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

  1. The Misallocation of Labor in Village Economies By Oriana Bandiera; Robin Burgess; Narayan Das; Selim Gulesci; Imran Rasul; Munshi Sulaiman
  2. The Risks to Education Systems from Design Mismatch and Global Isomorphism By Pritchett, Lant
  3. Intrahousehold Time Allocation: An Impact Evaluation of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs By Gustavo Canavire-Bacarreza; Monica Ospina
  4. The Power of Transparency: Information, Identification Cards, and Food Subsidy Programs in Indonesia By Banerjee, Abhijit; Hanna, Rema; Kyle, Jordan C.; Olken, Benjamin A.; Sumarto, Sudarno
  5. Is Africa Different? Historical Conflict and State Development By Mark Dincecco; James Fenske; Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato
  6. Self-Selection into Credit Markets: Evidence from Agriculture in Mali By Beaman, Lori; Karlan, Dean; Thuysbaert, Bram; Udry, Christopher
  7. Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets By Andrabi, Tahir; Das, Jishnu; Khwaja, Asim Ijaz
  8. Targeting Ultra-poor Households in Honduras and Peru By Karlan, Dean; Thuysbaert, Bram
  9. Measuring food insecurity: Global estimates By Nanak Kakwani; Hyun H. Son
  10. Measuring women’s decisionmaking: Indicator choice and survey design experiments from cash and food transfer evaluations in Ecuador, Uganda, and Yemen: By Peterman, Amber; Schwab, Benjamin; Roy, Shalini; Hidrobo, Melissa; Gilligan, Daniel
  11. The impact of household health shocks on female time allocation and agricultural labor participation in rural Pakistan: By Gajate-Garrido, Gissele
  12. Low Quality, Low Returns, Low Adoption: Evidence from the Market for Fertilizer and Hybrid Seed in Uganda By Bold, Tessa; Kaizzi, Kayuki C.; Svensson, Jakob; Yanagizawa-Drott, David
  13. Household Financial Access and Risk Sharing in Nigeria By Stacy Carlson; Era Dabla-Norris; Mika Saito; Yu Shi
  14. Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme By Sudhanshu Handa; Benjamin Davis; Silvio Daidone; Mike Park; Robert D. Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto
  15. Short-term Migration and Intergenerational Persistence of Industry in Rural India By Nandi, Tushar Kanti; Kar, Saibal
  16. Corruption in the Health Sector: Evidence from Unofficial Consultation Fees in Bangladesh By Abdallah, Wahid; Chowdhury, Shyamal; Iqbal, Kazi

  1. By: Oriana Bandiera; Robin Burgess; Narayan Das; Selim Gulesci; Imran Rasul; Munshi Sulaiman
    Abstract: We study how the poor in village economies allocate their labor across work activities, and how their choices shape village-wide outcomes. We combine data from 21000 poor and non-poor households in 1309 villages in Bangladesh with the randomized evaluation of a program that provides a large, one-off, transfer of assets and skills to the poorest women. The evidence suggests the poor face imperfections in capital markets that keep them in a low asset-low employment poverty trap where they are only able to engage in low return and seasonal casual wage labor. The transfer of assets and skills allows them to address this misallocation of labor by undertaking more productive capital-intensive work activities, thus increasing total labor supply, earnings, savings and asset holdings. The improved earnings capacity and resource base of the poor allows them to engage in financial intermediation that benefits non-poor households and leads to village-wide increases in savings, saving rates and capital accumulation. Lifting the poor out of the poverty trap therefore sets in place a virtuous cycle that improves the allocation of labor and places the entire village economy on a trajectory out of poverty.
    JEL: J22 O12
    Date: 2015–08
  2. By: Pritchett, Lant (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The incredibly low levels of learning and the generally dysfunctional public sector schooling systems in many (though not all) developing countries are the result of a capability trap (Pritchett et al. 2010). Two phenomena reinforce persistent failure of schooling systems to produce adequate learning outcomes. One is the mismatch between system design--the allocation of activities across organizations and mechanisms of accountability--and the insights of the 'new institutional economics' from principal agent models and contract theory. In particular, many education systems attempt to manage teaching and learning as a 'thin' or 'logistical' activity that can be managed with top-down control and an emphasis on compliance. The reality is that teaching is a 'thick' or 'implementation intensive' activity that performs better when teachers and operators of schools are given performance standards, have multiple in-depth accountability channels, and are given greater autonomy. The second phenomena that facilitates persistent failure is global isomorphism on enrollment and inputs (Meyer et al. 1977; Boli et al. 1985; Meyer et al. 1997). That is, the field (in the sense of Bourdieu 1993) of global education has produced a near exclusive emphasis on enrollments and duration in school, adequacy of physical inputs, and formal qualifications that allowed, perhaps encouraged, national systems to ignore completely performance on child-learning (of any type, measured in any way). I conclude with a comparison in India of the national governments recent efforts in basic education which have been almost exclusively isomorphic.
    JEL: I20 I25 L14 L32
    Date: 2014–04
  3. By: Gustavo Canavire-Bacarreza; Monica Ospina
    Abstract: This paper argues that exogenous changes in household income alter the allocation of time within the family. To examine this issue, we propose a theoretical framework that is an extension of the unitary model of intra-household time allocation where conditional cash transfers are received by the household and we test it empirically using non-parametric techniques. This allows us to study the effects of an exogenous shock, such as a conditional cash transfer program, on time allocated to various activities such as work, domestic labor, leisure, and school for children and adults. Using the exogenous change of a conditional cash transfer program in Colombia, "Familias en Accion", we find significant positive effects on work time as well as on leisure and school for children and smaller effects on adult schooling and domestic labor, which support our hypothesis. These results are crucial to fully understand other direct and indirect effects of the program.
    Keywords: impact evaluation; conditional cash transfer; time use;intra-household time allocation
    JEL: D13 J22 C21
    Date: 2015–08–10
  4. By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT); Hanna, Rema (Harvard University); Kyle, Jordan C. (Columbia University); Olken, Benjamin A. (MIT); Sumarto, Sudarno (SMERU Research Institute)
    Abstract: Can governments improve aid programs by providing information to beneficiaries? In our model, information can change how much aid citizens receive as they bargain with local officials who implement national programs. In a large-scale field experiment, we test whether mailing cards with program information to beneficiaries increases their subsidy from a subsidized rice program. Beneficiaries received 26 percent more subsidy in card villages. Ineligible households received no less, so this represents lower leakage. The evidence suggests that this effect is driven by citizen bargaining with local officials. Experimentally adding the official price to the cards increased the subsidy by 21 percent compared to cards without price information. Additional public information increased higher-order knowledge about eligibility, leading to a 16 percent increase in subsidy compared to just distributing cards. In short, increased transparency empowered citizens to reduce leakages and improve program functioning.
    Date: 2015–03
  5. By: Mark Dincecco (University of Michigan); James Fenske (University of Oxford); Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)
    Abstract: We show that the consequences of historical warfare for state development differ for Sub-Saharan Africa. We identify the locations of more than 1,500 conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Europe from 1400 to 1799. We find that historical warfare predicts common-interest states defined by high fiscal capacity and low civil conflict across much of the OldWorld. For Sub-Saharan Africa, historical warfare predicts special-interest states defined by high fiscal capacity and high civil conflict. Our results offer new evidence about where and when “war makes states.â€
    Keywords: Warfare, State development, Fiscal capacity, Civil conflict, Africa
    JEL: C10 H20 O55 N40 P48
    Date: 2015–08
  6. By: Beaman, Lori (Northwestern University); Karlan, Dean (Yale University and Innovations for Poverty Action); Thuysbaert, Bram (Ghent University); Udry, Christopher (Yale University)
    Abstract: We partnered with a micro-lender in Mali to randomize credit offers at the village level. Then, in no-loan control villages, we gave cash grants to randomly selected households. These grants led to higher agricultural investments and profits, thus showing that liquidity constraints bind with respect to agricultural investment. In loan-villages, we gave grants to a random subset of farmers who (endogenously) did not borrow. These farmers have lower--in fact zero--marginal returns to the grants. Thus we find important heterogeneity in returns to investment and strong evidence that farmers with higher marginal returns to investment self-select into lending programs.
    JEL: D21 D92 O12 O16 Q12 Q14
    Date: 2014–05
  7. By: Andrabi, Tahir (Pomona College); Das, Jishnu (World Bank Development Research Group); Khwaja, Asim Ijaz (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We study the impact of providing school and child test scores on subsequent test scores, prices, and enrollment in markets with multiple public and private providers. A randomly selected half of our sample villages (markets) received report cards. This increased test scores by 0.11 standard deviations, decreased private school fees by 17 percent and increased primary enrollment by 4.5 percent. Heterogeneity in the treatment impact by initial school quality is consistent with canonical models of asymmetric information. Information provision facilitates better comparisons across providers, improves market efficiency and raises child welfare through higher test scores, higher enrollment and lower fees.
    JEL: D22 D82 I25 L15 L22 O12
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Karlan, Dean (Yale University and Innovations for Poverty Action); Thuysbaert, Bram (Yale University and Ghent University)
    Abstract: For policy purposes, it is important to understand the relative efficacy of various methods to target the poor. Recently, participatory methods have received particular attention. We examine the effectiveness of a hybrid two-step process that combines a participatory wealth ranking and a verification household survey, relative to two proxy means tests (the Progress out of Poverty Index and a housing index), in Honduras and Peru. The methods we examine perform similarly to one another by various metrics. They all target most accurately in the cases of the poorest and the wealthiest households but perform with mixed results among households in the middle of the distribution. Ultimately, given similar performance, the analysis suggests that costs should be the driving consideration in choosing across methods.
    JEL: C81 O12 O20
    Date: 2013–10
  9. By: Nanak Kakwani; Hyun H. Son
    Abstract: Food insecurity is a complex development issue dealing with physical and economic constraints to safe and nutritious food to maintain healthy living. This paper proposes a new approach to measuring food insecurity. Households or individuals are deemed food insecure if their access to food sufficient to meet their nutritional needs is limited by lack of resources. This paper estimates the per capita monetary cost of a food basket that provides a balanced diet through adequate nutrients including calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates to maintain good health. The per capita monetary cost of food is calculated in terms of U.S. dollars based on the 2005 Purchasing Power Parity to compare estimates across countries. The findings reveal substantial progress in reducing global food insecurity during 2002–2011. In just one decade, the percentage of food insecure people, who are likely to suffer from hunger, notably decreased from 21.59\% in 2002 to 10.98\% in 2011, with more than 455 million people lifted out of food insecurity. Despite such progress, some 626 million people in the globe are still food insecure. Among the regions, Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from severe hunger. This paper estimates that with its trend growth rate, Sub-Saharan Africa will need almost three decades to eradicate food insecurity.
    Date: 2015–08
  10. By: Peterman, Amber; Schwab, Benjamin; Roy, Shalini; Hidrobo, Melissa; Gilligan, Daniel
    Abstract: Despite wide use of women’s decisionmaking indicators, both as a direct measure of intrahousehold decisionmaking and as a proxy for women’s empowerment or bargaining power, little has been done to explore what such indicators capture and how effective they measure program impacts on empowerment. We review theoretical and operational evidence from recent literature on women’s decisionmaking and analyze survey experiments undertaken in cash and food transfer programs in Ecuador, Yemen, and Uganda from 2010 to 2012. We find large variations in how women are ranked in terms of decisionmaking depending on how indicators are constructed. In addition, we find that across countries, composite decisionmaking indicators are not consistently associated with other proxy measures of women’s empowerment or household welfare, such as women’s education levels or household food consumption. We also find mixed evidence across countries related to the impact of transfer programs on women’s decisionmaking indicators. We conclude with implications of our findings for future research and use of decisionmaking indicators for program evaluation in developing countries.
    Keywords: women, gender, decision making, households, food consumption, empowerment, cash transfer, social cash transfer,
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Gajate-Garrido, Gissele
    Abstract: There have been few empirical studies in the developing world and the agricultural sector, on the impact of negative health shocks on household well-being. Does the pervasive effect of a negative household-level health shock persist beyond its initial impact and indirectly affect long-run outcomes? What are the channels through which this impact affects household dynamics? To answer these questions this research paper measures the effect of household health shocks on female time allocation and agricultural labor participation in rural Pakistan. To deal with joint determination and measurement error issues, it uses a wide range of covariates found in the 2012 and 2013 Pakistan Rural Household Panel Surveys, including individual, year, and district fixed effects. This paper improves on previous research by providing evidence on the role of changes in female labor supply as an insurance mechanism and shedding light on the nonmonetary consequences of adverse health shocks. Increases in paid workload for women reduce time spent on household chores directly related to child quality. The paper shows how these changes in time allocation affect households’ overall well-being.
    Keywords: development, gender, women, division of labor, health shocks, agricultural productivity,
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Bold, Tessa (IIES, Stockholm University and Goethe University Frankfurt); Kaizzi, Kayuki C. (National Agricultural Research Laboratories, Kampala); Svensson, Jakob (IIES, Stockholm University); Yanagizawa-Drott, David (Harvard University)
    Abstract: To reduce poverty and food insecurity in Africa requires raising productivity in agriculture. Systematic use of fertilizer and hybrid seed is a pathway to increased productivity, but adoption of these technologies remains low. We investigate whether the quality of agricultural inputs can help explain low take-up. Testing modern products purchased in local markets, we find that 30% of nutrient is missing in fertilizer, and hybrid maize seed contains less than 50% authentic seeds. We document that such low quality results in negative average returns. If authentic technologies replaced these low-quality products, average returns for smallholder farmers would be over 50%.
    Date: 2015–06
  13. By: Stacy Carlson; Era Dabla-Norris; Mika Saito; Yu Shi
    Abstract: We examine the role of household financial access in determining the extent of risksharing in Nigeria using household-level panel data. We estimate changes in the response of consumption to shocks for households with formal and informal access to finance and those without, both for the country as a whole and for different regions. Our findings suggest that households with financial access who experience an unexpected negative income shock see consumption fall by 15 percentage points less than those without access. This result is mainly driven by households with informal financial access, and by household savings rather than borrowing. Regional variation in risk sharing tends to be significant, suggesting that financial inclusion efforts going forward should have a more regional focus.
    Keywords: Africa;Nigeria;Financial services;Household consumption;Household credit;Private savings;Borrowing;Financial access, Risk-Sharing, Household Panel Data, household, savings, households, credit,
    Date: 2015–07–22
  14. By: Sudhanshu Handa; Benjamin Davis; Silvio Daidone; Mike Park; Robert D. Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto
    Abstract: Understanding how household consumption, investment and saving decisions respond to transfer income is critical to public policy. In developing countries, saving or otherwise investing in the future is difficult for poor households which often struggle to meet basic expenses, while high debt burdens are also obstacles to saving. Poor households in rural areas of developing countries typically manage risk via informal exchanges or transfers among extended family, friends and neighbours. Motivated by the community dynamics observed in the qualitative assessment of LEAP and the unpredictable and lumpy payments made by the programme during the evaluation period, the main interest of this paper is to assess within a quantitative framework the impact of LEAP on household risk reduction strategies via reintegration in, and strengthening of, social networks and reduction of debt exposure.
    Keywords: cash transfers; debt management; income household; social development policies; social protection;
    Date: 2015
  15. By: Nandi, Tushar Kanti (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta); Kar, Saibal (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta)
    Abstract: One of the well-known barriers to development is persistence of disadvantage among communities. The lack of occupational and therefore upward social mobility continues to restrain households from achieving socially desirable outcomes. This paper studies the effect of short-term internal migration experience on the intergenerational persistence of industry upon a migrant's return to native place. We develop an occupational choice model of a return migrant to study the relationship between the migrant's savings, skill or any other productive asset accumulation during migration and the decision to work upon return, in the industry where his/her father is employed. Using data from a nationally representative sample survey, we find that short-term migration by males reduces the probability of intergenerational persistence by 20% in rural India. Migration to urban areas, work experience in a different industry and higher frequency of migration reduce the return migrant's chance of being employed in the industry where his father is employed. The results suggest that skill formation during migration can play a key role in reducing labour market inequality by weakening the strength of intergenerational transmission of disadvantages.
    Keywords: migration, occupation, industry, household survey, rural India
    JEL: J24 O12 O18
    Date: 2015–08
  16. By: Abdallah, Wahid (BRAC University); Chowdhury, Shyamal (University of Sydney); Iqbal, Kazi (Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies)
    Abstract: We study the incidence and extent of bribes paid to the doctors in the public health facilities which are cleverly identified using a nationally representative survey. The survey asks households about the fees paid to public doctors, not about the bribe, which makes it less prone to reporting bias. We find that though consultations are free in the public health facilities, 41% of the patients who visited them paid about US$2 as a consultation fee, which is about 16% of their total medical expenditure. Three interesting generalized results that we find on the determinants of incidence and extent of bribe payment are: First, bribe givers and non-givers are different in terms of observed characteristics. Second, the same doctors, when sit in a private facility, charge more, setting an upper limit of bribes at public facilities. Third, travel time of the service seekers is used as a price discriminating device by the public service providers. Results have important implications for combating corruption, especially in developing countries.
    Keywords: corruption, public health, price discrimination, Bangladesh
    JEL: D73 I18 L11
    Date: 2015–08

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