nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒07‒04
seven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Returns to Microenterprise Support Among the Ultra-Poor: A Field Experiment in Post-War Uganda By Christopher Blattman; Eric P. Green; Julian C. Jamison; M. Christian Lehmann; Jeannie Annan
  2. Financial Constraints and Girls' Secondary Education: Evidence from School Fee Elimination in The Gambia By Blimpo, Moussa P.; Gajigo, Ousman; Pugatch, Todd
  3. Biogas : clean energy access with low-cost mitigation of climate change By Somanathan,E.; Bluffstone,Randall
  4. Foreign Aid and Economic Growth in Developing Countries: An Instrumental Variables Approach By Arvind Magesan
  5. "A Flop or a Success?" An Evaluation of the Welfare Impacts of the 6-3-3-4 Education System in Nigeria By Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth
  6. Migration-induced Transfers of Norms. Political Empowerment?The case of Female Political Empowerment By Elisabetta Lodigiani; Sara Salomone
  7. The consumption, income, and wealth of the poorest: cross-sectional facts of rural and urban Sub-Saharan Africa for macroeconomists By De Magalhaes,Leandro; Santaeulalia-Llopis,Raul

  1. By: Christopher Blattman; Eric P. Green; Julian C. Jamison; M. Christian Lehmann; Jeannie Annan
    Abstract: We show that extremely poor, war-affected women in northern Uganda have high returns to a package of $150 cash, five days of business skills training, and ongoing supervision. 16 months after grants, participants doubled their microenterprise ownership and incomes, mainly from petty trading. We also show these ultrapoor have too little social capital, but that group bonds, informal insurance, and cooperative activities could be induced and had positive returns. When the control group received cash and training 20 months later, we varied supervision, which represented half of the program costs. A year later, supervision increased business survival but not consumption.
    JEL: C93 D13 J24 O12
    Date: 2015–06
  2. By: Blimpo, Moussa P. (University of Oklahoma); Gajigo, Ousman (World Bank); Pugatch, Todd (Oregon State University)
    Abstract: We assess the impact of large-scale fee elimination for secondary school girls in The Gambia on the quantity, composition, and achievement of students. The gradual rollout of the program across geographic regions provides identifying variation in the policy. The program increased access to secondary education substantially without harming learning outcomes. We find an increase of around 50% in the number of girls and boys taking the high school exit exam from a low baseline, as well as a 0.1 standard deviations gain in test scores in response to the program. This result is notable in a setting where expanded access could put additional strains on limited resources and the quality of schools. These findings suggest that financial constraints remain serious barriers to post-primary education and that efforts to expand access to secondary education need not come at the expense of learning in low-income countries like The Gambia.
    Keywords: secondary school, school fee elimination, gender gap, Gambia
    JEL: O15 I21 C93
    Date: 2015–06
  3. By: Somanathan,E.; Bluffstone,Randall
    Abstract: With data from the nearly 6,000 households in the Nepal Living Standards Survey of 2010?11, this paper finds that the mean reduction in household firewood collection associated with use of a biogas plant for cooking is about 1,100 kilograms per year from a mean of about 2,400 kilograms per year. This estimate is derived by comparing only households with and without biogas in the same village, thus effectively removing the influence of many potential confounders. Further controls for important determinants of firewood collection, such as household size, per capita consumption expenditure, cattle ownership, and unemployment are used to identify the effect of biogas adoption on firewood collection. Bounds on omitted variable bias are derived with the proportional selection assumption. The central estimate is much smaller than those in the previous literature, but is still large enough for the cost of adopting biogas to be significantly reduced via carbon offsets at a modest carbon price of $10 per ton of CO2e when using central estimates of emission factors and global warming potentials of pollutants taken from the scientific literature.
    Keywords: Energy Production and Transportation,Renewable Energy,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases,Energy and Environment,Environmental Economics&Policies
    Date: 2015–06–30
  4. By: Arvind Magesan (University of Calgary)
    Abstract: There is little consensus on the capacity for foreign aid to cause economic growth in developing countries. This is due in large part to the fact that foreign aid recipients are selected by donors, confounding identification. This paper proposes an identification strategy that exploits exogenous variation in foreign aid receipts generated by participation in Human Rights Treaties at the UN to identify an average causal effect of aid on growth. Our approach is valid even if the effect of aid is heterogeneous across recipients for unobservable reasons. We find that an additional dollar of per capita aid causes the growth rate in a recipient country to increase by 8% over four years and 5% over a decade. The effect is explained almost entirely by an expansion of the service industry, accompanied by a large increase in household consumption, with no evidence that aid causes "Dutch disease," as many fear it does. We conclude that aid increases growth by inducing a structural change in household demand for services.
    Date: 2015–06–25
  5. By: Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth (Emory University)
    Abstract: The need for graduates who would be productive citizens able to contribute significantly to the Nigerian economy led to the overhaul of the old education system 6-5-4 and the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 system, with its first set of graduates from secondary schools in 1988. The main objective of the 6-3-3- 4 system was to produce self-reliant graduates with better labor market skills and earning potential. In this paper, we investigate to what extent this goal was achieved. Using a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design, we examine if graduates from the 6-3-3-4 system experienced an improvement in welfare compared to those from the old system. We measure welfare improvement using several indicators such as a decline in poverty likelihood and poverty gap, an increase in the probability of employment and an increase in wages. Our results provide some evidence that the new system led to a decrease in the likelihood of being poor compared to those who passed through the old system. We also provide evidence of higher wages for select participants. We do not find any consistent evidence that the 6-3-3-4 system increased the probability of being employed when we compare participants from both systems. Our results suggest that while the system change may not have met some of its critical objectives, it cannot be viewed as totally ineffective.
    Keywords: education system, Nigeria, poverty incidence, employment, 6-3-3-4, 6-5-4, wages, RDD, program evaluation
    JEL: I25 I38 O15 O12 O20
    Date: 2015–06
  6. By: Elisabetta Lodigiani (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Sara Salomone (IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)
    Abstract: This paper empirically investigates the effect of transnational migrants on gender equality in the country of origin measured by the share of women enrolled in the lower chamber of National Parliaments. We test for a ‘migration-induced transfer of norm’ using panel data from 1960 to 2010 in ten-year intervals. Total international migration has a significant effect on female political empowerment in countries of origin conditional on the initial female parliamentary participation in both origin and destination countries. Reverse causality issues are taken into account and results are tested under specific geo-political and temporal subsamples.
    Keywords: International Migration, Gender Discrimination, Panel Data, Endogeneity
    JEL: F22 J16 D72 C33
    Date: 2015
  7. By: De Magalhaes,Leandro; Santaeulalia-Llopis,Raul
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical insights on the joint distribution of consumption, income, and wealth in three of the poorest countries in the world ? Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda ? all located in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The first finding is that while income inequality is similar to that of the United States, wealth inequality is barely one-third that of the US. Similarly, while the top of the income distribution (1 and 10\percent) earns a similar share of total income in SSA as in the United States, the share of total wealth accumulated by the income-rich in SSA is one-fifth of its US counterpart. The main contributions of the paper are to document the following: (i) that this dwarfed transmission from income to wealth, which suggests that SSA households face a larger inability to save and accumulate wealth compared with US households; and (ii) a lower transmission from income to consumption inequality, which suggests the presence of powerful institutions that favor consumption insurance to the detriment of saving. These features are more relevant for rural areas, which represent roughly four-fifths of the total population. The paper identifies the few successful pockets of the SSA population that are able to accumulate wealth by exploring sources of inequality such as age, education, migration, borrowing ability, and societal systems.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Population Policies,Rural Poverty Reduction,Inequality,Climate Change Economics
    Date: 2015–06–25

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