nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒06‒13
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Can community-based microfinance groups match savers with borrowers? Evidence from rural Malawi By Rachel Cassidy; Marcel Fafchamps
  2. Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme By Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Zambia Cash Transfer Evaluation Team; Kathleen Lawlor; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  3. Poor Health Reporting : Do Poor South Africans Underestimate Their Health Needs? By Laura Rossouw
  4. Does large scale infrastructure investment alleviate poverty? Impacts of Rwanda's electricity access roll-out program By Lenz, Luciane; Munyehirwe, Anicet; Peters, Jörg; Sievert, Maximiliane
  5. The intensive margin of technology adoption: Experimental evidence on improved cooking stoves in rural Senegal By Bensch, Gunther; Peters, Jörg
  6. Ethnic inclusiveness of the central state government and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa By Frédéric Gaspart; Pierre Pecher
  7. How much of the labor in African agriculture is provided by women ? By Palacios-Lopez,Amparo; Christiaensen,Luc; Kilic,Talip
  8. Social Capital and the Repayment of Microfinance Group Lending. A Case Study of Pro Mujer Mexico By Luminita Postelnicu; Niels Hermes; Roselia Servin Juarez
  9. Does Education Increase Interethnic and Interreligious Tolerance? Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Roth, Christopher; Sumarto, Sudarno
  10. Does Food Insecurity Impact Subjective Evaluation of Well-being? Evidence From a Developing Country By Wisdom Akpalu; Aaron Christian; Samuel Codjoe

  1. By: Rachel Cassidy; Marcel Fafchamps
    Abstract: This paper examines how members sort across community-based microfinance groups, specifically Village Savings and Loan Associations in rural Malawi. Our central question is to ask whether such groups allow savers (especially commitment savers) to match with potential borrowers, thereby promoting financial intermediation. We analyse novel data in the form of a census of all 3,800 members of 150 VSLA groups. We first develop predictions on sorting in terms of individual members’ occupation and present bias, and then test these predictions in a dyadic regression framework. We find evidence that whilst there is positive assortative matching on occupation, suggesting unrealised intermediation possibilities; there is negative assortative matching on present bias, indicating that these groups do at least create a degree of financial intermediation between commitment savers and borrowers. The latter may be welfare-enhancing for both commitment savers and borrowers, given the low access to commitments savings technologies and to credit in these communities.
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Zambia Cash Transfer Evaluation Team; Kathleen Lawlor; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: This study investigates whether cash transfers enable households facing weather and other negative income shocks to avoid adverse coping strategies that can lead to poverty traps. While cash transfers are not routinely considered in the policy discourse concerning climate adaptation programming, because ex-ante transfers enable households to avoid negative coping strategies and even increase food consumption in the face of covariate weather shocks, cash transfers offer a sound approach for building climate-resilience amongst the world’s most vulnerable and facilitating their “autonomous adaptation” to a changing environment. Cash also enables households to productively cope with the many other idiosyncratic shocks the rural poor routinely face.
    Keywords: cash transfers; child nutrition; nutrition projects; poverty; poverty alleviation; poverty reduction; rural poverty;
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Laura Rossouw
    Abstract: Researchers often rely on household survey data to investigate health disparities and the incidence and prevalence of illness. These self-reported health measures are often biased due to information asymmetry or differences in reference groups. Using the World Health Organization study on global ageing and adult health, I find that the poor use a different reporting scale from the more affluent, leading to overestimation of their health status. This is tested by using the relatively novel anchoring vignettes approach and applying the hierarchical ordered probit model. Underestimation by the poor of their ill health could mean that South Africa’s high levels of socioeconomic health inequalities are greater than realized.
    Keywords: Equality and inequality, Health care, Public health
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Lenz, Luciane; Munyehirwe, Anicet; Peters, Jörg; Sievert, Maximiliane
    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
  5. By: Bensch, Gunther; Peters, Jörg
    Abstract: Today 2.6 billion people in developing countries rely on biomass as primary cooking fuel, with profound negative implications for their well-being. Improved biomass cooking stoves are alleged to counteract these adverse effects. This paper evaluates take-up and impacts of low-cost improved stoves through a randomized controlled trial. The randomized stove is primarily designed to curb firewood consumption but not smoke emissions. Nonetheless, we find considerable effects not only on firewood consumption, but also on smoke exposure and smoke-related disease symptoms - induced by behavioural changes at the intensive margin affecting outside cooking and cooking time due to the new stove.
    Abstract: Fast drei Milliarden Menschen in Entwicklungsländern kochen auf traditionelle Art und Weise mit Biomasse. Damit einhergehende Folgen sind unter anderem eine verstärkte Abholzung der Wälder und eine ausgeprägte Rauchpartikelbelastung der Haushalte. Kochöfen, die eine effizientere und sauberere Verbrennung ermöglichen, gelten als probates Mittel, negativen Effekten auf die Lebensbedingungen der betroffenen Bevölkerung entgegenzuwirken und den Holzverbrauch zu reduzieren. Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Einführung und in der Folge auftretende Wirkungen von verbesserten und zugleich einfachen Kochöfen anhand einer randomisierten kontrollierten Studie im ländlichen Senegal. Der untersuchte Ofen ist in erster Linie dazu konzipiert den Feuerholzverbrauch zu reduzieren und günstig lokal herstellbar zu sein. Jedoch lassen sich auch erhebliche positive Gesundheitswirkungen nachweisen, die einer geringeren Rauchbelastung zugeschrieben werden, welche wiederum auf Verhaltensänderungen zurückzuführen ist: Haushalte kochen vermehrt im Freien und Köche verbringen deutlich weniger Zeit an der Feuerstelle. Diese Beobachtungen liefern weitere Evidenz dafür, dass die Effektivität von technologieorientierten Interventionen stark von dem Verhalten, wie die neue Technologie genutzt wird, beeinflusst werden kann.
    Keywords: impact evaluation,randomized controlled trial,respiratory disease symptoms,energy access,technology adoption
    JEL: C93 O12 O13 Q53 Q56
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Frédéric Gaspart (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Earth and Life Institute); Pierre Pecher (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of the share of ethnic groups included in the central government on economic growth, distinguishing between democracies and autocracies in a panel of 41 sub-Saharan African countries over the period 1950-2000. We exploit evidence from the Ethnic Power Relations database that categorizes the politically relevant ethnic groups in terms of access to state power. We are taking advantage of the within-country variation and using Fixed-Effects, Difference-GMM and System-GMM estimations. Our dynamic panel data and error-correction growth models display a robust positive effect of the proportion of included groups in democracies. This effect is offset in autocracies and the difference is often significantly negative. This finding withstands the introduction of various controls and specification checks. We provide a theoretical rationalization of this observed phenomenon in the form of a mechanism involving the opposition of forces linked to efficiency gains, coordination failures and inclusiveness.
    JEL: N17 O11 O43
    Date: 2015–05–21
  7. By: Palacios-Lopez,Amparo; Christiaensen,Luc; Kilic,Talip
    Abstract: The contribution of women to labor in African agriculture is regularly quoted in the range of 60 to 80 percent. Using individual-disaggregated, plot-level labor input data from nationally representative household surveys across six Sub-Saharan African countries, this study estimates the average female labor share in crop production at 40 percent. It is slightly above 50 percent in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, and substantially lower in Nigeria (37 percent), Ethiopia (29 percent), and Niger (24 percent). There are no systematic differences across crops and activities, but female labor shares tend to be higher in households where women own a larger share of the land and when they are more educated. Controlling for the gender and knowledge profile of the respondents does not meaningfully change the predicted female labor shares. The findings question prevailing assertions regarding substantial gains in aggregate crop output as a result of increasing female agricultural productivity.
    Keywords: Housing&Human Habitats,Labor Policies,Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems,Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems,Crops and Crop Management Systems
    Date: 2015–06–02
  8. By: Luminita Postelnicu; Niels Hermes; Roselia Servin Juarez
    Abstract: This paper investigates how social networks of group borrowers come into play in joint liability group lending. We use a large and original dataset containing 802 mapped social networks of borrowers from Pro Mujer Mexico. This is the first paper to look at external ties, i.e. social ties with individuals outside the borrowing group. Our main finding is that group lending with joint liability works when group borrowers use the informal risk insurance arrangement embedded in their external ties as guarantee for loan repayment. The extent to which this informal arrangement is used as guarantee is not decided by the borrower, but it is determined by the configuration of the group borrowers’ social networks, i.e. by their overlapping networks. These overlapping networks (or information channels) facilitate the diffusion of information into each other’s networks, and, thus, increases the credibility of the threat of losing one’s informal risk insurance arrangement in case of default. Our results show that the threat of losing the informal risk insurance arrangement embedded in one’s external ties matters for loan repayment even more than internal ties (i.e. ties between group members).
    Date: 2015–05–27
  9. By: Roth, Christopher; Sumarto, Sudarno
    Abstract: Can the government increase tolerance among its citizens by providing them with more schooling? We exploit a large school building program from Indonesia to examine the causal relationship between education and attitudes towards people from a different ethnicity and religion. Our generalized difference-in-differences estimates suggest that receiving more education causes an increase in interethnic and interreligious tolerance. Specifically, a one standard d eviation increase in education results in a .4 standard deviation increase in tolerance. We demonstrate robustness of results and show that the common trend assumption is satisfied. Subsequently, we shed light light on several mechanisms: first, treated individuals are more likely to migrate, to live in cities and to work in occupations outside of agriculture. This in turn, increases their incomes and the religious and economic diversity of their social environment. Second, we employ an additional identification strategy to show that the educational content under Suharto emphasizing the national unity of Indonesia is an important mechanism underlying the estimated treatment effects.
    Keywords: Racism, Tolerance, Education, Natural Experiment
    JEL: D02 H4 I2
    Date: 2015–05–21
  10. By: Wisdom Akpalu; Aaron Christian; Samuel Codjoe
    Abstract: Understanding the relationship between food insecurity and subjective evaluation of well-being is critical in designing social welfare policies, especially in developing countries. Surprisingly, literature on the topic is scarce. This study adopted Van Praag’s theoretical framework and used household survey data from Ghana to investigate the monetary income which households facing severe food insecurity require to reach a given level of verbal qualification of well-being. We found that households that are food insecure require a higher monetary income to reach the same level of verbal qualification of well-being than their counterparts who are food secure. Furthermore, per capita household income levels positively correlate with monetary income requirements, indicating a weak correlation between food security and per capita household income. Households that receive support from others require a lower level of income than either those who give support or those who neither give nor receive support.
    Keywords: Food security, Quality of life, Welfare economics
    Date: 2015

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