nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒03‒29
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Double for Nothing? Experimental Evidence on the Impact of an Unconditional Teacher Salary Increase on Student Performance in Indonesia By Joppe de Ree; Karthik Muralidharan; Menno Pradhan; Halsey Rogers
  2. Growth, Urbanization and Poverty Reduction in India By Gaurav Datt; Martin Ravallion; Rinku Murgai
  3. Expanding Governance as Development: Evidence on Child Nutrition in the Philippines By Eli Berman; Mitch Downey; Joseph Felter
  4. Does Off-farm Employment Make Women in Rural Senegal Happy? By VAN DEN BROECK, Goedele; MAERTENS, Miet
  5. Violence Against Women: A Cross-cultural Analysis for Africa By Alberto Alesina; Benedetta Brioschi; Eliana La Ferrara
  6. The measurement of disaster risk: An example from tropical cyclones in the Philippines By Yonson, Rio; Gaillard, J. C.; Noy, Ilan
  7. Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme By Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Amber Peterman; Juan Bonilla; Rosa Castro Zarzur; Claire Nowlin; Hannah Ring
  8. Determinants of local public expenditures on education: empirical evidence for Indonesian districts between 2005 and 2012 By Ivo Bischoff; Ferry Prasetyia
  9. A Better Life for All? Democratization and Electrification in Post-Apartheid South Africa By Verena Kroth; Valentino Larcinese; Joachim Wehner
  10. Quasi-experimental evidence on the effects of mother tongue-based education on reading skills and early labour market outcomes By Argaw, Bethlehem A.
  11. Contracting out the Last-Mile of Service Delivery: Subsidized Food Distribution in Indonesia By Abhijit Banerjee; Rema Hanna; Jordan C. Kyle; Benjamin A. Olken; Sudarno Sumarto

  1. By: Joppe de Ree; Karthik Muralidharan; Menno Pradhan; Halsey Rogers
    Abstract: How does a large unconditional increase in salary affect employee performance in the public sector? We present the first experimental evidence on this question to date in the context of a unique policy change in Indonesia that led to a permanent doubling of base teacher salaries. Using a large-scale randomized experiment across a representative sample of Indonesian schools that affected more than 3,000 teachers and 80,000 students, we find that the doubling of pay significantly improved teacher satisfaction with their income, reduced the incidence of teachers holding outside jobs, and reduced self-reported financial stress. Nevertheless, after two and three years, the doubling in pay led to no improvements in measures of teacher effort or student learning outcomes, suggesting that the salary increase was a transfer to teachers with no discernible impact on student outcomes. Thus, contrary to the predictions of various efficiency wage models of employee behavior (including gift-exchange, reciprocity, and reduced shirking), as well as those of a model where effort on pro-social tasks is a normal good with a positive income elasticity, we find that unconditional increases in salaries of incumbent teachers had no meaningful positive impact on student learning.
    JEL: C93 I21 J31 J45 O15
    Date: 2015–12
  2. By: Gaurav Datt; Martin Ravallion; Rinku Murgai
    Abstract: Longstanding development issues are revisited in the light of our newly-constructed dataset of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years, including 20 years since reforms began in earnest in 1991. We find a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Faster poverty decline came with both 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.
    JEL: I32 O15 O18 O47
    Date: 2016–02
  3. By: Eli Berman; Mitch Downey; Joseph Felter
    Abstract: Worldwide, extreme poverty is often concentrated in spaces where people and property are not safe enough to sustain effective markets, and where development assistance is dangerous – and might even induce violence. Expanding governance by coercively taking control of territory may enable markets and development programs, but costs to local residents may exceed benefits, especially if that expansion is violent. We estimate for the first time whether a large counterinsurgency program improves welfare. We exploit the staggered roll-out of the Philippine “Peace and Development Teams” counterinsurgency program, which treated 12% of the population between 2002 and 2010. Though treatment temporarily increased violence, the program progressively reduced child malnutrition: by 10% in the first year, and by 30% from year three onwards. Improved nutritional status was not due to increased health and welfare expenditures, but instead to improved governance. Treatment effects are comparable to those of conventional child health interventions, though conventional programs are likely infeasible in this setting. Rebels apparently react to treatment by shifting to neighboring municipalities, as malnutrition worsens there – with statistically significant 'treatment' effects of similar size. Thus overall program effects are close to zero. These findings invite an evidence-based discussion of governance expansion, an extensive margin of development.
    JEL: F51 I15 O53
    Date: 2016–01
  4. By: VAN DEN BROECK, Goedele; MAERTENS, Miet
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the impact of female wage employment in the Senegalese horticultural export industry on women’s wellbeing. We use a subjective wellbeing approach, based on self-reported happiness, to capture both income and non-income aspects of employment. We use original household- and individual-level survey data from the Saint-Louis region in Senegal and an instrumental variable approach. We find that female employment improves subjective wellbeing for the poorest women but not for women whose household income has moved well beyond the poverty threshold. Female employment improves women´s happiness through an income effect, as female employment leads to higher income levels and improved living standards, but the non-income effects of female employment reduce women’s happiness. This negative effect is related to a higher workload, low job satisfaction and changing gender roles. The positive income effect outweighs these negative non-income effects for poor women but not for relatively richer women.
    Keywords: female employment, subjective wellbeing, globalization, Senegal, Sub-Saharan Africa, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Community/Rural/Urban Development, International Development, International Relations/Trade, Labor and Human Capital, Production Economics, E24, I31, O12,
    Date: 2015–12
  5. By: Alberto Alesina; Benedetta Brioschi; Eliana La Ferrara
    Abstract: Using a new dataset, we investigate the determinants of violence against women in Africa. We focus on cultural factors arising from pre-colonial customs and find evidence consistent with two hypotheses. First, ancient socioeconomic conditions determine social norms about gender roles, family structures and intrafamily violence which persist even when the initial conditions change. Norms about marriage patterns, living arrangements and the productive role of women are associated with contemporary violence. Second, women’s contemporary economic role affects violence in a complex way which is itself related to traditional norms in ancient times and current bargaining power within the marriage.
    JEL: E62
    Date: 2016–01
  6. By: Yonson, Rio; Gaillard, J. C.; Noy, Ilan
    Abstract: What shapes people’s disaster risk exposure? Using a sub-national (provincial) panel econometric and deductive approach we answer this question by focussing on tropical cyclones, and using the Philippines as a case study for our measurement approach. We construct a new provincial level panel dataset, and use panel estimation methods to assess the influence of socioeconomic (vulnerability), geographic, demographic, topographic (exposure), and meteorological (hazard) characteristics on the resulting fatalities and affected persons from recent tropical cyclones. We find strong evidence that socioeconomic development reduces people’s vulnerability and loss of human lives. Further, good local governance is associated with fewer fatalities. Rapid and unplanned urbanization generates vulnerabilities and increases harm. Exposure, including topography, and hazard strength are likewise important determinants. However, disaster impacts on people appear to be influenced much more by vulnerability and exposure, than by the hazard itself. We quantify this difference in order to contribute to policy planning at national and sub-national scales.
    Keywords: Natural disasters, Risk, Tropical cyclones,
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Amber Peterman; Juan Bonilla; Rosa Castro Zarzur; Claire Nowlin; Hannah Ring
    Abstract: This paper reports findings from a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision-makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer did increase overall household well-being because they felt increased financial empowerment and were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. The study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole and joint decisions, although impacts translated into relatively modest increases.
    Keywords: cash transfers; decision making; household income; women's empowerment;
    JEL: D1
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Ivo Bischoff (University of Kassel); Ferry Prasetyia (Brawijaya University)
    Abstract: We provide an empirical analysis of the factors that drive expenditures on primary and secondary education in Indonesian districts. We use a panel-data set covering 398 districts between 2005 and 2012. We account for the impact of socio-economic, political and geographical factors on expenditures per pupil and on the share of the overall budget spent on education. Our results are in line studies from other countries showing that educational expenditures are rising in the municipalities’ fiscal capacity. Landlocked districts are found to spend less on education than non-landlocked ones. We find some support for the notion that the share of educational expenditures in total expenditures increases in the demand for education, though our indicators for demand are not associated with higher expenditures per pupil. Somewhat surprisingly, the characteristics of the local municipal council do not influence educational expenditures.
    Keywords: Indonesia, local government, educational expenditures, determinants
    JEL: H75 I25 N35
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Verena Kroth; Valentino Larcinese; Joachim Wehner
    Abstract: Does democracy affect basic service delivery? If yes, who benefits, and which elements of democracy matter - enfranchisement, the liberalization of political organization, or both? In 1994, 19 million South Africans gained the right to vote. The previously banned African National Congress was elected promising "a better life for all". Using a difference-in-differences approach, we exploit heterogeneity in the share of newly enfranchised voters across municipalities to evaluate how franchise extension affected household electrification. Our unique dataset combines nightlight satellite imagery, geo-referenced census data, and municipal election results from the 1990s. We include covariates, run placebo regressions, and examine contiguous census tracts. We find that enfranchisement increased electrification. In parts of the country where municipalities lacked distribution capacity, the national electricity company prioritized core constituencies of the ANC. The effect of democratization on basic services depends on the national government's ability to influence distribution at the local level.
    Keywords: Democracy, Distributive politics, Electricity, South Africa
    Date: 2016–03
  10. By: Argaw, Bethlehem A.
    Abstract: Prior to the introduction of mother tongue based education in 1994, the language of instruction for most subjects in Ethiopia's primary schools was the official language (Amharic) - the mother tongue of only one third of the population. This paper uses the variation in individual's exposure to the policy change across birth cohorts and mother tongues to estimate the effects of language of instruction on reading skills and early labour market outcomes. The results indicate that the reading skills of birth cohorts that gained access to mother tongue-based primary education after 1994 improved significantly by about 11 percentage points. The provision of primary education in mother tongue halved the reading skills gap between Amharic and non-Amharic mother tongue users. The improved reading skills seem to translate into gains in the labour market in terms of the skill contents of jobs held and the type of payment individuals receive for their work. An increase in school enrollment and enhanced parental educational investment at home are identified as potential channels linking mother tongue instruction and an improvement in reading skills.
    Keywords: language of instruction,mother tongue,reading skills,labour market,policy evaluation
    JEL: I24 I25 I28 J24
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Abhijit Banerjee; Rema Hanna; Jordan C. Kyle; Benjamin A. Olken; Sudarno Sumarto
    Abstract: Outsourcing government service provision to private firms can improve efficiency and reduce rents, but there are risks that non-contractible quality will decline and that reform could be blocked by vested interests exactly where potential gains are greatest. We examine these issues by conducting a randomized field experiment in 572 Indonesian localities in which a procurement process was introduced that allowed citizens to bid to take over the implementation of a subsidized rice distribution program. This led 17 percent of treated locations to switch distributors. Introducing the possibility of outsourcing led to a 4.6 percent reduction in the markup paid by households. Quality did not suffer and, if anything, households reported the quality of the rice improved. Bidding committees may have avoided quality problems by choosing bidders who had relevant experience as traders, even if they proposed slightly higher prices. Mandating higher levels of competition by encouraging additional bidders further reduced prices. We document offsetting effects of having high rents at baseline: when the initial price charged was high and when baseline satisfaction levels were low, entry was higher and committees were more likely to replace the status quo distributor; but, incumbents measured to be more dishonest on an experimental measure of cheating were also more likely to block the outsourcing process. We find no effect on price or quality of providing information about program functioning without the opportunity to privatize, implying that the observed effect was not solely due to increased transparency. On net, the results suggest that contracting out has the potential to improve performance, though the magnitude of the effects may be partially muted due to push back from powerful elites.
    JEL: D73 H57
    Date: 2015–12

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