nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒08‒21
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Effect of Gender-Targeted Conditional Cash Transfers on Household Expenditures: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment By Armand, Alex; Attanasio, Orazio; Carneiro, Pedro; Lechene, Valerie
  2. Row planting teff in Ethiopia: Impact on farm-level profitability and labor allocation By Vandercasteelen, Joachim; Dereje, Mekdim; Minten, Bart; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum
  3. A New Econometric Method for Estimating Disease Prevalence: An Application to Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis By McLaren, Z.; Burger, R.
  4. Labor adaptation to climate variability in Eastern Africa By Dou, Xiaoya; Gray, Clark; Mueller, Valerie; Sheriff, Glen
  5. Global Absolute Poverty: Begin the Veil of Dollars By Michail Moatsos
  6. Can labor market imperfections explain changes in the inverse farm size-productivity relationship?: Longitudinal evidence from rural India By Deininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Liu, Yanyan; Singh, Sudhir K.
  7. Health Insurance and Child Health: Evidence from Mexico By Conti, Gabriella; Ginja, Rita
  8. The economic value of seasonal forecasts stochastic economywide analysis for East Africa By Rodrigues, Joao; Thurlow, James; Landman, Willem; Ringler, Claudia; Robertson, Richard D.; Zhu, Tingju
  9. Cities and agricultural transformation in Africa: Evidence from Ethiopia By Vandercasteelen, Joachim; Tamru, Seneshaw; Minten, Bart; Swinnen, Johan
  10. Effectiveness of food subsidies in raising healthy food consumption: Public distribution of pulses in India By Chakrabarti, Suman; Kishore, Avinash; Roy, Devesh
  11. Impact of different irrigation systems on water quality in peri-urban areas of Gujarat, India By Vangani, Ruchi; Gerber, Nicolas; Saxena, Deepak; Mavalankar, Dileep; von Braun, Joachim
  12. Export Crops and Civil Conflict By Joseph H. Felter; Benjamin Crost
  13. Cereal price shocks and volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa: What does really matter for farmers' welfare? By Balié, Jean; Magrini, Emiliano; Morales Opazo, Cristian
  14. Measuring Chronic Hunger from Diet Snapshots: Why 'Bottom up' Survey Counts and 'Top down' FAO Estimates Will Never Meet By John Gibson

  1. By: Armand, Alex (University of Navarra); Attanasio, Orazio (University College London); Carneiro, Pedro (University College London); Lechene, Valerie (University College London)
    Abstract: This paper studies the differential effect of targeting cash transfers to men or women on the structure of household expenditures on non-durables. We study a policy intervention in the Republic of Macedonia, offering cash transfers to poor households, conditional on having their children attending secondary school. The recipient of the transfer is randomized across municipalities to be either the household head or the mother. Using data collected to evaluate the conditional cash transfer program, we show that the gender of the recipient has an effect on the structure of expenditure shares. Targeting transfers to women increases the expenditure share on food by about 4 to 5%. To study the allocation of expenditures within the food basket, we estimate a demand system for food and we find that targeting payments to mothers induces, for different food categories, not only a significant intercept shift, but also a change in the slope of the Engel curve.
    Keywords: CCT, intra-household, gender, expenditure
    JEL: D12 D13 E21 O12
    Date: 2016–08
  2. By: Vandercasteelen, Joachim; Dereje, Mekdim; Minten, Bart; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum
    Abstract: Improved technologies are increasingly promoted to farmers in sub-Saharan-African countries to address low agricultural productivity in their staple crops. There is, however, a lack of evidence on how adoption affects farmers’ labor use and profitability at the farm level, as well as the importance gender roles play, all essential drivers for the successful up-scaling of the use of the improved technologies. This paper analyses the labor and profitability impact of the recently introduced row planting technology in teff production in Ethiopia. Based on agronomic evidence in experimental settings, the Government of Ethiopia has focused extension efforts on promoting the widespread uptake of row planting to address low teff yields, replacing the traditional broadcasting method of plant teff. Using an innovative Randomized Controlled Trial set-up, we show that the implementation of row planting at the farm level significantly increases total labor use, but not teff yields, relative to broadcast planting, resulting in a substantial drop in labor productivity when adopting row planting. Moreover, the implementation of row planting has important consequences for inter- and intra-household labor allocation, with relatively more use of non-family labor. The adoption of row planting was further found not to be profitable for farmers in the first year of the promotion campaign, seemingly explaining the limited success in up-scaling the adoption of the technology by farmers in the second year of the program.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, teff, line planting, productivity, yields, smallholders, labor, broadcast sowing, planting, randomized controlled trial, Q12 Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets, Q15 Land Ownership and Tenure, Land Reform, Land Use, Irrigation, Agriculture and Environment, Q16 Agricultural R&, D, Agricultural Technology, Biofuels, Agricultural Extension Services,
    Date: 2016
  3. By: McLaren, Z.; Burger, R.
    Abstract: Accurate information on disease prevalence is needed to target limited health resources in order to maximize overall population health. Applying rigorous econometric methods to routinely collected data can produce accurate estimates of disease prevalence and under-detection rates at a fraction of the cost of alternatives such as prevalence surveys or universal diagnostic testing. Such estimates are valuable in developing countries to inform evidence-based health policy. We develop a simple framework with minimal assumptions to capture key features of clinical decision making surrounding diagnostic testing in resource limited settings. When it is infeasible to test every at-risk patient, clinicians must triage available resources to test those deemed most likely to have the disease. We use standard econometric estimation methods and iterative numerical optimization techniques to estimate (a) disease prevalence and (b) the accuracy with which clinicians triage patients for testing. We implement an instrumental variables approach using national and local policy changes that exogenously shift the available resources for diagnostic testing as instruments. We apply this method to tuberculosis (TB), which recently surpassed HIV as the leading infectious disease cause of death in the world. We use a national database of TB test data from South Africa, which includes over 11 million patients, to examine diagnostic testing for multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). The predictions from our model closely match observed patterns in the data. We find that at least one-quarter of MDR-TB cases were undiagnosed between 2004-2011. Our estimates show that the official World Health Organization estimate of 2.5% based on notification rates is too low, and MDR-TB prevalence in South Africa could be as high as 3.29 - 3.37%. Noise-to-signal ratios in MDR-TB detection estimated in our model enable the identification of areas where clinicians do a poor job of sorting patients by MDR-TB risk prior to testing. In the case of MDR-TB there is a need for greater investment in early detection and more effective treatment. Our method of identifying areas with high MDR-TB under-detection rates, which was heretofore unmeasured and contributes to high transmission rates, provides clinicians and policy makers with a formidable new tool for targeting efforts to control TB. This method should be deployed in countries such as India, China and Russia, which together account for over 50% of MDR-TB cases worldwide, as well as applied to other infectious and non-infectious diseases where prevalence data is lacking.
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Dou, Xiaoya; Gray, Clark; Mueller, Valerie; Sheriff, Glen
    Abstract: As countries design climate change adaptation policies, it is important to understand how workers alter behavior in response to changes in temperature. Nonetheless, the impact of temperature on labor markets is poorly documented, especially in Africa. We address this gap by analyzing panel surveys of labor choices by sector, contractual arrangement, and migration status in four East African countries. Merging survey information with high-resolution climate data, we assess how workers shift employment in response to temperature anomalies. Results suggest important distinctions between rural and urban areas. In urban areas, only agricultural self-employment and migration are responsive to temperature, with participation in both activities decreasing at high extremes. Urban out-migration is used as a tool to increase incomes in “good” years rather than an adaptation mechanism during bad years. In contrast, out-migration appears to be a means of adapting to high temperatures in rural areas, especially among households with relatively little agricultural land. The combined impact of these forces suggests that a 2 standard deviation increase in temperature results in a 7 percent increase in urban unemployment and no significant impact on rural unemployment.
    Keywords: EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, migration, labor, climate change, economic development, natural resources management, rural areas, urban areas, time allocation, climate adaptation, J22 Time Allocation and Labor Supply, O13 Economic Development: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, Other Primary Product, O15 Economic Development: Human Resources, Human Development, Income Distribution, Migration, Q54 Climate, Natural Disasters, Global Warming, Q56 Environment and Development,
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Michail Moatsos
    Abstract: The global absolute poverty rates of the World Bank demonstrate a continued decline of poverty in developing countries between 1983 and 2012. However, the methodology applied to derive these results has received extensive criticism by scholars for requiring the application of PPP exchange rates and CPIs that are not constructed to capture the consumption habits of those who live in absolute poverty. Those methodological concerns cast reasonable doubts on the poverty rates reported. First, in this paper, I demonstrate the validity of the hypothesis that the World BankÕs method inconsistently measures global absolute poverty. Second, I introduce new estimates of global absolute poverty based on a consistent methodology suitable for comparisons in time and between countries. For this purpose, I follow a well known concept of measuring bare bones subsistence using a consumption basket. This absolute poverty yardstick tracks bare bones survival costs and is priced in domestic nominal terms. The minimum caloric requirements are calculated separately for each country and year based on the demographic composition. The exact composition of the baskets is determined separately for each combination of country and year. The non-food component contains, among others, clothing and fuel consumption for basic heating, linked to monthly average temperature data. The results validate the critique on the World BankÕs methodology. They demonstrate large discrepancies in levels, which I find in many cases several times lower of what they report. This difference is far from being a linear change in all countries, which in turn fundamentally changes the geography and development of global absolute poverty. A sharp post 1990 increase together with a thereafter modest but longer decline brings the 2012 estimate only 1% lower than 1990.
    Keywords: global absolute poverty, poverty lines, subsistence basket, food prices.
    Date: 2016–08
  6. By: Deininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Liu, Yanyan; Singh, Sudhir K.
    Abstract: To understand whether and how inverse relationship between farm size and productivity changes when labor market performance improves, we use large national farm panel from India covering a quarter-century (1982, 1999, 2008) to show that the inverserelationship weakened significantly over time, despite an increase in the dispersion of farm sizes. A key reason was the substitution of capital for labor in response to nonagricultural labor demand. In addition, family labor wasmore efficient than hired labor in the 1982–1999 period, but not during the 1999–2008period.In line with labor market imperfections as a key factor, separability of labor supply and demand decisions cannot be rejected in the second period,except in villages with very low nonagricultural labor demand.
    Keywords: INDIA, SOUTH ASIA, ASIA, farm size, farm structure, productivity, agricultural development, labor, markets, inverse farm size-productivity relationship, labor market imperfections, farm size in India,
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Conti, Gabriella (University College London); Ginja, Rita (Uppsala University)
    Abstract: We present evidence on the health impacts and mechanisms of a large expansion in non-contributory health insurance in Mexico. The Seguro Popular (SP) was rolled out in 2002-2010 across municipalities, providing exogenous variation in access to health services without co-pays. Our intent-to-treat estimates show that SP reduced child mortality by 7% in poor municipalities, saving 861 children/year. The decline is driven mainly by deaths due to preventable causes, such as diarrhea and respiratory infections. We also document an increase in hospital care for children with the same conditions. Our findings have important implications for the ongoing health insurance expansions.
    Keywords: health insurance, child mortality, health care utilization, Mexico
    JEL: H10 I12 I13 J13 O18
    Date: 2016–08
  8. By: Rodrigues, Joao; Thurlow, James; Landman, Willem; Ringler, Claudia; Robertson, Richard D.; Zhu, Tingju
    Abstract: There is growing interest within the climate change and development community in using seasonal forecast information to reduce the losses to agriculture resulting from climate variability, especially within food-insecure countries. However, forecast systems are expensive to establish and maintain, and therefore gauging the potential economic return to investments in forecast systems is crucial. Most studies that evaluate seasonal forecasts focus on developed countries and/or overlook agriculture’s economywide linkages. Yet forecasts may be more valuable in developing regions such as East Africa, where climate is variable and agriculture has macroeconomic importance. We use computable general equilibrium and process-based crop models to estimate the potential economywide value of national seasonal forecast systems in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. Stochastic seasonal simulations produce value distributions for forecasts of varying accuracy and varying levels of farm coverage. A timely and accurate forecast adopted by all farmers generates average regional income gains of US$113 million per year. Gains are much higher during extreme climate events and are generally pro-poor. The forecast value falls when forecast skill and farm coverage decline. National economic and trading structures, including the importance of agricultural exports, are found to be major determinants of forecast value. Economywide approaches are therefore needed to complement farm-level analysis when evaluating forecast systems in low-income agrarian economies.
    Keywords: EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, forecasting, climate change, modeling, economic value, mathematical models, general equlibrium, seasonal forecasts, stochastic modeling, D58 Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models, Q15 Land Ownership and Tenure, Land Reform, Land Use, Irrigation, Agriculture and Environment, Q54 Climate,
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Vandercasteelen, Joachim; Tamru, Seneshaw; Minten, Bart; Swinnen, Johan
    Abstract: Due to the rapid growth of cities in Africa, many more farmers are now living in rural hinterlands in relatively close proximity to cities where many provide food to urban residents. However, empirical evidence on how urbanization affects these farmers is scarce. To fill this gap, this paper explores the relationship between proximity to a city and the production behavior of rural staple crop producers. In particular, we analyze data from teff producing farmers in major producing areas around Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. We find that farmers located closer to Addis Ababa face higher wages and land rental prices, and because they receive higher teff prices they have better incentives to intensify production. Moreover, we observe that modern input use, land and labor productivity, and profitability in teff production improve with urban proximity. This urban proximity has a strong and significant effect on these aspects of teff production, possibly related to the use of more formal factor markets, lower transaction costs in crop production and marketing, and better access to information. In contrast, we do not find a strong and positive relationship between rural population density increases and agricultural transformation – increased population density seems to lead to immiserizing effects in these settings. Our results show that urban proximity should be considered as an important determinant of the process of agricultural intensification and transformation in developing countries.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, intensification, urban areas, productivity, urban rural migration, agricultural transformation,
    Date: 2016
  10. By: Chakrabarti, Suman; Kishore, Avinash; Roy, Devesh
    Abstract: There is an increasing demand to add pulses to the basket of subsidized goods in the Public Distribution System (PDS) of India—the world’s largest food-based social safety-net program. Would subsidizing pulses through PDS lead to a significant increase in its consumption? We study the case of subsidy on pulses in select Indian states and its impact on consumption and ultimately nutrition (in terms of protein intake) by exploiting an exogenous variation in prices to answer this question. Between 2004/2005 and 2009/2010, four Indian states introduced subsidized pulses through the country’s PDS, while other states did not. We exploit exogenous price variations to examine whether the price subsidy on pulses achieves its goal of increasing pulse consumption, and by extension protein intake, among India’s poor. Using several rounds of consumption expenditure survey data and difference-in-difference estimation, we find that the change in consumption of pulses due to the PDS subsidy, though statistically significant, is of a small order, and not large enough to meet the goal of enhancing the nutrition of beneficiaries.
    Keywords: INDIA, SOUTH ASIA, ASIA, subsidies, pulses, public distribution system, public services, social protection, social safety nets,
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Vangani, Ruchi; Gerber, Nicolas; Saxena, Deepak; Mavalankar, Dileep; von Braun, Joachim
    Abstract: The ever-growing population of India, along with the increasing competition for water for productive uses in different sectors – especially irrigated agriculture and related local water systems and drainage – poses a challenge in an effort to improve water quality and sanitation. In rural and peri-urban settings, where agriculture is one of the main sources of livelihood, the type of water use in irrigated agriculture has complex interactions with drinking water and sanitation. In particular, the multi-purpose character of irrigation and drainage infrastructure creates several interlinks between water, sanitation (WATSAN) and agriculture and there is a competition for water quantity between domestic water use and irrigated agriculture. This study looks at the determinants of the microbiological quality of stored drinking water among households residing in areas where communities use different types of irrigation water. The study used multiple tube fermentation method ‘Most Probable Number (MPN) technique, a WHO recommended technique, to identify thermotolerant fecal coliforms and E. coli in water in the laboratory (WHO 1993). Overall, we found that the microbiological water quality was poor. The stored water generally had very high levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) contamination, 80% of the households had water in storage that could not be considered potable as per the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and 73% of the households were using a contaminated water source. The quality of household storage water was largely unaffected by the major household socioeconomic characteristics, such as wealth, education level or social status. Households using surface water for irrigation had poor drinking water quality, even after controlling for hygiene, behavioral and community variables. Drinking water quality was positively impacted by proper storage and water treatment practices, such as reverse osmosis. Hygiene and sanitation indicators had mixed impacts on the quality of drinking water, and the impacts were largely driven by hygiene behavior rather than infrastructures. Community open defaecation and high village-household density deteriorates household storage water quality.
    Keywords: Irrigation water, Water Quality, Water Storage, Water Treatment, Sanitation and Hygiene, Health Behaviour, India, Gujarat, Consumer/Household Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy, Health Economics and Policy, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, C83, C88, D13, I18, O10, O12, O15, Q25, Q50, Q53,
    Date: 2016–07
  12. By: Joseph H. Felter (Stanford University); Benjamin Crost (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    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: Philippines; Export Crops, Civil Conflict, Insurgent Control, Bananas
    JEL: N55 F10 F51
    Date: 2016–08
  13. By: Balié, Jean; Magrini, Emiliano; Morales Opazo, Cristian
    Abstract: After the 2007-08 food crisis, addressing high and volatile cereal prices became a priority for national governments in Sub-Saharan Africa because of their key role in determining consumption and income of poor smallholders. Nevertheless, the lack of information and some misperceptions on the distinction between the welfare consequences of higher versus more volatile cereal prices limited the effectiveness of policy interventions. Using household-level data, this paper empirically investigates the different effects of the two phenomena and provides an estimate of their magnitude and distributional consequences in four SSA countries over the period 2011-2012. The results show that the impacts of higher and more volatile prices on welfare heavily depend on the domestic structure of the economy. The most important factors to consider are the different weight of food consumption over total expenditure, the shares of the food budget devoted to cereals, the substitution effect among food items, and the relative number of net sellers versus net buyers accessing the market. We also find that the impact of higher substantially outweigh the effects of more volatile prices on farmers' welfare across the entire income distribution in all four countries. As a consequence, farmers are likely to benefit more from policy interventions preventing or limiting cereal price increases than (untargeted and extremely expensive) price stabilization policies. Nevertheless, our results also suggest that some targeted policy interventions aimed at reducing the exposure to cereal price volatility of the poorest quintile of the population is still required to protect them from substantial welfare losses.
    Keywords: cereal price,price volatility,welfare,household survey,Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: C31 D12 D13 Q12
    Date: 2016
  14. By: John Gibson (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Widely used global hunger estimates from the FAO are ‘top down’ in that they combine data on each country’s total food balance with variance estimates from household surveys. Food balance sheets are only annual so the FAO just estimate the prevalence of chronic hunger. These estimates are criticized and recent research advocates ‘bottom up’ counts of hunger directly from household consumption surveys. These surveys give a snapshot of living standards, for the week, fortnight or month reference period, so only noisy measures of annual dietary energy can be derived from them. This overstated between-households variance raises the share of the population who appear below nutritional standards, for any standard set below the median, and so overstates chronic hunger. In this paper, a new method of deriving chronic hunger estimates from snapshot surveys is proposed, which also lets the transient component of hunger be identified. This method is demonstrated using a household survey from Myanmar that has repeated observations on households during the year. The transient component of hunger is almost one-half of the total and uncorrected snapshot surveys would overstate the chronic hunger rate by almost 90 percent.
    Keywords: chronic hunger; survey design; transient hunger; undernourishment
    JEL: C81 O15 Q18
    Date: 2016–08–09

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