nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒03‒06
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Tackling social exclusion: evidence from Chile By Pedro Carneiro; Emanuela Galasso; Rita Ginja
  2. Can parental migration reduce petty corruption in education? By Höckel, Lisa Sofie; Santos Silva, Manuel; Stöhr, Tobias
  3. Let it rain: Weather extremes and household welfare in rural Kenya By Wineman, A.; Ochieng, J.; Mason, N.; Kirimi, L.
  4. Do Mobile Phone Surveys Work in Poor Countries? - Working Paper 398 By Ben Leo, Robert Morello, Jonathan Mellon, Tiago Peixoto, and Stephen Davenport
  5. An exploration of the relationship between police presence, crime, and business in developing countries By Islam,Asif Mohammed
  6. Return Migration and Economic Outcomes in the Conflict Context By Sonja Fransen; Isabel Ruiz; Carlos Vargas-Silva
  7. Principal leadership changes in South Africa: Investigating their consequences for school performance By Gabrielle Wills
  8. Where Does Education Pay Off in Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Two Cities of the Republic of Congo By Mathias Kuepié; Christophe Nordman
  9. Natural resource wealth and public social spending in the Middle East and North Africa By Cockx, Lara; Francken, Nathalie
  10. Aid Volatility and Social Performance in Microfinance By Bert D'Espallier; Marek Hudon; Ariane Szafarz
  11. On the value of foreign PhDs in the developing world: Training versus selection effects By Barnard, Helena; Cowan, Robin; Muller, Moritz

  1. By: Pedro Carneiro (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Emanuela Galasso (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Rita Ginja (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Uppsala)
    Abstract: We study an innovative welfare program in Chile which combines a period of frequent home visits to households in extreme poverty, with guaranteed access to social services. Program impacts are identified using a regression discontinuity design, exploring the fact that programme eligibility is a discontinuous function of an index of family income and assets. We find strong and lasting impacts of the program on the take up of subsidies and employment services. These impacts are important only for families who had little access to the welfare system prior to the intervention.
    Date: 2014–05
  2. By: Höckel, Lisa Sofie; Santos Silva, Manuel; Stöhr, Tobias
    Abstract: Educational outcomes of children are highly dependent on household and school-level inputs. In poor countries, remittances from migrants can provide additional funds for the education of the left behind. At the same time the absence of migrant parents can affect families' time allocation towards education. Previous work on education inputs often implicitly assumed that preferences for different kinds of education inputs remain unchanged when household members migrate. Using survey data from Moldova, one of the countries with the highest emigration rates in the world, and an instrumental variable approach we find that the strongest migration-related response in private education expenditure are substantially lower informal payments to public school teachers. This fact is at odds with a positive income effect due to migration. We argue that our results are likely to be driven by changing preferences towards educational inputs induced by migration.
    Keywords: migration,emigration,education spending,social remittances,corruption,children left behind
    JEL: F22 I22 D13 H52
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Wineman, A.; Ochieng, J.; Mason, N.; Kirimi, L.
    Abstract: Households in rural Kenya are sensitive to weather shocks through their reliance on rain-fed agriculture and livestock. This study used the latest data sets of historical weather and household panel data collected in 2000-2007 to understand the impact of exposure to weather extremes –including periods of high and low rainfall, heat, and wind– on household welfare. We find that all types of extreme weather affect household well-being, although effects sometimes differ with income and calorie estimates. Periods of drought are the most consistently negative weather shock across different income groups and agro-ecological regions. Exposure to low rainfall reduces income from both on- and off-farm sources, though households compensate for diminished on-farm production with food purchases. The study further explores the factors that offset the negative effects of drought, and finds that access to credit and membership in a savings group render a household more resilient. Thus, policies and programs to improve access to both financial services and food markets could enhance household resilience to weather shocks.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy, Food Security and Poverty, International Development,
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Ben Leo, Robert Morello, Jonathan Mellon, Tiago Peixoto, and Stephen Davenport
    Abstract: In this project, we analyzed whether mobile phone-based surveys are a feasible and cost-effective approach for gathering statistically representative information in four low-income countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe). Specifically, we focused on three primary research questions. First, can the mobile phone survey platform reach a nationally representative sample? Second, to what extent does linguistic fractionalization affect the ability to produce a representative sample? Third, how effectively does monetary compensation impact survey completion patterns? We find that samples from countries with higher mobile penetration rates more closely resembled the actual population. After weighting on demographic variables, sample imprecision was a challenge in the two lower feasibility countries (Ethiopia and Mozambique) with a sampling error of +/- 5 to 7 percent, while Zimbabwe’s estimates were more precise (sampling error of +/- 2.8 percent). Surveys performed reasonably well in reaching poor demographics, especially in Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Rural women were consistently under-represented in the country samples, especially in Afghanistan and Ethiopia. Countries’ linguistic fractionalization may influence the ability to obtain nationally representative samples, although a material effect was difficult to discern through penetration rates and market composition. Although the experimentation design of the incentive compensation plan was compromised in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, it seems that offering compensation for survey completion mitigated attrition rates in several of the pilot countries while not reducing overall costs. These effects varied across countries and cultural settings.
    Keywords: mobile phone surveys, mobile phones, zimbabwe, ethiopia, mozambique, afghanistan
    JEL: O33 O14 O55
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Islam,Asif Mohammed
    Abstract: Economic theory predicts that a rise in police presence will reduce criminal activity. However several studies in the literature have found mixed results. This study adds to the literature by exploring the relationship between the size of the police force and crime experienced by firms. Using survey data for about 12,000 firms in a cross-section of 27 developing countries, the study finds that increasing the size of the police force is negatively associated with crime experienced by firms. The results are confirmed using a panel of firms for a subset of countries for which data are available. The study also finds that this negative relationship is stronger under certain macro-economic circumstances.
    Keywords: Law Enforcement Systems,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Gender and Law,Governance Indicators
    Date: 2016–02–08
  6. By: Sonja Fransen (Maastricht University); Isabel Ruiz (Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford); Carlos Vargas-Silva (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: We explore differences in economic outcomes between return migrant households and non-migrant households using panel data from Burundi, a country which experienced large scale conflict-led emigration to Tanzania and massive post-war refugee return. We exploit proximity to the border of Tanzania at birth for identification purposes. Results indicate that returnee households have significantly lower levels of livestock. Differences in current economic activities and legal restrictions on economic activities while in displacement are likely to explain a portion of the current economic gap between returnee and non-migrant households. There is no evidence for other channels (e.g. vulnerability to crime, health status).
    Keywords: Return Migration, Refugees, Labor Markets
    JEL: F22 E24 D74
    Date: 2015–12
  7. By: Gabrielle Wills (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: A rising number of school leadership changes have been occurring in South African schools as a large proportion of incumbent principals near retirement age. While this presents opportunities to replace weaker school principals with better performing ones, these changes may also destabilise school environments and impede on learning. This paper explores how these principal change events affect school performance in the context of South Africa using a unique administrative dataset constructed by linking payroll data on the population of public school principals to national data on schools and matriculation examination outcomes. Exploiting the panel structure of the data, a school fixed effects strategy suggests that principal changes are indeed detrimental to school performance especially when leadership changes are due to principals exiting the public education system. These results are robust to using an alternative estimation strategy proposed by Heckman, Ichimura and Todd (1997) which combines propensity score matching with a difference-in-difference estimation strategy. The paper also considers two mechanisms through which school leadership changes may impact on school performance, namely through rising promotion rates and teacher turnover.
    Keywords: Principals, school leadership, principal turnover, teacher turnover, school performance
    JEL: J63 I29 J45
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Mathias Kuepié (CEPS INSTEAD Luxembourg et DIAL); Christophe Nordman (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL, PSL, Université Paris Dauphine, LEDa)
    Abstract: (english) Using first-hand data from the 2009 Employment and Informal Sector Survey (EESIC) in the two largest cities of the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, we analyse the impact of education on labour market outcomes, and identify the segments where education pays off the most. Multivariate analyses of the risk of unemployment and sectoral choice indicate that young people face serious difficulties in the labour market: for most of them, their only choice is to remain unemployed or to join the informal sector. To measure the specific impact of schooling on earnings, we address issues related to sample selection and endogeneity of education in the earnings function. The results shed light on heterogeneity in the returns to schooling across the two main cities and institutional sectors. An important finding is that the informal sector does not systematically lag behind the formal sectors in terms of returns to education. We emphasize convex returns to education, meaning that the last years in secondary and tertiary schooling yield the highest returns, while those of primary education are generally lower. This convexity is also apparent in the informal sector, where education (albeit on another scale) again appears as an important determinant of earnings. _________________________________ (français) En utilisant les données « Enquête sur l'Emploi et le Secteur Informel au Congo 2009 » (EESIC) portant sur les deux grandes villes de la République du Congo, Brazzaville et Pointe-Noire, nous analysons l’effet de l'éducation sur l’insertion sur le marché du travail, et identifions les segments où l'éducation procure les rendements privés les plus élevés. Nos analyses multivariées du risque de chômage et du choix sectoriel indiquent que les jeunes sont confrontés à de sérieuses difficultés : pour la plupart d'entre eux, l’alternative est entre une situation de chômage ou une insertion dans le secteur informel. Pour mesurer l'impact spécifique de la scolarité sur les gains individuels, nous abordons les questions liées à la sélection et à l’endogénéité de la variable d’éducation dans la fonction de gains. Les résultats mettent en évidence une hétérogénéité des rendements de l’éducation dans les deux villes et leurs secteurs institutionnels. Un résultat important est que le secteur informel ne se situe pas systématiquement derrière les secteurs formels (privé et public) en termes de rendements de l'éducation. Nous montrons l’existence de rendements convexes de l'éducation. Cette convexité est également apparente dans le secteur informel, là où l'éducation (quoique à une autre échelle) apparaît aussi comme un déterminant important des gains.
    Keywords: Labour market participation, Unemployment, Returns to education, Earnings functions, Informal sector, Republic of Congo, Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire
    JEL: J24 J31 O12
    Date: 2015–10
  9. By: Cockx, Lara; Francken, Nathalie
    Abstract: This paper investigates the discrepancy between the vast natural resource wealth and the relatively low spending on human development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Our results show a robust, significant inverse relationship between natural resource dependence and public health spending, and natural resource dependence and public education spending over time. The effects remain significant after controlling for income, aid, the age structure of the population, and the quality of institutions. Moreover, we find a particularly strong resource curse effect of oil on social spending. Despite the mounting burden on MENA‘s economic development models due to significant population growth and the pressing need for diversification, countries have been unable or unwilling to convert natural resource wealth into increased social spending. Governments should be strongly encouraged to manage their natural wealth in an accountable and equitable manner that follows international best practice. Correct taxation of natural resource, and especially, oil wealth should provide the governments with adequate budgets to fund a desirable level of public health provision. Finally, the equity of distribution of education spending could be improved.
    Keywords: public social spending; Middle East; North Africa
    Date: 2015–03
  10. By: Bert D'Espallier; Marek Hudon; Ariane Szafarz
    Abstract: Uncertainty makes objectives harder to reach. This paper examines whether uncertainty in subsidies leads to mission drift in microfinance institutions (MFIs). Using a worldwide sample of 1,151 MFIs active in 104 countries, we find that interest rates increase with aid volatility while average loan size is inversely related to aid volatility. These results suggest that MFIs consider average loan size as a signaling device for commitment to their social mission, but use interest rates as an adjustment variable to cope with uncertainty. The policy prescription to donor agencies wishing to curtail the rise in interest rates is to deliver subsidies predictably and transparently.
    Keywords: Microfinance; subsidies; mission drift; average loan size; interest rate
    JEL: F35 G21 G28 O54 O57
    Date: 2016–02–18
  11. By: Barnard, Helena (GIBS, University of Pretoria, South Africa); Cowan, Robin (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, and BETA, Universite de Strasbourg, Institut Universitaire de France); Muller, Moritz (BETA, Universite de Strasbourg)
    Abstract: This paper compares the career effects of overseas and domestic PhD training for scientists working in an emerging economy, South Africa. Variations in scientific achievements of South African academics may arise because those who attend "better" PhD programmes receive better training, but it may also be because good students select into good universities. We examine selection and training effects for four tiers of South African and two tiers of foreign universities. Those who received PhDs from universities in industrialized countries tend to be more productive than those whose PhDs were locally granted, but universities from industrialized countries do not necessarily provide better training than local universities. Pure selection effects contribute to career outcomes nearly as much as training effects. When looking at training in isolation, PhDs from top South African universities produce a similar quantity and quality research output to those from leading universities in the developed world.
    Keywords: Scientific mobility, Doctoral studies, University evaluation, Developing country, South Africa, Technological upgrading
    JEL: H52 I2 O15 O20 O30
    Date: 2016–01–26

This nep-dev issue is ©2016 by Jacob A. Jordaan. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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