nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒01‒08
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Growth, Urbanization and Poverty Reduction in India By Gaurav Datt; Martin Ravallion; Rinku Murgai
  2. Farm-level Adaptation to Climate Change in Western Bangladesh: An Analysis of Adaptation Dynamics, Profitability and Risks By Md. Jahangir Kabir; Mohammad Alauddin; Steven Crimp
  3. The Effect of One Laptop per Child on Teachers' Pedagogical Practices and Students' Use of Time at Home By Yamada, Gustavo; Lavado, Pablo; Montenegro, Guadalupe
  4. The Impact of Taxes, Transfers, and Subsidies on Inequality and Poverty in Uganda - Working Paper 443 By Jon Jellema , Nora Lustig , Astrid Haas and Sebastian Wolf
  5. Junior Farmer Field Schools, Agricultural Knowledge and Spillover Effects: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Northern Uganda By Bonan, Jacopo; Pagani, Laura
  6. Impact of a Text Messaging Program on Adolescent Reproductive Health: A Cluster–Randomized Trial in Ghana By Slawa Rokicki; Jessica Cohen; Joshua A. Salomon; Günther Fink
  7. Poverty in Malawi: Policy Analysis with Distributional Changes By Mussa, Richard
  8. Sanitation, Disease Externalities, and Anemia: Evidence From Nepal By Diane Coffey; Michael Geruso; Dean Spears
  9. Contextual Effects of Education on Poverty in Malawi By Mussa, Richard
  10. Capturing Benefits from Public Policy Initiatives in India: Inter-Group Differences in Access to and Usage of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana Health Insurance Cards By Borooah, Vani; Mishra, Vinod; Naik, Ajaya; Sabharwal, Nidhi
  11. The Effect of Fe y Alegria on School Achievement: Exploiting a School Lottery Selection as a Natural Experiment By Lavado, Pablo; Cueto, Santiago; Yamada, Gustavo; Wensjoe, Micaela
  12. Formal but less equal: Gender wage gaps in formal and informal jobs in Brazil By Ben Yahmed, Sarra
  13. Corruption and Legislature Size: Evidence from Brazil. By Diogo Britto; Stefano Fiorin
  14. Global and Country Poverty Rates, Welfare Rankings of the Regions and Purchasing Power Parities: How Robust Are the Results? By Amita Majumder; Ranjan Ray; Sattwik Santra

  1. By: Gaurav Datt; Martin Ravallion; Rinku Murgai
    Abstract: Longstanding development issues are revisited in the light of our newly-constructed dataset of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years, including 20 years since reforms began in earnest in 1991. We find a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Faster poverty decline came with both higher growth and a more pro-poor pattern of growth. Post-1991 data suggest stronger inter-sectoral linkages: urban consumption growth brought gains to the rural as well as the urban poor and the primary-secondary-tertiary composition of growth has ceased to matter as all three sectors contributed to poverty reduction.
    Keywords: Poverty, inequality, Kuznets, economic growth, urbanization
    JEL: I32 O15 O40
    Date: 2016–03
  2. By: Md. Jahangir Kabir (School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland); Mohammad Alauddin (School of Economics, The University of Queensland); Steven Crimp (CSIRO, Agriculture)
    Abstract: Using long-term district-level climate data and a case study from a drought-prone village in western Bangladesh, this research explores trends in climate change, and analyses farmers’ adaptation dynamics, profitability and risks. This is the first study of its kind for drought-prone areas in Bangladesh. District-level temperature trended upwards across all seasons except in winter, while rainfall patterns were more episodic with persistent dry periods. Farmers’ adaptation measures included changes in cropping systems, cropping calendar, crop varieties, agronomic practices, crop diversification and improved animal husbandry. Reducing environmental stress, ensuring self-sufficiency in staple crops (mainly rice) and other crop production practices, and enhancing economic viability of farm enterprises underpinned these adaptations. Off-farm and non-farm wage employment, temporary migration, self-employment and educating children, constituted core non-farm adaptation strategies. Emerging cropping systems like maize/cucumber and maize/stem amaranth/rice were economically more viable than the traditional rice/rice and rice/maize systems. Despite some uncertainties, farming was preferred to off-farm work, generating higher returns to labour for all cropping systems. Limited access to stress-tolerant varieties, extension services and affordable agricultural credit, combined with high production costs, variability in crop yields and output prices constituted man barriers to adaptation. Stronger agricultural research and support services, affordable credit, community-focussed farming education and training are critically important for effective adaptation to climate change.
    Keywords: Climate change, Drought severity, Farm budgeting, Risk analysis, Adaptation dynamics, Sustainability
    JEL: O1 Q0 Q2 Q12 Q25
    Date: 2016–12–28
  3. By: Yamada, Gustavo (Universidad del Pacifico); Lavado, Pablo (Universidad del Pacifico); Montenegro, Guadalupe (Group for the Analysis od Development (GRADE))
    Abstract: This document investigates the effect that the delivery of XO laptops in Peru has had on teachers' pedagogical practices and students' use of time in the home based on information from a randomized control trial. The results show that the delivery of XO laptops reduces the probability that teachers will use a student-centered method with cooperative characteristics between 6 and 13 pp while this type of pedagogical practice has a positive impact on student performance in the area of language (between 1.5 and 2sd). We found two contrary effects in the home. XO laptops reduce the probability that a student will do homework at home by 4 pp despite the fact that doing so increases language performance 4 standard deviations. Additionally, XO laptops increase the probability of watching television by 8 pp although said activity reduces performance 2 sd. XO laptops also reduce the probability that students will perform household chores between 9 and 40 pp while said activity increases language performance between 0.2 and 1.6 standard deviations for language. We did not find effects on language and the majority of results refer to students in fourth grade of primary. The variety and overlapping of effects may explain the null effect of the program for the sample of 2nd to 6th grade of primary and the negative effect for fourth of primary.
    Keywords: education, technology, teacher, teaching methods, pedagogical practices, academic performance, laptop, OLPC, time, activities, household
    JEL: C13 C93 I21 I28
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Jon Jellema , Nora Lustig , Astrid Haas and Sebastian Wolf
    Abstract: This paper uses the 2012/13 Uganda National Household Survey to analyze the redistributive effectiveness and impact on poverty and inequality of Uganda’s revenue collection instruments and social spending programs. Fiscal policy – including many of its constituent tax and spending elements – is inequality-reducing in Uganda, but the reduction of inequality due to fiscal policy in Uganda is lower than other countries with similar levels of initial inequality, a result tied to low levels of spending in Uganda generally. The impact of fiscal policy on poverty is negligible, while the combination of very sparse coverage of direct transfer programs and nearly complete coverage of indirect tax instruments means that many poor households are net payers into, rather than net recipients from, the fiscal system. As Uganda looks ahead to increased revenues from taxation and concurrent investments in productive infrastructure, it should take care to protect the poorest households from further impoverishment from the fiscal system.
    Keywords: fiscal incidence, poverty, inequality, fiscal policy, Uganda
    JEL: D31 D62 H22 H23 I38
    Date: 2016–11
  5. By: Bonan, Jacopo; Pagani, Laura
    Abstract: We analyse the impact of a junior farmer field school project in Northern Uganda on students’ agricultural knowledge and practices. We also test for the presence of intergenerational learning spillover within households. We use differences-in-differences estimators with ex-ante matching. We find that the program had positive effects on students’ agricultural knowledge and adoption of good practices and that it produced some spillover effects in terms of improvements of household agricultural knowledge and food security. Overall, our results point to the importance of adapting the basic principles of farmer field schools to children.
    Keywords: Junior Farmer Field Schools, Agricultural Extension, Intergenerational Learning Spillover, Uganda, Agricultural and Food Policy, O13, O22, O55, C93,
    Date: 2016–12–15
  6. By: Slawa Rokicki; Jessica Cohen; Joshua A. Salomon; Günther Fink
    Abstract: Objectives: To evaluate whether text-messaging programs can improve reproductive health among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries. Methods: We conducted a cluster–randomized controlled trial among 756 female students aged 14 to 24 years in Accra, Ghana, in 2014. We randomized 38 schools to unidirectional intervention (n=12), interactive intervention (n=12), and control (n=14). The unidirectional intervention sent participants text messages with reproductive health information. The interactive intervention engaged adolescents in text-messaging reproductive health quiz games. The primary study outcome was reproductive health knowledge at 3 and 15 months. Additional outcomes included self-reported pregnancy and sexual behavior. Analysis was by intent-to-treat. Results: From baseline to 3 months, the unidirectional intervention increased knowledge by 11 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI]=7, 15) and the interactive intervention by 24 percentage points (95% CI=19, 28), from a control baseline of 26%. Although we found no changes in reproductive health outcomes overall, both unidirectional (odds ratio [OR]=0.14; 95% CI=0.03, 0.71) and interactive interventions (OR=0.15; 95% CI=0.03, 0.86) lowered odds of self-reported pregnancy for sexually active participants. Conclusions: Text-messaging programs can lead to large improvements in reproductive health knowledge and have the potential to lower pregnancy risk for sexually active adolescent girls.
    Keywords: Reproductive health; Sexual education; Adolescent health; Mobile health; Text messaging; Global health
    JEL: I10 I25 J13
    Date: 2017–01
  7. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: This paper addresses an issue which has hitherto been ignored in the existing studies on poverty and its correlates. Existing poverty studies ignore the fact that changes in the correlates of poverty may not only affect the average level of consumption, but may also affect the distribution of consumption. The paper develops methods for addressing this weakness. Using Malawian data from the Third Integrated Household Survey, the empirical application of the methods suggest that ignoring these distribution effects leads to mismeasurement both quantitatively and qualitatively of policy interventions on poverty. It is found that an additional year of female education for urban households without distributional changes reduces the poverty headcount by 7.6%, and the reduction almost doubles to 11.4% with distributional effects. A similar pattern is observed for the rural simulation. This in turn suggests that policy conclusions based on the existing methods might be misleading.
    Keywords: Poverty; distribution; Malawi
    JEL: D3 I3 I32
    Date: 2017–01–04
  8. By: Diane Coffey; Michael Geruso; Dean Spears
    Abstract: Anemia impairs physical and cognitive development in children and reduces human capital accumulation. The prior economics literature has focused on the role of inadequate nutrition in causing anemia. This paper is the first to show that sanitation, a public good, significantly contributes to preventing anemia. We identify effects by exploiting rapid and differential improvement in sanitation across regions of Nepal between 2006 and 2011. Within regions over time, cohorts of children exposed to better community sanitation developed higher hemoglobin levels. Our results highlight a previously undocumented externality of open defecation, which is today practiced by over a billion people worldwide.
    JEL: I15 J1 O1
    Date: 2016–12
  9. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: The paper uses Malawian data from the Third Integrated Household Survey to investigate the presence and pattern of contextual effects of community level education on household poverty. These contextual effects reflect the presence of education externalities at the community level. I use an adaptation of the Hausman-Taylor estimator for hierchical models which controls for level-2 endogeneity of community schooling. The results show that regardless of gender, there is a significant positive effect of community level education on household welfare in rural and urban areas which is over and above that arising from education within the household. These externalities of community level education are larger for females than males. The paper finds that the return to within household education is smaller in magnitude than the community level externality of education. These findings are robust to alternative definitions of schooling and level of aggregation. The paper also finds that in both rural and urban areas, least educated households enjoy significantly larger benefits from increases in female and male years of schooling at the community level than the most educated households. This means that community level schooling not only spillovers to the rest of the community membership in terms of improved living standards, but also the positive education spillovers on household welfare are equality-inducing.
    Keywords: Contextual effects; externalities; Malawi
    JEL: I3 I32
    Date: 2017–01–04
  10. By: Borooah, Vani; Mishra, Vinod; Naik, Ajaya; Sabharwal, Nidhi
    Abstract: The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY, literally "National Health Insurance Programme"), is a health insurance scheme run by the Indian government for India’s poorest households. The beneficiaries from RSBY belong to different caste and religious groups. In this context, the paper asks two questions. The first is a general question that applies all RSBY card holders – does the possession of a RSBY card benefit the holder in a non-health sphere? The second question is do persons belonging to the dominant groups in Indian society succeed in capturing a disproportionate number of these cards? We attempt to answer these two questions by using a unique survey of 1,500 RSBY card holding households conducted by the authors in two Indian states, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. We conclude that the RSBY poses two barriers: the barriers associated with getting a card and the barriers associated with using a card even though one might be in possession of one. In Maharashtra, those higher up the income ladder, and those in higher social groups, were significantly more likely to have a card than those on the lowest rung economically and socially. The same is true of usage. Having got a card, it was the better off sections of card holders who were more likely to use them.
    Keywords: Health Insurance, Discrimination, India
    JEL: I13
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Lavado, Pablo (Universidad del Pacifico); Cueto, Santiago (GRADE); Yamada, Gustavo (Universidad del Pacifico); Wensjoe, Micaela (Group for the Analysis od Development (GRADE))
    Abstract: Fe y Alegria is an organization working in many developing countries as a public-private partnership. This study estimates the effect of one Fe y Alegria school in Peru on mathematics and reading comprehension among second grade primary pupils, between 2007 and 2012. The identification strategy is based on the fact that for this school Fe y Alegría conducted a lottery to determine which students would be accepted onto first grade. We could prepare our estimates only for one school where records for several years were available. The results show that this Fe y Alegria school generated substantial score gains for lottery winners, equivalent to 0.4 standard deviations. We also found that this effect has been increasing over time. In reading comprehension the effect was 0.17 s.d. in 2007 and 1.02 s.d. in 2012. In math, the effect was 0.29 s.d. in 2007 and 1.2 in 2012. These are promising results in a country where overall student achievement in standardized tests has been low, and where discussions on under what conditions may public partnerships result in better educational outcomes.
    Keywords: education, public-private partnerships, quality education, Fe y Alegría, math performance, private school, reading comprehension performance
    JEL: C13 C33 C93 I21 I22
    Date: 2016–12
  12. By: Ben Yahmed, Sarra
    Abstract: In developing countries, a large share of employees work informally and are not covered by employment protection legislation. I study here how gender wage inequality differs across formal and informal jobs in Brazil. The raw gender wage gap is higher in informal jobs (13%) compared to formal jobs (5%), but I show that this difference is an artefact of different male and female selection processes. First, women have better observable characteristics than men and the female advantage is stronger among formal employees. Second, men and women entering formal and informal jobs have different unobservable characteristics. Controlling for endogenous selection into formal vs. informal jobs, I find that the gender gap in wage offers is high and increases with education in formal jobs. In informal jobs, however, estimated wage offers are the same for men and women. I discuss the potential implications of these findings regarding the effect of labour market regulation on gender wage gaps.
    Keywords: gender wage gaps,informality,selection into work statuses,Brazil
    JEL: J31 O17
    Date: 2016
  13. By: Diogo Britto (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Stefano Fiorin
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of council size on government corruption in Brazil. We leverage on the discontinuous relationship between the population size of municipalities and council size dictated by the law to implement a regression discontinuity design. We document a substantial positive causal effect of the number of city councilors on the incidence of corruption detected during federal audits. Results also show that hav- ing an extra councilor does not affect the size of the public budget, but in uences its composition. It increases expenditures related to public housing and recreation, which we interpret as items related to clientelis- tic policies. Finally, we find a negative relationship between council size and its productivity: namely, the numbers of legislative bills proposed by councilor and approved are both lower in municipalities with larger councils.
    Keywords: Corruption, Council Size, Regression Discontinuity.
    JEL: D72 D73 H72
    Date: 2016–12
  14. By: Amita Majumder; Ranjan Ray; Sattwik Santra
    Abstract: This four-part study examines the sensitivity of poverty estimates, regional composition of the ‘extremely poor’ population, and regional rankings to the Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) used. The first part compares PPPs that use the price information collected by the ICP but follow a different methodology and, also, from a procedure that avoids the need for price information altogether. The second part examines sensitivity of poverty rates and poverty trends to PPPs. The results establish non-robustness of both. In the third part, the study finds that PPPs and inequality, both, have a positive effect on poverty. Finally, the paper proposes a methodology that uses the price and expenditure information and a welfare criterion due to Sen (1976) to rank regions, and examines the sensitivity of the rankings, and their temporal changes, to PPP. The results point to the need for high quality, item wise price and expenditure information across countries, improved PPP methodologies, explicit incorporation of inequality in the welfare measure, and more sensitivity analyses in cross country welfare comparisons with respect to PPP.
    Keywords: Poverty Rates, Purchasing Power Parity, Penn Effect, Price Indices
    JEL: D12 D63 E31 I31 I32
    Date: 2016–03

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