nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒05‒02
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. A little help may be no help at all: child labor and scholarships in Nepal By Gaurav Datt; Leah Uhe
  2. Public Work Programs and Gender-based Violence: The Case of NREGA in India By Sofia Amaral; Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay; Rudra Sensarma
  3. Financing Smallholder Agriculture: An Experiment with Agent-Intermediated Microloans in India By Pushkar Maitra; Sandip Mitra; Dilip Mookherjee; Alberto Motta; Sujata Visaria
  4. The effect of non-personnel resources on educational outcomes: Evidence from South Africa By Miquel Pellicer; Patrizio Piraino
  5. Is Poverty in the African DNA (Gene)? By Simplice Asongu; Oasis Kodila-Tedika
  6. Increasing access to HIV testing: Impacts on equity of coverage and uptake from a national campaign in South Africa By Brendan Maughan-Brown; Neil D. Lloyd; Jacob Bor; Atheendar S. Venkataramani
  7. Returns to fertilizer use: does it pay enough? Some new evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Estelle Koussoubé; Nauges
  8. Aid and Growth at the Regional Level By Dreher, Axel; Lohmann, Steffen
  9. Do Improved Property Rights Decrease Violence Against Women in India? By Sofia Amaral
  10. Is Rationing in the Microfinance Sector Determined by the Microfinance Type? Evidence from Ghana By Diaz-Serrano, Luis; Sackey, Frank Gyimah
  11. Are Smartphones Smart for Economic Development? By Hartje, Rebecca; Hübler, Michael

  1. By: Gaurav Datt; Leah Uhe
    Abstract: This paper investigates the policy issue of whether schooling scholarships tend to decrease the incidence and intensity of child labor. The issue is examined in the particular country context of Nepal where child labor is not uncommon. Using data from the 2010 Nepal Living Standards Survey III and the method of coarsened exact matching, the paper finds that scholarships of a high-enough value decrease girls’ work by 7.5 hours per week (relative to a control group average of about 23 hours of total work per week), largely reducing their hours in economic and extended-economic activities with little impact on hours in domestic work. Scholarships of similar value do not appear to affect the work hours of boys. These findings have broader relevance and implications for the potential of scholarships as a policy option for combating child labor in developing countries. As these scholarships typically do not enforce regular school attendance, the findings also point to the potential importance of largely unconditional (but sizeable) transfers in many policy settings where conditionality is difficult to implement.
    Keywords: child labor; scholarships; Nepal; coarsened exact matching; unconditional transfers
    Date: 2014–11
  2. By: Sofia Amaral; Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay; Rudra Sensarma
    Abstract: NREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) is the Indian government's flagship anti-poverty program and is one of the largest public works programmes in the world which aims to increase employment opportunities for the poor and in particular, improve women's access to the labour market. In this paper we analyse the relationship between female labour participation and violence against women. Using district-time variation in the implementation of this anti-poverty program we estimate the effect of improved participation and access to employment of women on gender-based violence. We find evidence that increased female labour participation following the NREGS increased total gender-based violence. There are increases in kidnapings, sexual harassment and domestic violence, while dowry deaths decreased.
    Keywords: Gender-based violence, NREGA, Employment, Female Employment
    JEL: J12 J24 J71
    Date: 2015–04
  3. By: Pushkar Maitra (Department of Economics, Monash University); Sandip Mitra (Sampling and Ocial Statistics Unit, Indian Statistical Institute); Dilip Mookherjee (Department of Economics, Boston University); Alberto Motta (School of Economics, University of New South Wales); Sujata Visaria (Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: Recent evaluations of traditional microloans have not found significant impacts on borrower production or incomes. We examine whether this can be remedied by delegating selection of borrowers for individual liability loans to local trader-lender agents incentivized by repayment-based commissions. In a field experiment in West Bengal this design (called TRAIL) was offered in randomly selected villages. In remaining villages five-member groups self-formed and applied for joint liability loans (called GBL) with otherwise similar terms. TRAIL loans increased production of potato (a leading cash crop) and farm incomes by 27-37%, whereas GBL loans had insignificant and highly dispersed effects. Both schemes achieved equally high repayment rates, while TRAIL loans had higher take-up rates and lower administrative costs. We argue the results can be partly explained by differences in selection patterns with respect to borrower risk and productivity characteristics.
    Keywords: agricultural finance, agent based lending, group lending, selection, repayment
    JEL: D82 O16
    Date: 2015–04
  4. By: Miquel Pellicer (GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies and SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Patrizio Piraino (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Little credible evidence exists on the effect of material resources on school quality in developing countries. This paper studies the impact of non-personnel funding on educational outcomes exploiting the peculiar way in which these resources are allocated in South Africa. Government funding follows quintiles constructed on the basis of school poverty scores. This creates discrete jumps in the allocation of funding and we use a regression discontinuity approach to analyze its effects on school outcomes at the end of high school. Our results show a small but positive effect of resources on student throughput during the last years of high school, and on the number of students writing the matriculation exam. However, additional resources do not translate into a higher number of successful exams, leading to an overall negative effect on pass rates. We suggest that thesefindings may have to do with schools reacting to the per-pupil nature of funding.
    Keywords: Non-personnel resources, education, South Africa
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun); Oasis Kodila-Tedika (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Abstract: A 2015 World Bank report on attainment of Millennium Development Goals concludes that the number of extremely poor has dropped substantially in all regions with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa. We assess if poverty is in the African gene by revisiting the findings of Ashraf and Galor (2013, AER) and reformulating the ‘Out of Africa Hypothesis’ into a ‘Genetic Diversity Hypothesis’ for a ‘Within Africa Analysis’. We motivate this reformulation with five shortcomings arising for the most part from the 2015 findings of the African Gerome Variation Project, notably: limitations in the concept of space, African dummy in genetic diversity, linearity in migratory patterns, migratory origins and underpinnings of genetic diversity in Africa. Ashraf and Galor have concluded that cross-country differences in development can be explained by genetic diversity in a Kuznets pattern. Our results from an exclusive African perspective confirm the underlying hypothesis in a contemporary context, but not in the historical analysis. From a historical context, the nexus is U-shaped for migratory distance, mobility index and predicted diversity while for the contemporary analysis; it is hump-shaped for ancestry-adjusted predicted diversity. Hence, poverty is not in the African gene from a within-Africa comparative standpoint. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Africa; Genetic diversity; Comparative economic development
    JEL: N10 N30 N50 O10 O50 Z10
    Date: 2015–04
  6. By: Brendan Maughan-Brown (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Neil D. Lloyd (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Jacob Bor (Center for Global Health and Development, Boston University); Atheendar S. Venkataramani (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School)
    Abstract: Background: HIV counselling and testing (HCT) is a critical component of HIV prevention and treatment efforts. Between April 2010 and June 2011 South Africa ran an ambitious, multi-sector, campaign aiming to test 15 million people nationwide. We assessed the extent to which this campaign reached (1) those who previously had never tested for HIV and (2) high risk and socioeconomically vulnerable populations. Methods: We used data from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS, n=18,650), a nationally representative panel study in South Africa, to assess the uptake of first-time testing between 2010 and 2012 at the national level and by age, gender, racial, and province-level subgroups. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to compare the factors associated with HIV testing in 2010 and 2012, and to assess the characteristics of first-time testers. Results: The proportion of adults having ever received an HIV test increased from 43.7% (95% CI: 41.48; 45.96) in 2010 to 65.2% [63.28; 67.10] in 2012, as approximately 7.5 million individuals 15 years and older tested for the first time nationally. However, there was large variation in new testing rates across geographic areas and population subgroups. The association between ever testing and both income and self-reported health declined between 2010 and 2012, suggesting the campaign was successful in reaching poorer and healthier individuals. However, disparities in testing by education and gender remained strong between 2010 and 2012. Conclusion: The provision of HCT services in South Africa led to a steady rise in the proportion of individuals ever tested for HIV and has improved equity of HCT uptake. Future initiatives to increase HCT uptake, both within South Africa and in other countries, would gain from lessons learned from the South African effort. However, new interventions may be required to improve testing rates among the less educated and men, particularly poor men, and to achieve universal HCT access and uptake.
    Keywords: HIV counselling and testing, HCT Services, National Income Dynamics Study, NIDS, South Africa
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Estelle Koussoubé (PSL, Université Paris Dauphine, LEDa, IRD, UMR DIAL); Nauges (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: (english) This article explores the importance of fertilizer profitability in explaining the relative, apparent low use of chemical fertilizers by farmers in Burkina Faso. Using large-scale plot data, we estimate maize yield response to nitrogen to be 19 kg/ha on average and to vary with soil characteristics. Profitability, which we measure through the calculation of a marginal value cost ratio, is estimated at 1.41 on those plots which received fertilizers, with significant variations across regions. For those plots on which fertilizers were not applied, we predict that fertilizers should have been profitable in most cases under the current level of subsidized fertilizer prices. These findings suggest that the low uptake of chemical fertilizers might have been driven by factors other than profitability, including insufficient supply of subsidized fertilizers to farmers in need. Our results also call for increasing the availability of credit to farmers in order to encourage adoption of chemical fertilizers. Finally, our results also show that not taking into account the endogeneity of nitrogen use in the yield equation may produce biased estimates of the maize yield response to nitrogen. _________________________________ (français) Cet article explore l’importance de la rentabilité de l’utilisation des engrais chimiques comme facteur explicatif de leur relative faible adoption par les agriculteurs au Burkina Faso. En utilisant des données détaillées au niveau parcelle, nous estimons la productivité marginale des engrais à 19kg/ha en moyenne. Cette dernière varie considérablement en fonction des caractéristiques des sols. La rentabilité des engrais, mesurée par le rapport valeur-coût, est estimée à 1.41 sur les parcelles qui ont reçu des engrais et varie d’une région à l’autre. Concernant les parcelles sur lesquelles l’engrais n’est pas utilisé, nous trouvons que l’utilisation d’engrais serait profitable sur une grande majorité de ces parcelles au prix actuel subventionné de l’engrais. Ces résultats suggèrent que des facteurs autres que la rentabilité sont potentiellement responsables de la faible adoption des engrais. Ces facteurs incluent notamment les difficultés d’accès aux engrais subventionnés par les agriculteurs. Notre analyse suggère également qu’une augmentation de l’accès au crédit par les agriculteurs permettrait de favoriser l’adoption des engrais chimiques. Enfin, nos résultats montrent également la nécessité de corriger du biais d’endogénéité de l’utilisation des engrais dans l’équation des rendements de maïs.
    Keywords: Burkina Faso; fertilizers; maize yield; subsidization program; technology adoption.
    JEL: Q13 Q33 Q12 Q16
    Date: 2015–04
  8. By: Dreher, Axel; Lohmann, Steffen
    Abstract: This paper brings the aid effectiveness debate to the sub-national level. We hypothesize the non-robust results regarding the effects of aid on development in the previous literature to arise due to the effects of aid being insufficiently large to measurably affect aggregate outcomes. Using geo-coded data for World Bank aid to a maximum of 2,221 first-level administrative regions (ADM1) and 54,167 second-level administrative regions (ADM2) in 130 countries over the 2000-2011 period, we test whether aid affects development, measured as nighttime light growth. Our preferred identification strategy exploits variation arising from interacting a variable that indicates whether or not a country has passed the threshold for receiving IDA's concessional aid with a recipient region's probability to receive aid, in a sample of 478 ADM1 regions and almost 8,400 ADM2 regions from 21 countries. Controlling for the levels of the interacted variables, the interaction provides a powerful and excludable instrument. Overall, we find significant correlations between aid and growth in ADM2 regions, but no causal effects.
    Keywords: aid effectiveness; geo-coding; World Bank
    JEL: F35 O19 O47
    Date: 2015–04
  9. By: Sofia Amaral
    Abstract: This paper uses the staggered implementation of a legal change in inheritance law in India to estimate the effect of women's improved access to inheritance on both police-reported and self-reported violence against women. I find a decrease in reported violence and female unnatural deaths following the amendments. Further, women eligible for inheritance are 17 percent less likely to be victims of domestic violence. These findings are explained by an improvement in husbands' behaviour and via better marriage market negotiations. However, I find little evidence of changes in women's participation in decision-making.
    Keywords: Crime, Domestic Violence, Property Rights, Intra-household
    JEL: J12 J16 K42 O15
    Date: 2015–04
  10. By: Diaz-Serrano, Luis (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Sackey, Frank Gyimah (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)
    Abstract: This study sets out to examine the extent to which access to credit and credit rationing are influenced by the microfinance type based on the major factors determining micro, small and medium enterprises' access to credit from microfinance institutions in the era of financial liberalization. The data for the study were gleaned from fourteen microfinance institutions' credit and loan records consisting of borrowers and credit characteristics. Our results are puzzling and show that credit rationing is not influenced by the microfinance types but by the individual microfinance institutions.
    Keywords: microfinance, Ghana, credit rationing
    JEL: G21
    Date: 2015–04
  11. By: Hartje, Rebecca; Hübler, Michael
    Abstract: While the worldwide spread of smartphones continues, developing countries have become important markets for these devices. Smartphones’ independence of landline networks qualifies them for communication and Internet access in rural areas of developing countries. Drawing upon rural Southeast Asian survey data, this paper provides probably the first empirical evidence for smartphones’ contribution to households’ income.
    Keywords: smartphones; mobile phones; technology diffusion; economic development; Southeast Asia
    JEL: O18 O33 O53 R20
    Date: 2015–03

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