nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒02‒29
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The New Economic Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment By Clemens, Michael A.; Pritchett, Lant
  2. Costing a Data Revolution - Working Paper 383 By Gabriel Demombynes and Justin Sandefur
  3. How the New International Goal for Child Mortality Is Unfair to Africa (Again) - Working Paper 407 By Simon Lange and Stephan Klasen
  4. What factors affect households’ decision to allocate credit for livestock production? Evidence from Ethiopia By Shiferaw, Kaleb; GEBEREMEDHIN, Berhanu; LEGESSE, DEREJE
  5. Malaria and Education: Evidence from Mali By Josselin Thuilliez; Hippolyte d'Albis; Hamidou Niangaly; Ogobara Doumbo
  6. Aid fragmentation and donor coordination in Uganda: A district-level analysis By Nunnenkamp, Peter; Rank, Michaela; Thiele, Rainer
  7. Financial accessibility and user fee reforms for maternal- health care in five sub-Saharan countries: a quasi-experimental analysis By Tiziana Leone; Valeria Cetorelli; Sarah Neal; Zoë Matthews
  8. The Impact of Gavi on Vaccination Rates: Regression Discontinuity Evidence - Working Paper 394 By Sarah Dykstra, Amanda Glassman, Charles Kenny, and Justin Sandefur
  9. An employment guarantee as risk insurance? Assessing the effects of the NREGS on agricultural production decisions By Esther Gehrke
  10. Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict By Samuel Bazzi; Matthew Gudgeon

  1. By: Clemens, Michael A. (Center for Global Development); Pritchett, Lant (Harvard Kennedy School)
    Abstract: For decades, migration economics has stressed the effects of migration restrictions on income distribution in the host country. Recently the literature has taken a new direction by estimating the costs of migration restrictions to global economic efficiency. In contrast, a new strand of research posits that migration restrictions could be not only desirably redistributive, but in fact globally efficient. This is the new economic case for migration restrictions. The case rests on the possibility that without tight restrictions on migration, migrants from poor countries could transmit low productivity ("A" or Total Factor Productivity) to rich countries – offsetting efficiency gains from the spatial reallocation of labor from low to high-productivity places. We provide a novel assessment, proposing a simple model of dynamically efficient migration under productivity transmission and calibrating it with new macro and micro data. In this model, the case for efficiency-enhancing migration barriers rests on three parameters: transmission, the degree to which origin-country total factor productivity is embodied in migrants; assimilation, the degree to which migrants' productivity determinants become like natives' over time in the host country; and congestion, the degree to which transmission and assimilation change at higher migrant stocks. On current evidence about the magnitudes of these parameters, dynamically efficient policy would not imply open borders but would imply relaxations on current restrictions. That is, the new efficiency case for some migration restrictions is empirically a case against the stringency of current restrictions.
    Keywords: immigration, migration, migrant, wages, impact, globalization, labor, GDP, productivity
    JEL: F22 J61 O11
    Date: 2016–02
  2. By: Gabriel Demombynes and Justin Sandefur
    Abstract: AThe lack of reliable development statistics for many poor countries has led the U.N. to call for a “data revolution” (United Nations, 2013). One fairly narrow but widespread interpretation of this revolution is for international aid donors to fund a coordinated wave of household surveys across the developing world, tracking progress on a new round of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. We use data from the International Household Survey Network (IHSN) to show (i) the supply of household surveys has accelerated dramatically over the past 30 years and that (ii) demand for survey data appears to be higher in democracies and more aid-dependent countries. We also show that given existing international survey programs, the cost to international aid donors of filling remaining survey gaps is manageable--on the order of $300 million per year. We argue that any aid-financed expansion of household surveys should be complemented with (a) increased access to data through open data protocols, and (b) simultaneous support for the broader statistical system, including routine administrative data systems.
    Keywords: household surveys, national statistics, open data, aid, Sustainable Development goals
    JEL: C82 F35 O10
    Date: 2014–10
  3. By: Simon Lange and Stephan Klasen
    Abstract: Despite unprecedented progress towards lower under-five mortality in high-mortality countries in recent years, a large fraction of these countries will not attain the numerical target under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4, a reduction of the mortality rate by two-thirds compared to levels in 1990. Nevertheless, many stakeholders have argued that the post-2015 agenda should contain a level-end goal for under-five mortality and recent accelerations in the rate of reduction in under-five mortality have been cited as a cause for optimism. We argue in this paper that one key fact about relative changes in mortality rates is a lack of persistence. We find robust evidence for substantial mean reversion in the data. Hence, recent accelerations observed for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are an overly optimistic estimate of future reductions. At the same time, progress as required by the old MDG4 coincides very much with our projections for Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. Thus, while MDG4 has been rightly criticized as overly ambitious and unfair to Africa for the 1990-2015 period, such a goal seems more appropriate for the 2005-2030 period. We also offer a discussion of likely drivers of future reductions in child deaths.
    Keywords: MDGs, SDGs, under-five mortality, Africa
    JEL: I15 I18 J11 J18 O21
    Date: 2015–06
  4. By: Shiferaw, Kaleb; GEBEREMEDHIN, Berhanu; LEGESSE, DEREJE
    Abstract: Access to credit is often viewed as a key to transform semi-subsistence smallholders into market oriented producers. However only few studies have examined factors that affect farmers’ decision to allocate credit on farm activities in general and livestock production in particular. A trivariate probit model with double selection is employed to identify factors that affect farmers’ decision to allocate credit on livestock production using data collected from smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. After controlling for two sample selection bias – taking credit in the production season and decision to allocate credit on farm activities – land ownership and access to a livestock centered extension service are found to have a significant (p
    Keywords: livestock production, credit access, credit allocation, household decision, double sample selection
    JEL: C34 D13 Q12 Q14 Q16
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Josselin Thuilliez (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics); Hippolyte d'Albis (Paris School of Economics - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Hamidou Niangaly (Malaria Research and Training Center - University of Bamako); Ogobara Doumbo (Malaria Research and Training Center - University of Bamako)
    Abstract: This article examines the influence of malaria on human capital accumulation in the village of Diankabou in Mali. To account for malaria endogeneity and its interaction with unobservable risk factors, we exploit natural variations in malaria immunity across individuals of several sympatric ethnic groups – the Fulani and the non-Fulani – who differ in their susceptibility to malaria. The Fulani are known to be less susceptible to malaria infections, despite living with a similar malaria transmission intensity to those seen among other ethnic groups. We also use natural variation of malaria intensity in the area (during and after the malaria transmission season) and utilize this seasonal change as a treatment. We find that malaria has an impact on cognitive and educational outcomes in this village. We discuss the implications of this result for human capital investments and fertility decisions with the help of a quantity-quality model
    Keywords: Malaria; Immunity; Education; Cognition; Fertility
    JEL: O12 I15 I25
    Date: 2016–01
  6. By: Nunnenkamp, Peter; Rank, Michaela; Thiele, Rainer
    Abstract: Aid proliferation and a lack of coordination are widely recognized as serious problems for aid effectiveness, and donors have repeatedly promised to tackle them, e.g. in the Paris Declaration in 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action in 2008. In this paper, we employ geocoded aid data from Uganda to assess whether the country's donors have increasingly specialized and better coordinated their aid activities at the district and sector level. Our findings point in the opposite direction: over the period 2006-2013, aid of most major donors in Uganda became more fragmented, and the duplication of aid efforts increased. There is tentative evidence that donors were more active in poorer parts of the country, which would provide some justification for clustered aid activities.
    Keywords: aid fragmentation,donor coordination,Uganda
    JEL: F35
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Tiziana Leone; Valeria Cetorelli; Sarah Neal; Zoë Matthews
    Abstract: Objectives: Evidence on whether removing fees benefits the poorest is patchy and weak. The aim of this paper is to measure the impact of user fee reforms on the probability of giving birth in an institution or receiving a caesarean section (CS) in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Cameroon and Nigeria for the poorest strata of the population. Setting: Women’s experience of user fees in five African countries. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Using quasi experimental regression analysis we tested the impact of user fee reforms on facilities’ births and CS differentiated by wealth, education and residence in Burkina Faso and Ghana. Mapping of the literature followed by key informant interviews are used to verify details of reform implementation and to confirm and support our countries' choice. Participants: We analysed data from consecutive surveys in five countries: two case countries that experienced reforms (Ghana and Burkina Faso) in contrast to three that did not experience reforms (Zambia, Cameroon, Nigeria). Results: User fee reforms are associated with a significant percentage of the increase in access to facility births (27 percentage points) and to a much lesser extent to CS (0.7 percentage points). Poor (but not the poorest) and non-educated women and those in rural areas benefitted the most from the reforms. User fees reforms have had a higher impact in Burkina Faso compared to Ghana. Conclusions: Findings show a clear positive impact on access when user fees are removed but limited evidence for improved availability of CS for those most in need. More women from rural areas and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds give birth in health facilities after fee reform. Speed and quality of implementation might be the key reason behind the differences between the two case countries. This calls for more research into the impact of reforms on quality of care.
    JEL: E6
    Date: 2016–01–28
  8. By: Sarah Dykstra, Amanda Glassman, Charles Kenny, and Justin Sandefur
    Abstract: Since 2001, an aid consortium known as Gavi has accounted for over half of vaccination expenditure in the 75 eligible countries with an initial per capita GNI below $1,000. Regression discontinuity (RD) estimates show aid significantly displaced other immunization efforts and failed to increase vaccination rates for diseases covered by cheap, existing vaccines. For some newer and more expensive vaccines, i.e., Hib and rotavirus, we found large effects on vaccination and limited fungibility, though statistical significance is not robust. These RD estimates apply to middle-income countries near Gavi's eligibility threshold, and cannot rule out differential effects for the poorest countries.
    Keywords: aid, vaccination, immunization, fungibility, regression discontinuity
    JEL: F35 H51 I15 O11
    Date: 2015–02
  9. By: Esther Gehrke
    Abstract: This paper assesses the role of risk constraints in households’ production decisions. Using representative panel data for Andhra Pradesh, India, it analyses the effects of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) on households’ crop choices. This paper shows that the introduction of the NREGS reduces households’ uncertainty about future income streams because it provides reliable employment opportunities in rural areas independently of weather shocks and crop failure. Households with access to the NREGS can therefore increase the share of inputs allocated to more profitable but also riskier crops, especially cotton. These shifts in agricultural production can considerably raise the incomes of smallholder farmers. Linking the employment guarantee to risk considerations is the key innovation of this paper. Therewith, it provides empirical evidence of the validity of the theory of decision-making under uncertainty and contributes to the ongoing debate on the effects of the NREGS on agricultural productivity.
    Keywords: uncertainty, employment guarantee, crop choice
    JEL: I38 O12 Q16
    Date: 2014–05
  10. By: Samuel Bazzi (Boston University and BREAD); Matthew Gudgeon (Boston University)
    Abstract: A key feature of decentralization in developing countries has been the creation of new local governments. The implications of this process for violent conflict are not well understood. On the one hand, bringing representative government closer to the electorate can reduce heterogeneity in preferences, thereby mitigating conflict. On the other hand, creating local government institutions also leads to a large increase in rents that may be contested violently. Group cleavages can determine which of these two effects prevails. Identifying these distinct channels empirically has proven difficult. This paper resolves these challenges by exploiting a natural experiment in the ethnically and religiously diverse context of post-authoritarian Indonesia where rapid decentralization was accompanied by dramatic growth in the number of new districts and a resulting decline in ethnolinguistic fractionalization. We use new microdata on conflict from 2000–2014 and leverage the plausibly exogenous timing of redistricting due to a government moratorium. Overall, redistricting has small and insignificant average effects on conflict. However, areas that experience greater ethnolinguistic and religious homogenization as a result of splitting experience a significant reduction in conflict. At the same time, we find a differential increase in violence in areas that receive a new government and are also ethnically polarized. These differential increases in violence are most pronounced around the time of the first election and for types of violence associated with contestation of public resources and institutions. These results suggest that allowing for redistricting along group lines can reduce conflict, but the benefits of reduced diversity may be undone if the newly governed population is highly polarized. In such cases, conflict may then simply shift from the original seats of government to newly created ones.
    Keywords: Conflict, Polarization, Ethnic Diversity, Decentralization
    JEL: D72 D74 H41 H77 O13 Q34
    Date: 2015–12

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