ethiopia, adversity of shocks, coping response, health shocks, shocks
    Date: 2013–05–31
  2. By: Andres, Luis A.; Briceno, Bertha; Chase, Claire; Echenique, Juan A.
    Abstract: This paper estimates two sources of benefits related to sanitation infrastructure access on early childhood health: a direct benefit a household receives when moving from open to fixed-point defecation or from unimproved sanitation to improved sanitation, and an external benefit (externality) produced by the neighborhood's access to sanitation infrastructure. The paper uses a sample of children under 48 months in rural areas of India from the Third Round of District Level Household Survey 2007-08 and finds evidence of positive and significant direct benefits and concave positive external effects for both improved sanitation and fixed-point defecation. There is a 47 percent reduction in diarrhea prevalence between children living in a household without access to improved sanitation in a village without coverage of improved sanitation and children living in a household with access to improved sanitation in a village with complete coverage. One-fourth of this benefit is due to the direct benefit leaving the rest to external gains. Finally, all the benefits from eliminating open defecation come from improved sanitation and not other sanitation solutions.
    Keywords: Hygiene Promotion and Social Marketing,Health and Sanitation,Urban Water Supply and Sanitation,Early Child and Children's Health,Population Policies
    Date: 2014–01–01
  3. By: Lambert, Sylvie; Ravallion, Martin; Van de Walle, Dominique
    Abstract: How much economic mobility is there across generations in a poor, primarily rural, economy? How much do intergenerational linkages contribute to current inequality? We address these questions using original survey data on Senegal that include an individualized measure of consumption. While intergenerational linkages are evident, we find a relatively high degree of mobility across generations, associated with the shift from farm to non-farm sectors and greater economic activity of women. Male-dominated bequests of land and housing bring little gain to consumption and play little role in explaining inequality, though they have important effects on sector of activity. Inheritance of non-land assets and the education and occupation of parents (especially the mother) and their choices about children's schooling are more important to adult welfare than property inheritance. Significant gender inequality in consumption is evident, though it is almost entirely explicable in terms of factors such as education and (non-land) inheritance. There are a number of other pronounced gender differences, with intergenerational linkages coming through the mother rather than the father.
    Keywords: inheritance; land; mobility; inequality; gender
    JEL: D31 I31 O15
    Date: 2014–01
  4. By: Frédéric DOCQUIER (FNRS and UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Tobias MÜLLER (University of Geneva, Switzerland); Joaquín NAVAL (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
    Abstract: One of the most salient features of developing economies is the existence of a large informal sector. This paper uses quantitative theory to study the dynamic implications of informality on wage inequality, human capital accumulation, child labor and long-run growth. Our model can generate transitory informality equilibria or informality-induced poverty traps. Its calibration reveals that the case for the poverty-trap hypothesis is strong: although informality serves to protect low-skilled workers from extreme poverty in the short-run, it prevents income convergence between developed and developing nations in the long run. Sudden elimination of informality would induce severe welfare losses for several generations on the transition path. Hence, we examine the effectiveness of different development policies to exit the poverty trap. Our numerical experiments show that using means-tested education subsidies is the most cost-effective single policy option. However, for longer time horizons, or as the economy gets closer to the poverty trap threshold, combining means-tested education and wage subsidies is even more effective.
    Keywords: informality, development, education, child labor, inequality
    JEL: O11 O15 O17
    Date: 2013–12–23
  5. By: Manuela Angelucci, Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman
    Abstract: Theory and evidence have raised concerns that microcredit does more harm than good, particularly when offered at high interest rates. We use a clustered randomized trial, and household surveys of eligible borrowers and their businesses, to estimate impacts from an expansion of group lending at 110% APR by the largest microlender in Mexico. Average effects on a rich set of outcomes measured 18-34 months post-expansion suggest some good and little harm. Other estimators identify heterogeneous treatment effects and effects on outcome distributions, but again yield little support for the hypothesis that microcredit causes harm.
    Keywords: microcredit; microcredit impact; microentrepreneurship; Compartamos Banco
    JEL: D12 D22 G21 O12
    Date: 2013–07
  6. By: Karthik Muralidharan (University of California San Diego); Nishith Prakash (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: We study the impact of an innovative program in the Indian state of Bihar that aimed to reduce the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by providing girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school. Using data from a large representative household survey, we employ a triple difference approach (using boys and the neighboring state of Jharkhand as comparison groups) and find that being in a cohort that was exposed to the Cycle program increased girls' age-appropriate enrollment in secondary school by 30% and also reduced the gender gap in age-appropriate secondary school enrollment by 40%. Parametric and non-parametric decompositions of the triple-difference estimate as a function of distance to the nearest secondary school show that the increases in enrollment mostly took place in villages where the nearest secondary school was further away, suggesting that the mechanism for program impact was the reduction in the time and safety cost of school attendance made possible by the bicycle. We find that the Cycle program was much more cost effective at increasing girls' enrolment than comparable conditional cash transfer programs in South Asia, suggesting that the coordinated provision of bicycles to girls may have generated externalities beyond the cash value of the program, including improved safety from girls cycling to school in groups, and changes in patriarchal social norms that proscribed female mobility outside the village, which inhibited female secondary school participation.
    Keywords: Conditional transfers, school access, gender gaps, bicycle, girls' education, female empowerment, India, Bihar, MDG
    JEL: H42 I2 O15
    Date: 2013–08
  7. By: Maria Kuecken (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Josselin Thuilliez (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne); Marie-Anne Valfort (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: We examine the middle-run eff ects 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. These countries are those for which pre-campaign educational resources are the highest. Moreover, although by and large positive, we nd 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 eff orts.
    Keywords: Malaria, Sub-Saharan Africa, Education, Quasi-experimental
    Date: 2014–01–06
  8. By: Bundervoet, Tom
    Abstract: Following a decade-and-a-half stall, fertility in Rwanda dropped sharply between 2005 and 2010. Using a hierarchical age-period-cohort model, this paper finds that the drop in fertility is largely driven by cohort effects, with younger cohorts having substantially fewer children than older cohorts observed at the same age. An Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition is applied on two successive rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey. The findings show that improved female education levels account for the largest part of the fertility decline, with improving household living standards and the progressive move toward non-agricultural employment being important secondary drivers. The drop in fertility has been particularly salient for the younger cohorts, for whom the fertility decline can be fully explained by changes in underlying determinants, most notably the large increase in educational attainment between 2005 and 2010.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Youth and Governance,Adolescent Health,Population&Development,Reproductive Health
    Date: 2014–01–01
  9. By: Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury
    Abstract: Using a primary school curricular standard basic mathematics competence test, this paper documents the low level of student achievement amongst 10-18 year old rural children in Bangladesh and tests the extent to which years spent in school increases learning. Our sample includes children currently enrolled in school as well as those out of school. About half of the children failed to pass the written competence test, a finding that also holds for those completing primary schooling. Even after holding constant a wide range of factors such as household income, parental characteristics, current enrollment status, and a direct measure of child ability, there remains a statistically significant correlation between schooling attained and basic mathematics competence above and beyond primary school completion. This pattern is more pronounced for girls who have lower competence compared to boys despite higher grade completion. We further show that the schooling-learning gradient and the gender gap therein are not explained by common differences in family background. Aggregate institutional indicators of school quality matters for overall learning outcomes, however, does not mitigate against the gender gap. These findings have wide implications for anti-poverty policies that emphasize on quantitative expansion of education in developing countries, without concurrent improvements in learning.
    Keywords: Cognitive ability; gender inequality; school quality
    JEL: I21 Z12 O12 O15
    Date: 2013–12
  10. By: Guilhem Cassan (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: We use a unique natural experiment in order to assess the impact of positive discrimination in India on targeted groups' educational attainment. We take advantage of the harmonization of the Scheduled Castes lists within the Indian states taking place in 1976 to measure the increase of the educational attainment of the new beneciaries. We show that this policy had heterogenous eects across genders, with males beneting from the SC status and females remaining essentially unaected. We show that this translated into a dierential increase in literacy and numeracy, and propose a novel method to measure the latter.
    Keywords: scheduled caste, quota, positive discrimination, gender
    JEL: I24 O15 H41
    Date: 2014–01
  11. By: Panda, P.; Chakraborty, A.; Dror, D.M.; Bedi, A.S.
    Abstract: This paper assesses insurance uptake in three community based health insurance (CBHI) schemes located in rural parts of two of India’s poorest states and offered through women’s self-help groups (SHGs). We examine what drives uptake, the degree of inclusive practices of the schemes, and the influence of health status on enrollment. The most important finding is that a household’s socio-economic status does not appear to substantially inhibit uptake. In some cases Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) households are more likely to enroll. Second, households with greater financial liabilities find insurance more attractive. Third, access to the hospital insurance scheme (RSBY) does not dampen CBHI uptake, suggesting that the potential for greater development of insurance markets and products beyond existing ones would respond to a need. Fourth, recent episodes of illness and selfassessed health status do not influence uptake. Fifth, insurance coverage is prioritized within households, with the household head, the spouse of the household head and both male and female children of the household head, more likely to be insured as compared to other relatives. Sixth, offering insurance through women’s SHGs appears to mitigate concerns about the inclusiveness and sustainability of CBHI schemes. Given the pan-Indian spread of SHGs, offering insurance through such groups offers the potential to scale-up CBHI.
    Keywords: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, community-based health insurance, enrollment, health microinsurance, rural India, self-help groups
    Date: 2013–03–30
  12. By: Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes
    Abstract: The Millennium Villages Project is a high profile, multi-country development project that has aimed to serve as a model for ending rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The project became the subject of controversy when the methodological basis of early claims of success was questioned. The lively ensuing debate offers lessons on three recent mini-revolutions that have swept the field of development economics: the rising standards of evidence for measuring impact, the “open data” movement, and the growing role of the blogosphere in research debates. In this paper, Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demombynes discuss how a new transparency is changing the debate about what works.
    Keywords: Millennium Villages Project, impact evaluation, transparency, open data
    JEL: F35 O12 O22
    Date: 2013–09
  13. By: Chung Wing Tse, Jianwen Wei, Yihan Wang
    Abstract: Social capital can help reduce adverse shocks by facilitating access to transfers and remittances.This study examines how various measures of social capital are associated with disaster recovery after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. We find that households having a larger Spring Festival network in 2008 do better in housing reconstruction. A larger network significantly increases the amount of government aid received for housing reconstruction. Furthermore, households having larger networks receive monetary and material support from more people, which also explains the positive impacts on recovery from the earthquake. As for other measures of social capital, connections with government officials and communist party membership do not significantly contribute to disaster recovery. Human capital, measured by the years of schooling of household head, is not positively correlated with housing reconstruction.
    Keywords: natural disasters, social capital, Sichuan
    JEL: Q54 H84
    Date: 2013–09
  14. By: Peter Edward, Andy Sumner
    Abstract: The interplay of between- and within-country inequality, the relative contribution of each to overall global inequality, and the implications this has for who benefits from recent global growth (and by how much), has become a significant avenue for economic research. However, drawing conclusions from the commonly used aggregate inequality indices such as the Gini and Theil makes it difficult to take a nuanced view of how global growth interacts with changing national and international inequality. In light of this we propose and justify an alternative approach based on four consumption “layers” identified by reference to the global consumption distribution.We consider how each layer of global society has fared since the end of the Cold War.
    Keywords: poverty, inequality, economic development
    JEL: D63 I32
    Date: 2013–09
  15. By: Mebratie, A.D.; Van de Poel, E.; Debebe, Z.Y.; Abebaw Ejigie, D.; Alemu, G.; Bedi, A.S.
    Abstract: Between 2000 and 2011, Ethiopia rapidly expanded its health-care infrastructure recording an 18-fold increase in the number of health posts and a 7-fold increase in the number of health centers. However, annual per capita outpatient utilization has increased only marginally. The extent to which individuals forego necessary health care, especially why and who foregoes care are issues that have received little attention in the context of low-income countries. This paper uses five clinical vignettes covering a range of context-specific child and adult-related diseases to explore the health-seeking behavior of rural Ethiopian households. We find almost universal preference for modern care. There is a systematic relationship between socioeconomic status and choice of providers mainly for adult-related conditions with households in higher consumption quintiles more likely to seek care in health centers, private/NGO clinics as opposed to health posts. Similarly, delays in care-seeking behavior are apparent mainly for adult-related conditions. The differences in care seeking behavior between adult and child related conditions may be attributed to the recent spread of health posts which have focused on raising awareness of maternal and child health. Overall, the analysis suggests that the lack of health-care utilization is not driven by the inability to recognize health problems or due to a low perceived need for modern care but due to other factors.
    Keywords: Ethiopia, clinical vignettes, foregone care, health care seeking behavior
    Date: 2013–02–04
  16. By: Christophe Nordman (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL); Julia Vaillant (World Bank, Université Paris Dauphine, LEDa UMR 225 DIAL, IRD)
    Abstract: (english) We use a representative sample of informal entrepreneurs in Madagascar to add new evidence on the magnitude of the gender performance gap. After controlling for business and entrepreneur characteristics, female-owned businesses exhibit a value added 28 percent lower than their male counterparts. Correcting for endogenous selection into informal self-employment raises the gap by 5 percentage points. We then investigate the role of sharing norms and gender-differentiated allocation of time within the household in the gender performance gap, by estimating their effect on the technical inefficiency of female and male entrepreneurs. Only male entrepreneurs seem subject to pressure to redistribute from the distant network. Our findings are consistent with situations where women working at home would essentially feel negatively the burden of their own community due to intense social norms and obligations in their workplace but also of domestic chores and responsibilities. We find evidence of females self-selecting themselves into industries in which they can combine marketoriented and domestic activities._________________________________ (français) Nous utilisons un échantillon représentatif d’entrepreneurs informels à Antananarivo, Madagascar, pour mesurer et expliquer l'existence d'un écart de performance entre les unités de production informelles dirigées par des hommes et celles dirigées par des femmes. Une fois pris en compte les niveaux des facteurs de production, de capital humain, le secteur d'activité, l'année et la sélection endogène dans l'entreprenariat, l'écart de valeur ajoutée entre les entreprises féminines et masculines est d’environ 33%, au détriment des femmes. Nous étudions ensuite l’impact différencié des normes de partages au sein de la communauté et de la répartition des tâches au sein du ménage sur la capacité des hommes et des femmes entrepreneurs à atteindre leur frontière de production. Notre analyse suggère que seuls les entrepreneurs masculins sont sujets à la pression à la redistribution de la part du réseau distant. Pour les femmes, opérer une activité à domicile n’est pas un handicap en soi, mais cela agit plutôt comme un vecteur de transmission des effets négatifs des normes sociales et de répartition des tâches sur la gestion de l’entreprise. Nos résultats sont compatibles avec des situations dans lesquelles les femmes entrepreneures opérant une activité à domicile ressentiraient davantage le poids de leur propre communauté, sans doute à cause de normes de solidarité contraignantes, mais aussi à cause de leurs responsabilités domestiques.
    Keywords: Gender, entrepreneurship, informal sector, sharing norms, household composition, Madagascar, Genre, entreprenariat, secteur informel, normes de partage, allocation du temps au sein des ménages.
    JEL: D13 D61 O12 J16
    Date: 2013–10
  17. By: John D. Huber; Laura Mayoral
    Abstract: Although economic inequality has long been viewed as a cause of civil conflict, existing research has not found robust empirical support for this relationship. This study explores the connections between inequality and civil conflict by focusing on the mediating role of ethnic identity. Using over 200 individual-level surveys from 89 countries, we provide a new data set with country- and group-level measures of inequality within and across ethnic groups. We then show that consistent with Esteban and Ray’s (2011) argument about the need for labor and capital to fight civil wars, at both the country and group level, there is a strong positive association between within-group inequality and civil conflict. We do not, however, find support for previous arguments that inequality across ethnic groups should be associated with the incidence or intensity of civil conflict. By breaking down the measures of inequality into group-level components, the analysis helps explain why it is difficult to identify a relationship between general inequality and conflict. More generally, it highlights the limitations in cross-national research associated with drawing substantive conclusions by relying on measures of overall inequality, like the Gini.
    Keywords: ethnicity, inequality, civil conflict, gini decomposition, within-group inequality, between-group inequality, fractionalization
    JEL: D63 D74 J15 O15
    Date: 2013–10
  18. By: Raza, W.A.; Panda, P.; Van de Poel, E.; Dror, D.M.; Bedi, A.S.
    Abstract: In recent years, supported by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a number of demand-driven community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes have been functioning in rural India. These CBHI schemes may design their benefit packages according to local priorities. In this paper we examine healthcare seeking behavior among self-help group households, with a view to understanding the implications for benefit packages offered by such schemes. This study is based on data from rural locations in two of India’s poorest states.1 We find that the majority of respondents do access some form of care and that there is overwhelming use of private services. Within private services, non-degree allopathic providers (NDAP) also called rural medical practitioners account for a substantial share and the main reason to access such unqualified providers is their proximity. The direct cost of care does not appear to have a bearing on choice of provider. Given the importance of proximity in determining provider choices, several solutions could be foreseen, such as mobile medical tours to villages, and/or that insurance schemes consider coverage of transportation costs and reimbursement of foregone earnings.
    Keywords: Healthcare seeking behavior, Non-degree allopathic providers, Community-based Health Insurance schemes, Self-help group, India
    Date: 2013–12–10
  19. By: Lant Pritchett, Justin Sandefur
    Abstract: In this paper we examine how policymakers and practitioners should interpret the impact evaluation literature when presented with conflicting experimental and non-experimental estimates of the same intervention across varying contexts. We show three things. First, as is well known, non-experimental estimates of a treatment effect comprise a causal treatment effect and a bias term due to endogenous selection into treatment. When non-experimental estimates vary across contexts any claim for external validity of an experimental result must make the assumption that (a) treatment effects are constant across contexts, while (b) selection processes vary across contexts. This assumption is rarely stated or defended in systematic reviews of evidence. Second, as an illustration of these issues, we examine two thoroughly researched literatures in the economics of education—class size effects and gains from private schooling—which provide experimental and non-experimental estimates of causal effects from the same context and across multiple contexts. We show that the range of “true” causal effects in these literatures implies OLS estimates from the right context are, at present, a better guide to policy than experimental estimates from a different context. Third, we show that in important cases in economics, parameter heterogeneity is driven by economy- or institution-wide contextual factors, rather than personal characteristics, making it difficult to overcome external validity concerns through estimation of heterogeneous treatment effects within a single localized sample. We conclude with recommendations for research and policy, including the need to evaluate programs in context, and avoid simple analogies to clinical medicine in which “systematic reviews” attempt to identify best-practices by putting most (or all) weight on the most “rigorous” evidence with no allowance for context.
    Keywords: external validity, treatment effects, policy evaluation, causal inference
    JEL: D04 I2 O2
    Date: 2013–08
  20. By: Christophe Nordman (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL); Laure Pasquier-Doumer (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL)
    Abstract: (english) This paper sheds light on the role of social networks in the dynamics of a West African labour market, i.e. in the transitions from unemployment to employment, from wage employment to self-employment, and from self-employment to wage employment. It investigates the effects of three dimensions of the social network on these transitions: its structure, the strength of ties and the resources embedded in the network. For this purpose, we use a first-hand survey conducted in Ouagadougou on a representative sample of 2000 households. Using event history data and very detailed information on social networks, we estimate proportional hazard models for discrete-time data. We find that social networks have a significant effect on the dynamics of workers in the labour market and that this effect differs depending on the type of transition and the considered dimension of the social network. The network size appears to not matter much in the labour market dynamics. Strong ties however play a stabilizing role by limiting large transitions. Their negative effect on transitions is reinforced when they are combined with high level of resources embedded in the network._________________________________ (français) Dans cet article, nous analysons le rôle des réseaux sociaux dans la dynamique d'un marché du travail en Afrique de l'Ouest, en nous intéressant aux transitions du chômage vers l'emploi, de l'emploi salarié vers l’emploi indépendant et enfin de l’emploi indépendant vers l’emploi salarié. Les données d’une enquête originale que nous utilisons permettent d’appréhender les réseaux sociaux dans trois de leurs dimensions, à savoir sa structure, la force des liens et des ressources intégrées dans le réseau, et d’analyser les effets différenciés de chacune de ces dimensions sur ces transitions. Ces données, collectées à Ouagadougou en 2009, rassemblent les biographies professionnelles de 2000 ménages et sont représentatives à l’échelle de la ville. En nous appuyant sur des modèles de risques proportionnels, nous constatons que les réseaux sociaux ont un effet significatif sur la dynamique des travailleurs et que cet effet diffère selon le type de transition et la dimension considérée du réseau social. La taille du réseau semble joué un rôle mineur au regard des deux autres dimensions. Des liens forts jouent un rôle stabilisateur en limitant les grandes transitions. Leur effet négatif sur les transitions est renforcé quand ces liens forts sont combinés à un niveau élevé de ressources du réseau.
    Keywords: Social Network, Kinship, Labour Market Dynamics, Event History Data, Survival Analysis, Burkina Faso, Réseaux sociaux, parentèle, dynamique du marché du travail, enquête biographique, modèle de durée, Burkina Faso.
    JEL: D13 J24 L14
    Date: 2013–10
  21. By: Shreyasee Das (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater); Abhilasha Singh (Department of Economics, University of Houston)
    Abstract: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of 2005 guarantees adult members of rural households to a minimum of 100 days of employment with certain provisions geared specically towards women. The phase wise rollout of the program allows us to employ a difference-in-differences strategy to examine the effects on children's education. Using two phases of the District Level of Household and Facility Survey, we find no significant impact of the program on children's education. Although our results are not significant, we find consistent negative coefficients on girls' schooling. These results suggest the interplay of two opposing channels. On the one hand, the increase in income due the program could increase children's schooling. On the other hand, the rise in mothers' work and hence, absence from home may have adversely affected children's education, especially for the older children.
    Keywords: NREGA, Employment Guarantee, Children's Education
    JEL: O12 I21 I38
    Date: 2013–12
  22. By: Nguyen, Cuong Viet; Vu, Linh Hoang
    Abstract: Working away from home might bring higher earnings than working near home. However, the absence of parents due to work can have unexpected effects on children. This paper examines the effects of the temporary absence of parents on the well-being of children aged 5–8 years old in Vietnam, using indicators of household poverty, per capita consumption expenditure, and child time allocation. The paper relies on OLS and fixed-effects regression and panel data from the Young Lives surveys in 2007 and 2009. It finds a positive correlation between parental absence and per capita expenditure. Parental absence tends to increase per capita food expenditure instead of per capita non-food expenditure. Regarding the way children spend their time, there are no statistically significant effects of parental absence.
    Keywords: Parental migration, child poverty, remittances, impact evaluation, Vietnam.
    JEL: I3 O15 R23
    Date: 2014–01–10

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NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.