nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒08‒14
sixteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians By Eric Avis; Claudio Ferraz; Frederico Finan
  2. Media, Demonstrations, and Public Good Delivery: Evidence from World Bank Projects during Natural Disasters By Nicola Limodio
  3. Curse of Anonymity or Tyranny of Distance? The Impacts of Job-Search Support in Urban Ethiopia By Girum Abebe; Stefano Caria; Marcel Fafchamps; Paolo Falco; Simon Franklin; Simon Quinn
  4. Bride Price and Female Education By Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
  5. The effects of conditionality monitoring on educational outcomes: evidence from Brazil?s Bolsa Família programme By Luis Henrique Paiva; Fábio Veras Soares; Flavio Cireno; Iara Azevedo Vitelli Viana; Ana Clara Duran
  6. Impact of Farm Households’ Adaptation on Agricultural Productivity: Evidence from Different Agro-ecologies of Pakistan By Iqbal, Muhammad; Ahmad, Munir; Mustafa, Ghulam
  7. Is poor sanitation killing more children in rural Zimbabwe? Results of propensity score matching method By Makate, Marshall; Makate, Clifton
  8. Eliminating Extreme Poverty in Africa: Trends, Policies and the Role of International Organizations By Zorobabel Bicaba; Zuzana Brixiova; Mthuli Ncube
  9. External and Internal Validity of a Geographic Quasi-Experiment Embedded in Cluster-Randomized Experiment By Sebastian Galiani; Patrick J. McEwan; Brian Quistorff
  10. Household resilience to food insecurity: evidence from Tanzania and Uganda By d'Errico, Marco; Pietrelli, Rebecca; Romano, Donato
  11. Impact of Farm Households’ Adaptations to Climate Change on Food Security: Evidence from Different Agro-ecologies of Pakistan By Ahmad, Munir; Mustafa, Ghulam; Iqbal, Muhammad
  12. Linkages between Formal Institutions, ICT Adoption and Inclusive Human Development in Sub Saharan Africa By Antonio R. Andrés; Voxi Amavilah; Simplice Asongu
  13. Export Crops and Civil Conflict By Benjamin Crost; Joseph Felter
  14. The Deregularization of Land Titles By Sebastian Galiani; Ernesto Schargrodsky
  15. Mobile Phone Innovation and Inclusive Human Development: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Simplice Asongu; Agyenim Boateng; Raphael Akamavi
  16. An Assessment of the Household Food Security Status and Local Foods Grown in Rural Bahamas By Kelly, Jeri L.; Pemberton, Carlisle

  1. By: Eric Avis; Claudio Ferraz; Frederico Finan
    Abstract: Political corruption is considered a major impediment to economic development, and yet it remains pervasive throughout the world. This paper examines the extent to which government audits of public resources can reduce corruption by enhancing political and judiciary accountability. We do so in the context of Brazil’s anti-corruption program, which randomly audits municipalities for their use of federal funds. We find that being audited in the past reduces future corruption by 8 percent, while also increasing the likelihood of experiencing a subsequent legal action by 20 percent. We interpret these reduced-form findings through a political agency model, which we structurally estimate. Based on our estimated model, the reduction in corruption comes mostly from the audits increasing the perceived threat of the non-electoral costs of engaging in corruption.
    JEL: H41 H77 H83 K42 O1 O38 O43 O54
    Date: 2016–07
  2. By: Nicola Limodio
    Abstract: Media can affect governments and public policy by promoting anti-government demonstrations. Under media pressure, a multitasking government might reallocate effort across tasks, rather than increase the total aggregate, resulting in ambiguous welfare effects. In this paper, I test such a hypothesis using a database of World Bank project indicators, which measures government performance in implementing capital projects. Disasters offer an ideal case study because citizens and the government can differ particularly in their preferences between public capital (reconstruction) and consumption (relief). Therefore, at times of disasters, media might be especially effective in shaping public policy by promoting anti-government demonstrations. Joining capital project indicators with data on disasters, media, and demonstrations,I present the following: (1) within-state variation in floods and media activity for Indian states; (2) within-country variation in disasters and media freedom for 135 countries; (3) a case study using anecdotal and archival evidence on flood response in Ghana, Togo, and Ivory Coast in 2007/2008. In all cases, media activity during disasters is associated with lower capital project performance, higher relief/anti-poverty efforts, and more anti-government demonstrations.
    Keywords: Disaster aid, government policy, media, natural disasters
    JEL: H84 I38 L82 Q54
    Date: 2016–08
  3. By: Girum Abebe; Stefano Caria; Marcel Fafchamps; Paolo Falco; Simon Franklin; Simon Quinn
    Abstract: We conduct a randomized evaluation of two job-search support programs for urban youth in Ethiopia. One group of treated respondents receives a subsidy to cover the transport costs of job search. Another group participates in a job application workshop where their skills are certified and they are given orientation on how to make effective job applications. The two interventions are designed to lower spatial and informational barriers to employment. We find that both treatments significantly improve the quality of jobs that young jobseekers obtain. Impacts are concentrated among women and the least educated. Using rich high-frequency data from a phone survey, we are able to explore the mechanisms underlying the results; we show that while the transport subsidy increases both the intensity and the efficacy of job search, the job application workshop mainly operates through an increase in search efficacy. Both interventions mitigate the adverse effects of spatial constraints on employment outcomes, and the job application workshop alleviates informational asymmetries by helping workers to signal their ability.
    JEL: J64 O15 O18
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: Traditional cultural practices can play an important role in development, but can also inspire condemnation. The custom of bride price, prevalent throughout sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia as a payment by the groom to the family of the bride, is one example. In this paper, we show a perhaps surprising economic consequence of this practice. We revisit one of the best-studied historical development projects, the INPRES school construction program in Indonesia, and show that previously found small effects on female enrollment mask heterogeneity by bride price tradition. Ethnic groups that traditionally engage in bride price payments at marriage increased female enrollment in response to the program. Within these ethnic groups, higher female education at marriage is associated with a higher bride price payment received, providing a greater incentive for parents to invest in girls' education and take advantage of the increased supply of schools. However, we see no increase in education following school construction for girls from ethnicities without a bride price tradition. We replicate these findings in Zambia, where we exploit a similar school expansion program that took place in the early 2000s. While there may be significant downsides to a bride price tradition, our results suggest that any change to this cultural custom should likely be considered alongside additional policies to promote female education.
    JEL: I21 I25 O53 O55 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2016–07
  5. By: Luis Henrique Paiva (IPC-IG); Fábio Veras Soares (IPC-IG); Flavio Cireno (IPC-IG); Iara Azevedo Vitelli Viana (IPC-IG); Ana Clara Duran (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "Conditional cash transfer programmes have been increasingly adopted by several lowand middle-income countries. Despite this overall acceptance, conditionalities remain under scrutiny regarding their possible independent effects on educational and health indicators. This paper is an ecological study of conditionalities in Brazil's Bolsa Família programme. As programme coverage (taken as a proxy of cash transfers) and monitoring and enforcement of the educational conditionalities (proxy of conditionalities) are not correlated at the municipal level, this study fits a number of different ordinary least square (OLS) and growth-curve models to explain variations in drop-out rates and school progression in basic education in public schools across municipalities". (?)
    Keywords: effects, conditionality, monitoring, educational outcomes, evidence, Brazil, Bolsa Família programme
    Date: 2016–06
  6. By: Iqbal, Muhammad; Ahmad, Munir; Mustafa, Ghulam
    Abstract: This study has utilised the Climate Change Impact Survey (CCIS, 2013) data and applied Treatment Effect Model (Heckman type) to analyse the impact of identified adaptation strategies if implemented in isolation or as portfolio (package of two or more) strategies on net revenue earned from wheat production in Pakistan. The implementation of adaptation strategies including varietal change, delayed sowing, and input intensification effect net revenues positively and significantly if adopted separately or as a part of portfolio strategies. Interestingly, the portfolio adaptation strategies missing delayed sowing resulted in either insignificant results or in reduced net revenues from wheat production. The evidence is found temperature (Nov-Dec.) and precipitation (March-April) norms and deviations of Jan-Feb. temperature from norm of the period are important determinants of net revenue. The results are supportive that fertility of land, farmer’s tenancy status, size of holding, non-farm income, and access to certain extension source are important determinants in the selection of various adaptation strategies. The study suggests revisiting the recommendations regarding wheat sowing dates by agricultural research institutions.
    Keywords: Climate Change, Adaptations, Wheat, Productivity
    JEL: Q15
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Makate, Marshall; Makate, Clifton
    Abstract: Abstract: While studies in developing countries have examined the role of maternal and socio-demographic factors on child mortality, the role of poor sanitation (open defecation) on child mortality outcomes in rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa has received less attention. This study sought to examine the link between poor sanitation and child mortality outcomes in rural Zimbabwe. The analysis uses data from four rounds of the nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey for Zimbabwe conducted in 1994, 1999, 2005/06, and 2010/11. Using propensity score matching, we find that children living in households with no toilet facilities are 2.43 percentage points more liable to be observed dead by the survey date, 1.3, and 2.24 percentage points more likely to die before reaching the age of one and five years respectively. We also examined the possible differences in survival among female and male children. Our results indicate that male children are more liable to be observed dead by the survey date than female children. Also, female children have a slight survival advantage over boys during the under-five period. Our results suggest the need for more investments in basic sanitary facilities in Zimbabwe’s rural areas to mitigate the potential devastating impacts of poor sanitation on child survival.
    Keywords: Keywords: Poor sanitation; propensity score matching; child mortality outcomes; Zimbabwe
    JEL: I14 I15 I18
    Date: 2016–06–10
  8. By: Zorobabel Bicaba (African Development Bank); Zuzana Brixiova (IZA and University of Cape Town); Mthuli Ncube (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030 is the first goal among the UN Sustainable Development Goals that guide the current development agenda. This paper examines its feasibility for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the world's poorest but growing region. It finds that under plausible assumptions extreme poverty will not be eradicated in SSA by 2030, but it can be reduced to low levels. National and regional policies that focus on accelerating growth, while making it more inclusive would accelerate poverty reduction. International organizations, including informal ones such as the G20, can play a key role in this endeavor by encouraging policy coordination and coherence.
    Keywords: Poverty, sustainable development, inclusive growth, policies, governance
    JEL: E21 E25 I32 O11 O20
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Sebastian Galiani; Patrick J. McEwan; Brian Quistorff
    Abstract: This paper analyzes a geographic quasi-experiment embedded in a cluster-randomized experiment in Honduras. In the experiment, average treatment effects on school enrollment and child labor were large—especially in the poorest blocks—and could be generalized to a policy-relevant population given the original sample selection criteria. In contrast, the geographic quasi-experiment yielded point estimates that, for two of three dependent variables, were attenuated. A judicious policy analyst without access to the experimental results might have provided misleading advice based on the magnitude of point estimates. We assessed two main explanations for the difference in point estimates, related to external and internal validity.
    JEL: O22
    Date: 2016–07
  10. By: d'Errico, Marco; Pietrelli, Rebecca; Romano, Donato
    Abstract: Resilience has become one of the keywords in the recent scholarly and policy debates on food security. However, household resilience to food insecurity is unobservable. Therefore, the two key issues in empirical research are (i) estimating a proxy index of household resilience on the basis of observable variables and (ii) assessing whether this index is a good indicator of the construct it intends to measure, i.e. household resilience. This paper contributes to this literature providing evidence based on two case studies: Tanzania and Uganda. Specifically, the paper: (i) proposes a method to estimate a resilience index and analyses what are the most important components of household resilience, (ii) tests whether the household resilience index is a good predictor of future food security status and food security recovery capacity after a shock, and (iii) explores how idiosyncratic and covariate shocks affects resilience and household food security. The analysis shows that: (i) in both countries adaptive capacity is the most important dimension contributing to household resilience, (ii) the resilience index positively influences future household food security status, decreases the probability of suffering a food security loss should a shock occur and speeds up the recovery after the loss occurrence, and (iii) shocks do not seem to have any statistically significant impact, though this likely reflects the poor quality of data on idiosyncratic and systemic shocks.
    Keywords: Resilience, food security, structural equation model, panel data, Food Security and Poverty, D10, Q18, I32, O55,
    Date: 2016–06
  11. By: Ahmad, Munir; Mustafa, Ghulam; Iqbal, Muhammad
    Abstract: Treatment Effects Model was applied to evaluate the impact of adaptations on household food security. A household Food Security Index (FSI) was constructed applying PCA. Adaptation strategies employed by the farmers in response to climate change were categorised into four groups namely: changes in sowing time (C1); input intensification (C2); water and soil conservation (C3); and changes in varieties (C4). Out of 15 mutually exclusive combinations constructed for evaluation, only 7 combinations were considered for estimating the treatment effects models because of limited number of observations in other cases. Results of only two of the 7 are discussed here, as the other 5 had very small number of adapters and the impact measures shown either insignificant results or had opposite signs. The first (C1234) combined all the four while the second (C234) combined the last three strategies. The results suggest that the households which adapted to climate changes were statistically significantly more food secure as compared to those who did not adapt. The results further show that education of the male and female heads, livestock ownership, the structure of house—both bricked and having electricity facility, crops diversification, and non-farm income are among the factors which raise the food security of farm households and their impacts are statistically significant. The variables which are significantly negatively associated with the food security levels include age of the head of household, food expenditure management, households having less than 12.5 acres of land— defined as marginal (cultivate 6.25 to 12.5 acres). Farmers of cotton-wheat, rice-wheat, and rain-fed cropping systems are found to be more food secure as compared to the farmers working in the mixed cropping systems where farm holdings are relatively small and high use of tubewell water adding to salinity of soils. It is crucial to invest in developing agricultural technologies to address issues of climate change relevant to different ecologies and farming systems; improve research-extension-farmer linkages; enhance farmers’ access to new technologies; improve rural infrastructure; develop weather information system linking meteorological department, extension and farmers; and establish targeted food safety nets as well as farm subsidy programs for marginal farm households
    Keywords: Climate Change, Adaptation, Food Security
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Antonio R. Andrés (Barranquilla, Colombia); Voxi Amavilah (Arizona, USA); Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: Using data for 49 African countries over the years spanning 2000-2012, and controlling for a wide range of factors, this study empirically assesses the effects of formal institutions on ICT adoption in developing countries. It deploys 2SLS and FE regression models, (a) to estimate what determines ICT adoption and (b) to trace how ICT adoption affects inclusive development. The results show that formal institutions affect ICT adoption in this group of countries, with government effectiveness having the largest positive effect and regulations the largest negative effect. Generally, formal institutions appear more important to ICT adoption in low income countries than middle income countries, whereas population and economic growth tend to constrain ICT adoption with low income countries more negatively affected than middle income countries. The results further demonstrate that ICT adoption affects development strongly, and that such effects are comparable to those of domestic credit and foreign direct investment. Ceteris paribus, external factors like foreign aid are more limiting to inclusive development than internal factors. This suggests that developing countries can enhance their ICT adoption for development by improving formal institutions and by strengthening domestic determinants of ICT adoption. Both represent opportunities for further research.
    Keywords: Formal institutions, ICT adoption, panel data models, cross-country analysis
    JEL: G20 I10 I32 O40 O55
    Date: 2016–08
  13. By: Benjamin Crost (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Joseph Felter (Stanford University)
    Abstract: Many governments and international experts consider a move towards high-value export crops, such as fruits and vegetables, as an important opportunity for economic growth and poverty reduction. Little is known, however, about the effects of export crops in fragile and conflict affected countries. We exploit movements in world market prices combined with geographic variation in crop intensity to provide evidence that increases in the value of a major export crop exacerbate conflict violence in the Philippines. We further show that this effect is concentrated in areas with low baseline insurgent control. In areas with high insurgent control, a rise in crop value leads to a decrease in violence but a further expansion of rebel-controlled territory. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that insurgents gain strength from extorting agricultural exporters and that insurgent strength has a non-monotonic effect on conflict violence because strong insurgent groups can establish local monopolies of violence.
    Keywords: Export Crops, Civil Conflict, Insurgent Control, Bananas
    JEL: O13 H56 D74
    Date: 2016–08
  14. By: Sebastian Galiani; Ernesto Schargrodsky
    Abstract: In the last years, several countries implemented policy interventions to entitle urban squatters, encouraged by the results of studies showing large welfare gains from entitlement. We study a natural experiment in the allocation of land titles to very poor families in a suburban area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although previous studies on this experiment have found important effects of titling on investment, household structure, educational achievement, and child health, in this article we document that a large fraction of households that went through a situation at which formalization was challenged (death, divorce, sale/purchase), ended up being de-regularized. The legal costs of remaining formal seem too high relative to the value of these parcels and the income of their inhabitants.
    JEL: P14
    Date: 2016–08
  15. By: Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun); Agyenim Boateng (Glasgow, UK); Raphael Akamavi (Hull, UK)
    Abstract: A recent World Bank report reveals that poverty has been decreasing in all regions of the world with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as more than 45% of countries in the sub-region are off-track from achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) extreme poverty target. This paper investigates the effects of mobile phone technology, knowledge creation and diffusion on inclusive human development in 49 SSA countries for the period 2000-2012 using Tobit model. The study finds that mobile phone penetration in SSA is pivotal to sustainable and inclusive human development irrespective of the country’s level of income, legal origins, religious orientation and the state of the nation. However, the pupil-teacher ratio exerts a negative influence on inclusive human development. The net effects of interactions between the mobile phone and knowledge diffusion variables are positive.
    Keywords: Mobile phones; inclusive human development; Africa
    JEL: G20 I10 I32 O40 O55
    Date: 2016–03
  16. By: Kelly, Jeri L.; Pemberton, Carlisle
    Abstract: The Bahamas has been faced with an increasing food import bill and a declining agricultural sector. A benchmark of the degree of food insecurity within the country may create the challenge for a national effort to reverse these trends. The focus of this study is to determine a reliable assessment of household food security including the levels of local food availability and access within a rural area of the Bahamas. The paper also seeks to determine whether local food systems have the potential to encourage rural development within The Bahamas. The USDA Household Food Security Survey Module provided a reliable measure for the estimation of the household food security index for rural East Grand Bahama. ANOVA and regression models determined the associations between the food security index and households’ socioeconomic and local food factors. High monthly income was the most significant determinant of a food secure household as income was highly and positively correlated with the household food security index. The results offer evidence that it is plausible that local food systems, such as farmers’ market, community supported agriculture, and community gardens, can have a positive impact on the area’s economy.
    Keywords: Jeri Leah Kelly, estimation of household food security, local food systems, rural development in the Bahamas, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Agricultural Finance, Farm Management, Financial Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, Labor and Human Capital, Land Economics/Use, Marketing, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2016–07

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