nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒03‒13
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. How Does Health Promotion Work? Evidence From The Dirty Business of Eliminating Open Defecation By Paul Gertler; Manisha Shah; Maria Laura Alzua; Lisa Cameron; Sebastian Martinez; Sumeet Patil
  2. Time allocation to energy resource collection in rural Ethiopia: Gender-disaggregated household responses to changes in firewood availability: By Scheurlen, Elena
  3. Environmental and Economic Impacts of Growing Certified Organic Coffee in Colombia By Ibanez, Marcela; Blackman, Allen
  4. Food crop diversification as a risk mitigating strategy during conflict : evidence from Cote d'Ivoire By Paul, Saumik; Shonchoy, Abu S.; Dabalen, Andrew
  5. Firm heterogeneity in food safety provision: Evidence from aflatoxin tests in Kenya: By Moser, Christine; Hoffmann, Vivian
  6. Poverty persistence and informal risk management: Micro evidence from urban Ethiopia By Azomahou T.T.; Yitbarek E.
  7. Income Convergence and the Flow out of Poverty in India, 1994-2005 By Paola A. Barrientos Q.; Niels-Hugo Blunch; Nabanita Datta Gupta
  8. Foreign Aid and Governance in Africa By Simplice Asongu; Jacinta C. Nwachukwu
  9. The Determinants of Interest Rates in Microbanks: Age and Scale By Jacinta C. Nwachukwu; Simplice Asongu
  10. Value chains and nutrition: A framework to support the identification, design, and evaluation of interventions: By Gelli, Aulo; Hawkes, Corinna; Donovan, Jason; Harris, Jody; Allen, Summer L.; de Brauw, Alan; Henson, Spencer; Johnson, Nancy L.; Garrett, James; Ryckembusch, David
  11. Measurement of agricultural productivity in Africa south of Sahara: A spatial typology application: By Yu, Bingxin; Guo, Zhe

  1. By: Paul Gertler; Manisha Shah; Maria Laura Alzua; Lisa Cameron; Sebastian Martinez; Sumeet Patil
    Abstract: We investigate the mechanisms underlying health promotion campaigns designed to eliminate open defecation in at-scale randomized field experiments in four countries: India, Indonesia, Mali, and Tanzania. Health promotion works through a number of mechanisms, including: providing information on the return to better behavior, nudging better behavior that one already knows is in her self-interest, and encouraging households to invest in health products that lower the marginal cost of good behavior. We find that health promotion generally worked through both convincing households to invest in in-home sanitation facilities and nudging increased use of those facilities. We also estimate the causal relationship between village open defecation rates and child height using experimentally induced variation in open defecation for identification. Surprisingly we find a fairly linear relationship between village open defecation rates and the height of children less than 5 years old. Fully eliminating open defecation from a village where everyone defecates in the open would increase child height by 0.44 standard deviations. Hence modest to small reductions in open defecation are unlikely to have a detectable effect on child height and explain why many health promotion interventions designed to reduce open defecation fail to improve child height. Our results suggest that stronger interventions that combine intensive health promotional nudges with subsidies for sanitation construction may be needed to reduce open defecation enough to generate meaningful improvements in child health.
    JEL: I12 I15 O15
    Date: 2015–03
  2. By: Scheurlen, Elena
    Abstract: This paper presents evidence on rural Ethiopian households’ time allocation to different activities, especially fuel collection work, and examines the effect of changes in the availability of firewood resources on households’ time allocation to fuel collection and on- and off-farm income generation. Based on firsthand insights from focus group discussions conducted with farmers in three rural villages of Ethiopia and data from an IFPRI-CIMMYT (International Food Policy Research Institute/International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) household survey implemented by the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions, the results show that women are involved in more time-consuming and simultaneous work activities than men and hold the primary responsibility for fuel collection
    Keywords: Gender, Women, Energy, rural areas, Poverty, Agricultural production, productivity, households, Household behavior, firewood collection, firewood availability,
  3. By: Ibanez, Marcela; Blackman, Allen (Resources for the Future)
    Abstract: According to advocates, eco-certification can improve developing country farmers’ environmental and economic performance. However, these notional benefits can be undercut by self-selection: the tendency of relatively wealthy farmers already meeting eco-certification standards to disproportionately participate. Empirical evidence on this matter is scarce. Using original farm-level survey data along with matching and difference-in-differences matching models, we analyze the producer-level effects of organic coffee certification in southeast Colombia. We find that certification improves coffee growers’ environmental performance. It significantly reduces sewage disposal in the fields and increases the adoption of organic fertilizer. However, we are not able to discern economic benefits. The return on certified production is not significantly different from that on conventional production.
    Keywords: organic certification, coffee, Colombia, difference-in-differences matching
    JEL: Q13 Q20 O13 Q56
    Date: 2015–02–05
  4. By: Paul, Saumik; Shonchoy, Abu S.; Dabalen, Andrew
    Abstract: This study examines the significance of food crop diversification as a household risk mitigating strategy to achieve "self-sufficiency" to ensure food security during the civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire. The main motivation for seeking self-sufficiency stems from the fact that during the period of heightened tension due to conflict, the north–south divide set by the UN peacekeeping line disrupted the agricultural supply chain from the food surplus zone, Savane in the north. While we theoretically predict a positive effect on crop diversification because of interrupted food supply chain, we also consider a negative effect due to the covariate shocks. We find robust and statistically significant empirical outcomes supporting such claims. The baseline outcomes withstand a series of robustness checks. The net effect of conflict on crop diversification is positive but not statistically significant. In addition, we find that increasing vulnerability to poverty and food insecurity during conflict seems to be the underlying factors that motivate farm households to adopt such coping strategies.
    Keywords: Cote D'Ivoire, Agricultural economics, Agricultural products, Internal conflicts, Household, Conflict, Uncertainty, Agricultural production, Developing countries
    JEL: D13 D74 Q1
    Date: 2015–03
  5. By: Moser, Christine; Hoffmann, Vivian
    Abstract: The lack of a reliably safe food supply in developing countries imposes major costs on both public health and market performance. This paper addresses the question of whether and why food processing firms voluntarily invest in food safety in the absence of effective regulatory enforcement. Using data from more than 900 maize flour samples representing 23 distinct brands in eastern and central Kenya, we explore the relationship between price, brand, and aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin is a toxin common in maize, groundnuts, and other crops around the world; and although it is unobservable to the consumer, it may be correlated with other quality characteristics. We find a strong negative correlation between price and contamination rates, which is consistent with certain brands investing more in quality to avoid loss of reputational capital.
    Keywords: Food safety, aflatoxins, Mycotoxins, Developing countries, Health, regulation, Policies, firm strategy, voluntary compliance, brand capital,
  6. By: Azomahou T.T.; Yitbarek E. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: Two factors that have received limited attention in poverty dynamic studies are the role of risk in causing poverty mobility and attrition bias. Controlling for the attrition bias, we study poverty dynamics in urban Ethiopia with an emphasis on the effect of idiosyncratic shocks and informal risk management strategies. We used a unique panel data spanning a decade. Our results show the adverse impact of uninsured idiosyncratic shocks on welfare. We find unemployment of household head propels households to persistent poverty. We also observe poor households using ineffective risk management strategies which have negative consequences on welfare than their non-poor counterparts. Further, we find strong poverty state dependence which is mainly driven by households heterogeneity. The overall results of our study suggest that public insurance programmes that support poor households during bad times may improve welfare by providing consumption insurance. Indeed, policies focusing on household heterogeneities such as exposure to risk, lack of education, personal skills and capacities, could have long lasting effects.
    Keywords: Personal Finance; Measurement and Analysis of Poverty; Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development;
    JEL: D14 I32 O12
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Paola A. Barrientos Q. (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark); Niels-Hugo Blunch (Washington and Lee University and IZA); Nabanita Datta Gupta (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper explores the dynamics of income and poverty of rural Indian households, 1994-2005. The estimation strategy consists of convergence analysis to test whether poor households are catching-up in terms of income, followed by transition analysis to test whether poor households are more likely to exit poverty than to remain poor. The identification strategy explicitly addresses issues pertaining to the potential endogeneity and measurement error of initial income and poverty. We find evidence of income convergence and a higher probability of exiting poverty than of remaining poor. The key variables driving these results are education, occupation and asset ownership.
    Keywords: income convergence, poverty transition, endogeneity, measurement error, IHDS & HDPI data
    JEL: O12 O47 O53
    Date: 2015–05–03
  8. By: Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun); Jacinta C. Nwachukwu (Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK)
    Abstract: Purpose – This paper investigates the effect of foreign aid on governance in order to extend the debates on foreign aid and to verify common positions from Moyo’s ‘Dead Aid’, Collier’s ‘Bottom Billion’ and Eubank’s ‘Somaliland’. The empirical evidence is based on updated data from 52 African countries for the period 1996-2010. Design/methodology/approach – An endogeneity robust instrumental variable Two-Stage-Least Squares empirical strategy is employed. Findings – The findings reveal that development assistance deteriorates economic (regulation quality and government effectiveness) and institutional (corruption-control and rule of law) governance, but has an insignificant effect on political (political stability, voice and accountability) governance. While, these findings are broadly in accordance with Moyo (2009) and Collier (2007) on weak governance, they neither confirm the Eubank (2012) position on political governance nor the Asongu (2012) stance on the aid-corruption nexus in his debate with Okada & Samreth (2012). Practical implications – The use of foreign aid as an instrument to influence the election and replacement of political leaders in Africa may have insignificant results. It is time to solve the second tragedy of foreign aid and that economists and policy makers start rethinking the models and theories on which foreign aid is used to influence economic, institutional and political governance in recipient countries. Originality/value – The paper extends the debate on foreign aid and institutions in Africa in the light a plethora of recent studies in the aid literature.
    Keywords: Foreign Aid; Political Economy; Development; Africa
    JEL: B20 F35 F50 O10 O55
    Date: 2014–12
  9. By: Jacinta C. Nwachukwu (University of Huddersfield, UK); Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun)
    Abstract: This study investigates the legitimacy of the relatively high interest rates charged by those microfinance institutions (MFIs) which have been transformed into regulated commercial banks using information garnered from a panel of 1232 MFIs from 107 developing countries. Results show that formally regulated micro banks have significantly higher average portfolio yields than their unregulated counterparts. By contrast, large-scale MFIs with more than eight years of experience have succeeded in lowering interest rates, but only up to a certain cut-off point. The implication is that policies which help nascent small-scale MFIs to overcome their cost disadvantages form a more effective pricing strategy than do initiatives to transform them into regulated institutions.
    Keywords: Microfinance, microbanks, non-bank financial institutions, interest rates, age, economies of scale, developing countries
    JEL: G21 G23 G28 E43 N20
    Date: 2015–02
  10. By: Gelli, Aulo; Hawkes, Corinna; Donovan, Jason; Harris, Jody; Allen, Summer L.; de Brauw, Alan; Henson, Spencer; Johnson, Nancy L.; Garrett, James; Ryckembusch, David
    Abstract: In this paper we explore how a value chain framework can inform the design of interventions for achieving improved nutrition. Conceptually, there are three main channels for value chains to improve nutrition: (1) through increased consumption of nutritious foods (a demand side pathway); or (2) through increased incomes from value chain transactions (a supply side pathway) or (3) through increased nutrition value-addition in the chain transactions. These three pathways are interlinked and involve complex dynamics that are not straightforward to understand.
    Keywords: Nutrition, Health, Agriculture, Agricultural development, Economic development, economic growth, Diet, food consumption, income, value chains,
  11. By: Yu, Bingxin; Guo, Zhe
    Abstract: The great diversity of agricultural activities and practices across the African continent has significant implications for technology transfer and productivity growth. This paper compiles diverse spatial data on biophysical conditions, farming systems, demographics, and infrastructure to spatially disaggregate country targets into subsystem units, namely agricultural production zones. The resulting typologies highlight the limitations of simple national aggregates and reveal remarkable heterogeneity in the subsystems within the country. The typologies provide a natural linkage between national-level analysis and localized production information and can help policymakers in refining national agricultural strategies through location- and subsystem-oriented policies based on local comparative advantages and constraints. The classification is useful in identifying commonalities beyond a country’s borders and hence encourages cross learning and joint efforts in scaling up policies.
    Keywords: productivity, Agricultural policies, Markets, Market access, Economic development, Population density, Typology, farming systems, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI),

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