nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒08‒07
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Gender-Oriented Languages and Female Labour Force Participation: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Michelle Rao
  2. Reverting to Informality: Unregistered Property Transactions and the Erosion of the Titling Reform in Peru By Gutierrez, Italo A.; Molina, Oswaldo
  3. Learning and Behavioral Spillovers of Nutritional Information By Singh, Prakarsh
  4. Informality and Inclusive Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa By Aalia Cassim; Kezia Lilenstein; Morné Oosthuizen; Francois Steenkamp; Tara Caetano
  5. School Feeding and Learning Achievement: Evidence from India's Midday Meal Program By Chakraborty, Tanika; Jayaraman, Rajshri
  6. Fiscal Policy, Inequality and Poverty in Iran: Assessing the Impact and Effectiveness of Taxes and Transfers By Ali Enami; Nora Lustig; Alireza Taqdiri
  7. Structural Change and Poverty Reduction at Sub-State Levels in India By Sen Gupta, Abhijit; More, Vishal; Gupta, Kanupriya
  8. Demand for prenatal care and its impact on neonatal, infant and child mortality in Zimbabwe: Evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys By Makate, Marshall; Makate, Clifton
  9. Banking the Unbanked? Evidence from three countries By Dupas, Pascaline; Karlan, Dean S.; Robinson, Jonathan; Ubfal, Diego
  10. Migration and Globalization: What's in it for Developing Countries? By Rapoport, Hillel
  11. How Do Pre-School and/or School-Age Children Affect Parents' Likelihood of Migration and Off-Farm Work in Rural China's Minority Regions? By Ding, Sai; Dong, Xiao-Yuan; Maurer-Fazio, Margaret
  12. Gender Bias in Education during Conflict: Evidence from Assam By Roy, Sutanuka; Singh, Prakarsh
  13. Performance Pay and Malnutrition By Singh, Prakarsh; Mitra, Sandip
  14. The Long-Term Impact of International Migration on Economic Decision-Making: Evidence from a Migration Lottery and Lab-in-the-Field Experiments By John Gibson; David McKenzie; Halahingano Rohorua; Steven Stillman

  1. By: Michelle Rao
    Abstract: Using the data from the Demographic and Health Surveys, this paper estimates the relationship between language and labour force participation of women in Sub-Saharan Africa. The results suggest that women who speak languages with stronger distinctions between masculine and feminine are less likely to participate in the labour force. This relationship holds both across and within countries, even after controlling for individual characteristics, religion and proxies for gender social norms related to ones ethnicity, such as historical use of the plough. The results suggest that language has a direct effect on preferences regarding labour market decisions, above and beyond gender norms arising from ethnicity and religion. These findings contribute to the growing literature on the relationship between socio-psychological factors and gender differences in economic outcomes.
    Keywords: Language; Identity; Culture; Gender social norms; Female labour force participation ; Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
    JEL: D03 J16 N37 O55
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Gutierrez, Italo A.; Molina, Oswaldo
    Abstract: Titling programs have focused only on providing initial tenure security, but have not paid attention to the process of maintaining the formality of future property transactions. Evidence shows that properties become de-regularized due to unregistered transactions in urban slums, reducing the households' ability to reap the potential benefits of tenure security in the future. We exploit a natural experiment provided by the elimination of a registration system targeted to the poor in Peru to identify the effects of increasing the costs and complexity of registering property transactions in urban areas. We found that the elimination of such system led to a significant reduction in the probability of registering a transaction, including those transactions that involved a change in ownership. This presents an important threat to maintaining the benefits of the titling reform in the long run.
    Date: 2016–07
  3. By: Singh, Prakarsh (Amherst College)
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence for informational spillovers within urban slums in Chandigarh, India. I identify three groups, a treatment group, a neighboring spillover group, and a non-adjacent pure control group. Mothers of children (aged 3-6 years) enrolled in government day-care centers are given recipe books in the treatment group to reduce malnutrition in their children. Spillovers to neighboring (untreated) mothers can be through social learning or imitation. Results from a difference-in-differences analysis show that nutritional knowledge measured through a quiz increases among neighboring untreated mothers relative to a control group. Neighboring mothers exhibit learning spillovers, changes in dietary behavior and a reduction in food expenditure regardless of their level of literacy. Spillovers not only raise the cost effectiveness of health information programs but are important to consider when designing an experiment as causal effects of treatments can be attenuated if the spillover group is used as a control group.
    Keywords: spillovers, malnutrition, India
    JEL: D62 D83 I15 I18 I38
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Aalia Cassim; Kezia Lilenstein; Morné Oosthuizen; Francois Steenkamp; Tara Caetano (University of Cape Town; Deputy Director)
    Abstract: This research seeks to explore the relationship between informality and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on South Africa. South Africans typically hold one of two opposing views on the informal sector. The first is that informality should be encouraged as an under-utilised source of new employment; the second is that it should be discouraged as an inferior source of employment. The central research question is therefore: “Do informal labour markets promote or constrain inclusive growth?” In order to examine the hypotheses, we use three different methodologies. Firstly, we undertake a regional evidence synthesis examining literature and case studies from the sub-Saharan Africa region. Secondly, we expand on the South African case study and examine the nature of transitions within the labour market. Thirdly, we examine to what extent income shocks may impact the likelihood of engagement within the informal sector.
    Keywords: informality; inclusive growth, employment, labour markets, transitions, South Africa
    JEL: E26 J4 R11
    Date: 2016–02
  5. By: Chakraborty, Tanika (Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur); Jayaraman, Rajshri (European School of Management and Technology (ESMT))
    Abstract: We study the effect of the world's largest school feeding program on children's learning outcomes. Staggered implementation across different states of a 2001 Indian Supreme Court Directive mandating the introduction of free school lunches in public primary schools generates plausibly exogenous variation in program exposure across different birth cohorts. We exploit this to estimate the effect of program exposure on math and reading test scores of primary school-aged children. We find that midday meals have a dramatic positive effect on learning achievement: children with up to 5 years of primary school exposure improve their test scores by approximately 10-20%. We further investigate various channels that may account for this improvement including enrollment and nutrition-learning effects, heterogeneous responses by socio-economic status, complementary schooling inputs, and intra-household redistribution.
    Keywords: school feeding, learning, midday meal, primary school education
    JEL: I21 I25 O12
    Date: 2016–07
  6. By: Ali Enami (Department of Economics, Tulane University); Nora Lustig (Department of Economics, Tulane University); Alireza Taqdiri (Department of Economics, University of Akron)
    Abstract: Using the Iranian Household Expenditure and Income Survey (HEIS) for 2011/12, we apply the marginal contribution approach to determine the impact and effectiveness of each fiscal intervention, and the fiscal system as a whole, on inequality and poverty. Net direct and indirect taxes combined reduce the Gini coefficient by 0.0644 points and the headcount ratio by 61 percent. When the monetized value of in-kind benefits in education and health are included, the reduction in inequality is 0.0919 Gini points. Based on the magnitudes of the marginal contributions, we find that the main driver of these reductions is the Targeted Subsidy Program, a universal cash transfer program implemented in 2010 to compensate individuals for the elimination of energy subsidies. The main reduction in poverty occurs in rural areas, where the headcount ratio declines from 44 to 23 percent. In urban areas, fiscally-induced poverty reduction is more modest: the headcount ratio declines from 13 to 5 percent. Taxes and transfers are similar in their effectiveness in achieving their inequality-reducing potential. By achieving 40 percent of its inequality-reducing potential, the income tax is the most effective intervention on the revenue side. On the spending side, Social Assistance transfers are the most effective and they achieve 45 percent of their potential. Taxes are especially effective in raising revenue without causing poverty to rise, indicating that the poor are largely spared from being taxed. In contrast, since the bulk of transfers are not targeted to the poor, they are not very effective: the most effective ones achieve 20 percent of their poverty reduction potential. The effectiveness of the Targeted Subsidy Program could be improved by eliminating the transfer to top deciles and re-allocating the freed funds to the poor.
    Keywords: Inequality, poverty, marginal contribution, CEQ framework, policy simulation.
    JEL: D31 H22 I38
    Date: 2016–07
  7. By: Sen Gupta, Abhijit; More, Vishal; Gupta, Kanupriya
    Abstract: Over the last two decades India has witnessed a significant rise in growth rate compared to historical levels. In this study, we investigate the pattern and nature of growth, and its implication for poverty reduction in India. In particular, we focus on the extent to which, structural change defined as changes in the composition of the economy in terms of key sectors, their employment and productivity, has an impact on poverty reduction. The paper is first of its kind in focusing on these issue at the sub-state level, which is important given the large size of Indian states that mask a great deal of heterogeneity. Moreover, the paper focuses on alternate definitions of structural change, including for the first differentiating between productivity increases in India arising from workers moving into above average productivity level sectors from workers moving to sectors that are experiencing positive productivity growth. The paper finds that while improving sectoral productivity is important for poverty reduction, there is a strong link between shift of workers into sectors witnessing an increase in poverty and poverty reduction. Thus poverty reduction requires generating jobs in dynamic sectors that are witnessing productivity growth as well as imparting adequate skills to the workforce to make them employable in these sectors.
    Keywords: Structural change, poverty reduction, reallocation effect and labour productivity
    JEL: I32 J24 J62 R11
    Date: 2016–07
  8. By: Makate, Marshall; Makate, Clifton
    Abstract: Abstract: The effect of the quality of prenatal care on child mortality outcomes has received less attention in sub-Saharan Africa. This study sought to explore the consequence of the quality of prenatal care and its individual components on neonatal, infant and under-five mortality using the three most recent rounds of the nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey data for Zimbabwe conducted in 1999, 2005/06 and 2010/11. The model for the demand for the quality of prenatal care is estimated using an OLS regression while the child mortality models are estimated using standard probit regressions. Since infant mortality rates and access to quality prenatal care might differ by rural and urban residence, we estimate separate models for the overall sample, urban and rural samples. The results indicate that a one-unit increase in the quality of prenatal care lowers the risks of neonatal, infant and under-five mortality by nearly 36%, 29.31%, and 27.53% respectively for the overall sample. The probability of neonatal, infant and under-five mortality is lowered by about 41.67%, 35.18%, and 30.77% respectively for urban-born children following a one-unit increase in the quality of prenatal care. For the rural sample, we found that a one-unit increase in the quality of prenatal care lowers the risks of neonatal, infant and under-five mortality by nearly 34.61%, 27.12%, and 25.35% respectively. These findings are all statistically significant at the 1% significance level. Examining the effect of individual prenatal care components on child mortality revealed that blood pressure checks, information on pregnancy complications, iron supplementations, and tetanus vaccinations are all important in lowering child deaths. Overall, our results suggest the need for public health policy makers in Zimbabwe to focus on ensuring high-quality prenatal care especially in low-income and rural segments of the population to save Zimbabwe’s children.
    Keywords: Key words: Quality of prenatal care; neonatal, infant and under-five mortality; rural and urban communities; sub-Saharan Africa; Zimbabwe
    JEL: I1 I12 I18
    Date: 2016–04–06
  9. By: Dupas, Pascaline; Karlan, Dean S.; Robinson, Jonathan; Ubfal, Diego
    Abstract: We experimentally test the impact of expanding access to basic bank accounts in Uganda, Malawi, and Chile. Over two years, 17%, 10%, and 3% of treatment individuals made five or more deposits, respectively. Average monthly deposits for them were at the 79th, 91st, and 96th percentiles of baseline savings. Survey data show no clearly discernible intention-to-treat effects on savings or any downstream outcomes. This suggests that policies merely focused on expanding access to basic accounts are unlikely to improve welfare noticeably since impacts, even if present, are likely small and diverse.
    Keywords: financial access; savings; banking; micro-finance; field experiment; multicountry; Uganda; Malawi; Chile
    JEL: C93 D14 G21 O12 O16
    Date: 2016–07
  10. By: Rapoport, Hillel (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper reviews a growing literature on migration and globalization, focusing on its relevance for developing and emerging economies. It documents the role of diaspora networks in enhancing cross-border flows of goods, capital, and knowledge, eventually contributing to efficient specialization, investment, and productivity growth in the migrants' home-countries. Particular attention is paid to the role of skilled migrants, and to information imperfections reduction as the main channel for the documented effects. Overall, the evidence suggests that migrants contribute to the integration of their home-countries into the global economy.
    Keywords: migration, globalization, trade, FDI, financial flows, knowledge diffusion, development
    JEL: F21 F22 F63 J61 O11 O15
    Date: 2016–07
  11. By: Ding, Sai (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences); Dong, Xiao-Yuan (University of Winnipeg, Manitoba); Maurer-Fazio, Margaret (Bates College)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the intersectionality of religious and ethnic norms and gender relations across the domestic and public spheres of work in post-reform rural, minority-concentrated China. We focus on the role that children play in their parents' off-farm work decisions for three aggregated ethnic groups (majority Han, Muslim minorities, and non- Muslim minorities). We control for households' composition and economic characteristics and individuals' human capital and as well as local economic conditions. Children generally decrease women's willingness to work away from/outside the home and increase men's willingness to do so. When we focus specifically on the effects of pre-school children, our results suggest it is more socially acceptable for non-Muslim than Muslim women to work away from home. When we turn our attention to school-age children, the gender of the child becomes as important to the analysis as the gender of the parent. With regard to household composition, we find that in Muslim households the presence of extra adult men (of any age between 15 and 70) in the household reduces the likelihood that women engage in off-farm work. The presence in the household of a woman of grandmotherly age (between 46 and 70) supports Muslim minority women's ability to migrate for work. For non-Muslim households, grandfathers and grandmothers alike, facilitate the ability of parents (male and female) to migrate for work.
    Keywords: off-farm work, ethnicity, household composition, children, migration, China
    JEL: J14 J15 J16 J26 D13 O53
    Date: 2016–07
  12. By: Roy, Sutanuka (London School of Economics); Singh, Prakarsh (Amherst College)
    Abstract: Using a large-scale novel panel dataset (2005–14) on schools from the Indian state of Assam, we test for the impact of violent conflict on female students' enrollment rates. We find that a doubling of average killings in a district-year leads to a 13 per cent drop in girls' enrollment rate with school fixed effects. Additionally, results remain similar when using an alternative definition of conflict from a different dataset. Gender differential responses are more negative for lower grades, rural schools, poorer districts, and for schools run by local and private unaided bodies.
    Keywords: conflict, education, gender discrimination, human capital, India
    JEL: I2 J1 O1
    Date: 2016–07
  13. By: Singh, Prakarsh (Amherst College); Mitra, Sandip (Indian Statistical Institute)
    Abstract: We carry out a randomized controlled experiment in West Bengal, India to test three separate performance pay treatments in the public health sector. Performance is judged on improvements in child malnutrition. We exogenously change wages of government employed child care workers through either absolute or relative incentives. We also test for the impact of high and low absolute incentives. Results show that high absolute incentives reduce severe malnutrition by 6.3 percentage points over three months. Result is consistent with a reported increase in protein-rich diet at home in the high absolute treatment. There are no significant effects on health outcomes of other incentive arms. Results remain robust to propensity score matching, reversion- to-mean and a placebo check.
    Keywords: performance pay, child malnutrition, absolute and relative incentives
    JEL: M52 I12 I38 J38
    Date: 2016–07
  14. By: John Gibson (University of Waikato); David McKenzie (World Bank); Halahingano Rohorua (University of Waikato); Steven Stillman (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
    Abstract: We study how migration from a poor to a rich country affects key economic beliefs, preference parameters, and transnational household decision-making efficiency. Our setting is the migration of Tongans to New Zealand through a migration lottery program. In a ten-year follow-up survey of individuals applying for this program we elicit risk and time preferences and pro-market beliefs. We also link migrants and potential migrants to a partner household consisting of family members who would stay behind if they moved. We play lab-in-the-field games designed to measure the degree of intra-family trust and the efficiency of intra-family decision-making. Migration provides a large and permanent positive shock to income, a large change in economic institutions, and a reduction in interactions with partner household members. Despite these changes, we find no significant impacts of migration on risk and time preferences, pro-market beliefs, or in the decision-making efficiency of transnational households. This stability in the face of such a large and life-changing event lends credence to economic models of migration that treat these determinants of decision-making as time-invariant, and contrasts with recent evidence on preference changes after negative shocks.
    Keywords: Migration, economic beliefs, preferences, household efficiency, transnational household
    JEL: O12 F22 D13 D81 P1
    Date: 2016–07

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