nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒03‒17
thirteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Growth, urbanization, and poverty reduction in India By Datt,Gaurav; Ravallion,Martin; Murgai,Rinku
  2. The fiscal cost of weak governance : evidence from teacher absence in India By Muralidharan,Karthik; Das,Jishnu; Holla,Alaka; Mohpal,Aakash
  3. Climate, Shocks, Weather and Maize Intensification Decisions in Rural Kenya By Martina Bozzola; Melinda Smale; Salvatore Di Falco
  4. Access to pre-primary education and progression in primary School : evidence from rural Guatemala By Bastos,Paulo S. R.; Bottan,Nicolas Luis; Cristia,Julian
  5. The impact of agricultural extension services in the context of a heavily subsidized input system: The case of Malawi: By Ragasa, Catherine; Mazunda, John; Kadzamira, Mariam
  6. The Effects of Kenya’s ‘Smarter’ Input Subsidy Program on Smallholder Behavior and Incomes: Do Different Quasi-Experimental Approaches Lead to the Same Conclusions? By Mason, Nicole M.; Wineman, Ayala; Kirimi, Lilian; Mather, David
  7. How does women’s time in reproductive work and agriculture affect maternal and child nutrition? Evidence from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Nepal: By Komatsu, Hitomi; Malapit, Hazel Jean L.; Theis, Sophie
  8. Consumption Smoothing, Risk Sharing and Household Vulnerability in Rural Mexico By Naoko Uchiyama
  9. Long Run Effects of Youth Training Programs: Experimental Evidence from Argentina By Alzúa, María Laura; Cruces, Guillermo; Lopez, Carolina
  10. Large farm establishment, smallholder productivity, labor market participation, and resilience : evidence from Ethiopia By Ali,Daniel Ayalew; Deininger,Klaus W.; Harris,Charles Anthony Philip
  11. Catalyst for Change; Empowering Women and Tackling Income Inequality By Christian Gonzales; Sonali Jain-Chandra; Kalpana Kochhar; Monique Newiak; Tlek Zeinullayev
  12. The dynamics of smallholder marketing behavior: Explorations using Ugandan and Mozambican panel data: By Van Campenhout, Bjorn
  13. Leveling the field for biofuels: Comparing the economic and environmental impacts of biofuel and other export crops in Malawi: By Schuenemann, Franziska; Thurlow, James; Zeller, Manfred

  1. By: Datt,Gaurav; Ravallion,Martin; Murgai,Rinku
    Abstract: Longstanding development issues are revisited in the light of a newly-constructed data set of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years, including 20 years since reforms began in earnest in 1991. The study finds a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Faster poverty decline came with higher growth and a more pro-poor pattern of growth. Post-1991 data suggest stronger inter-sectoral linkages: urban consumption growth brought gains to the rural as well as the urban poor, and the primary-secondary-tertiary composition of growth has ceased to matter, as all three sectors contributed to poverty reduction.
    Keywords: Services&Transfers to Poor,Inequality,Pro-Poor Growth,Rural Poverty Reduction
    Date: 2016–02–17
  2. By: Muralidharan,Karthik; Das,Jishnu; Holla,Alaka; Mohpal,Aakash
    Abstract: The relative return to input-augmentation versus inefficiency-reduction strategies for improving education system performance is a key open question for education policy in low-income countries. Using a new nationally-representative panel dataset of schools across 1297 villages in India, this paper shows that the large investments over the past decade have led to substantial improvements in input-based measures of school quality, but only a modest reduction in inefficiency as measured by teacher absence. In the data, 23.6 percent of teachers were absent during unannounced visits with an associated fiscal cost of $1.5 billion/year. There are two robust correlations in the nationally-representative panel data that corroborate findings from smaller-scale experiments. First, reductions in student-teacher ratios are correlated with increased teacher absence. Second, increases in the frequency of school monitoring are strongly correlated with lower teacher absence. Simulations using these results suggest that investing in better governance by increasing the frequency of monitoring could be over ten times more cost effective at increasing teacher-student contact time (net of teacher absence) than hiring more teachers. Thus, at current margins, policies that decrease the inefficiency of public spending in India are likely to yield substantially higher returns than those that augment inputs.
    Keywords: Education For All,Effective Schools and Teachers,Educational Populations,Tertiary Education,Primary Education
    Date: 2016–02–25
  3. By: Martina Bozzola; Melinda Smale; Salvatore Di Falco
    Abstract: We explore how climate, climate risk and weather affect maize intensification among smallholders in Kenya. We find that they all play an important role in maize intensification choice. The economic implications of this choice are also analyzed. We find that the share of maize area planted to hybrid seeds contributes positively to expected crop income, without increasing exposure to income variability or downside risk. The promotion of maize intensification is potentially a valuable adaptation strategy to support the well-being of smallholder farmers.
    JEL: D81 O13 Q12 Q18
    Date: 2016–01
  4. By: Bastos,Paulo S. R.; Bottan,Nicolas Luis; Cristia,Julian
    Abstract: Evidence on the impacts of a large-scale expansion in pre-primary education is limited and mostly circumscribed to high- and middle-income nations. This study estimates the effects of such an expansion on progression in primary school in rural communities in Guatemala, where the number of pre-primary schools increased from about 5,300 to 11,500 between 1998 and 2005. Combining administrative and population census data in a difference-in-differences framework, the analysis finds that access to pre-primary education increased by 2.4 percentage points the proportion of students that progress adequately and attend sixth grade by age 12. These positive although limited effects suggest the need for complementary actions to produce substantial improvements in adequate progression.
    Keywords: Education For All,Disability,Social Cohesion,Population Policies,Primary Education
    Date: 2016–02–22
  5. By: Ragasa, Catherine; Mazunda, John; Kadzamira, Mariam
    Abstract: This paper aims to test this hypothesis and to contribute to better understanding of strategies to revitalize the agricultural extension system in Malawi. Specifically, it examines the interplay between the fertilizer subsidy and access to extension services, and their impact on farm productivity and food security in Malawi. Results show that the fertilizer subsidy has inconsistent impact on farm productivity and food security; at the same time, access to agricultural advice was consistently insignificant in explaining farm productivity and food security. Further analysis, however, shows that when access to extension services is unpacked to include indicators of usefulness and farmers’ satisfaction, these indicators were statistically significant. Households who reported that they received very useful agricultural advice had greater productivity and greater food security than those who reported receiving advice that they considered not useful. This result implies the need to ensure the provision of relevant and useful agricultural advice to increase the likelihood of achieving agricultural development outcomes
    Keywords: extension services, fertilizers, subsidies, productivity, food security,
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Mason, Nicole M.; Wineman, Ayala; Kirimi, Lilian; Mather, David
    Abstract: Kenya joined the ranks of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries implementing targeted input subsidy programs (ISPs) for inorganic fertilizer and improved seed in 2007 with the establishment of the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Program (NAAIAP). While several features of NAAIAP were ‘smarter’ than other ISPs in the region, some aspects were less ‘smart’. However, the efficacy of this program, and the relationship between its design and effectiveness, have been little studied. This article uses nationwide survey data to estimate the effects of NAAIAP participation on Kenyan smallholders’ cropping patterns, incomes, and poverty status. Unlike most previous studies of ISPs, a range of panel data- and propensity score-based methods are used to estimate the effects of NAAIAP. The article then compares these estimated effects across estimators and to the effects of other ISPs in SSA, and discusses the likely links between differences in program designs and impacts. The results are robust to the choice of estimator and suggest that, despite substantial crowding out of commercial fertilizer demand, NAAIAP had sizable impacts on maize production and poverty severity. NAAIAP’s success in targeting resource-poor farmers and implementation through vouchers redeemable at private agro-dealer shops likely contributed to its more favorable impacts than those of ISPs in Malawi and Zambia.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2016–02
  7. By: Komatsu, Hitomi; Malapit, Hazel Jean L.; Theis, Sophie
    Abstract: There are concerns that increasing women’s engagement in agriculture could have a negative effect on nutrition because it limits the time available for nutrition-improving reproductive work. However, very few empirical studies have been able to analyze whether these concerns are well-founded. This paper examines whether an increase in women’s time in agriculture adversely affects maternal and child nutrition, and whether the lack of women’s time in reproductive work leads to poorer nutrition. Using data from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Nepal, we find that on the whole, in poor households, reductions in women’s reproductive work time are detrimental to nutrition, especially for children. In contrast, women’s and children’s nutrition in nonpoor households is less sensitive to reductions in time on reproductive work. Working long hours in agriculture reduces women’s dietary diversity score in Ghana and nonpoor women’s in Mozambique. However, for poor women and children in Mozambique, and children in Nepal, working in agriculture in fact increases dietary diversity. This suggests that agriculture as a source of food and income is particularly important for the poor. Our results illustrate that women’s time allocation and nutrition responses to agricultural interventions are likely to vary according to socioeconomic status and local context.
    Keywords: gender, women, agriculture, poverty, nutrition, children, time, time allocation,
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Naoko Uchiyama (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)
    Abstract: This study empirically analyzes risk-sharing functioning in rural Mexico. It also aims to examine the vulnerability of rural households and whether the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program will reduce the vulnerability within the risk-sharing framework. I adopt the two most recent Mexican rural household panel data for 2003 and 2007—although rich in information, the data have not been fully utilized given the lack of pure control groups. Drawing on Townsend's (1994) risk sharing model, the empirical results reject the hypothesis of full risk sharing but confirm that risk-sharing functions serve better in securing basic needs such as food. In addition, the risk-sharing function, reinforced by longer exposures to the CCT program, serves to mitigate the liquidity constraints or vulnerability of poor households.
    Keywords: Risk sharing, Household vulnerability, CCT
    JEL: O12 D12 O54
    Date: 2016–02
  9. By: Alzúa, María Laura (CEDLAS-UNLP); Cruces, Guillermo (CEDLAS-UNLP); Lopez, Carolina (CEDLAS-UNLP)
    Abstract: We study the effect of a job training program for low income youth in Cordoba, Argentina. The program included life-skills and vocational training, as well as internships with private sector employers. Participants were allocated by means of a public lottery. We rely on administrative data on formal employment, employment spells and earnings, to establish the effects of the program in the short term (18 months), but also – exceptionally for programs of this type in Latin America and in developing countries in general – in the medium term (33 months) and in the long term (48 months). The results indicate sizable gains of about 8 percentage points in formal employment in the short term (about 32% higher than the control group), although these effects dissipate in the medium and in the long term. Contrary to previous results for similar programs in the region, the effects are substantially larger for men, although they also seem to fade in the long run. Program participants also exhibit earnings about 40% higher than those in the control group, and an analysis of bounds indicates that these gains result from both higher employment levels and higher wages. The detailed administrative records also allow us to shed some light on the possible mechanisms underlying these effects. A dynamic analysis of employment transitions indicates that the program operated through an increase in the persistence of employment rather than from more frequent entries into employment. The earnings effect and the higher persistence of employment suggest that the program was successful in increasing the human capital of participants, although the transient nature of these results may also reflect better matches from a program-induced increase in informal contacts or formal intermediation.
    Keywords: youth labor training programs, youth unemployment, field experiment
    JEL: J08 J24 J68 O15
    Date: 2016–02
  10. By: Ali,Daniel Ayalew; Deininger,Klaus W.; Harris,Charles Anthony Philip
    Abstract: Although the nature and magnitude of (positive or negative) spillovers from large farm establishment are hotly debated, most evidence relies on case studies. Ethiopia's large farms census together with 11 years of nation-wide smallholder surveys allows examination and quantification of spillovers using intertemporal changes in smallholders'proximity and exposure to large farms, generally or growing the same crop, for identification. The results suggest positive spillovers on fertilizer and improved seed use, yields, and risk coping, but not local job creation, for some crops, most notably maize. Most spillovers are crop-specific and limited to large farms'immediate vicinity. The implications for policy and research are drawn out.
    Keywords: Livestock and Animal Husbandry,Climate Change and Agriculture,Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems,Agriculture and Farming Systems,Crops and Crop Management Systems
    Date: 2016–02–23
  11. By: Christian Gonzales; Sonali Jain-Chandra; Kalpana Kochhar; Monique Newiak; Tlek Zeinullayev
    Abstract: This study shows empirically that gender inequality and income inequality are strongly interlinked, even after controlling for standard drivers of income inequality. The study analyzes gender inequality by using and extending the United Nation’s Gender Inequality Index (GII) to cover two decades for almost 140 countries,. The main finding is that an increase in the GII from perfect gender equality to perfect inequality is associated with an almost 10 points higher net Gini coefficient. For advanced countries, with higher gender equity in opportunities, income inequality arises mainly through gender gaps in economic participation. For emerging market and developing countries, inequality of opportunity, in particular in education and health, appear to pose larger obstacles to income equality.
    Keywords: Income inequality;Women;Income distribution;Gender;Labor force participation;female labor force participation, gender equity, inequality, gender inequality, labor force, Economics of Gender, Equity, Justice, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement, Personal Income and Wealth Distribution,
    Date: 2015–10–22
  12. By: Van Campenhout, Bjorn
    Abstract: Market participation by smallholders farmers has the potential to pull farmers out of poverty while at the same time increasing food security at the more aggregate level. This paper looks at the dynamics of smallholder maize and beans marketing in Uganda and Mozambique. Using panel data from both countries, we categorize households according to their gross sales position over multiple periods of time and differentiate the occasional seller from the persistent seller. We describe patterns in the dynamics of smallholder commodity marketing and explore correlations with factors identified in previous theoretical and empirical work that are assumed to affect market participation. We also estimate multinomial random-effects models and compare the results of such an analysis of the dynamics of smallholder marketing with a static analysis.
    Keywords: smallholders, maize, beans, commercialization, commodities, food security, marketing, panel data,
    Date: 2015
  13. By: Schuenemann, Franziska; Thurlow, James; Zeller, Manfred
    Abstract: Biofuel production can have conflicting impacts on economic growth, food and energy security, and natural resources. Understanding these trade-offs is crucial for designing policies that are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals. This is particularly true in low-income countries, where the need to promote both energy and food security is most pressing. To this end, we develop an integrated modeling framework to simultaneously assess the economic and environmental impacts of producing biofuels in Malawi. We extend earlier studies by incorporating the effects of land use change on crop water use, and the opportunity costs of using scarce agricultural resources for biofuels rather than other export crops. We find that biofuel production is generally pro-poor and reduces food insecurity by raising household incomes. Irrigated outgrower schemes rather than estate farms lead to better economic outcomes, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and similar crop water requirements. Nevertheless, Malawi must reduce emissions from its ethanol plants in order to access European markets. We also find that the economic and environmental impacts of biofuels are preferable to those of tobacco or soybeans. The European Union has raised the standards expected of biofuel producers, but it should “level the playing field” by applying similar standards to other export crops from developing countries.
    Keywords: water use, land use, energy, biofuels, food security, bioenergy, fuels, natural resources, sustainability, emissions,
    Date: 2016

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