nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2014‒10‒13
five papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universitiet Utrecht

  1. Interactions among donors'aid allocations : evidence from an exogenous World Bank income threshold By Knack, Stephen; Xu, Lixin Colin; Zou, Ben
  2. Food Security and Agriculture in Developing Countries: Measurement and hypotheses for impact evaluations. FOODSECURE working paper no. 21 By Olivia Bertelli; Karen Macours
  3. Updating poverty estimates at frequent intervals in the absence of consumption data : methods and illustration with reference to a middle-income country By Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Lanjouw, Peter F.; Serajuddin, Umar
  4. Agricultural Trade Policies and Food Security: Is there a Causal Relationship? By Emiliano Magrini; Pierluigi Montalbano; Silvia Nenci; Luca Salvatici
  5. Caught between necessity and feasibility By Bedi, A.S.; Pellegrini, L.; Tasciotti, L.

  1. By: Knack, Stephen; Xu, Lixin Colin; Zou, Ben
    Abstract: This study investigates the effects of the World Bank's exogenously-determined income threshold for eligibility for concessionary International Development Association (IDA) loans on the allocations of bilateral donors. The donors might interpret the World Bank's policies and allocations across recipients as informative signals of where their own aid might be used most effectively. Alternatively, other donors might compensate for reduced IDA allocations by increasing their own aid. This paper shows that the signaling effect dominates any crowding out effects. The analysis uses panel data with country fixed effects and finds that aid from the bilateral donor countries is significantly reduced after countries cross the IDA income cutoff, controlling for other determinants of aid. Allocations by other donors are not sensitive to actual IDA disbursements, only to the IDA income threshold. Because crossing the income cutoff for eligibility significantly reduces aid levels from other donors as well as from the World Bank, government officials in recipient countries may have an incentive to manipulate their national accounts data to understate per capita income when it is near the IDA threshold. However, tests for"bunching"of observations just below the income threshold find no evidence to support data manipulation concerns. These findings suggest that graduation from IDA should be an even more gradual process than it already is, to dampen the sharp drops in aid experienced by countries after crossing an arbitrary income threshold.
    Keywords: Gender and Health,Rural Microfinance and SMEs,Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness,Disability,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2014–09–01
  2. By: Olivia Bertelli; Karen Macours
    Abstract: This paper reviews the challenges related to establishing credible causal links between particular interventions and aggregate food security. A first set of challenges result from the lack of a common measurement of food security, with a multitude of indicators and definitions being used in different studies, making comparisons and broader inferences particularly hard. We discuss various measures and the existing evidence on their validity. We also line out a possible approach to validating some of the multi-dimensional measures in a more comprehensive way. A second set of challenges comes from the need to have credible exogenous variation in order to establish a causal relationship between an intervention and resulting food security outcomes. We review the literature and conclude that the literature to date leaves many open questions regarding the type of interventions that might be most effective to increase food security. This is due in part to the multitude of approaches to measurement of food security, and in part due to methodological concerns that limit causal inference in many of the existing studies. Likely, the optimal policy will also be strongly context-specific, and understanding the sensitivity of impacts to contextual changes hence is equally important.
    JEL: Q18
  3. By: Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Lanjouw, Peter F.; Serajuddin, Umar
    Abstract: Obtaining consistent estimates on poverty over time as well as monitoring poverty trends on a timely basis is a priority concern for policy makers. However, these objectives are not readily achieved in practice when household consumption data are neither frequently collected, nor constructed using consistent and transparent criteria. This paper develops a formal framework for survey-to-survey poverty imputation in an attempt to overcome these obstacles, and to elevate the discussion of these methods beyond the largely ad-hoc efforts in the existing literature. The framework introduced here imposes few restrictive assumptions, works with simple variance formulas, provides guidance on the selection of control variables for model building, and can be generally applied to imputation either from one survey to another survey with the same design, or to another survey with a different design. Empirical results analyzing the Household Expenditure and Income Survey and the Unemployment and Employment Survey in Jordan are quite encouraging, with imputation-based poverty estimates closely tracking the direct estimates of poverty.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Statistical&Mathematical Sciences,Achieving Shared Growth,E-Business
    Date: 2014–09–01
  4. By: Emiliano Magrini (Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy); Pierluigi Montalbano (Sapienza, University of Rome); Silvia Nenci (University of Rome 3); Luca Salvatici (University of Rome 3)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to assess the causal impact of trade policy distortions on food security. The added value of this work is twofold: i) its use of a non-parametric matching technique with continuous treatment, namely the Generalised Propensity Score (GPS) to address the self selection bias; ii) its analysis of heterogeneity in treatment (by commodities) as well as in outcome (i.e. different dimensions of food security). The results of our estimates clearly show that trade policy distortions are, overall, significantly correlated with the various dimensions of food security analysed. Both discrimination against agriculture and 'excessive' support lead to poor performances in all dimensions of food security (availability, access, utilisation and stability).
    Keywords: Food security, International trade, Trade measures, Impact evaluation, GPS.
    JEL: C21 F14 Q17
    Date: 2014–09
  5. By: Bedi, A.S.; Pellegrini, L.; Tasciotti, L.
    Abstract: Dependence on biomass, especially wood, to meet domestic energy needs raises several socio-environmental concerns. In contrast, cattle manure, which may be used to generate biogas, is considered a cleaner and cheaper source of energy. Despite the existence of several initiatives to promote biogas, systematic analyses of the effects of such initiatives are limited. This paper provides such an analysis. We use data from rural Rwanda to examine the effects of access to bio digesters on energy-related expenditures and consumption of traditional fuels. We find that participation in Rwanda’s National Domestic Biogas Programme leads to substantial reductions in firewood use and yields large savings. However, a cost-benefit analysis reveals that the attractiveness of participating in the biogas programme is hampered by a long payback period.
    Keywords: Energy policy, renewable energy, biogas, Rwanda
    Date: 2014–07–30

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