nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒05‒14
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Optimal Data Collection for Randomized Control Trials By Carneiro, Pedro; Lee, Sokbae; Wilhelm, Daniel
  2. Family Size, Sibling Rivalry and Migration: Evidence from Mexico By Massimiliano Bratti; Simona Fiore; Mariapia Mendola
  3. Are Women Less Productive Farmers? How Markets and Risk Affect Fertilizer Use, Productivity, and Measured Gender Effects in Uganda By Larson, Donald; Savastano, Sara; Murray, Siobhan; Palacios-Lopez, Amparo
  4. The Effect of Rainfall Variation on Agricultural Households: Evidence from Mexico By Meza-Pale, Pablo; Yunez-Naude, Antonio
  5. Mobile Money, Agricultural Marketing, and Off-Farm Income in Uganda By Sekabira, Haruna; Qaim, Matin
  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. Welfare Impacts of Climate Shocks: Evidence from Uganda By Asfaw, Solomon; Mortari, Andrea Piano; Arslan, Aslihan; Karfakis, Panagiotis; Lipper, Leslie
  8. Migration, Agricultural Production and Diversification: A case study from Vietnam By Nguyen, Duc Loc; Grote, Ulrike
  9. Identifying National Level Education Reforms in Developing Settings: An Application to Ethiopia By Chicoine, Luke E.
  10. Climate as a Cause of Conflict: An Econometric Analysis By Chen, Junyi; McCarl, Bruce A.; Price, Edwin; Wu, Ximing; Bessler, David A.
  11. Community-Based Health Insurance and Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending in Africa: Evidence from Rwanda By Woldemichael, Andinet; Gurara, Daniel Zerfu; Shimeles, Abebe

  1. By: Carneiro, Pedro (University College London); Lee, Sokbae (Institute for Fiscal Studies, London); Wilhelm, Daniel (University College London)
    Abstract: In a randomized control trial, the precision of an average treatment effect estimator can be improved either by collecting data on additional individuals, or by collecting additional covariates that predict the outcome variable. We propose the use of pre-experimental data such as a census, or a household survey, to inform the choice of both the sample size and the covariates to be collected. Our procedure seeks to minimize the resulting average treatment effect estimator's mean squared error, subject to the researcher's budget constraint. We rely on a modification of an orthogonal greedy algorithm that is conceptually simple and easy to implement in the presence of a large number of potential covariates, and does not require any tuning parameters. In two empirical applications, we show that our procedure can lead to substantial gains of up to 58%, measured either in terms of reductions in data collection costs or in terms of improvements in the precision of the treatment effect estimator.
    Keywords: randomized control trials, big data, data collection, optimal survey design, orthogonal greedy algorithm, survey costs
    JEL: C55 C81
    Date: 2016–04
  2. By: Massimiliano Bratti (Università degli Studi di Milano, IZA and Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano); Simona Fiore (Università degli Studi di Bologna); Mariapia Mendola (Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca, IZA and Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of family size and demographic structure on offspring’s international migration. We use rich survey data from Mexico to estimate the impact of sibship size, birth order and sibling composition on teenagers’ and Young adults’ migration outcomes. We find little evidence that high fertility drives migration. The positive correlation between sibship size and migration disappears when endogeneity of family size is addressed using biological fertility miscarriages) and infertility shocks. Yet, the chances to migrate are not equally distributed across children within the family. Older siblings, especially firstborn males, are more likely to migrate, while having more sisters than brothers may increase the chances of migration, particularly among girls.
    Keywords: International Migration, Mexico, Family Size, Birth Order, Sibling Composition
    JEL: J13 F22 O15
    Date: 2016–04–13
  3. By: Larson, Donald; Savastano, Sara; Murray, Siobhan; Palacios-Lopez, Amparo
    Abstract: African governments and international development groups see boosting productivity on smallholder farms as key to reducing rural poverty and safeguarding the food security of farming and non-farming households. Prompting smallholder farmers to use more fertilizer has been a key tactic. Closing the productivity gap between male and female farmers has been another avenue toward achieving the same goal. The results in this paper suggest the two are related. Fertilizer use and maize yields among smallholder farmers in Uganda are increased by improved access to markets and extension services, and reduced by ex ante risk-mitigating production decisions. Standard ordinary least squares regression results indicate that gender matters as well; however, the measured productivity gap between male and female farmers disappears when gender is included in a list of determinants meant to capture the indirect effects of market and extension access.
    Keywords: Smallholder farmers, productivity, gender, maize, Uganda, Agricultural and Food Policy, Consumer/Household Economics, D13, O12, 013, Q12, Q18,
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Meza-Pale, Pablo; Yunez-Naude, Antonio
    Abstract: This paper presents results of the rainfall impact on agricultural production and net income for rural households in Mexico using a two-year panel data set. We construct a metric on rainfall variation using historical data from weather stations across Mexico. The relationship between our rainfall measure and agricultural production indicates a consistent negative effect on maize production, specially for rain-fed and small farmers. Moreover, there is mixed evidence for non-maize crops production and non-significant rainfall impact for household’s net income.
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Sekabira, Haruna; Qaim, Matin
    Abstract: Mobile money (MM) services can contribute to welfare gains in smallholder farm households. Previous research showed that one important pathway is through higher remittances received from relatives and friends. Here, the role of other impact pathways is examined, especially focusing on agricultural marketing and off-farm economic activities. The analysis builds on panel data from smallholder coffee farmers in Uganda. Regression models show that the adoption of MM technology has contributed to higher household incomes and consumption levels. Off-farm income gains are identified to be an important pathway, also beyond remittances. Typical off-farm income sources are small businesses in trade, transport, and handicrafts, which benefit from novel savings and money transfer opportunities through MM. In terms of agricultural marketing, MM users sell a larger proportion of their coffee as shelled beans to buyers in high-value markets, instead of selling to local traders immediately after harvest. MM services help reduce cash constraints and facilitate transactions with buyers from outside local regions. In conclusion, MM can contribute to rural development through various important pathways. Analysis of adoption patterns suggests that MM services are socially inclusive.
    Keywords: mobile phones, rural banking, smallholder farmers, impact evaluation, Africa, Agricultural Finance, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Financial Economics, Food Security and Poverty, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, O12, O16, O33, Q12,
    Date: 2016–04
  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: input subsidy programs, fertilizer, hybrid seed, poverty, welfare, smallholder farmers, Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa, Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, International Development, Production Economics, I3, I32, I38, Q12, Q18,
    Date: 2016–02
  7. By: Asfaw, Solomon; Mortari, Andrea Piano; Arslan, Aslihan; Karfakis, Panagiotis; Lipper, Leslie
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of weather/climate shocks on household welfare using a nationally representative panel data from Uganda together with a set of novel climate variation indicators. Where the effect of climate/weather variability has a significantly negative effect on household welfare, we further test the hypotheses that policy-relevant mechanisms can be effective means of mitigating the negative welfare effects. In general we obtain very few significant results with respect to climate/weather shock variables which might point towards a consumption and income smoothing behavior by the households, whose welfare level is not affected by the weather shocks. With regards to the different shocks definition, the reference period used to define the shock does not matter since the coefficients and the signs do not change with the reference period. Different policy action variables have also heterogeneous impact across different outcome variables in terms of mitigating the negative impact of climate/weather shocks.
    Keywords: Climate shock, welfare, Uganda, Africa, Environmental Economics and Policy, International Development, Q01, Q12, Q16, Q18,
    Date: 2015–08
  8. By: Nguyen, Duc Loc; Grote, Ulrike
    Abstract: The New Economics of Labor Migration (NELM) hypothesizes that migration is a strategy to reduce risks and financial liquidity constraints of rural households. This paper tests this hypothesis for the case of Vietnam. The impacts of migration on agricultural production and diversification are estimated in fixed effects regression models based on a panel data set of about 2,000 households in Vietnam. The findings suggest that rural households who receive remittances from their migrants reduce the share of their income from rice, increase their land productivity and become more specialized in labor allocation. However, migration also decreases labor productivity and crop diversification of rural households. Overall, the NELM hypothesis is only supported in cases migrant households receive remittances.
    Keywords: Migration, Remittances, Agricultural Productivity, Diversification, Vietnam, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Labor and Human Capital, J62, D13, O13, Q12,
    Date: 2015–12
  9. By: Chicoine, Luke E. (DePaul University)
    Abstract: Increasing enrollment in primary education has been at the center of international education policy for well over a decade. In developing parts of the world, significant increases in primary enrollment are often generated by large national level programs, which can simultaneously promote overcrowding and reductions in education quality. However, to analyze the trade-off between increased enrollment and potential reductions in quality one must first identify and evaluate the impact of the national reform on schooling. This paper provides a method with which these types of reforms can be identified in developing settings using both temporal and geographic variation, and readily available data. The method is applied to an early 1990s reform in Ethiopia based around the release of the Education and Training Policy, which removed schooling fees from grades one to ten. The model estimates that the reform led to an increase in schooling of at least 1.2 years, and provides initial evidence that the increased enrollment in Ethiopia outweighed any cost due to reductions in quality.
    Keywords: free primary education, Ethiopia, schooling
    JEL: I25 I28 O55
    Date: 2016–04
  10. By: Chen, Junyi; McCarl, Bruce A.; Price, Edwin; Wu, Ximing; Bessler, David A.
    Abstract: In recent decades, there has been assertions that climate change triggers conflict via multiple pathways, including food shortages, pest and disease incidence expansion, and water scarcity. However, broad empirical studies on the link are still lacking. This study aims to quantitatively explore that linkage using a global dataset. This involves development of a model that predicts the probability of conflict incidence given climate variations. We apply both parametric and semiparametric techniques in a rolling window scheme, which allows for a system that evolves over time. Two criteria are employed to evaluate out-of-sample predictive capability of the estimated models. Our investigation suggests that precipitation variation has a statistically significant effect on conflict. Generally we find the more that this year’s precipitation is smaller than last years the more likely is civil conflict.
    Keywords: climate, conflict, semiparametric, Environmental Economics and Policy, International Development, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods,
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Woldemichael, Andinet (African Development Bank); Gurara, Daniel Zerfu (International Monetary Fund); Shimeles, Abebe (African Development Bank)
    Abstract: In the absence of third party and prepayment systems such as health insurance and tax-based healthcare financing, households in many low-income countries are exposed to the financial risks of paying large medical bills from out-of-pocket. In recent years, community based health insurance schemes have become popular alternatives to fill such void in the healthcare financing systems. This paper investigates the impact of these schemes on out-of-pocket spending based on three rounds of nationally representative data from Rwanda. We estimate an Extended Two-Part Model to address endogeniety in insurance enrollment and censoring in healthcare expenditure data. We find that community based health insurance program has non-linear and mixed impacts on out-of-pocket expenditure. While the program significantly increases the probability of overall spending, it decreases the amount of per capita spending on healthcare. The program also significantly reduces spending on drug but increases outpatient spending with no detectable impact on inpatient services. Furthermore, we find notable heterogeneity in treatment effects in which households in the top income distribution realize the highest reduction in out-of-pocket spending.
    Keywords: impact, health insurance, out-of-pocket, low-income, endogeneity
    JEL: C21 C34 D04 I13 I15
    Date: 2016–04

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