nep-dev New Economics Papers
on All new papers
Issue of 2014‒09‒08
twelve papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universitiet Utrecht

  1. Health information, treatment, and worker productivity: Experimental evidence from malaria testing and treatment among Nigerian sugarcane cutters By Andrew Dillon; Jed Friedman; Pieter Serneels
  2. Understanding the agricultural input landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa : recent plot, household, and community-level evidence By Sheahan, Megan; Barrett, Christopher B.
  3. Africa is on time By Pinkovskiy, Maxim L.; Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X.
  4. Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? School Enrollment, Graduation, and Dropout Rates in Latin America By Marina Bassi; Matias Busso; Juan Sebastian Munoz
  5. Does Technology in Schools Affect Repetition, Dropout and Enrollment? Evidence from Peru By Julian Cristia; Alejo Czerwonko; Pablo Garofalo
  6. To work or not to work? : Factors holding women back from market work in Sri Lanka By Gunatilaka, Ramani
  7. Aid, Infrastructure, and FDI: Assessing the Transmission Channel with a New Index of Infrastructure By Julian Donaubauer; Birgit Meyer; Peter Nunnenkamp
  8. Impact Evaluation of Innovation and Linkage Development Programs in Costa Rica: The Cases of PROPYME and CR Provee By Ricardo Monge-Gonzalez; Juan Antonio Rodriguez-Alvarez
  9. Female labour force participation in Bangladesh : trends, drivers and barriers By Rahman, Rushidan I; Islam, Rizwanul
  10. Livestock as an Imperfect Buffer Stock in Poorly Integrated Markets By Simon Lange; Malte Reimers
  11. Information is power : experimental evidence on the long-run impact of community based monitoring By Nyqvist, Martina Bjorkman; de Walque, Damien; Svensson, Jakob
  12. Dynamic and Long-term Linkages among Growth, Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries By Katsushi S. Imai; Raghav Gaiha

  1. By: Andrew Dillon (Michigan State University); Jed Friedman (World Bank); Pieter Serneels (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: Agricultural and other physically demanding sectors are important sources of growth in developing countries but prevalent diseases such as malaria adversely impact the productivity, labor supply, and occupational choice of workers in these sectors by reducing physical capacity. This study identifies the impact of malaria on worker earnings, labor supply, and daily productivity by randomizing the temporal order at which piece-rate workers at a large sugarcane plantation in Nigeria are offered malaria testing and treatment. The results indicate a significant and substantial intent to treat effect of the intervention – the offer of a workplace based malaria testing and treatment program increases worker earnings by approximately 10% over the weeks following the mobile clinic visit. The study further investigates the effect of health information by contrasting program effects by workers revealed health status. For workers who test positive for malaria, the treatment of illness increases labor supply, leading to higher earnings. For workers who test negative, and especially for those workers most likely to be surprised by the healthy diagnosis, the health information also leads to increased earnings via increased productivity. Possible mechanisms for this response include selection into higher return occupations as a result of changes in the perceived cost of effort. A model of the worker labor decision that includes health perceptions in the decision to supply effort suggests that, in endemic settings with poor quality health services, inaccurate health perceptions may lead workers to misallocate labor thus resulting in sub-optimal production and occupational choice. The results underline the importance of medical treatment but also of access to improved information about one’s health status, as the absence of either may lead workers to deliver lower than optimal effort levels in lower return occupations.
    Keywords: malaria, labor supply, labor productivity, randomized experiment
    JEL: I21 J22 J24 O12
  2. By: Sheahan, Megan; Barrett, Christopher B.
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom holds that Sub-Saharan African farmers use few modern inputs despite the fact that most growth-inducing and poverty-reducing agricultural growth in the region is expected to come largely from expanded use of inputs that embody improved technologies, particularly improved seed, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. Yet following several years of high food prices, concerted policy efforts to intensify fertilizer and hybrid seed use, and increased public and private investment in agriculture, how low is modern input use in Africa really? This paper revisits Africa's agricultural input landscape, exploiting the unique, recently collected, nationally representative, agriculturally intensive, and cross-country comparable Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture covering six countries in the region (Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda). The study uses data from more than 22,000 households and 62,000 plots to investigate a range of commonly held conceptions about modern input use in Africa, distilling the most striking and important findings into 10 key takeaway descriptive results.
    Keywords: Crops and Crop Management Systems,Climate Change and Agriculture,Fertilizers,Regional Economic Development,Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems
    Date: 2014–08–01
  3. By: Pinkovskiy, Maxim L. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York); Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X.
    Abstract: We present evidence that the recent African growth renaissance has reached Africa’s poor. Using survey data on African income distributions and national accounts GDP, we estimate income distributions, poverty rates, and inequality indices for African countries for the period 1990-2011. Our findings are as follows. First, African poverty is falling rapidly. Second, the African countries for which good inequality data exist are set to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) poverty reduction target on time. The entire continent except for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will reach the MDG in 2014, one year in advance of the deadline, and adding the DRC will delay the MDG until 2018. Third, the growth spurt that began in 1995, if anything, decreased African income inequality instead of increasing it. And fourth, African poverty reduction is remarkably general: It cannot be explained by a large country or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic. All classes of countries, including those with disadvantageous geography and history, experienced reductions in poverty. In particular, poverty fell for both landlocked as well as coastal countries; for mineral-rich as well as mineral-poor countries; for countries with favorable or unfavorable agriculture; for countries regardless of colonial origin; and for countries with below- or above-median slave exports per capita during the African slave trade.
    Keywords: poverty; Africa
    JEL: I32 O15
    Date: 2014–08–01
  4. By: Marina Bassi; Matias Busso; Juan Sebastian Munoz
    Abstract: This paper uses 113 household surveys from 18 Latin American countries to document patterns in secondary school graduation rates over the period 1990– 2010. It is found that enrollment and graduation rates increased dramatically during that period, while dropout rates decreased. Two explanations for these patterns are provided. First, countries implemented changes on the supply side to increase access, by increasing the resources allocated to education and designing policies to help students staying in school. At the same time, economic incentives to stay in school changed, since returns to secondary education increased over the 1990s. Despite this progress, graduation rates are low, and there persist remarkable gaps in educational outcomes in terms of gender, income quintiles, and regions within countries. In addition, wage returns have recently stagnated, and the quality of education in the region is low, casting doubts on whether the positive trend is sustainable in the medium term.
    Date: 2013–10
  5. By: Julian Cristia; Alejo Czerwonko; Pablo Garofalo
    Abstract: Many developing countries are allocating significant resources to expanding technology access in schools. Whether these investments will translate into measurable educational improvements remains an open question because of the limited evidence available. This paper contributes to filling that gap by exploiting a large-scale public program that increased computer and Internet access in secondary public schools in Peru. Rich longitudinal school-level data from 2001 to 2006 are used to implement a differences-in-differences framework. Results indicate no statistically significant effects of increasing technology access in schools on repetition, dropout and initial enrollment. Large sample sizes allow ruling out even modest effects.
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2014–01
  6. By: Gunatilaka, Ramani
    Abstract: The study finds important differences in the factors that enable or constrain women from participating in the labour market. The econometric analysis confirms the importance of better education for female labour force participation. The critical stage in the education cycle for participation is secondary education, beyond which the likelihood of participation rises. In terms of policy, the findings suggest that investment in skills training beyond secondary education is critical. The empirical results also highlight the importance of cultural and household-based constraints, particularly to married women’s participation in the work force.
    Keywords: women workers, labour force participation, employment opportunity, Sri Lanka, travailleuses, taux d'activité, possibilités d'emploi, Sri Lanka, trabajadoras, tasa de actividad de mano de obra, oportunidades de empleo, Sri Lanka
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Julian Donaubauer; Birgit Meyer; Peter Nunnenkamp
    Abstract: We raise the hypothesis that aid specifically targeted at economic infrastructure helps developing countries attract higher FDI inflows through improving their endowment with infrastructure in transportation, communication, energy and finance. By performing 3SLS estimations we explicitly account for dependencies between three structural equations on the allocation of sector-specific aid, the determinants of infrastructure, and the determinants of FDI. We find fairly strong and robust evidence that targeted aid promotes FDI indirectly through the infrastructure channel. In addition, aid in infrastructure appears to have surprisingly strong direct effects on FDI
    Keywords: aid effectiveness, sector-specific aid, foreign direct investment, infrastructure
    JEL: F21 F35 O18
    Date: 2014–08
  8. By: Ricardo Monge-Gonzalez; Juan Antonio Rodriguez-Alvarez
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of two productive development programs (PDPs) in Costa Rica: PROPYME and CR Provee. The first seeks to increase the capacity of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) to innovate, and the second aims to increase backward linkages between Costa Rican SMEs and multinational companies operating in the country. The impacts of each program were measured in terms of three result variables: real average wages, employment demand, and the probability of exporting. A combination of fixed effects and propensity score matching techniques was used in estimations to correct for any selection bias. The results show that both PROPYME and CR Provee have positive and significant impacts on SME performance. PROPYME’s beneficiaries performed better than other firms in terms of labor demand and their probability of exporting, while firms treated by CR Provee showed higher average wages, labor demand, and chances of exporting than untreated firms. Firms treated simultaneously by both programs performed better in terms of average wages than those that were only treated by CR Provee. This result is of special interest to policymakers since it indicates the importance of bundling in the implementation of PDPs. The findings suggest that policies aimed at overcoming the weaknesses of these two programs are important for obtaining higher real wages, generating more employment, and increasing the probability of exporting by Costa Rican SMEs.
    JEL: C21 C23 D04 D22 F23 J23 O12 O25 O31 O38 O54
    Date: 2013–12
  9. By: Rahman, Rushidan I; Islam, Rizwanul
    Abstract: In contrast to the stylized implications of the U-shaped hypothesis, there has been an increase in female labour force participation in Bangladesh, alongside the acceleration in economic growth since the 1990s. In this regard, Bangladesh has witnessed a substantial increase in female employment in labour- intensive export-oriented industries in urban areas. The study also finds that the rapid expansion of micro-finance in rural areas has supported women’s employment. However, the economy in general and women’s employment in urban areas in particular seem to be too dependent on a single industry. Moreover, issues relating to the level of and gender differential in wages, and other aspects of compliance with labour standards remain. Empirical analysis carried out in the present study indicate that further progress is needed in improving women’s access to education and skill training, productive assets like land and credit beyond microcredit, and services of various government institutions. Improvement is also needed in the social norms and environment that often act as barriers to women’s employment.
    Keywords: women workers, labour force participation, employment, Bangladesh, travailleuses, taux d'activité, emploi, Bangladesh, trabajadoras, tasa de actividad de mano de obra, empleo, Bangladesh
    Date: 2013
  10. By: Simon Lange (Georg-August-University Göttingen); Malte Reimers (Georg-August-University Göttingen)
    Abstract: Livestock holdings in rural areas of the West African Semi-arid Tropics (WASAT) are often substantial yet there is little evidence for precautionary saving in the form of livestock out of transitory income. The present paper re-visits farm households’ ability to smooth consumption ex post via savings in the form of livestock. Exploiting two comprehensive panel datasets covering Burkina Faso’s 2004 drought, we find that livestock sales increase significantly in response to drought. Consistent with consumption smoothing, the motive frequently cited by households for these extra sales is the need to finance food consumption. Using deviations in rainfall to extract the transitory component of crop profit, we find evidence that shocks are nevertheless to a large extent passed on to consumption expenditure. In line with the literature, our results suggest that some consumption smoothing is achieved via adjustments to grain stocks while households apparently fail to smooth consumption by adjusting livestock holdings. We argue that this seemingly contradictory finding is largely due to a decrease in relative livestock prices during droughts. This suggests that selling livestock is a costly coping strategy which may be the reason that households rely on it only to a limited extent.
    Keywords: precautionary saving; livestock; risk and coping strategies; price risk; Africa; WASAT
    JEL: D14 D91 O16 Q12
    Date: 2014–08–20
  11. By: Nyqvist, Martina Bjorkman; de Walque, Damien; Svensson, Jakob
    Abstract: This paper presents the results of two field experiments on local accountability in primary health care in Uganda. Efforts to stimulate beneficiary control, coupled with the provision of report cards on staff performance, resulted in significant improvements in health care delivery and health outcomes in both the short and the longer run. Efforts to stimulate beneficiary control without providing information on performance had no impact on quality of care or health outcomes. The paper shows that informed users are more likely to identify and challenge (mis)behavior by providers and as a result turn their focus to issues that they can manage locally.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Housing&Human Habitats,Health Systems Development&Reform,Population Policies,Disease Control&Prevention
    Date: 2014–08–01
  12. By: Katsushi S. Imai (School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester (UK ) and RIEB, Kobe University (Japan)); Raghav Gaiha
    Abstract: Drawing upon cross-country panel data for developing countries, the present study sheds new empirical light on dynamic and long-term linkages among growth in agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, inequality and poverty. Agricultural growth is found to be the most important factor in reducing inequality and poverty. The role of agricultural growth in reducing inequality is undermined by ethnic fractionalisation which tends to make inequality more persistent. Our analysis points to a drastic shift away from rural-urban migration and urbanisation as main drivers of growth and elimination of extreme poverty, and towards revival of agriculture in the post-2015 policy discourse.
    Keywords: Inequality, Poverty, Growth, Agriculture, Non-agriculture, MDG
    JEL: C20 I15 I39 O13
    Date: 2014–08

This nep-dev issue is ©2014 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.