nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2016‒12‒18
twelve papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Books or Laptops? The Cost-Effectiveness of Shifting from Printed to Digital Delivery of Educational Content By Rosangela Bando; Francisco Gallego; Paul Gertler; Dario Romero
  2. Cash transfers in Latin America: Effects on poverty and redistribution By Verónica Amarante; Martín Brun
  3. When Solidarity Fails: Heterogeneous Effects of Orphanhood in Senegalese Households By Philippe De Vreyer; Björn Nilsson
  4. Land Area Measurement bias: Evidence from West African countries By GOUNDAN, Anatole; MAGNE DOMGHO, Léa Vicky
  5. Spillovers of Community-Based Health Interventions on Consumption Smoothing By Emla Fitzsimons; Bansi Malde; Marcos Vera-Hernández
  6. Do Gifts Increase Consent to Home-based HIV Testing? A Difference-in-Differences Study in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa By Mark E. McGovern; Kobus Herbst; Frank Tanser; Tinofa Mutevedzi; David Canning; Dickman Gareta; Deenan Pillay; Till Bärnighausen
  7. Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition By Thu Hien Dao; Frédéric Docquier; Chris Parsons; Giovanni Peri
  8. Political agency and public healthcare: Evidence from India By Joan Costa-Font; Divya Parmar
  9. Redistribution, inequality and political participation: Evidence from Mexico during the 2008 financial crisis By Patricia Justino; Bruno Martorano
  10. Not your average job: measuring farm labor in Tanzania By Arthi, Vellore; Beegle, Kathleen; De Weerdt, Joachim; Palacios-Lopez, Amparo
  11. Mining and economic development: Did China’s WTO accession affect African local economic development? By Tony Addison; Amadou Boly; Anthony Mveyange
  12. Patterns and trends of group-based inequality in Brazil By Pedro H. Leivas; Anderson M.A. dos Santos

  1. By: Rosangela Bando; Francisco Gallego; Paul Gertler; Dario Romero
    Abstract: Information and communication technologies, such as laptops, can be used for educational purposes as they provide users with computational tools, information storage and communication opportunities, but these devices may also pose as distractors that may tamper with the learning process. This paper presents results from a randomized controlled trial in which laptops replaced traditional textbook provision in elementary schools in high poverty communities in Honduras in 2013 through the program Educatracho. We show that at the end of one school year, the substitution of laptops for textbooks did not make a significant difference in student learning. We additionally conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis, which demonstrated that given the low marginal costs of digital textbook provision, the substitution of three additional textbooks in the program (for a total of five) would guarantee computers to be more cost-effective than textbooks. Therefore, textbook substitution by laptops may be a cost-effective manner to provide classroom learning content.
    JEL: I21 I28 J24 O15
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Verónica Amarante; Martín Brun
    Abstract: In this paper, we present comparative evidence for eight Latin American countries regarding design and effects of cash transfers (CTs). On the basis of household survey data, we analyse their coverage, importance in household income, and effects on poverty reduction and income redistribution. We also present a static microsimulation to analyse the potential impacts of alternative programme designs including perfect targeting and higher budgets. Our results illustrate the wide variation of these interventions in terms of their design, coverage, and importance in household income. CTs account for a significant portion of household income in lower deciles. In spite of this, their effects in terms of reductions in the incidence, intensity, and severity of poverty are, in the best of cases, moderate and, although their progressivity is high, their redistributive impact is limited. These results are mainly explained by the meager resources involved. Even under perfect targeting, the budgets allocated to transfer programs in these countries would be insufficient to achieve full coverage in the lowest part of the income distribution.
    Keywords: cash transfers, children, inequality, Latin America, poverty
  3. By: Philippe De Vreyer (Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University,IRD, LEDa, DIAL); Björn Nilsson (Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University,IRD, LEDa, DIAL)
    Abstract: The consequences of orphanhood have been an important topic on the research agenda in recent years, particularly against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. Previous literature has highlighted negative effects on children from prime-age adult deaths in the house- hold. Some authors have however pointed out that the effects are small, possibly as a result of well-functioning coping mechanisms prevailing in the region. In this article, we investigate the links between deaths in the household and subsequent economic outcomes of children by exploiting an unusually rich dataset from Senegal. Along the lines of Case, Paxson and Ableidinger (2004), we test whether impacts on children differ according to the relationship with the deceased. We find evidence that this is the case: deaths in the household are not associated with diminished school presence for those children who are not under the direct responsibility of the deceased. It however has a strong significant negative effect for those children who are. On the basis of our results, which include effects on child labor and fostering, we argue that in large and complex households, household budgetary arrangements are an essential part of the story that may well lead to a heterogeneous absorption of shocks among family members. As such, there seem to be limits to the much lauded African informal safety net.
    Keywords: Intra-household resource allocation, Child labor, Senegal.
    JEL: D10 D13 J13 O12
    Date: 2016–11
  4. By: GOUNDAN, Anatole; MAGNE DOMGHO, Léa Vicky
    Abstract: Planted and harvested areas are crucial for agricultural statistics. In developing countries, such statistics are estimated using farmers’ reports which are systematically biased. Given the importance of the area size in designing policy and in farmers’ wealth, it is essential to empirically assess that bias for the countries in order to inform the potential impact of that issue in different contexts. This paper, therefore, contributes to analyzing farmers’ plot size estimation bias in four West African countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria). The paper also explores the determinants of the bias in land measurement in these countries. Our findings indicate that the bias in land measurement is a serious issue among West African countries and varies between 14% and 171% (in absolute value) of the correct area size. In terms of the determinants of acreage discrepancy, our findings reveal that the respondents’ age, education, land acquisition status, plot size, area unit measurement, are influential.
    Keywords: Area estimation, land measurement, GPS measure, acreage gap, West Africa.
    JEL: C81 O12 Q12 Q15
    Date: 2016–11
  5. By: Emla Fitzsimons; Bansi Malde; Marcos Vera-Hernández
    Abstract: Community-based interventions, particularly group-based ones, are considered to be a cost-effective way of delivering interventions in low-income settings. However, design features of these programs could also influence dimensions of household and community behaviour beyond those targeted by the intervention. This paper studies spillover effects of a participatory community health intervention in rural Malawi, implemented through a cluster randomised control trial, on an outcome not directly targeted by the intervention: household consumption smoothing after crop losses. We find that while crop losses reduce consumption growth in the absence of the intervention, households in treated areas are able to compensate for this loss and perfectly insure their consumption. Asset decumulation also falls in treated areas. We provide suggestive evidence that these effects are driven by increased social interactions, which could have alleviated contracting frictions; and rule out that they are driven by improved health or reductions in the incidence of crop losses.
    Keywords: participatory community interventions; spillovers; consumption smoothing; Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: E21 G22 O12 O13
    Date: 2016–10
  6. By: Mark E. McGovern; Kobus Herbst; Frank Tanser; Tinofa Mutevedzi; David Canning; Dickman Gareta; Deenan Pillay; Till Bärnighausen
    Abstract: Despite the importance of HIV testing for controlling the HIV epidemic, testing rates remain low. Efforts to scale up testing coverage and frequency in hard-to-reach and at-risk populations commonly focus on home-based HIV testing. This study evaluates the effect of a gift (a US $5 food voucher for families) on consent rates for home-based HIV testing. We use data on 18,478 individuals (6,418 men and 12,060 women) who were successfully contacted to participate in the 2009 and 2010 population-based HIV surveillance carried out by the Wellcome Trust's Africa Health Research Institute in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Of 18,478 potential participants contacted in both years, 35% (6,518) consented to test in 2009, and 41% (7,533) consented to test in 2010. Our quasi-experimental difference-in-differences approach controls for unobserved confounding in estimating the causal effect of the intervention on HIV-testing consent rates. Allocation of the gift to a family in 2010 increased the probability of family members consenting to test in the same year by 25 percentage points [95% confidence interval (CI) 21--30 percentage points; P less than 0.001]. The intervention effect persisted, slightly attenuated, in the year following the intervention (2011). In HIV hyperendemic settings, a gift can be highly effective at increasing consent rates for home-based HIV testing. Given the importance of HIV testing for treatment uptake and individual health, as well as for HIV treatment-as-prevention strategies and for monitoring the population impact of the HIV response, gifts should be considered as a supportive intervention for HIV-testing initiatives where consent rates have been low.
    Keywords: Gift-voucher Intervention; Incentives; Difference-in-Differences; Home-based HIV Testing; South Africa
    JEL: J10 I10
    Date: 2016–12
  7. By: Thu Hien Dao (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Frédéric Docquier (FNRS, UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and FERDI (France)); Chris Parsons (Business School, University of Western Australia); Giovanni Peri (Department of Economics, University of California, Davis, United States)
    Abstract: Emigration first increases before decreasing with economic development. This bell-shaped relationship between emigration and development was first hypothesized by the theory of the mobility transition (Zelinsky, 1971). Although several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the upward segment of the curve (the most common being the existence of financial constraints), they have not been examined in a systematic way. In this paper, we develop a novel migration accounting methodology and use it to quantify the main drivers of the mobility transition curve. Our analysis distinguishes between migration aspirations and realization rates of college-educated and less educated individuals at the bilateral level. Between one-third and one-half of the slope of the increasing segment is due to the changing skill composition of working-age populations, and another third is due to changing network size. The microeconomic channel (including financial incentives and constraints) only accounts for one fourth of the total effect in low-income countries, and for less than one fifth in lower-middle-income countries. Finally, our methodology sheds light on the microfoundations of migration decisions.
    Keywords: Migration, Development, Aspirations, Credit Constraints
    JEL: F22 O15
    Date: 2016–12–06
  8. By: Joan Costa-Font; Divya Parmar
    Abstract: The development of institutions of self-governance in India, and specifically the 2005 reform—the National Rural Health Mission that introduced village health and sanitation committees—provide a unique opportunity to study the effects of the strengthening of the political agency on collective healthcare decision-making in rural areas. We use data from the District Level Household Survey and take advantage of the heterogeneity of maternal and child healthcare use, before and after the introduction of village health and sanitation committees. Specifically, we examine the effect of village health and sanitation committees on use of both public and preventive healthcare among children. Our results suggest that local democracy has increased access to preventive child healthcare services. Part of the effect is driven by an increase in the utilization of the public healthcare network. We find some evidence of an effect of village residence heads of a Panchayat on preventive healthcare use.
    Keywords: decentralization, direct democracy, India, immunization, maternal healthcare, public
  9. By: Patricia Justino; Bruno Martorano
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between a large government cash transfer programme, changes in inequality, and political participation in Mexico. The results show that increases in the coverage of the programme during the 2008 financial crisis resulted in greater individual participation in the last presidential elections and in higher individual propensity to vote, particularly for the incumbent party. The programme was particularly effective in increasing political participation among rural and indigenous groups, and had a mitigating effect on participation in presidential elections and the propensity to vote among the urban unskilled. The programme resulted also in reductions in individual participation in protests. Further analysis suggests that these changes were driven by redistributive gains following the changes to the cash transfer programme.
    Keywords: conditional cash transfers, inequality, Mexico, protests, voting behaviour
  10. By: Arthi, Vellore; Beegle, Kathleen; De Weerdt, Joachim; Palacios-Lopez, Amparo
    Abstract: The extent of bias in smallholder farm labor data is examined by conducting a randomized survey experiment amongst farming households in rural Tanzania. Benchmark agricultural labor estimates obtained from weekly surveys are compared to those from a traditional single end-of-season recall survey. Traditional recall-style modules overestimate hours worked per person per plot by a factor of 3.4. This recall bias is driven by the mental burdens of reporting on highly variable agricultural work patterns. All things equal, studies suffering from this bias would understate agricultural labor productivity.
    Keywords: Tanzania; data collection; surveys
    Date: 2016–11
  11. By: Tony Addison; Amadou Boly; Anthony Mveyange
    Abstract: This paper investigates China’s influence on local economic development in 37 African countries between 1997 and 2007. We compare the average changes in economic growth, migration, spatial inequality, and welfare of mineral-rich districts, both prior and after China’s WTO Accession, to the corresponding changes in districts without any mineral endowment. Using this exogenous variation, we show that during 2002–07, mining activities in response to the global commodity price-boom increased welfare as measured by spatial Sen Index but were insignificant for local economic growth, migration, and spatial inequality. Our findings suggest that policy needs to do more to improve the local benefits of positive external shocks (such as China’s WTO Accession): it is not enough to assume, given Africa’s high spatial inequality, that local economies will automatically benefit from higher national growth.
    Keywords: mining, commodity boom, local development, Africa, China, WTO
  12. By: Pedro H. Leivas; Anderson M.A. dos Santos
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the patterns and trends of group-based inequalities in Brazil in the past 30 years. Using data from the last four demographic censuses (1980, 1991, 2000, and 2010), we estimate numerous measures to analyse inequalities between different ‘ethnic’ groups. Our results show that the trend toward greater equality in Brazil shown in other analyses of vertical inequality is also found in terms of horizontal inequalities along racial, gender, and regional lines between 1980 and 2010. Nevertheless, horizontal inequalities in terms of race and gender in particular remain pronounced; as shown using various measures, race is highly correlated with income and education. We show that municipalities with low ethnic diversity and low income and education inequality tend to be located in the South region. In regression analysis, we note that ethnic diversity negatively affects the institutional quality of Brazilian municipalities.
    Keywords: Brazil, group-based inequality, ethnic diversity, institutional quality, spatial econometrics, vertical inequality

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