nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒07‒16
eighteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Influence of Ancestral Lifeways on Individual Economic Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa By Michalopoulos, Stelios; Putterman, Louis; Weil, David
  2. Spillover effects and take-up of transfers in integrated social policies: Evidence from Progresa By Bobba, Matteo; Gignoux, Jérémie
  3. Effects of Demographic and Educational Changes on the Labor Markets of Brazil and Mexico By Amaral, Ernesto F. L.; Queiroz, Bernardo L.; Calazans, Julia A.
  4. DVD-based distance-learning program for university entrance exams -- RCT experiments in rural Bangladesh By Kono, Hisaki; Sawada, Yasuyuki; Shonchoy, Abu S.
  5. Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme By Luisa Natali; Amber Peterman; UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
  6. The Fertility Transition: Panel Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa By Carolyn Chisadza and Manoel Bittencourt; Manoel Bittencourt
  7. Land Rights and Women's Empowerment in Rural Peru: Insights from Item Response Theory By Montenegro, María; Mohapatra, Sandeep; Swallow, Brent
  8. Powering Education By Fadi Hassan; Paolo Lucchino
  9. Returns to fertilizer use: does it pay enough? Some new evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Koussoubé, Estelle; Nauges, Céline
  10. Child labour in China By Tang, Can; Zhao, Liqiu; Zhao, Zhong
  11. How Productive is Rural Infrastructure? Evidence on Some Agricultural Crops in Colombia By Ignacio Lozano-Espitia; Lina Ma. Ramírez-Villegas
  12. Cash for Carbon: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Deforestation By Seema Jayachandran; Joost de Laat; Eric F. Lambin; Charlotte Y. Stanton
  13. Less restrictive birth control, less education? Evidence from ethnic minorities in China By Yishen Liu; Yao Pan
  14. Intergenerational Mobility in Income and Economic Status in Ethiopia By Haile, Getinet Astatike
  15. Multidimensional assessment of child welfare for Tanzania By Channing Arndt; Vincent Leyaro; Kristi Mahrt; Finn Tarp
  16. Law, Politics and the Quality of Government in Africa By Simplice Asongu; Jacinta C. Nwachukwu
  17. Electoral Accountability and the Natural Resource Curse: Theory and Evidence from India By Amrita Dhillon; Pramila Krishnan; Manasa Patnam; Carlo Perroni
  18. Causes and Consequences of Teen Childbearing: Evidence from a Reproductive Health Intervention in South Africa By Nicola Branson; Tanya Byker

  1. By: Michalopoulos, Stelios; Putterman, Louis; Weil, David
    Abstract: Does a person's historical lineage influence his or her current economic status? Motivated by a large literature in social sciences stressing the effect of an early transition to agriculture on current economic performance at the level of countries, we examine the relative contemporary status of individuals as a function of how much their ancestors relied on agriculture during the pre-industrial era. We focus on Africa, where by combining anthropological records of groups with individual-level survey data we can explore the effect of the historical lifeways of one's forefathers. Within enumeration areas and occupational groups, we find that individuals from ethnicities that derived a larger share of subsistence from agriculture in the pre-colonial era are today more educated and wealthy. A tentative exploration of channels suggests that differences in attitudes and beliefs as well as differential treatment by others, including differential political power, may contribute to these divergent outcomes.
    Keywords: Africa; agriculture; Culture; Development; Ethnicity
    JEL: J6 N37 O15 Z1
    Date: 2016–06
  2. By: Bobba, Matteo; Gignoux, Jérémie
    Abstract: When potential beneficiaries share knowledge and attitudes about a policy intervention, that can influence their decisions to participate and, in turn, change the effectiveness of both the policy and its evaluation. This matters notably in integrated social policies with several components. We examine spillover effects on the take-up of the schooling subsidy component of the Progresa-Oportunidades program in rural Mexico by exploiting exogenous variations in the local frequency of beneficiaries generated by the program's randomized evaluation. Higher treatment frequency in the areas surrounding the evaluation villages increases the take-up of scholarships and enrollment at the junior-secondary level. These cross-village effects exclusively operate on households receiving another component of the program, and do not carry over larger distances. While several tests reject heterogeneities in impacts due to spatial variations in program implementation, we find suggestive evidence that spillovers stem partly from the sharing of information about the program among eligible households.
    Keywords: spatial externalities; knowledge spillovers; peer effects; take-up of social policies; policy evaluation; conditional cash transfers.
    JEL: I2 J2 O2
    Date: 2016–06
  3. By: Amaral, Ernesto F. L.; Queiroz, Bernardo L.; Calazans, Julia A.
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of demographic and educational changes on the earnings and returns to schooling of workers in Brazil and Mexico. Our analysis takes into account demographic, educational and economic variations within each country over time, using Censuses microdata from Brazil and Mexico. Results suggest that demographic and educational transitions generate impact on earnings and on returns to education. The proportion of people in age-education groups tends to have a negative impact on earnings. These impacts are more detrimental among age-education groups with higher education, but they are having less of a negative effect over time. We also find that the concentration of skilled labor has positive impacts on the rates of returns to education and that they are greater than those observed in more developed countries. Moreover, in Brazil and Mexico, these effects are observed throughout the income distribution, contrary to what is observed in studies for the United States.
    Keywords: demographic transition, education transition, cohort size, earnings, labor markets, Brazil, Mexico
    Date: 2015–02
  4. By: Kono, Hisaki; Sawada, Yasuyuki; Shonchoy, Abu S.
    Abstract: In contrast to the remarkable progress in developing countries in improving primary education, access to higher education in many countries remains limited, especially in rural areas where the quality of education is inadequate. We evaluate a DVD-based distance-learning program in rural Bangladesh, targeted at students aiming to take university entrance tests. We conducted two experiments: one to evaluate the effect of the distance-learning program and the second to determine the demand and price sensitivity. Our first experiment shows that the DVD-based distance-learning program has a considerable positive effect on the number of students passing entrance exams. This effect does not depend on cognitive scores, but does depend on non-cognitive attributes, indicating the importance of commitment, which is imposed through our program. In the second experiment, we offered a random subsidy to interested participants. The uptake decision is price-sensitive, although the price sensitivity is not correlated with students' past academic performance or their socio-economic status, suggesting that increasing the price should not disproportionately exclude poor students.
    Keywords: Higher education, Rural societies, Distance-Learning, Tertiary education, Bangladesh
    JEL: O15 O22 I15
    Date: 2016–06
  5. By: Luisa Natali; Amber Peterman; UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
    Abstract: In 2010, the Zambian Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health began implementation of the Child Grant Programme with the goals of reducing extreme poverty and breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. The impact of the grant was explored across a range of outcomes for women over the medium term (two to four years). One of the difficult aspects of assessing this evidence is the myriad of indicators used to measure ‘empowerment’. For example, researchers have used indicators ranging from women’s intra-household decision-making to social networks, land or asset ownership, and interpret all these as ‘empowerment’, making it difficult to draw conclusions. The analysis is complemented with qualitative data to understand the meaning women and men place on empowerment in the rural communities. Although more evidence is needed to understand how cash transfers can empower women in Africa, women’s savings and participation in small businesses were seen to have increased, giving them more autonomy over cash and improving their financial standing.
    Keywords: cash transfers; women's empowerment; zambia;
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Carolyn Chisadza and Manoel Bittencourt; Manoel Bittencourt
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of different socioeconomic indicators on fertility rates in 48 sub-Saharan African countries between 1970 and 2012. The results, based on panel analysis with fixed effects and instrumental variables, show that initially income per capita and infant mortality explain a signiÂ…cant part of the fertility decline in the region. However, the introduction of technology as an instrument augments the effect of education in reducing fertility. The results also provide signiÂ…cant evidence for fertility declines through increased female education. These results support empirical evidence of the uniÂ…ed growth theory which emphasises the role of technology in raising the demand for education and bringing about a demographic transition during the Post-Malthusian period.
    Keywords: Fertility, Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: I25 J13 O55
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Montenegro, María; Mohapatra, Sandeep; Swallow, Brent
    Abstract: Women’s land rights are increasingly advocated as an empowerment tool to spur development outcomes. However, empirical evidence of this relationship is limited. In this study we use data from peasant communities in rural Peru to explore the effect of the intra-household allocation of inherited land on women’s empowerment. Empowerment is modeled as a latent variable measured by different influence indicators using a Generalized Structural Equation approach. We draw on Item Response Theory (IRT) to estimate difficulty and discrimination parameters which can inform policymakers about the impact of empowerment policies on women’s types of influences within their households. The empirical approach is consistent with empowerment’s latent and multidimensional nature and pays attention to endogeneity issues often present in other empirical studies. We find that although women’s land rights increase empowerment, the intra-household allocation of land determines the magnitude of this impact.
    Keywords: Women's empowerment, item response theory, structural equation modeling, land rights, International Development, Land Economics/Use,
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Fadi Hassan; Paolo Lucchino
    Abstract: More than 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity and this has first-order effects on several development dimensions. In this paper we focus on the link between access to light and education. We randomly distribute solar lamps to 7th grade pupils in rural Kenya and monitor their educational outcomes throughout the year at quarterly frequency. We find that access to lights through solar lamps is a relevant and effective input to education. Our identification strategy accounts for spillovers by exploiting the variation in treatment at the pupil level and in treatment intensity across classes. We find a positive and significant intention-to-treat effect as well as a positive and significant spillover effect on control students. In a class with the average treatment intensity of our sample (43%), treated students experience an increase in math grades of 0.88 standard deviations. Moreover, we find a positive marginal effect of treatment intensity on control students: raising the share of treated students in a class by 10% increases grades of control students by 0.22 standard deviations. We exploit household geolocation to disentangle within-class and geographical spillovers. We show that geographical spillovers do not have a significant impact and within-school interaction is the main source of spillovers. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that the mechanism through which lamps affect students is by increasing co-studying at school especially after sunset.
    Keywords: Randomised controlled trial, solar lamps, education, energy access, spillover effects, randomised saturation design
    JEL: O12 I25 C93
    Date: 2016–07
  9. By: Koussoubé, Estelle; Nauges, Céline
    Abstract: The low level of modern inputs adoption by African farmers is considered to be a major impediment to food security and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. The government of Burkina Faso, following the example of a number of other countries in the region, launched a subsidy program in 2008 to encourage farmers’ uptake of chemical fertilizers and foster cereal production. This article explores the importance of fertilizer profitability in explaining the relative, apparent low use of chemical fertilizers by farmers in Burkina Faso. Using largescale plot data, we estimate maize yield response to nitrogen to be 19 kg/ha on average and to vary with soil characteristics. Profitability, which we measure through the calculation of a marginal value cost ratio, is estimated at 1.4 on those plots which received fertilizers, with significant variations across regions. For those plots on which fertilizers were not applied, we predict that fertilizers should have been profitable in most cases under the current level of subsidized fertilizer prices. These findings suggest that the low uptake of chemical fertilizers might have been driven by factors other than profitability, including insufficient supply of subsidized fertilizers to farmers in need. Our results also call for increasing the availability of credit to farmers in order to encourage adoption of chemical fertilizers. Finally, our results also show that not taking into account the endogeneity of nitrogen use in the yield equation may produce biased estimates of the maize yield response to nitrogen.
    Keywords: Burkina Faso; fertilizers; maize yield; subsidization program; technology adoption.
    Date: 2016–07
  10. By: Tang, Can (Renmin University of China); Zhao, Liqiu (Renmin University of China); Zhao, Zhong (Renmin University of China)
    Abstract: We present the first systematic study on child labour in China. Child labour is not a negligible social phenomenon in China; about 7.74% of children aged from 10 to 15 were working in 2010, and they worked for 6.75 hours per day on average, and spent 6.42 hours less per day on study than other children. About 90% of child labourers were still in school and combined economic activity with schooling. Our results show that child labour participation is positively associated with school dropout rate. A child living in a rural area is more likely to work. Compared with place of residence, the gender of a child is less important. The educational level of the household head and its interaction with the gender of the household head seem to be unimportant. However, household assets per capita and household involvement in non-agricultural activities are negatively related to the incidence of child labour. A child from a household with more adults is less likely to work. The prevalence of child labour in China exhibits significant regional variations. The child labour incidence is correlated with the development level of each region: the Western region has the highest percentage of child labour, followed by the Eastern and Central region.
    Keywords: Child labour, Early leavers, School dropouts, Working hours, China
    JEL: J43 J81 O15
    Date: 2016–06–21
  11. By: Ignacio Lozano-Espitia (Banco de la República de Colombia); Lina Ma. Ramírez-Villegas (Banco de la República de Colombia)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the role of rural infrastructure on the performance of some agricultural crops in Colombia. The study utilizes geo-referenced cross sectional data of four crops, coffee, rice, beans and plantains, collected for the majority of municipalities. Using genetic matching models, we find that both having access to irrigation and drainage systems and better infrastructure for marketing –rural roads and nearby retail and wholesale centers– significantly increase crop yield as well as planted and harvested areas. Results are robust to a suitable set of matching algorithms. The positive and significant impact on agricultural development provides support to reorient agricultural policy towards the supply of public goods that pushes up productivity. Classification JEL: H41, Q12, Q15, R42, C21
    Keywords: Public Goods, Agricultural Productivity, Irrigation System, Road Maintenance, Treatment Effect Models
    Date: 2016–06
  12. By: Seema Jayachandran; Joost de Laat; Eric F. Lambin; Charlotte Y. Stanton
    Abstract: This paper evaluates a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) program in western Uganda that offered forest-owning households cash payments if they conserved their forest. The program was implemented as a randomized trial in 121 villages, 60 of which received the program for two years. The PES program reduced deforestation and forest degradation: Tree cover, measured using high-resolution satellite imagery, declined by 2% to 5% in treatment villages compared to 7% to 10% in control villages during the study period. We find no evidence of shifting of tree-cutting to nearby land. We then use the estimated effect size and the "social cost of carbon" to value the delayed carbon dioxide emissions, and compare this benefit to the program's cost.
    JEL: O10 O13 Q23 Q54
    Date: 2016–06
  13. By: Yishen Liu; Yao Pan
    Abstract: This paper investigates the net impact of birth control policy in China on educational attainment of the partially excluded ethnic minorities. Exploring county-level variation in the value of fines levied for unsanctioned births, we show that more stringent enforcement of the birth control policy reduces educational attainment of urban ethnic minorities. Suggestive evidence shows this negative impact is likely to reflect the spillover effect from improved quality of ethnic majority children. For rural ethnic minorities, however, the level of enforcement of the birth control policy does not significantly affect education. The documented negative impact on education of urban ethnic minorities, combined with the improved quality found for both rural and urban ethnic majorities, implies that the birth control policy substantially contributes to the rising educational gap between ethnic minorities and majorities in China.
    Keywords: birth control, education, minority, quantity.quality tradeoff, China
    Date: 2016
  14. By: Haile, Getinet Astatike (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Using data from two comprehensive national labour force surveys conducted in 2005 and 2013, this paper examines the extent of intergenerational mobility in Ethiopia using monetary and non-monetary measures. Quantile regression and OLS based results suggest there is moderate level of "stickiness" in income mobility across generations. Sons are found to be more mobile than daughters both in monetary and non-monetary terms, although the mobility gap appears to have narrowed recently. There is virtually no evidence on intergenerational mobility in the context of low income countries in general and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular. The paper thus provides valuable insights into issues of intergenerational mobility in a low income country setting. The mixed approach used addresses possible measurement error in income, as well as offering a broader scope in examining intergenerational mobility.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, income, education, occupation, Ethiopia
    JEL: J62 D31
    Date: 2016–07
  15. By: Channing Arndt; Vincent Leyaro; Kristi Mahrt; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: We contribute to the literature on trends in living standards in Tanzania by analysing child welfare using two multi-dimensional approaches, first-order dominance (FOD) and AlkireFoster (AF). Between 1991/92 and 2010, remarkably similar area rankings emerge that suggest a widening gap between the best and worst performing areas with the majority of areas lying in a tight range in the middle. The methodologies also complement each other by providing upper and lower bounds on underlying welfare dynamics. While both methods point to overall improvements since 1991/92, AF suggests a consistent trend while FOD suggests periods of advance and stagnation.
    Keywords: multidimensional poverty, Tanzania, welfare
    Date: 2016
  16. By: Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun); Jacinta C. Nwachukwu (Coventry University)
    Abstract: This paper examines interconnections between law, politics and the quality of government in Africa. We investigate whether African democracies enjoy relatively better government quality compared to their counterparts with more autocratic inclinations. The empirical evidence is based on Instrumental variable Two-Stage-Least Squares and Fixed Effects with data from 38 African countries for the period 1994-2010. Political regimes of democracy, polity and autocracy are instrumented with income-levels, legal-origins, religious-dominations and press-freedom to account for government quality dynamics, of corruption-control, government-effectiveness, voice and accountability, political-stability, regulation quality and the rule of law. Findings show that democracy has an edge over autocracy while the latter and polity overlap. As a policy implication, democracy once initiated should be accelerated to edge the appeals of authoritarian regimes.
    Keywords: Law; Politics; Democracy; Government Policy; Development
    JEL: K00 O10 P16 P43 P50
    Date: 2016–03
  17. By: Amrita Dhillon; Pramila Krishnan; Manasa Patnam; Carlo Perroni
    Abstract: The literature on the effects of natural resource abundance on economic growth is converging to the view that institutions play a central role. In this paper, we exploit the break up of three of the biggest Indian states, comprising areas with some of the largest endowments of natural resources in the country, to explore how the link between electoral accountability and natural resource abundance can explain differences in outcomes. Our theoretical framework shows that while states inheriting a larger share of natural resources after break up are potentially richer, the spatial distribution of these natural resources within these state can worsen economic outcomes by lowering electoral accountability. We employ a sharp regression discontinuity design to estimate the causal effect of secession and concentrated resources on growth and inequality at the sub-regional level, using data on satellite measurements of night-time lights. Consistent with our theoretical predictions, the economic effect of secession is generally favourable. However, states that inherit a large fraction of mineral rich constituencies experience worse outcomes. This may be accounted for by lower electoral accountability in those areas.
    Keywords: Natural Resources and Economic Performance, Political Secession, Fiscal Federalism
    JEL: H77 C72 O13 O43 Q34
    Date: 2016–07–06
  18. By: Nicola Branson (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Tanya Byker (Department of Economics, Middlebury College)
    Abstract: The rollout of the National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative (NAFCI) serves as a natural experiment to study the causes and consequences of early teen child bearing. Geolinking residence histories to the rollout, we estimate that living near a NAFCI clinic during adolescence delayed early childbearing by 1.2 years on average. Adolescents who had access to NAFCI completed more years of schooling and, consistent with increased human capital investments, earn substantially higher wages as young adults. Children born to women who had access to youth-friendly services as teens show substantial health advantages, indicating a strong intergenerational benefit of delayed childbearing.
    Keywords: teenage childbearing, maternal and child outcomes, youth friendly reproductive health services
    Date: 2016

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