nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒06‒05
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. A First Step Up the Energy Ladder? Low Cost Solar Kits and Household’s Welfare in Rural Rwanda By Michael Grimm; Anicet Munyehirwe; Jörg Peters; Maximiliane Sievert
  2. Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: Evidence of Deceleration By Leonardo Gasparini; Mariana Marchionni; Nicolás Badaracco; Joaquín Serrano
  3. Risk Preferences, Shocks and Technology Adoption: Farmers’ Responses to Drought Risk By Holden, Stein T.
  4. Delivering education : a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries By Andrabi,Tahir; Das,Jishnu; Khwaja,Asim Ijaz
  5. Repaying Microcredit Loans: A Natural Experiment on Liability Structure By Mahreen Mahmud
  6. Does Large Scale Infrastructure Investment Alleviate Poverty? Impacts of Rwanda’s Electricity Access Roll-Out Program By Luciane Lenz; Anicet Munyehirwe; Jörg Peters; Maximiliane Sievert
  7. Regime Type, Inequality, and Redistributive Transfers in Developing Countries By Marina Dodlova; Anna Giolbas
  8. Person Equivalent Headcount Measures of Poverty By Tony Castleman; James Foster; Stephen C. Smith
  9. Performance-Based Financing, Motivation and Final Output in the Health Sector: Experimental Evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo By Elise Huillery; Juliette Seban
  10. Relational Capability as a Measure of Development By Hélène L'Huillier; Gaël Giraud; Cécile Renouard

  1. By: Michael Grimm; Anicet Munyehirwe; Jörg Peters; Maximiliane Sievert
    Abstract: More than 1.3 billion people in developing countries are lacking access to electricity. Based on the assumption that electricity is a prerequisite for human development, the United Nations initiative Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) has proclaimed the goal of providing modern energy to all by 2030. In recent years, Pico-Photovoltaic kits have become a lower-cost alternative to investment-intensive grid electrification. Using a randomized controlled trial we examine uptake and impacts of a simple Pico-Photovoltaic kit that barely exceeds the benchmark of what the UN considers as modern energy. We find significant effects on households’ budget, productivity and convenience. Despite these effects, the data shows that adoption will be impeded by affordability, suggesting that policy would have to consider more direct promotion strategies such as subsidies or financing schemes to reach the UN goal.
    Keywords: Energy access; household productivity; household technology adoption; Sub-Saharan Africa; Randomized Controlled Trial
    JEL: O13 O18 Q41 D13
    Date: 2015–04
  2. By: Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-UNLP and CONICET); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS-UNLP and CONICET); Nicolás Badaracco (CEDLAS-UNLP); Joaquín Serrano (CEDLAS-UNLP and CONICET)
    Abstract: This paper documents changes in female labor force participation (LFP) in Latin America exploiting a large database of microdata from household surveys of 15 countries in the period 1992-2012. We find evidence for a significant deceleration in the rate of increase of female LFP in the 2000s, breaking the marked increasing pattern that characterized the region for at least 50 years. The paper documents and characterizes this fact and examines various factors that could be driving the deceleration. Through a set of simple decompositions the paper helps to disentangle whether the patterns in female LFP are mainly accounted for by changes in the distribution of some direct determinants of the labor supply decision (e.g. education), or instead they are chiefly the consequence of some more profound transformation in behavior.
    JEL: J2 J1
    Date: 2015–03
  3. By: Holden, Stein T. (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
    Abstract: Climate risk represents an increasing threat to poor and vulnerable farmers in drought-prone areas of Africa. This study assesses the maize and fertilizer adoption responses of food insecure farmers in Malawi, where Drought Tolerant (DT) maize was recently introduced. A field experiment, eliciting relative risk aversion, loss aversion and subjective probability weighting parameters of farmers, is combined with a detailed farm household survey that measured the intensity of adoption of different maize types and fertilizer use on the different maize types and recorded exposure to past and present drought and other shocks. More risk averse households were more likely to have adopted DT maize, less likely to have adopted other improved maize varieties and less likely to have dis-adopted traditional local maize. Exposure to past drought shocks stimulated adoption of DT maize and dis-adoption of local maize. Over-weighting of small probabilities was associated with less use of fertilizer on all maize types.
    Keywords: Drought risk; shocks; risk aversion; subjective probability weighting; loss aversion; technology adoption; adaptation; Cragg model; maize; Drought Tolerant maize; fertilizer use
    JEL: C93 D03 O33 Q12 Q18
    Date: 2015–04–23
  4. By: Andrabi,Tahir; Das,Jishnu; Khwaja,Asim Ijaz
    Abstract: Even as primary-school enrollments have increased in most low-income countries, levels of learning remain low and highly unequal. Responding to greater parental demand for quality, low-cost private schools have emerged as one of the fastest growing schooling options, challenging the monopoly of state-provided education and broadening the set of educational providers. Historically, the rise of private schooling is always deeply intertwined with debates around who chooses what schooling is about and who represents the interests of children. This time is no different. But rather than first resolve the question of how child welfare is to be adjudicated, this paper argues instead for a `pragmatic framework?. In this pragmatic framework, policy takes into account the full schooling environment?which includes public, private and other types of providers?and is actively concerned with first alleviating constraints that prohibit parents and schools from fulfilling their own stated objectives. Using policy actionable experiments as examples, this paper shows that the pragmatic approach can lead to better schooling for children. Alleviating constraints by providing better information, better access to finance or greater access to skilled teachers brings more children into school and increases test-scores in language and mathematics. These areas of improvement are very similar to those where there is already a broad societal consensus that improvement is required.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Education For All,Secondary Education,Tertiary Education,Effective Schools and Teachers
    Date: 2015–05–26
  5. By: Mahreen Mahmud
    Abstract: Microcredit loans were traditionally extended to groups of people. However, there is no clear evidence that joint liability does lead to better borrower performance and recent years have seen a shift towards individual liability lending. Utilizing the exogenous shift from individual to joint liability lending by a microfinance organization in Pakistan, we find evidence of significant improvement in borrower discipline. Borrowers are about 0.6 times as likely to miss a payment in any given month under joint liability relative to individual liability. We also use the exogenous variation in number of months borrowers had till the expiry of their individual liability loans at the time of the shift to study the kind of groups they formed. More time that borrowers had, the more likely they were to form groups with people they knew from before and met weekly. The time that borrower had to form group also correlated positively with borrower discipline.
    Keywords: Microfinance; Group lending; Joint liability
    JEL: D71 D82 G21
    Date: 2015–05
  6. By: Luciane Lenz; Anicet Munyehirwe; Jörg Peters; Maximiliane Sievert
    Abstract: The United Nations’ objective to provide electricity to the 1.3 billion people without access in developing countries comes at high costs. Little evidence exists on socioeconomic impacts of electrification. This paper rigorously investigates effects of a large grid extension program in Rwanda on all rural beneficiary groups: households, microenterprises, health centers, and schools. While the program has led to a tremendous increase of connections, appliance uptake and electricity consumption remain low. We find only weak evidence for impacts on classical poverty indicators. To inform future policy design, we call for thorough cost-benefit comparison between on-grid and off-grid solutions.
    Keywords: Energy access; difference-in-differences; electrification; mixed-methods; Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: O13 O18 Q41
    Date: 2015–04
  7. By: Marina Dodlova (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Anna Giolbas (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: The debate on whether democracy and inequality increase the level of redistribution in a country is still ongoing. We construct a model that predicts a higher probability of redis-tribution in democracies than in autocracies. Further, with higher initial inequality, there should be more redistribution in democracies but not necessarily in autocracies. We test these predictions using data on social transfers in developing countries for the period 1960–2010. We con?rm that democracy increases redistribution and, to some extent, that there is more redistribution with rising inequality. Hence, on the basis of a direct measure of redistribution, we present evidence to con?rm the median voter theorem.
    Keywords: regime type, inequality, redistribution, median voter theorem
    Date: 2015–05
  8. By: Tony Castleman (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University); James Foster (Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Oxford Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford); Stephen C. Smith (George Washington University)
    Abstract: Headcount measures of poverty are by far the most common tools for evaluating poverty and gauging progress in global development goals. The headcount ratio, or the prevalence of poverty, and the headcount, or the number of the poor, both convey tangible information about poverty. But both ignore the depth of poverty, so they arguably present distorted views of the spatial distribution of poverty as well as the extent of progress against poverty over time. Additionally, headcount measures can provide incentives for policymakers to focus their efforts on the least poor, an observation well understood among policymakers themselves. While other poverty measures mitigate these problems by capturing the intensity as well as the prevalence of poverty, they are often dismissed from the policy discourse as being too “unintuitive†to have traction. There is a need for poverty measures that go beyond traditional headcount measures, but retain their direct interpretation. This paper presents person equivalent (p. e.) headcount measures, which do just that. Our approach draws on the logic of full-time equivalent jobs, adult equivalent incomes, and other constructs in economics. An initial period is used to calibrate the average depth of poverty among the poor, which then becomes the “person equivalent†underlying the p. e. headcount and the p. e. headcount ratio. We illustrate our methods using $1.25 a day poverty data from 80 countries as provided by the World Bank, and show how the new measures map out different pictures of poverty and progress than traditional headcount measures. Overall, the picture is one of a more rapid decline in global poverty, but with significant redistributions of its burden across regions and countries. For example, p. e. headcounts are much higher than traditional headcounts in Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub Saharan Africa; in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific the reverse is true. In Nigeria the traditional headcount rose by 28 million and the p. e. headcount rose by 50 million; in South Africa the p. e. headcount fell by more than the traditional headcount. We discuss properties of the new measures, outline some generalizations and conclude with recommendations for using this approach in development goals to track progress and direct policy.
    Keywords: Poverty measurement, headcount, poverty gap, FGT indices, development goals, inclusive growth, multidimensional poverty
    JEL: I32 O15 D63
    Date: 2015–05
  9. By: Elise Huillery (ECON - Département d'économie - Sciences Po); Juliette Seban (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS)
    Abstract: Performance-based financing becomes a common strategy to improve health sector quality. The findings of this paper imply that performance-based financing should take motivational effects and levels of provider capacity into account. Using a field experiment in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we find that financial incentives led to more effort from health workers on rewarded activities, without deterring effort on non-rewarded activities. We also find a shift from intrinsic to extrinsic motivation. Finally, the increased effort by health workers proved unsuccessful and led to a reduction in revenue, suggesting that health workers lacked the capacity to develop appropriate strategies to perform.
    Date: 2014–10
  10. By: Hélène L'Huillier (CLERSE - Centre lillois d'études et de recherches sociologiques et économiques - CNRS - Université Lille 1 - Sciences et technologies); Gaël Giraud (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS); Cécile Renouard (IRENE - Institut de recherche et d'enseignement sur la négociation - Essec Business School, ESSEC Business School - Essec Business School)
    Abstract: This paper documents the paradoxical short-term effects of training and job programmes implemented by oil companies in the region of Onelga, Rivers State (Nigeria). We use two multidimensional indexes as dependent variables: the UNDP's Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and a ‘Relational Deprivation Index’ (RDI) that measures the quality of social fabric. We find that while the programmes significantly reduce conventional poverty, their impact on RDI is twofold: the beneficiaries' integration into networks improves at the expense of deteriorated private relations. These different effects promote measuring poverty and development as multidimensional phenomena and taking into consideration social aspects of development.
    Abstract: Cet article étudie les effets paradoxaux, à court terme, des programmes de formation et d'emplois mis en place par les sociétés pétrolières dans la région d'Onelga, Rivers State (Nigeria). Nous utilisons deux indices multidimensionnels comme variables dépendantes : l'indice de pauvreté multidimensionnel et l'indice de privation relationnelle, qui mesure la qualité de la fabrique sociale. Nous trouvons que, tandis que ces programmes parviennent à réduire de manière significative la pauvreté conventionnelle, leur impact en termes de privation relationnelle est ambivalent : l'intégration des bénéficiaires de ces programmes dans des réseaux s'améliore mais aux dépens de leurs relations privées. Ces effets différenciés plaident en faveur d'une mesure de la pauvreté et du développement via des indices multidimensionnels qui prennent en compte de manière explicite la dimension sociale du développement.
    Date: 2014–12

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