nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2015‒11‒07
twelve papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Foreign Aid, Poor Data, and the Fragility of Macroeconomic Inference By Lionel Roger
  2. Conditional Cash Transfers for Women and Spousal Violence: Evidence of the Long-Term Relationship from the Oportunidades Program in Rural Mexico By Gustavo J. Bobonis; Roberto Castro; Juan S. Morales
  3. Can Crop Purchase Programs Reduce Poverty and Improve Welfare in Rural Communities? Evidence from the Food Reserve Agency in Zambia By Fung, Winnie; Liverpool-Tasie, Saweda; Mason, Nicole; Oyelere, Ruth
  4. Extension Services, Production and Welfare: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Ethiopia By Jacopo, Bonan; Stefano, Pareglio; Valentina, Rotondi
  5. Targeting, bias, and expected impact of complex innovations on developing-countru agriculture: Evidence from Malawi By Haile, Beliyou; Azzarri, Carlo; Roberts, Cleo; Spielman, David
  6. Decent Rural Employment and Agricultural Production Efficiency: Empirical Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa By Ayenew, Habtamu; Estruch, Elisenda; Sauer, Johannes; Abate-Kassa, Getachew; Schickramm, Lena; Wobst, Peter
  7. Beyond adoption: the welfare effects of farmer innovation in rural Ghana By Tambo, Justice; Wunscher, Tobias
  8. Gendered-impacts of smallholder land tilting: a plot-level analysis in rural Zambia By Chamberlin, Jordan; Sitko, Nicholas; Hichaambwa, Munguzwe
  9. Climate variability, adaptation strategies and food security in Malawi By Asfaw, Solomon; McCarthy, Nancy; Lipper, Leslie; Arslan, Aslihan; Cattaneo, Andrea; Kachulu, Mutie
  10. Comparing cash and voucher transfers in a humanitarian context : evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo By Aker,Jenny C.
  11. Food Crop Marketing and Agricultural Productivity in a High Price Environment: Evidence and Implications for Mozambique By Benfica, Rui; Boughton, Duncan; Uaiene, Rafael
  12. Cow or Goat? Population pressure and livestock keeping in Burundi By Desiere, Sam; Niragira, Sanctus; D'Haese, Marijke; Vellema, Wytse

  1. By: Lionel Roger
    Abstract: The link between foreign aid and economic growth remains a controversial issue in the literature, and a large share of the disagreement could be explained by differences in the data employed. Using GDP data from three different versions of the Penn World Table and the World Development Indicators, I investigate the robustness of Juselius, Møller and Tarp (2014)'s (JMT) conclusions about long-run aid effectiveness. The analysis is carried out in two stages. First, I apply the same models as developed by JMT to the new datasets. Second, I re-specify the Cointegrated VAR models using the same criteria as JMT, but limit the analysis to the four most and least consistent countries respectively. The first exercise shows that results change in a significant manner in approximately 10 of the 36 countries examined. The second exercise shows that the if the models are re-specified for each country and dataset individually as a function of the data, this leads to more qualitative changes in the conclusions.
    Keywords: Time-Series Models, Foreign Aid, Economic Growth
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Gustavo J. Bobonis; Roberto Castro; Juan S. Morales
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence of the long-term relationship between male-to-female spousal violence and the Oportunidades conditional cash transfer program. It uses data from three nationally representative surveys that include detailed information on the prevalence of spousal abuse and threats of violence against women. Constructing comparable groups of beneficiary and nonbeneficiary households within each village to minimize potential selection biases, the present study finds that, in contrast to the short-run estimates, physical and emotional abuse rates over the long term do not differ significantly between existing beneficiary and nonbeneficiary couples. The paper examines possible causes for the difference, most importantly, the role that marital selection and the diffusion of norms rejecting intimate partner violence may play in explaining these effects.
    Keywords: Conditional cash transfers, Governance, Domestic violence, Gender Equality, Women, Domestic violence, CCT, Spousal violence, Intimate partner violence, Violence, Prospera program, Progresa program, Oportunidades program
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Fung, Winnie; Liverpool-Tasie, Saweda; Mason, Nicole; Oyelere, Ruth
    Abstract: The last decade has seen a resurgence of parastatal crop marketing institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, many of which cite improving food security and incomes as key goals. However, there is limited empirical evidence on the welfare effects of these programs. This study considers one such program, the Zambian Food Reserve Agency (FRA), which purchases maize from smallholder farmers at a pan-territorial price that typically exceeds maize market prices in surplus production areas. Using both fixed effects and an instrumental variables approach combined with correlated random effects, we estimate the effects of the FRA’s maize marketing activities on smallholder farm household welfare. Results suggest that FRA activities have positive direct welfare effects on the small minority of smallholder households that are able to sell to it. However, the results also suggest negative indirect FRA effects, as higher levels of FRA activity in a district are associated with higher levels of poverty.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Crop Production/Industries, Food Security and Poverty,
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Jacopo, Bonan; Stefano, Pareglio; Valentina, Rotondi
    Abstract: The paper assesses the impact of a small-scale agricultural extension project implemented in rural Ethiopia and aimed at introducing the culti- vation of horticultural gardens along with some innovative techniques, products and inputs. Our main outcome of interest is the level of adoption of new horticultural products. We also assess the consequent impacts on the level of revenues from sale and diet diversification. We use a mixed impact evaluation design combining across-villages comparisons, through difference-in-differences estimations, with a within village randomized control trial. To this aim, we make use of micro-data collected through surveys administered to 602 households in two time periods (2013 and 2014). We find that the project contributes to production diversification as the number of house- holds growing vegetables increases by about 30%. Overall, such changes do not seem to in uence in a relevant way the total revenues from sales of agricultural products and do not consequently affect household welfare. We do not find significant changes in the consumption of vegetables and only marginal increase in fruit uptake. This leads to an overall irrelevant impact on diet diversification.
    Keywords: Rural Development, Extension Services, Home Gardening, Food Security, Nutrition
    JEL: D04 O13 Q16
    Date: 2015–10–30
  5. By: Haile, Beliyou; Azzarri, Carlo; Roberts, Cleo; Spielman, David
    Abstract: Sustainable intensification and climate-smart agriculture initiatives promote complex systems-based innovations to simultaneously improve yields and conserve natural resources. These innovations are usually tested under near-perfect experimental conditions with purposively selected farmers. Using a quasi-experimental approach and geographic information system, we evaluate a systems-based sustainable intensification project in Malawi aiming at improving whole-farm productivity and nutrition through integrated agricultural innovations. We find adopters of these innovations to systematically differ from non-adopters and suggestive evidence of potential systematic targeting of project locations and households. Econometric results using efficient influence function and propensity score matching methods show consistently higher maize yield and value of harvest, on average and across quantiles, for project beneficiaries, compared to that of randomly selected non-beneficiary households in non-target villages. Our findings highlight the need to rethink selection criteria for systems-based innovations, something that could potentially bear severe implications upon scaling up.
    Keywords: Experiment, Evaluation, Innovation, Agriculture, Adoption, Policy, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Development, C93, D04, O31, Q01, Q16, Q18,
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Ayenew, Habtamu; Estruch, Elisenda; Sauer, Johannes; Abate-Kassa, Getachew; Schickramm, Lena; Wobst, Peter
    Abstract: Promoting decent rural employment, by creating new jobs in rural areas and upgrading the existing ones, could be one of the most efficient pathways to reduce rural poverty. This paper systematically investigates the role of decent rural employment on agricultural production efficiency in sub-Saharan African countries, taking Ethiopia and Tanzania as case countries. The analysis applies an output-oriented distance function approach with an estimation procedure that accounts for different technological, demographic, socio-economic, institutional and decent rural employment indicators. Data of the most recent round of Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) for the two countries are used, and a set of indicators are derived to proxy core dimensions of decent rural employment. The findings of our analysis support the idea that integrating decent rural employment aspects in rural development policies and strategies can contribute to improve agricultural production efficiency in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: decent rural employment, distance function, efficiency, poverty reduction, Agribusiness, Community/Rural/Urban Development,
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Tambo, Justice; Wunscher, Tobias
    Abstract: With numerous challenges hindering smallholders’ adoption of externally developed technologies, it is often argued that farmer innovation can play an essential role in rural livelihoods. Yet a rigorous assessment of the impact of farmer innovation is lacking. We address this issue by analyzing the effect of farmer innovation on household welfare, measured by income, consumption expenditure, and food security. Using household survey data from northern Ghana and applying endogenous switching regression, we find that farmer innovation significantly increases household income and consumption expenditure, and reduces food insecurity. However, we find that the positive productivity and income effects of farmer innovation do not significantly translate into nutritious diet, measured by household dietary diversity. Overall, our results show positive and significant welfare effects of farmer innovation, hence, support increasing arguments on the need to promote farmer innovation as a complement to externally promoted technologies in food security and poverty reduction efforts.
    Keywords: Farm Management, International Development,
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Chamberlin, Jordan; Sitko, Nicholas; Hichaambwa, Munguzwe
    Abstract: We explore the determinants of land titling by smallholder farmers in Zambia, and evaluate the impacts of titling on land productivity investments. We examine plot-level outcomes, and test for gendered differences in titling impacts. We find generally positive impacts of titling on investments, including strong gender-specific pathways of impact. Although female-headed households are less likely to make investments than male-headed households, female title holders are significantly more likely to make investments than male title holders (at least for labor intensive investments). We posit that these results are related to the systematically weaker rights of women in customary tenure systems, under which the security-enhancement of formal land title plays a relatively greater role in incentivizing long-term farm investments. Our results suggest the importance of facilitating access to titling mechanisms (and other tenure security mechanisms) by female farmers.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy, International Development,
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Asfaw, Solomon; McCarthy, Nancy; Lipper, Leslie; Arslan, Aslihan; Cattaneo, Andrea; Kachulu, Mutie
    Abstract: This paper assesses farmers’ incentives and conditioning factors that hinder or promote adaptation strategies and evaluates its impact on crop productivity by utilizing household level data collected in 2011 from nationally representative sample households in Malawi. We distinguish between (i) exposure to climatic disruptions, (ii) bio-physical sensitivity to such disruptions, (iii) household adaptive capacity in terms of farmers’ ability to prepare and adjust to the resulting stress, and, finally, (iv) system-level adaptive capacity that serve as enabling factors for household-level adaptation. We employ a multivariate probit (MVP) and instrumental variable technique to model farming practice selection decisions and their yield impact estimates. We find that exposure to delayed onset of rainfall and greater climate variability as represented by the coefficient of variation of rainfall and temperature is positively associated with the choice of riskreducing agricultural practices such as tree planting, legume intercropping, and soil and water conservation (SWC); however, it reduces the use of inputs (such as inorganic fertilizer) whose risk reduction benefits are uncertain. Biophysical sensitivity of plots increases the likelihood of choice of tree planting and SWC. In terms of household adaptive capacity, we find that wealthier households are more likely to adopt both modern and sustainable land management (SLM) inputs; and are more likely to adopt SLM inputs on plots under more secure tenure. In terms of system-level adaptive capacity, results show the key role of rural institutions, social capital and supply-side constraints in governing selection decisions for all practices considered, but particularly for tree planting and both organic and inorganic fertilizer. Finally for productivity, we find that on average use of both modern and SLM practices have positive and statistically significant impact on productivity of maize. For SLM practices that also respond to exposure and sensitivity, these results provide direct evidence of their potential to aide households in adapting to further climate change. Results presented have implications for understanding and overcoming barriers to selection for each practice, distinguishing structural aspects such as exposure and sensitivity from potential interventions at the household or systemic levels linked to adaptive capacity.
    Keywords: Q01, Q12, Q16, Q18, Environmental Economics and Policy, Climate change, adaptation, impact, Malawi,
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Aker,Jenny C.
    Abstract: Despite recent calls in support of cash transfers, there is little rigorous evidence of the relative impacts of cash versus in-kind transfers, especially in humanitarian contexts, where a majority of such programs take place. This paper uses data from a randomized experiment in the Democratic Republic of Congo to assess the relative impacts and costs of equivalently valued cash and voucher transfers. The voucher program distorted households? purchases along both the extensive and intensive margin as compared with unconstrained cash households. Yet there were no differences in food consumption or other measures of well-being, in part due to the fact that voucher households were able to resell part of what they purchased. As there were no significant benefits to vouchers, cash transfers were the more cost effective modality for both the implementing agency and program recipients in this context.
    Keywords: Housing&Human Habitats,Small Area Estimation Poverty Mapping,Economic Theory&Research,Rural Poverty Reduction,Food&Beverage Industry
    Date: 2015–10–30
  11. By: Benfica, Rui; Boughton, Duncan; Uaiene, Rafael
    Abstract: The recent high food price environment is an opportunity for Africa’s smallholder farmers. This paper assesses the relationship between agricultural productivity and market participation/performance in smallholder response to a high food price environment in Mozambique. We use panel data before and after the change in price regime to identify the relative importance of market access/participation versus household and farm-level factors in explaining productivity differences. Conversely, we look at the relative importance of productivity investments and outcomes versus marketing investments in explaining household market performance. Results suggest that creating an enabling environment for greater access to markets can have important effects on productivity of cereals and groundnuts/beans, but direct investments that lead to increased adoption of productivity enhancing technologies are also important to maximize market access benefits. Finally, we highlight investment priorities to strengthening agricultural market participation and performance and improve productivity.
    Keywords: Agricultural productivity, endogeneity, intensification, and marketing performance, Agribusiness, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Marketing, C31, C36, D13, and D24.,
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Desiere, Sam; Niragira, Sanctus; D'Haese, Marijke; Vellema, Wytse
    Abstract: Livestock contributes significantly to peoples’ livelihoods in developing countries. Yet, most studies focus on dairy cattle, overlooking the fact that many smallholder farmers in mixed-cropping systems prefer to keep goats, sheep, pigs or poultry rather than cattle. For this paper we applied a multivariate probit model to a unique dataset from a national, representative, agricultural survey in Burundi, to estimate the determinants of livestock keeping. We found that wealthier households keep more livestock, but that population density and access to markets are also key determinants. Moreover, in densely populated regions, even the wealthiest households prefer smaller animals to cattle, as the pressure on land is high and access to pastures is limited. This has important policy implications as it raises questions as to whether the focus on dairy cattle, which has been adopted in most NGO and governmental development programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, is justified.
    Keywords: livestock, cattle, smallholders, agricultural policy, Burundi, International Development, Livestock Production/Industries,
    Date: 2015

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