nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒08‒19
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The contribution of female health to economic development By Bloom, David E.; Kuhn, Michael; Prettner, Klaus
  2. Holy cows or cash cows? By Orazio Attanasio; Britta Augsburg
  3. Decentralizing education resources: school grants in Senegal By Pedro Carneiro; Oswald Koussihouèdé; Nathalie Lahire; Costas Meghir; Corina Mommaerts
  4. Agricultural Extension and Technology Adoption for Food Security: Evidence from Uganda By Pan, Yao; Smith, Stephen C.; Sulaiman, Munshi
  5. Does malaria control impact education? Evidence from Roll Back Malaria in Africa By Maria Kuecken; Josselin Thuilliez; Marie-Anne Valfort
  6. Food security and farmers' participation to value supply chain: the case of Ugandan maize By Pietrelli, Rebecca; Salvatici, Luca; Montalbano, Pierluigi
  7. Preschools and early childhood development in a second best world: Evidence from a scaled-up experiment in Cambodia By Adrien Bouguen; Deon Filmer; Karen Macours; Sophie Naudeau
  8. Expropriation, compensation and transitions to new livelihoods: Evidence from an expropriation in Ethiopia By Anthony Harris
  9. Determinants of Amazon Deforestation: The role of Off-Farm Income By Claudio Araujo; Jean-Louis Combes; José Gustavo Feres
  10. Microfinance and credit rationing in Ghana: Does the microfinance type matter? By Díaz Serrano, Lluís; Sackey, Frank G.
  11. Long Term Impacts of Vouchers for Vocational Training: Experimental Evidence for Colombia By Orazio Attanasio; Arlen Guarín; Carlos Medina; Costas Meghir

  1. By: Bloom, David E.; Kuhn, Michael; Prettner, Klaus
    Abstract: We analyze the economic consequences for less developed countries of investing in female health. In so doing we introduce a novel micro-founded dynamic general equilibrium framework in which parents trade off the number of children against investments in their education and in which we allow for health-related gender differences in productivity. We show that better female health speeds up the demographic transition and thereby the take-off toward sustained economic growth. By contrast, male health improvements delay the transition and the take-off because ceteris paribus they raise fertility. According to our results, investing in female health is therefore an important lever for development policies. However, and without having to assume anti-female bias, we also show that households prefer male health improvements over female health improvements because they imply a larger static utility gain. This highlights the existence of a dynamic trade-off between the short-run interests of households and long-run development goals. Our numerical analysis shows that even small changes in female health can have a strong impact on the transition process to a higher income level in the long run. Our results are robust with regard to a number of extensions, most notably endogenous investment in health care.
    Keywords: economic development,educational transition,female health,fertility transition,quality-quantity trade-off
    JEL: O11 I15 I25 J13 J16
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Orazio Attanasio (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Britta Augsburg (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: In a recent paper, Anagol, Etang and Karlan (2013) consider the income generated by these owning a cow or a buffalo in two districts of Uttar Pradesh, India. The net profit generated ignoring labour costs, gives rise to a small positive rate of return. Once any reasonable estimate of labour costs is added to costs, the rate of return is a large negative number. The authors conclude that households holding this type of assets do not behave according to the tenets of capitalism. A variety of explanations, typically appealing to religious or cultural factors have been invoked for such a puzzling fact. In this note, we point to a simple explanation that is fully consistent with rational behaviour on the part of Indian farmers. In computing the return on cows and buffaloes, the authors used data from a single year. Cows are assets whose return varies through time. In drought years, when fodder is scarce and expensive, milk production is lower and profits are low. In non-drought years, when fodder is abundant and cheaper, milk production is higher and profits can be considerably higher. The return on cows and buffaloes, like that of many stocks traded on Wall Street, is positive in some years and negative in others. We report evidence from three years of data on the return on cows and buffaloes in the district of Anantapur and show that in one of the three years returns are very high, while in drought years they are similar to the figures obtained by Anagol, Etang and Karlan (2013). This paper is also published as part of the NBER working paper series no. 20304
    Date: 2014–07
  3. By: Pedro Carneiro (Institute for Fiscal Studies and cemmap and UCL); Oswald Koussihouèdé (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Nathalie Lahire (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Costas Meghir (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University); Corina Mommaerts (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: The impact of school resources on the quality of education in developing countries may depend crucially on whether resources are targeted efficiently. In this paper we use a randomized experiment to analyze the impact of a school grants program in Senegal, which decentralized a portion of the country's education budget. We find large positive effects on test scores at younger grades that persist at least two years. We show that these effects are concentrated among schools that focused funds on human resources improvements rather than school materials, suggesting that teachers and principals may be a central determinant of school quality.
    Keywords: Quality of education; Decentralization; School resources; Child Development; Clustered Randomized Control Trials
    JEL: H52 I22 I25 O15
    Date: 2015–03
  4. By: Pan, Yao (Aalto University); Smith, Stephen C. (George Washington University); Sulaiman, Munshi (Yale University)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates causal impacts of a large-scale agricultural extension program for smallholder women farmers on food security in Uganda through a regression discontinuity design that exploits an arbitrary distance-to-branch threshold for village program eligibility. We find eligible farmers experienced significant increases in agricultural production, savings and wage income, which lead to improved food security. Given minimal changes in the adoption of relatively expensive inputs including HYV seeds, these gains are mainly attributed to increased usage of improved cultivation methods that are relatively costless. These results highlight the role of improved basic methods in boosting agricultural productivity among poor farmers.
    Keywords: agriculture, extension, agricultural technology adoption, food security, regression discontinuity, Uganda, labor markets in developing economies
    JEL: O13 Q12 I30
    Date: 2015–07
  5. By: Maria Kuecken (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Josselin Thuilliez (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS); Marie-Anne Valfort (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS)
    Abstract: Relying on microeconomic data, we examine the impact of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) control campaigns on the educational attainment of primary school children in 14 Sub-Saharan African countries. Combining a difference-in-differences approach with an IV analysis, we exploit exogenous variation in pre-campaign malaria prevalence and exogenous variation in exposure to the timing and disbursements of the RBM campaign. In all 14 countries, the RBM campaign reveals itself as a particularly cost-effective strategy to improve primary school children’s educational attainment.
    Date: 2015–01–04
  6. By: Pietrelli, Rebecca; Salvatici, Luca; Montalbano, Pierluigi
    Abstract: In many African countries, the crop commercialization is produced along a supply chain where farmers interact with intermediaries and traders. Using detailed panel data from Uganda 2009-12 (LSMS-ISA), this article examines whether farmer’s participation (inside or outside) and position (downstream and upstream) to maize value supply chain (VC) affect their food security. The paper finds some evidence that farmers’ food consumption, both in terms of level and variability, is affected by selling maize inside the VC. The results are suggestive that the gain from participation is driven by selling maize upstream in the VC.
    Keywords: maize, value supply chain, panel, Uganda., Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2015–06
  7. By: Adrien Bouguen (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Deon Filmer (Banque Mondiale - Centre de recherche de la Banque Mondiale - Banque Mondiale); Karen Macours (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Sophie Naudeau (Banque Mondiale - Centre de recherche de la Banque Mondiale - Banque Mondiale)
    Abstract: Interventions targeting early childhood development, such as investment in preschools, are often seen as promising mechanisms to increase human capital and to reduce the intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality. This paper presents results from a randomized evaluation of a large scale preschool construction program in Cambodia, and indicates a cautionary tale. The overall impact of the program on a wide set of children’s early childhood outcomes was small and not statistically significant, and for the cohort with highest exposure the program led to a negative impact on early childhood cognition. Moreover, for this group, the intervention increased inequality as the negative impacts are largest for children of poorer and less educated parents. The results can be explained by the frequent occurrence of underage enrollment in primary school in the absence of preschools, stricter enforcement of the minimum age for primary school entry after the intervention, substitution between primary and preschool following intervention, and difference in demand responses of more and less educated parents to the new preschools. These results indicate that the design of ECD interventions needs to start from a good understanding of parental and teacher decisions pre-program. More generally, they show how implementation and demand-side constraints might not only limit positive impacts, but could even lead to perverse effects of early childhood interventions.
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Anthony Harris
    Abstract: Government intervention in land transactions is common in developing countries, especially where land markets function poorly.  This is the case in Ethiopia, where expropriation of farmland from small-scale farmers has been used by all levels of government as a tool for providing new land for industrial investors, commercial agriculture and expanding cities.  This paper evaluates the impact of such a policy on a group of small-scale farmers whose land has been taken to make room for a large factory.  Baseline data was collected in the year before expropriation and a follow up survey was conducted 8 months after households lost their land and received payment.  On average, households lose 70% of their land and receive compensation payments that are about 5 times the value of annual consumption expenditure.  I find that households in the treatment group increase their consumption, start more businesses and participate more in non-farm activities than households that do not lose farmland.These households also reallocate their livestock portfolios away from oxen and towards small ruminants and cattle, reflecting a shift away from growing crops.  However, all of these changes are relatively minor compared to the increase in savings: with the exception of a few households, most of the compensation payment is left in the bank.
    Keywords: Land expropriation, Ethiopia, agricultural investment
    Date: 2015–01–31
  9. By: Claudio Araujo (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I); Jean-Louis Combes (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I); José Gustavo Feres (IPEA - Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - Brésil)
    Abstract: This paper aims at assessing the determinants of Amazon deforestation, with an emphasis on the role played by off-farm income. We first present a microeconomic model which relates off-farm income to deforestation patterns. We then test the empirical implications by using data on the 2006 Brazilian Agricultural Census. Our results suggest that an increase in off-farm income tends to reduce deforestation. This may be explained by the fact that greater off-farm opportunities tends to increase the opportunity cost of farm labor. Results also show that smallholders are less responsive to the increase in the returns of off-farm activities than large ones, which is in line with our hypothesis of labor market imperfections regarding off-farm activities.
    Date: 2014–11–19
  10. By: Díaz Serrano, Lluís; Sackey, Frank G.
    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 the microfinance institutions’ credit and loan records consisting of the various pieces of information provided by the borrowers in the application process. 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 codes: G21
    Keywords: Microfinances, Crèdit, Ghana, 336 - Finances. Banca. Moneda. Borsa,
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Orazio Attanasio; Arlen Guarín; Carlos Medina; Costas Meghir
    Abstract: We use experimental data of a training program in 2005 in Colombia. We find that even up to ten years ahead, the JeA program had a positive and significant effect on the probability to work in the formal sector, and to work for a large firm. Applicants in the treatment group also contributed more months to social security during the analyzed period. Earnings of treated applicants were 11.8% higher in the whole sample, and they made larger contributions to social security. We also present non parametric bounds showing that for some percentiles of the sample of women, there are positive and nearly significant effects of the program. Thus, the effects of the program would have been capitalized both in increases in the likelihood of being formal, and increases in productivity. We also present evidence that the estimated program effects on the likelihood of working for the formal sector, the likelihood of working for a large firm, and the earnings in the formal sector, are not an artifact of analyzing multiple outcomes. We also find those in the treatment group have 0.315 more years of education, and have a probability of graduating from high school 10 percent higher than the control group. We find no significant effect on the probability of attending college or any school program, nor on fertility decisions, marital status or some dimensions of assortative mating. Among applicants matching to the census of the poorest population, we find that beneficiaries are more likely to participate in the labor market, to be employed, and to be enrolled in a private health insurance at the time of the survey. Finally, we find that the benefits of the JeA program are higher than it costs, leading to an internal rate of return of at least 22.1 percent.
    Keywords: Vocational Training, Human Capital, Skills, Occupational Choice, Labor Productivity
    JEL: J24 M53
    Date: 2015–07–21

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