nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2014‒09‒29
six papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universitiet Utrecht

  1. SME finance in Africa By Beck, Thorsten; Cull, Robert
  2. Public goods and ethnic diversity: evidence from deforestation in Indonesia By Alberto Alesina; Caterina Gennaioli; Stefania Lovo
  3. Infrastructure gap in South Asia : inequality of access to infrastructure services By Biller, Dan; Andres, Luis; Dappe, Matias Herrera
  4. Cost-effectiveness measurement in development : accounting for local costs and noisy impacts By Evans, David K.; Popova, Anna
  5. Rural poverty, vulnerability and food insecurity: The case of Bolivia By Victor Oviedo Treiber
  6. Estimating the impact of Mexican drug cartels on crime By Roxana Gutierrez-Romero; Alessandra Conte

  1. By: Beck, Thorsten; Cull, Robert
    Abstract: This paper uses cross-country firm-level surveys to gauge access to financial services and the importance of financing constraints for African enterprises. The paper compares access to finance in Africa and other developing regions of the world, within Africa across countries, and across different groups of firms. It relates firms'access to finance to firm and banking system characteristics and discusses policy challenges.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,Banks&Banking Reform,Debt Markets,Bankruptcy and Resolution of Financial Distress,Microfinance
    Date: 2014–09–01
  2. By: Alberto Alesina; Caterina Gennaioli; Stefania Lovo
    Abstract: We show that the level of deforestation in Indonesia is positively correlated with the degree of ethnic fractionalization of the communities. We explore several channels that may link the two variables. They include the negative effect of ethnic fractionalization on the ability to coordinate and organize resistance against logging companies and a higher level of corruption of politicians less controlled in more fragmented communities.
    Date: 2014–09
  3. By: Biller, Dan; Andres, Luis; Dappe, Matias Herrera
    Abstract: The South Asia region is home to the largest pool of individuals living under the poverty line, coupled with a fast-growing population. The importance of access to basic infrastructure services on welfare and the quality of life is clear. Yet the South Asia region's rates of access to infrastructure (sanitation, electricity, telecom, and transport) are closer to those of Sub-Saharan Africa, the one exception being water, where the South Asia region is comparable to East Asia and the pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. The challenge of increasing access to these services across the South Asia region is compounded by the unequal distribution of existing access for households. This study improves understanding of this inequality by evaluating access across the region's physical (location), poverty, and income considerations. The paper also analyzes inequality of access across time, that is, across generations. It finds that while the regressivity of infrastructure services is clearly present in South Asia, the story that emerges is heterogeneous and complex. There is no simple explanation for these inequalities, although certainly geography matters, some household characteristics matter (like living in a rural area with a head of household who lacks education), and policy intent matters. If a poorer country or a poorer state can have better access to a given infrastructure service than in a richer country or a richer state, then there is hope that policy makers can adopt measures that will improve access in a manner in which prosperity is more widely shared.
    Keywords: Regional Economic Development,Transport Economics Policy&Planning,Urban Slums Upgrading,Urban Services to the Poor,Rural Poverty Reduction
    Date: 2014–09–01
  4. By: Evans, David K.; Popova, Anna
    Abstract: As evidence from rigorous impact evaluations grows in development, there have been more calls to complement impact evaluation analysis with cost analysis, so that policy makers can make investment decisions based on costs as well as impacts. This paper discusses important considerations for implementing cost-effectiveness analysis in the policy making process. The analysis is applied in the context of education interventions, although the findings generalize to other areas. First, the paper demonstrates a systematic method for characterizing the sensitivity of impact estimates. Second, the concept of context-specificity is applied to cost measurement: program costs vary greatly across contexts -- both within and across countries -- and with program complexity. The paper shows how adapting a single cost ingredient across settings dramatically shifts cost-effectiveness measures. Third, the paper provides evidence that interventions with fewer beneficiaries tend to have higher per-beneficiary costs, resulting in potential cost overestimates when extrapolating to large-scale applications. At the same time, recall bias may result in cost underestimates. The paper also discusses other challenges in measuring and extrapolating cost-effectiveness measures. For cost-effectiveness analysis to be useful, policy makers will require detailed, comparable, and timely cost reporting, as well as significant effort to ensure costs are relevant to the local environment.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Public Sector Expenditure Policy,Transport Economics Policy&Planning
    Date: 2014–09–01
  5. By: Victor Oviedo Treiber
    Abstract: Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. This study analyzes whether rural poverty increases the incidence of food insecurity and whether food insecurity perpetuates the condition of poverty among the rural poor in Bolivia. In order to achieve this aim, the risks that households face and the capacity of households to implement coping strategies in order to mitigate vulnerability shocks are identified. We suggest that efforts by households to become food secure may be difficult in rural areas because of poverty and the vulnerability associated with a lack of physical assets, low levels of human capital, poor infrastructure, and poor health; as well as the precarious regional environment aggravating the severity of vulnerability to food insecurity.
    Keywords: Bolivian economy, rural poverty, food insecurity, poverty alleviation policies
    JEL: O2 O5 I3
    Date: 2014–09
  6. By: Roxana Gutierrez-Romero (Departament d’Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonama de Barcelona); Alessandra Conte (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of drug cartels and drug-related homicides on crime and security perceptions in Mexico. For this purpose, we combine surveys on crime victimization with indicators of where drug cartels operate with and without drug-related homicides. Using the difference-in-difference estimator, we find that people living in areas that experienced drug-related homicides are more likely to take extra precautions to guard their security, yet these areas also more likely to experience some crimes, particularly thefts and extortions. In contrast, these crimes and perceptions of unsafety do not change in areas where cartels operate without leading to drug-related homicides.
    Keywords: Crime, difference-in-difference, instrumental variables, Mexico
    JEL: K49 O17 R59 C26
    Date: 2014–09

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