nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2014‒08‒02
eight papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universitiet Utrecht

  1. A Colonial Legacy of African Gender Inequality? Evidence from Christian Kampala, 1895-2011 By Felix Meier zu Selhausen; Jacob Weisdorf
  2. Barriers to Electrification for “Under Grid” Households in Rural Kenya By Kenneth Lee; Eric Brewer; Carson Christiano; Francis Meyo; Edward Miguel; Matthew Podolsky; Javier Rosa; Catherine Wolfram
  3. Our daily bread : what is the evidence on comparing cash versus food transfers? By Gentilini, Ugo
  4. "State History and Economic Development: Evidence from Six Millennia" By Oana Borcan; Ola Olsson; Louis Putterman
  5. The effect of land fragmentation on labor allocation and the economic diversity of farm households: The case of Vietnam By Nguyen, Huy
  6. The Prospects of the Poor: A Set of Poverty Measures Based on the Probability of Remaining Poor (or Not) in Indonesia By Andy Sumner; Arief Anshory Yusuf; Yangki Imade Suara
  7. Does shelter assistance reduce poverty in Afghanistan? By Loschman C.; Parsons C.R.; Siegel M.
  8. Standards of living and health status: the socioeconomic determinants of life expectancy gain in sub-Saharan Africa By Keita, Moussa

  1. By: Felix Meier zu Selhausen; Jacob Weisdorf
    Abstract: The colonial legacy of African underdevelopment is widely debated but hard to document. We use occupational statistics from Protestant marriage registers of historical Kampala to investigate the hypothesis that African gender inequality and female disempowerment are rooted in colonial times. We find that the arrival of Europeans in Uganda ignited a century- long transformation of Kampala involving a gender Kuznets curve. Men rapidly acquired literacy and quickly found their way into white-collar (high-status) employment in the wage economy built by the Europeans. Women took somewhat longer to obtain literacy and considerably longer to enter into white-collar and waged work. This led to increased gender inequality during the first half of the colonial period. But gender inequality gradually declined during the latter half of the colonial era, and after Uganda’s independence in 1962 its level was not significantly different from that of pre-colonial times. Our data support Boserup’s view that gender inequality was rooted in native social norms: daughters of African men who worked in the traditional, informal economy were less well educated, less frequently employed in formal work, and more often subjected to marital gender inequality than daughters of men employed in the modernized, formal economy created by the Europeans.
    Keywords: Africa, Church Books, Colonialism, Development, Female Disempowerment, Gender Discrimination, Gender Inequality, Missionaries, Uganda
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Kenneth Lee; Eric Brewer; Carson Christiano; Francis Meyo; Edward Miguel; Matthew Podolsky; Javier Rosa; Catherine Wolfram
    Abstract: In Sub-Saharan Africa, 600 million people live without electricity. Despite ambitions of governments and donors to invest in rural electrification, decisions about how to extend electricity access are being made in the absence of rigorous evidence. Using a novel dataset of 20,000 geo-tagged structures in rural Western Kenya, we provide descriptive evidence that electrification rates remain very low despite significant investments in grid infrastructure. This pattern holds across time and for both poor and relatively well-off households and businesses. We argue that if governments wish to leverage existing infrastructure and economies of scale, subsidies and new approaches to financing connections are necessary.
    JEL: O18 O55 Q01 Q41
    Date: 2014–07
  3. By: Gentilini, Ugo
    Abstract: This paper reviews key issues in the'cash versus food'debate, including as they relate to political economy, theory, evidence, and practice. In doing so, it benefited from a new generation of 12 impact evaluations deliberately comparing alternative transfer modalities. Findings show that differences in effectiveness vary by indicator, although they tend to be moderate on average. In some cases differences are more marked (i.e., food consumption and calorie availability), but in most instances they are not statistically significant. In general, transfers'performance and their difference seem a function of the organic and fluid interactions among factors like the profile and'initial conditions'of beneficiaries, the capacity of local markets, and program objectives and design. Costs associated with cash transfers and vouchers tend to be substantially lower relative to food. Yet methods for cost-effectiveness analysis vary and need to be more standardized and nuanced. The reviewed evaluations are helping to shift the debate from one shaped by ideology, political economy and'inference'of evidence to one centering on robust and context-specific results.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Safety Nets and Transfers,Rural Poverty Reduction,Nutrition,Food Security
    Date: 2014–07–01
  4. By: Oana Borcan; Ola Olsson; Louis Putterman
    Abstract: All since the rise of the first civilizations, economic development has been closely intertwined with the evolution of states. In this paper, we contribute to the literature on state history and long-run economic development in four ways. First, we extend and complete the state history index from Bockstette, Chanda and Putterman (2002) by coding the experience with states from the first state origins, 3500 BCE, up until 2000 CE. Second, we explore empirically the relationship between time since transition to agriculture and state age, as well as subsequent state history. Our estimated unconditional correlation implies that a 1000 year earlier transition to agriculture is associated with a 470 years earlier emergence of state institutions. We show how this relationship differs between indigenously- and externally- originated states. Third, we show that the relationship between our extended state history index and current levels of economic development has the shape of an inverted u. The results reflect the fact that countries that were home to the oldest states, such as Iraq, Egypt and China, are poorer today than younger inheritors of their civilizations, such as Germany, Denmark and Japan. This pattern was already in place by 1500 CE and is robust to adjusting for migrations during the colonial era. Finally, we demonstrate a very close relationship between state formation and the adoption of writing.
    Keywords: State history, comparative development
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Nguyen, Huy
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impacts of land fragmentation on economic diversity of farm households in Vietnam. To develop the empirical analysis, a model is presented in which the estimated impact of land fragmentation on economic diversification allows for non-neutral technical change. The paper tests the theoretical predictions of this model by providing empirical evidence of the impact of land fragmentation on farm and nonfarm outcomes such as labour supply, profits, labour intensity and productivity. By using different methods aimed at verifying and checking the consistency of the results, we find that land consolidation may reduce farm labour supply, labour intensity, and improve farm profits and productivity. Similarly, it may release more farm labour to nonfarm sectors and increase nonfarm profits. The empirical results show that factor-biased technical change plays an important role in explaining the impact of agricultural technical change on economic diversification in Vietnam.
    Keywords: Agricultural technical change, land fragmentation, land consolidation, labour allocation, and elasticity of substitution, nonfarm sectors, and economic diversification
    JEL: D13 J22 O3 Q18
    Date: 2014–07–23
  6. By: Andy Sumner (King's International Development Institute, King's College London); Arief Anshory Yusuf (Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University); Yangki Imade Suara (Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University)
    Abstract: This paper proposes and operationalizes an approach to measuring poverty based on the probability of remaining poor or not. The paper does the following: we review the global and Indonesia literature on poverty dynamics; we propose a set of poverty lines based on the prospects for the poor using the Indonesian Family Life Survey for 2000–2007; we discuss determinants of poverty at the various poverty lines and consider the poverty probability trends in Indonesia for the period 2000–2013 using the national socio-economic survey, the Susenas.
    Keywords: Poverty
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2014–07
  7. By: Loschman C.; Parsons C.R.; Siegel M. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: Forced migration, often resulting from violent conflict, imposes large economic costs on both sending and receiving countries, on those agencies that coordinate humanitarian services and most importantly upon the forced migrants themselves. Programmes encouraging the return of refugees are therefore potentially crucial interventions, which can result in all parties benefiting. In this paper, we assess the UNHCR post-return shelter assistance programme in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2011, the country most affected by refugee movements, where no less than one-third of the population is a returnee. Given the infeasibility of randomizing shelter assistance to those repatriated, we implement a variety of matching techniques to insulate our results from selection biases. Adopting a multidimensional approach, our results show that shelter assistance reduces multidimensional poverty by around six percentage points. This reduction in poverty is driven by particular indicators of deprivation including dietary diversity, food security and heating, all of which are shown to fall by five to six percent depending on the matching specification. The former results are particularly encouraging in the context of Afghanistan given the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in the country.
    Keywords: International Migration; Measurement and Analysis of Poverty;
    JEL: F22 I32
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Keita, Moussa
    Abstract: Using a panel dataset on 45 sub-Saharan Africa countries (SSA), this study analyzes empirically the socioeconomic determinants of life expectancy gain (considered as an indicator of global health improvement at country level). In order to treat heterogeneity and endogeneity concerns, we use multiple estimation methods including pooling, fixed-effect, long difference and system GMM. Our analyses show that income is critical for health enhancement. Particularly, we find that GDP per capita is strongly and positively correlated with life expectancy gain. Furthermore, variables such as adult literacy, access to improved sanitation and safe water appear positively correlated health gain. In contrast the high incidence of extreme poverty is negatively correlated with heath gain while the impact of income inequality seems ambiguous.
    Keywords: Standards of living, health, life expectancy at birth
    JEL: C12 C51 I11 I12
    Date: 2013–06

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