nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒01‒26
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universitiet Utrecht

  1. Crop Diversification and Child Health: Empirical Evidence From Tanzania By Lovo, Stefania; Veronesi, Marcella
  2. Adapting the Supply of Education to the Needs of Girls: Evidence from a Policy Experiment in Rural India By Marian Meller; Stephan Litschig
  3. Natural Disasters, Household Welfare and Resilience: Evidence from Rural Vietnam By Mohamed Arouri; Adel Ben Youssef; Cuong Nguyen
  4. Agricultural extension in eastern DR Congo: Does Gender Matter? By Lambrecht, Isabel; Vanlauwe, Bernard; Maertens, Miet
  5. Technology adoption and the multiple dimensions of food security: the case of maize in Tanzania By Vigani, Mauro; Magrini, Emiliano
  6. The Role of Gender in Agricultural Productivity in the Philippines: The Average Treatment Effect By Koirala, Krishna; Mishra, Ashok K.; Mohanty, Samarendu
  7. Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Cocoa Livelihoods Program in Sub-Saharan Africa By Tisboe, Francis; Nalley, Lanier; Dixon, Bruce; Popp, Jennie; Luckstead, Jeff
  8. Improved seeds, fertilizer or natural resource management? Evidence from Kenya’s smallholder maize farmers By Wainaina, Priscilla Wairimu; Tongruksawattana, Songporne; Qaim, Matin
  9. Impact evaluation helps deliver development projects By Legovini, Arianna; Di Maro, Vincenzo; Piza, Caio
  10. Are There Nutrient-based Poverty Traps? Evidence on Iron Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Peru By Chong, Alberto; Cohen, Isabelle; Field, Erica; Nakasone, Eduardo; Torero, Maximo
  11. Migration, Youth, and Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia By Brauw, Alan de
  12. Index Insurance and Cash Transfers: A Comparative Analysis from Northern Kenya By Jensen, Nathaniel; Barrett, Christopher B.; Mude, Andrew
  13. Leveling Up: Early Results from a Randomized Evaluation of Post-Secondary Aid By Joshua Angrist; David Autor; Sally Hudson; Amanda Pallais
  14. Living on the edge : vulnerability to poverty and public transfers in Mexico By de la Fuente, Alejandro; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo; Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos

  1. By: Lovo, Stefania; Veronesi, Marcella
    Abstract: Malnutrition is a major issue in developing countries with long-term implications for economic development. Agricultural diversification has been recognized as a strategy to improve nutrition and human health, and a risk coping strategy in the face of climate change. We use the 2008-2010 Tanzania National Panel Survey, which includes about 3,700 children, to investigate the effect of crop diversification on child health. We use an instrumental variable approach and estimate the effect of crop diversification on child growth by controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. We show that crop diversification has a positive and significant impact on long-term child nutritional status.
    Keywords: crop diversification, food security, health, nutrition, development, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, I12, I15, Q18,
    Date: 2014–08
  2. By: Marian Meller; Stephan Litschig
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effectiveness of a large-scale government initiative (NPEGEL/KGBV) that provided earmarked funds for addressing girls' special needs to public schools in rural India. Our empirical strategy exploits local variation in program eligibility around a threshold based on the female literacy rate at the community level. The main result is that the program led to an enrollment gain of about 6-7 percentage points for girls in upper primary school. Evidence of an enrollment gain for boys is tentative. Available evidence on mechanisms suggests that the program improved girl-friendly school infrastructure and services, as well as gender-neutral school resources.
    Keywords: school enrollment, gender gap, school resources, regression discontinuity
    JEL: H75 I21 I28 J16 O15 O22
    Date: 2014–12
  3. By: Mohamed Arouri (Centre Clermontois de Recherche en Gestion et Management (CRCGM)); Adel Ben Youssef (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France; GREDEG CNRS); Cuong Nguyen (National Economic University, Hanoi, Vietnam)
    Abstract: The study uses commune fixed-effect regressions to estimate the effect of natural disasters on welfare and poverty of rural households in Vietnam, and subsequently examines household and community characteristics that can strengthen resilience of households to natural disasters. We find that all the three disaster types considered in this study including storms, floods and droughts have negative effects on household income and expenditure. Access to micro-credit, internal remittances and social allowances can help households strengthen the resilience to natural disasters. Households in communes with higher expenditure mean and more equal expenditure distribution are more resilient to natural disasters.
    Keywords: Natural hazards, disasters, resilience, poverty, household welfare, Vietnam
    JEL: O12 Q54 D12
    Date: 2015–01
  4. By: Lambrecht, Isabel; Vanlauwe, Bernard; Maertens, Miet
    Abstract: Agricultural extension programs often evaluate their gender strategy by the proportion of female participants. However, female participation is not necessarily conducive for reaching program objectives. We analyze whether participation of female farmers in an agricultural extension program in South-Kivu increases adoption of three technologies: improved legume varieties, row planting, and mineral fertilizer. Joint male and female program participation leads to the highest adoption rates. Female participation is not conducive for the adoption of capital-intensive technologies while it is for (female) labor-intensive technologies. Participation of female-headed households is more effective for technology adoption than participation of female farmers in male-headed households.
    Keywords: gender, agricultural technology adoption, agricultural extension, eastern DR Congo, integrated soil fertility management, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2014–08
  5. By: Vigani, Mauro; Magrini, Emiliano
    Abstract: The paper analyses the impact of adopting new agricultural technologies on the multiple dimensions of food security for maize farmers in Tanzania. Relying on matching techniques, we use a nationally representative dataset to estimate the causal effects of improved seeds and inorganic fertilizers on four dimensions: availability, access, utilization, and stability. We find an overall positive and significant impact on all the dimensions of food security even if substantial differences are observed. In particular, improved seeds show a stronger effect on food availability and access while inorganic fertilizers guarantee higher stability. In terms of utilization, both technologies increase the diet diversity while only improved seeds reduce the dependence on staple food. The study supports the idea that the relationship between new agricultural technologies and food security is a complex phenomenon which requires a deeper and more thorough investigation.
    Keywords: Technology adoption, food security, tanzania, propensity score matching, Crop Production/Industries, Food Security and Poverty,
    Date: 2014–08
  6. By: Koirala, Krishna; Mishra, Ashok K.; Mohanty, Samarendu
    Abstract: Using average treatment effect and data from 2012 the Central Luzon Loop Survey, this study investigates the role of gender in rice production. Results indicate that female-headed farm households, despite having limited access to land, have a higher value of rice production than their male counterparts. However, there is no significant difference between net farm incomes earned by male- and female-headed farm households. Female-headed households have higher fixed costs, consequently earning less total household income. Findings from this study indicate that women are less efficient in farming, but are more likely to adopt improved seed varieties. In addition, female-headed farm households are better at controlling farming costs.
    Keywords: Gender, average treatment effect, rice, women, farm households, agricultural productivity, Farm Management, Production Economics,
    Date: 2014–12
  7. By: Tisboe, Francis; Nalley, Lanier; Dixon, Bruce; Popp, Jennie; Luckstead, Jeff
    Abstract: Billions of dollars flow into low-income countries each year to help alleviate poverty. Assessing the effectiveness of these dollars is necessary to measure program success and to allocate such funds among competing projects. This study measures the impact of the first phase of the Cocoa Livelihood Program (CLPI), a current World Cocoa Foundation project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project seeks to improve the livelihood of over 200,000 small cocoa producers in Sub-Saharan Africa via training, crop diversification and farmer based organizations. Using data collected from 2,048 pre and post CLPI interviews of cocoa producers in Ghana, Cote D’ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon, the economic impact of the CLPI program can be estimated. The results show that yield enhancements attributable to CLPI are 36%, 38%, 49% and 24% in Ghana, Côte D’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon, respectively. Using a total program cost of $158-$200 per beneficiary and estimated annual benefits of $86-$152 per beneficiary over 25 years, the benefit- cost ratios were estimated to range from $13 to $22 for every dollar spent on human capital development.
    Keywords: Cocoa, International Development, Farmer Field Schools, Africa, Farm Management, Food Security and Poverty, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, F20, Q16,
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Wainaina, Priscilla Wairimu; Tongruksawattana, Songporne; Qaim, Matin
    Abstract: There is consensus that adoption of technological improvements is crucial to increasing agricultural productivity and reducing poverty, while sustaining the agro-ecosystems. There is however disagreement as to which type of technologies are well suited in developing countries; external input intensive technologies or low external input/ natural resource management (NRM) technologies. This paper uses plot level survey data collected from all maize growing areas in Kenya and employs a multivariate probit to assess conditions under which different technologies are adopted. We find that indeed the technologies that farmers adopt vary with different conditions ranging from plot level to climatic conditions.
    Keywords: Technologies, adoption, Multivariate probit, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety,
    Date: 2014–08
  9. By: Legovini, Arianna; Di Maro, Vincenzo; Piza, Caio
    Abstract: Does research add value to aid? Specifically, does impact evaluation research help or hinder the delivery of development projects? This paper analyzes the question by constructing a new data set of 100 impact evaluations and 1,135 projects approved by the World Bank between 2005 and 2011. The analysis finds that the delivery of projects with impact evaluation is significantly timelier: common delays are avoided and the gap between planned and actual disbursements is reduced by half. Evidence-based mid-course corrections, a clearer implementation road map, strengthened capacity on the ground, and observer effects are possible channels to explain the results. Hopefully, this analysis will stimulate discussion over the optimal balance between project financing and the impact evaluation research needed to deliver development outcomes.
    Keywords: Banks&Banking Reform,Housing&Human Habitats,Poverty Monitoring&Analysis,Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness,Rural Portfolio Improvement
    Date: 2015–01–01
  10. By: Chong, Alberto; Cohen, Isabelle; Field, Erica; Nakasone, Eduardo; Torero, Maximo
    Abstract: A key question in development economics is whether nutritional deficiencies generate intergenerational poverty traps by reducing the earnings potential of children born into poverty. To assess the causal influence on human capital of one of the most widespread micronutrient deficiencies, supplemental iron pills were made available at a local health center in rural Peru and adolescents were encouraged to take them up via classroom media messages. Results from school administrative records provide novel evidence that reducing iron deficiency results almost immediately in a large and significant improvement in school performance. For anemic students, an average of 10 100mg iron pills over three months improves average test scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of grade progression by 11%. Supplementation also raises anemic students’ aspirations for the future. Both results indicate that cognitive deficits from iron-deficiency anemia contribute to a nutrition-based poverty trap. Our findings also demonstrate that, with low-cost outreach efforts in schools, supplementation programs offered through a public clinic can be both affordable and effective in reducing rates of adolescent IDA.
    Keywords: Poverty traps, iron deficiency, RCTs, education attainement
    JEL: I12 I21 J16 O15
    Date: 2014–10
  11. By: Brauw, Alan de
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between migration and agricultural productivity in Ethiopia. Given that there are fairly significant returns to either rural-urban or international migration for labor in Ethiopia, it could be that credit constraints hindering migration start-up are an unexplored constraint against migration. The paper primarily uses the Ethiopia Rural Household Survey panel and a migrant listing exercise completed after the 2009 survey round to explore whether past agricultural productivity (e.g. in 2004) explains later migration. Using standard regression techniques, it finds that among young migrants, there appears to be a positive, significant relationship between productivity and households sending out a migrant. This relationship holds even when proxies for credit are included in the model; the effect appears to, in fact, be stronger among households who are less endowed with land. However, the magnitude of this effect is small. The paper also considers feedback effects from migration to later agricultural productivity; this correlation is weaker suggesting that migration does not have negative productivity impacts.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Community/Rural/Urban Development, International Development,
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Jensen, Nathaniel; Barrett, Christopher B.; Mude, Andrew
    Abstract: Cash transfers and index insurance have become popular interventions by development agencies worldwide. But they operate in radically different ways. In principle, these could offer complementary or substitute means of improving households’ well-being, both through direct payments and through induced behavioral change. Surprisingly, little is known about these programs’ comparative impacts on participant behavior or well-being, nor about their prospective interactions. This paper exploits four years of household panel data from northern Kenya, where the government launched a Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP) offering cash transfers just prior to the commercial launch of an index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) product. By exploiting the known selection mechanism behind HSNP participation and the randomization of IBLI extension education and premium discounts, we are able to make novel comparisons of the causal impacts of each type of program among the same population at the same time, which spans a catastrophic drought. We find that both programs benefit participants, but there is no evidence of positive synergies between the two programs. HSNP participation increases the likelihood that a household maintains mobility, an important pastoral production strategy, and improves child health, as indicated by a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). IBLI coverage increases expenditures on livestock health services, milk production, MUAC, and income per adult equivalent. Standardizing the estimated benefits by total program costs reveals that the two programs perform comparably, while from a marginal cost perspective the IBLI program has impacts per unit of expenditure at least an order of magnitude greater than HSNP.
    Keywords: HSNP, IBLI, pastoralism, social protection, safety nets
    JEL: D60 I38 O22
    Date: 2014–12
  13. By: Joshua Angrist; David Autor; Sally Hudson; Amanda Pallais
    Abstract: Does financial aid increase college attendance and completion? Selection bias and the high implicit tax rates imposed by overlapping aid programs make this question difficult to answer. This paper reports initial findings from a randomized evaluation of a large privately-funded scholarship program for applicants to Nebraska's public colleges and universities. Our research design answers the challenges of aid evaluation with random assignment of aid offers and a strong first stage for aid received: randomly assigned aid offers increased aid received markedly. This in turn appears to have boosted enrollment and persistence, while also shifting many applicants from two- to four-year schools. Awards offered to nonwhite applicants, to those with relatively low academic achievement, and to applicants who targeted less-selective four-year programs (as measured by admissions rates) generated the largest gains in enrollment and persistence, while effects were much smaller for applicants predicted to have stronger post-secondary outcomes in the absence of treatment. Thus, awards enabled groups with historically-low college attendance to ʽlevel up,ʼ largely equalizing enrollment and persistence rates with traditionally college-bound peers, particularly at four-year programs. Awards offered to prospective community college students had little effect on college enrollment or the type of college attended.
    JEL: H52 I21 I22 I23 I28 J24
    Date: 2014–12
  14. By: de la Fuente, Alejandro; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo; Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos
    Abstract: Social policy in Mexico has focused on identifying and supporting chronically poor households. Yet, Mexico has a significant number of households that are just above the poverty line who are not eligible, by definition, for antipoverty programs and are at risk of falling back into poverty in the event of an economic crisis or shocks like loss of employment and natural disasters. These shocks can have serious negative effects on welfare in the absence of social safety nets targeted to these households. This study uses household survey data to better understand these"vulnerable"households, including their profile and risk exposure and, more importantly, to document the extent to which these households are covered by public transfers and insurance mechanisms. The analysis shows that until 2010 most social programs, including the few with productive components, such as vocational training and productive investment grants, barely covered the vulnerable. The study concludes that public policies need to pay attention to the vulnerable households and find the right policy mix between targeted interventions and universal insurance schemes to serve this economic group.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Services&Transfers to Poor,Regional Economic Development,Population Policies
    Date: 2015–01–01

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