nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2014‒12‒24
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universitiet Utrecht

  1. An African Growth Miracle? By Rodrik, Dani
  2. Remittances, informal loans, and assets as risk-coping mechanisms: Evidence from agricultural households in rural Philippines By Marjorie C. Pajaron
  3. Milking the data : measuring income from milk production in extensive livestock systems -- experimental evidence from Niger By Zezza, Alberto; Federighi, Giovanni; Adamou, Kalilou; Hiernaux, Pierre
  4. Teacher Pay and Student Performance: Evidence from the Gambian Hardship Allowance By Pugatch, Todd; Schroeder, Elizabeth
  5. Economy-wide effects of input subsidies in Malawi: Market imperfections and household heterogeneity By Skjeflo , Sofie Waage; Holden , Stein
  6. How far does a big push really push? By Misha, F.A.; Raza, W.A.; Ara, J.; Van de Poel, E.
  7. Preschools and early childhood development in a second best world: Evidence from a scaled-up experiment in Cambodia By Bouguen, Adrien; Filmer, Deon; Macours, Karen; Naudeau, Sophie
  8. Does ethnic diversity decrease economic interactions? Evidence from exchange networks in rural Gambia By Arcand, Jean-Louis; Jaimovich, Dany
  9. Customary Norms, Inheritance, and Human Capital: Evidence from a Reform of the Matrilineal System in Ghana By La Ferrara, Eliana; Milazzo, Annamaria
  10. How significant is Africa's demographic dividend for its future growth and poverty reduction ? By Ahmed, S. Amer; Cruz, Marcio; Go, Delfin S.; Maliszewska, Maryla; Osorio-Rodarte, Israel
  11. The impact of conditional cash transfer programmes on household work decisions in Ghana By Mochiah, Eric Ekobor-Ackah; Osei, Robert Darko; Osei Akoto, Isaac

  1. By: Rodrik, Dani
    Abstract: Africa’s recent growth performance has raised expectations of a bright economic future for the continent after decades of decline. Yet there is a genuine question about whether Africa’s growth can be sustained, and if so, at what level. The balance of the evidence suggests caution on the prospects for high growth. While the region’s fundamentals have improved, the payoffs to macroeconomic stability and improved governance are mainly to foster resilience and lay the groundwork for growth, rather than to generate productivity growth on their own. The traditional engines behind rapid growth, structural change and industrialization, seem to be operating at less than full power. If African countries do achieve growth rates substantially higher, they will have to do so pursuing a growth model that is different from earlier miracles based on industrialization. This might be agriculture-led or services-led growth, but it will look quite different than what we have seen before.
    Keywords: Africa; economic growth
    JEL: O11 O55
    Date: 2014–06
  2. By: Marjorie C. Pajaron (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether agricultural households in rural Philippines insure their consumption and whether they use remittances, informal loans, or assets as ex post risk-coping mechanisms. Since these households have limited access to formal insurance and credit markets, any shocks to their volatile income can have substantial impacts. Using panel data and rainfall shocks as the instrumental variable for income shocks, this paper finds evidence that households depend on their networks of family and friends to partially insure their consumption. 2SLS and OLS estimates show that approximately 27 percent of consumption is insured. International remittances from migrant members replace about 11 percent of income decline while domestic transfers replace about 14 percent. Informal loans, however, decrease as rainfall shocks increase. Borrowers and lenders may be experiencing similar shocks, which would reduce the effectiveness of local risk-sharing arrangements.
    Keywords: Risk-coping, Remittance, Informal loan, Consumption insurance, Rainfall shocks, Philippines
    JEL: O12 Q12 D81 D12 F22 F24
    Date: 2014–12
  3. By: Zezza, Alberto; Federighi, Giovanni; Adamou, Kalilou; Hiernaux, Pierre
    Abstract: Milk is an important source of cash and nutrients for many households in developing countries. Yet, the understanding of the role of dairy production in livelihoods and nutritional outcomes is hindered by the lack of decent quality household survey data. Data on milk off-take for human consumption are difficult to collect in household surveys for several reasons that make accurate recall challenging for the respondent (continuous production and seasonality, among others). As a result, the quantification and valuation of milk off-take is particularly difficult in household surveys, introducing possibly severe biases in the computation of full household incomes and farm sales, as well as in the estimation of the contribution of livestock (specifically dairy) production in agricultural value added and the livelihoods of rural households. This paper presents results from a validation exercise implemented in Niger, where alternative survey instruments based on recall methods were administered to randomly selected households and compared with a 12-month system of physical monitoring and recording of milk production. The results of the exercise show that reasonably accurate estimates via recall methods are possible and provide a clear ranking of questionnaire design options that can inform future survey operations.
    Keywords: Dairies and Dairying,Livestock and Animal Husbandry,Regional Economic Development,Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems,Rural Poverty Reduction
    Date: 2014–11–01
  4. By: Pugatch, Todd (Oregon State University); Schroeder, Elizabeth (Oregon State University)
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of the Gambian hardship allowance, which provides a salary premium of 30-40% to primary school teachers in remote locations, on student performance. A geographic discontinuity in the policy's implementation provides identifying variation. We find no effects of the hardship allowance on average student performance. These null average effects hide important heterogeneity, with learning gains for students at the top of the distribution and losses for those at the bottom. With over two dozen developing countries implementing similar policies to increase teacher compensation in rural schools, this study offers important evidence on their effectiveness.
    Keywords: teacher compensation, rural schools, Gambia, program evaluation, regression discontinuity
    JEL: I25 I28 J38 J45 O12 O15
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Skjeflo , Sofie Waage (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Holden , Stein (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
    Abstract: The potential bene ts of providing subsidized inputs to farm-households in developing coun- tries may reach well beyond the targeted households. More speci cally, increased food production and demand for rural labor may bene t poor households through lower food prices and higher rural wages. However, two recent studies of a large input subsidy program in Malawi nd that these eects are smaller than expected based on anecdotal evidence and previous studies using simulation models. In this paper we provide a potential explanation for this nding by using six farm-household programming models to show how market imperfections limit households' ability to take advantage of cheaper inputs. Our ndings suggest that input subsidy programs could be combined with improved market infrastructure and market access in order to increase non-bene ciary households' bene ts from input subsidies.
    Keywords: Input subsidies; Malawi; Farm-household models
    JEL: Q12 Q18
    Date: 2014–11–19
  6. By: Misha, F.A.; Raza, W.A.; Ara, J.; Van de Poel, E.
    Abstract: BRAC implemented the Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction: Specially Targeted Ultra-Poor (CFPR) program in 2002 to mitigate ultra-poverty in the poorest districts of Bangladesh, providing multifaceted support in the form of asset-transfer, food-stipends, education, healthcare and social support for two years. Utilizing a four-round panel data spanning 9 years and combining regression and propensity score weighting, we evaluate CFPR’s short and long term impact on income, employment, social status, food security and asset ownership. While remarkable effects of CFPR are evident in short and medium-term (up to 6 years since baseline), longer-term effects (up to 9 years) are smaller. The latter happens due to a variety of factors including faster catch-up by the control group, due partly to various new interventions by state and non-state sectors. We see a shift from begging, working as maids and day-laboring to entrepreneurial activities in the short and medium term, but many CFPR households revert back to their baseline employment by 2011. Analyses of the heterogeneity of effects across baseline employment and gender of the household-head reveal greater long-term impact on per-capita income for entrepreneurs and greater short-term impact for female-headed households. Overall, despite the deceleration of the effects in the long run, the program was able to successfully bring its participants out of ultra-poverty and had important demonstration effects.
    Keywords: Bangladesh, ultra-poverty
    Date: 2014–10–30
  7. By: Bouguen, Adrien; Filmer, Deon; Macours, Karen; Naudeau, Sophie
    Abstract: Interventions targeting early childhood development, such as investment in preschools, are often seen as promising mechanisms to increase human capital and to reduce the intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality. This paper presents results from a randomized evaluation of a large scale preschool construction program in Cambodia, and indicates a cautionary tale. The overall impact of the program on a wide set of children’s early childhood outcomes was small and not statistically significant, and for the cohort with highest exposure the program led to a negative impact on early childhood cognition. Moreover, for this group, the intervention increased inequality as the negative impacts are largest for children of poorer and less educated parents. The results can be explained by the frequent occurrence of underage enrollment in primary school in the absence of preschools, stricter enforcement of the minimum age for primary school entry after the intervention, substitution between primary and preschool following intervention, and difference in demand responses of more and less educated parents to the new preschools. These results indicate that the design of ECD interventions needs to start from a good understanding of parental and teacher decisions pre-program. More generally, they show how implementation and demand-side constraints might not only limit positive impacts, but could even lead to perverse effects of early childhood interventions.
    Keywords: early childhood development; preschools; RCT
    JEL: I28 O15
    Date: 2014–09
  8. By: Arcand, Jean-Louis; Jaimovich, Dany
    Abstract: Using a unique dataset collected in 59 rural Gambian villages, we study how ethnic heterogeneity is related to the structure of four economic exchange networks: land, labor, inputs and credit. We find that different measures of village-level ethnic fragmentation are mostly uncorrelated with network structure. At a more disaggregated level, household heads belonging to ethnic minorities are not less central than those from the predominant ethnicity in any of the networks and, at the dyadic level, the fact that two households share ethnicity is not an economically significant predictor of link formation. Our results indicate that, in the particular setting of our study, the structure of the exchange networks is better defined by other variables than ethnicity, and that ethnic heterogeneity is unlikely to be a driver for sub-optimal economic exchanges. We argue that our findings can be interpreted in a causal way as the current distribution of ethnic groups in rural Gambia is largely influenced by specific historical features of the British colonial administration. Moreover, the network structure of our data allow us to include fixed effects at different levels as well as to precisely measure kinship ties, a confounding variable often omitted in previous studies.
    Keywords: Keywords: West Africa, Social Networks, Ethnic Fragmentation. JEL codes: C31, D04, 012, Z13.
    JEL: C31 O1 O12 Z13
    Date: 2014
  9. By: La Ferrara, Eliana; Milazzo, Annamaria
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of descent rules on human capital accumulation. We exploit a policy experiment in Ghana that introduced minimum quotas for the land that parents should devolve on their children. This policy differentially affected ethnic groups depending on their descent rules: the matrilineal Akan saw a reduction in the share of land going to the matriclan and an increase in the land going to male children (who could not inherit from their own fathers before the reform). Patrilineal groups were instead less affected because sons could already inherit from fathers before the reform. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, across cohorts and ethnic groups, we estimate the impact of the reform on educational attainment. We find that Akan boys exposed to the reform received on average 0.9 less years of education, a 10 percent reduction. The effect is driven by landed households, for whom the reform did effectively bind, while no effect is found for non-landed households. This evidence is consistent with the fact that before the reform matrilineal groups in Ghana "over-invested" in education to substitute for land inheritance. Our findings suggest that in the presence of customary norms, land reform and the individualization of land rights may have implications that go beyond the agricultural sector and affect human capital accumulation in the long run.
    Keywords: education; Ghana; inheritance reform; land rights
    JEL: I25 O12
    Date: 2014–09
  10. By: Ahmed, S. Amer; Cruz, Marcio; Go, Delfin S.; Maliszewska, Maryla; Osorio-Rodarte, Israel
    Abstract: Africa will be undergoing substantial demographic changes in the coming decades with the rising working age share of its population. The opportunity of African countries to convert these changes into demographic dividends for growth and poverty reduction will depend on several factors. The outlook will likely be good if African countries can continue the gains already made under better institutions and policies, particularly those affecting the productivity of labor, such as educational outcomes. If African countries can continue to build on the hard-won development gains, the demographic dividend could account for 11 to 15 percent of gross domestic product volume growth by 2030, while accounting for 40 to 60 million fewer poor in 2030. The gains can become much more substantial with even better educational outcomes that allow African countries to catch up to other developing countries. If the skill share of Africa's labor supply doubles because of improvements in educational attainment, from 25 to about 50 percent between 2011 and 30, then the demographic dividends can expand the regional economy additionally by 22 percent by 2030 relative to the base case and reduce poverty by an additional 51 million people.
    Keywords: Achieving Shared Growth,Economic Conditions and Volatility,Economic Theory&Research,Economic Growth,Emerging Markets
    Date: 2014–12–01
  11. By: Mochiah, Eric Ekobor-Ackah; Osei, Robert Darko; Osei Akoto, Isaac
    Abstract: A cash transfer programme .Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty. has been implemented with the aim of addressing poverty and vulnerability in Ghana. This study looks at the impact of this conditional cash transfer programme on households. supply of labo
    Keywords: poverty reduction, cash transfers, social protection, household decision, labour supply, impact evaluation
    Date: 2014

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