nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒05‒09
six papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Impact of Zambia’s Unconditional Child Grant on Schooling and Work: Results from a large-scale social experiment By Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo; Zambia Cash Transfer Evaluation Team; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  2. Technology adoption and the multiple dimensions of food security: the case of maize in Tanzania By Emiliano Magrini; Mauro Vigani
  3. Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa By Simon Franklin
  4. Household level spillover effects from biofuels By Olivia Riera; Johan Swinnen
  5. Social and economic impacts of rural road improvements in the state of Tocantins, Brazil By Iimi,Atsushi; Lancelot,Eric R.; Manelici,Isabela; Ogita,Satoshi
  6. The Missing Transfers: Estimating Mis-reporting in Dyadic Data By Comola, Margherita; Fafchamps, Marcel

  1. By: Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo; Zambia Cash Transfer Evaluation Team; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: Since the mid 1990s, and following the successful implementation of large scale programmes in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, cash transfers have become an important part of the poverty alleviation toolkit in developing countries, even among the poorest where, for many, such programmes seemed both administratively complex or simply unaffordable. The ‘African model’ of cash transfers has several distinguishing features which differentiate it from those in Latin America. In this article we take advantage of the unconditional nature of the Zambian CGP, which targets families with very young children and whose objectives are focused on their health and development, to see if the programme has an impact on the schooling and work of school-age children who in principle are not the main target population of the programme. We use data from a large-scale social experiment involving 2,500 households, half of whom were randomized out to a delayed-entry control group, which was implemented to assess the impact of the programme.
    Keywords: child labour; educational costs; schooling;
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Emiliano Magrini; Mauro Vigani
    Abstract: The paper analyses the impact of agricultural technologies on the four pillars of food security for maize farmers in Tanzania. Relying on matching techniques, we use a nationally representative dataset collected over the period 2010/2011 to estimate the causal effects of using improved seeds and inorganic fertilizers on food availability, access, utilization, and stability. Overall, the technologies have a positive and significant impact on food security, but substantial differences between the pillars are observed. Improved seeds show a stronger effect on food availability and access, while - in terms of utilization - both technologies increase the diet diversity and only improved seeds reduce the dependence on staple food. Finally, improved seeds reduce the household vulnerability while inorganic fertilizers guarantee higher resilience. The study supports the idea that the relationship between agricultural technologies and food security is a complex phenomenon, which cannot be limited to the use of welfare indexes as proxy for food security.
    Keywords: Food security, technology adoption, propensity score matching, Tanzania
    JEL: Q12 Q16 Q18 O13
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Simon Franklin
    Abstract: This paper looks at the link between housing conditions and household income and labour market participation in South Africa. I use four waves of panel data from 2002-2009 on households that were originally living in informal dwellings. I find that those households that received free government housing later experienced large increases in their incomes. This effect is driven by increased employment rates among female members of these households, rather than other sources of income. I take advantage of a natural experiment created by a policy of allocating housing to households that lived in close proximity to new housing developments. Using rich spatial data on the roll out of government housing projects, I generate geographic instruments to predict selection into receiving housing. I then use housing projects that were planned and approved but never actually built to allay concerns about non-random placement of housing projects. The fixed effects results are robust to the use of these instruments and placebo tests. I present suggestive evidence that formal housing alleviates the demands of work at home for women, which leads to increases in labour supply to wage paying jobs.
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Olivia Riera; Johan Swinnen
    Abstract: The indirect effects of biofuels are mostly considered negative. In this paper, we argue that there may be a positive indirect effect of biofuels on food security and poverty. Our analysis shows that the introduction of castor production for biofuel in a poor country as Ethiopia can significantly improve food productivity of rural households who produce raw material for biofuel production. This spillover seems particularly linked to enhanced access to inputs and technical assistance which were provided as part of biofuel feedstock production contracts. Our results thus help nuancing the view that biofuels necessarily harm smallholders' food security.
    Keywords: biofuels, contract farming, productivity, spillovers, Ethiopia
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Iimi,Atsushi; Lancelot,Eric R.; Manelici,Isabela; Ogita,Satoshi
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide feedback on the question of socioeconomic benefits from rural road development and the impact of transport infrastructure on the poor, particularly the poorest and the bottom 20 percent of the population. This paper relies on impact evaluation methodologies, which are traditionally used in social sectors but less so in the transport sector. The study, including first surveys, was launched in 2003 under the Tocantins Sustainable Regional Development Project. The paper highlights the context that led to the project?s design, which included an impact evaluation of the works envisaged under the project. The paper also highlights some of the main challenges faced by this impact evaluation and how these challenges were addressed for the present study. It then provides details about the data collected during the surveys and the key relevant characteristics of the population targeted by the surveys. It discusses the possible estimation methods envisioned to undertake the study and provides the main results of the assessment based on these methods. The analysis shows that improved rural roads changed people?s transport modal choice. People used more public buses and individual motorized vehicles after the rural road improvements. The paper also finds that the project increased school attendance, particularly for girls. Although the evidence is relatively weak in statistical terms, it indicates that the project contributed to increasing agricultural jobs and household income in certain regions.
    Keywords: Regional Economic Development,Roads and Highways Performance,Regional Rural Development,Rural Roads&Transport,Transport Economics Policy&Planning
    Date: 2015–04–23
  6. By: Comola, Margherita; Fafchamps, Marcel
    Abstract: Many studies have used self-reported dyadic data without exploiting the pattern of discordant answers. In this paper we propose a maximum likelihood estimator that deals with mis-reporting in a systematic way. We illustrate the methodology using dyadic data on inter-household transfers from the village of Nyakatoke in Tanzania, investigating the role of wealth in link formation. Our results suggest that observed transfers are grounded in mutual self-interest, and we show that not taking reporting bias into account leads to incorrect inference and serious underestimation of the total amount of transfers between villagers. The method introduced here is applicable whenever the researcher has two discordant measurements of the same dependent variable.
    Keywords: dyadic data; informal transfer; reporting bias; social networks
    JEL: C13 C51 D85
    Date: 2015–05

This nep-dev issue is ©2015 by Jacob A. Jordaan. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.