nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒01‒15
sixteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. There is poverty convergence By Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus; Klasen, Stephan; Wacker, Konstantin M.
  2. The Changing Structure of Africa's Economies By Xinshen Diao; Kenneth Harttgen; Margaret McMillan
  3. Junior Farmer Field Schools, Agricultural Knowledge and Spillover Effects: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Northern Uganda By Jacopo Bonan; Laura Pagani
  4. The Effects of Non-Contributory Pensions on Material and Subjective Well Being By Rosangela Bando; Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
  5. Poverty and Ethnicity in Asian Countries By Gradin, Carlos
  6. Family Size, Sibling Rivalry and Migration: Evidence from Mexico By Massimiliano, Bratti; Simona, Fiore; Mariapia, Mendola;
  7. 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
  8. Estimation of Vulnerability to Poverty Using a Multilevel Longitudinal Model: Evidence from the Philippines By Mina, Christian D.; Imai, Katsushi S.
  9. Poverty and Nutrition: A Case Study of Rural Households in Thailand and Viet Nam By Waibel, Hermann; Hohfeld, Lena
  10. IMPACT OF LEGUME TECHNOLOGIES ON FOOD SECURITY: EVIDENCE FROM ZAMBIA By Sauer, Christine M.; Mason, Nicole M.; Maredia, Mywish K.; Mofya-Mukaka, Rhoda
  11. Linking Risk Aversion, Time Preference andFertilizer Use in Burkina Faso By Tristan Le Cotty; Elodie Maitre d'Hotel; Raphael Soubeyran; Julie Subervie
  12. Climate Change and Vulnerability to Poverty: An Empirical Investigation in Rural Indonesia By Fujii, Tomoki
  13. Impact Evaluation of Banana Insurance Program of the PCIC in the Davao Region By Deluna, Roperto Jr. S.; Hinlo, Jennifer E.; Ayala, Michael L.
  14. Do Natural Disasters Change Savings and Employment Choices? Evidence from Bangladesh and Pakistan By Eskander, Shaikh M.S.U.; Fankhauser, Samuel; Jha, Shikha
  15. Weather Events and Welfare in the Philippine Households By Dacuycuy, Connie B.
  16. Discouraged worker effect in public works programs: Evidence from the MGNREGA in India By Sudha Narayanan; Upasak Das; Yanyan Liu; Christopher B. Barrett

  1. By: Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus; Klasen, Stephan; Wacker, Konstantin M.
    Abstract: Martin Ravallion ("Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence?" American Economic Review, 102(1): 504-23; 2012) presents evidence against the existence of convergence in global poverty rates despite convergence in household mean income levels and the close linkage between income growth and poverty reduction. We show that this finding is driven by a specification that demands more than simple convergence in poverty headcount rates and assumes a growth elasticity of poverty reduction, which is well-known to accelerate with low initial poverty levels. If we motivate the poverty convergence equation using an arguably superior growth semi-elasticity of poverty reduction, we find highly significant and robust evidence of convergence in absolute poverty headcount ratios and poverty gaps. Relatedly, we show that the results in Ravallion (2012) are driven by the special income growth and poverty dynamics in Central and Eastern European transition economies that started with low initial poverty rates and thus observed a high elasticity of poverty reduction. Once we control for their abnormal poverty dynamics, we again find robust evidence of global convergence in poverty, even in the original specification by Ravallion (2012). (authors' abstract)
    Keywords: poverty convergence; economic growth; poverty trap; transition economies
    Date: 2016–01
  2. By: Xinshen Diao; Kenneth Harttgen; Margaret McMillan
    Abstract: Using data from the Groningen Growth and Development Center’s Africa Sector Database and the Demographic and Health Surveys, we show that much of Africa’s recent growth and poverty reduction has been associated with a substantive decline in the share of the labor force engaged in agriculture. This decline is most pronounced for rural females over the age of 25 who have a primary education; it has been accompanied by a systematic increase in the productivity of the labor force, as it has moved from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity services and manufacturing. We also show that although the employment share in manufacturing is not expanding rapidly, in most of the low-income African countries, the employment share in manufacturing has not peaked and is still expanding, albeit from very low levels. More work is needed to understand the implications of these shifts in employment shares for future growth and development in Africa south of the Sahara.
    JEL: O11 O4 O55
    Date: 2017–01
  3. By: Jacopo Bonan (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)); Laura Pagani (University of Milano-Bicocca)
    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
    JEL: O13 O22 O55 C93
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Rosangela Bando; Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
    Abstract: Public expenditures on non-contributory pensions are equivalent to at least 1 percent of GDP in several countries in Latin America and is expected to increase. We explore the effect of non-contributory pensions on the well-being of the beneficiary population by studying the Pension 65 program in Peru, which uses a poverty eligibility threshold. We find that the program reduced the average score of beneficiaries on the Geriatric Depression Scale by nine percent and reduced the proportion of older adults doing paid work by four percentage points. Moreover, households with a beneficiary increased their level of consumption by 40 percent. All these effects are consistent with the findings of Galiani, Gertler and Bando (2016) in their study on a non-contributory pension scheme in Mexico. Thus, we conclude that the effects of non-contributory pensions on well-being in rural Mexico can be largely generalized to Peru.
    JEL: I0
    Date: 2016–12
  5. By: Gradin, Carlos (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: We compare the extent and the nature of the higher prevalence of poverty among disadvantaged ethnic groups in six Asian countries using demographic surveys. We first estimate a composite wealth index as a proxy for economic status, and analyze the magnitude of the ethnic gap in absolute and relative poverty levels across six countries and different ethnicities in those countries. Then, we use regression-based counterfactual analysis for explaining these ethnic differentials in poverty. We compare the actual differential in poverty with the gap that remains after disadvantaged ethnic groups are given the distribution of characteristics of the advantaged ones (by reweighting their densities using propensity scores). Our results show that there is a substantial cross-country variability in the extension, evolution, and nature of the ethnic poverty gap, which is as high as 50 percentage points or more in some specific cases in Nepal, Pakistan, or India. The gap in the latter country increased over the analyzed period, while it was reduced in the Philippines. Our analyses indicate that factors that contribute to ethnic disadvantaged groups being poorer are the strongly persistent high inequalities in education (e.g., India, Nepal, and Pakistan), in regional development (e.g., the Philippines) and the large urban-rural gap (e.g., Pakistan).
    Keywords: Poverty; ethnicity; education; regional development; urban-rural gap; India; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines
    JEL: D63 I31 I32 J15
    Date: 2016–12–31
  6. By: Massimiliano, Bratti; Simona, Fiore; Mariapia, Mendola;
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal effects of family size and demographic structure on offspring’s international migration. We use rich survey data from Mexico to estimate the impact of sibship size, birth order and sibling composition on teenagers’ and young adults’ migration outcomes. We find no empirical support for the hypothesis that high fertility drives migration. The positive correlation between sibship size and migration disappears when endogeneity of family size is addressed using biological fertility (miscarriages) and infertility shocks. Yet, the chances to migrate are not equally distributed across children within the family. Older siblings, especially firstborn males, are more likely to migrate, while having more sisters than brothers may increase the chances of migration, particularly among girls.
    Keywords: International Migration, Mexico, Family Size, Birth Order, Sibling Rivalry
    JEL: J13 F22 O15
    Date: 2017–01–06
  7. By: Slawa Rokicki (Interfaculty Initiative in Health Policy, Harvard University; Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin); Jessica Cohen (Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health); Joshua A. Salomon (Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health); Günther Fink (Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
    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
    Date: 2017–01–12
  8. By: Mina, Christian D.; Imai, Katsushi S.
    Abstract: Using the panel data for the Philippines in 2003-2009, the paper estimates a three-level random coefficient model to measure household vulnerability and to decompose it into idiosyncratic and covariate components. It corrects heterogeneity bias using Bell and Jones's (2015) "within-between" formulation. A majority of the poor and 18 percent of the nonpoor are found to be vulnerable to unobservable shocks, while both groups of households are more susceptible to idiosyncratic shocks than to covariate shocks. Adequate safety nets should be provided for vulnerable households that lack access to infrastructure, or are larger in size with more dependents and less-educated household heads.
    Keywords: Philippines, poverty, vulnerability, multilevel model, panel data
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Waibel, Hermann (Asian Development Bank Institute); Hohfeld, Lena (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: We analyze the link between nutrition and poverty in two Asian countries where monetary-based poverty reduction was especially successful. Thailand and Viet Nam are two emerging market economies where poverty rates are now below 10% and are declining further. Despite this success, it is not clear to what extent it has translated into similar improvements in the nutritional situation of the people, and especially of children. We find that undernutrition continues to be a problem in Viet Nam with child underweight rates of 27% and therefore higher than headcount rates of the $1.25 poverty line. Also, Thailand, after the economic crisis, with 19% of children underweight, is still above the World Health Organization’s threshold. We investigate the factors that influence nutrition outcomes, measured as Z-scores of the weight-for-age indicator, by using Tobit regressions for four different groups of children, based on income (poor vs. non-poor) and nutrition (underweight vs. non-underweight). We find that poverty and income influence nutrition outcomes, but other factors such as mother’s height, education, migration and sanitation also affect nutrition. Coefficients of respective variables differ by poverty status. Our conclusion that non-monetary factors matter to reduce undernutrition, and, therefore, monetary poverty reduction is not a sufficient condition, is further underlined by a prediction of future undernutrition rates based on regressions. Also, we find that, even under the assumption of high growth, income growth alone will not be able to reduce undernutrition to a level of low severity until the year 2030.
    Keywords: Poverty; nutrition; undernutrition; income growth; poverty reduction
    JEL: I31 I32 O10
    Date: 2016–12–31
  10. By: Sauer, Christine M.; Mason, Nicole M.; Maredia, Mywish K.; Mofya-Mukaka, Rhoda
    Abstract: Despite the many potential benefits of legume cultivation, there is scarce empirical evidence on whether and how producing legumes affects smallholder farm households’ food security. We use nationally representative household panel survey data from Zambia to estimate the differential effects on cereal-growing households of incorporating legumes into their farms via cereal-legume intercropping, cereal-legume rotation, and other means. Results suggest that cereal-legume rotation is positively and significantly associated with households’ months of adequate food provisions, and calorie and protein production. In contrast, cereal-legume intercropping generally has no statistically significant effect on the indicators of food security of Zambian smallholders.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, International Development, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2016–12
  11. By: Tristan Le Cotty; Elodie Maitre d'Hotel; Raphael Soubeyran; Julie Subervie
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether Burkinabe maize farmers’ fertilizer-use decisionsare correlated with their risk and time preferences. We conducted a survey and a se-ries of hypothetical experiments on a sample of 1,500 farmers. We find that morepatient farmers do use more fertilizer, but it is only because they plant more maize (afertilizer-intensive crop) rather than because they use more fertilizer per hectare ofmaize planted. Conversely, we find no statistically significant link between risk aver-sion and fertilizer use. We use a simple two-period model, which suggests that riskaversion may indeed have an ambiguous effect on fertilizer use.
    Date: 2017–01
  12. By: Fujii, Tomoki (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: Scientists estimate that anthropogenic climate change leads to increased surface temperature, rising sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather and climate events, among others. We investigate how climate change can potentially change vulnerability to poverty using a panel data set in Indonesia. We focus on the effect of drought and flood, two of the commonly observed disasters there. Our simulation results indicate that vulnerability to poverty in Indonesia may increase substantially as a result of climate change.
    Keywords: Climate change; poverty; vulnerability; Indonesia
    JEL: I32 O10
    Date: 2016–12–31
  13. By: Deluna, Roperto Jr. S.; Hinlo, Jennifer E.; Ayala, Michael L.
    Abstract: Agricultural crop insurance is a risk management tool to counter shocks and risks in banana production. It is a mechanism for farmers to be protected from unexpected risks and a tool for them to recover from the shocks experienced. The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation is mandated to provide insurance protection to the country’s agricultural producers, particularly the subsistence farmers, against natural disasters and other perils. This paper evaluated how agricultural insurance made an impact on banana growers in terms of managing risks and their well-being. The inputs, outputs, and outcomes relative to risk, agricultural investment, productivity, and access to credit are documented to provide options and strategies in improving the agricultural crop insurance in the country. Agricultural crop insurance at its present coverage level is not sufficient to create impact on stabilizing income of banana farmers hit by shocks. This could be attributed to low insurance coverage, which is only 55 percent of the production cost of banana. Without the subsidy of the government, and status quo on coverage and premium rate, crop insurance in the country will not be sustained in the case of banana. Agricultural insurance has not fully penetrated the whole banana industry yet because of the lack of information dissemination. Hence, educational programs to inform the farmers about the benefits of modern risk management schemes in banana should be prioritized because the major driver toward sustainable development of agriculture in the Philippines is to instill resiliency of farmers through agricultural crop insurance.
    Keywords: Philippines, disasters, Davao, Davao Region, impact evaluation, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, agricultural crop insurance, banana, resiliency
    Date: 2016
  14. By: Eskander, Shaikh M.S.U. (London School of Economics); Fankhauser, Samuel (London School of Economics); Jha, Shikha (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: We investigate the economic response of households to natural disasters in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In particular, we explore to what extent households adjust their income and employment strategies and savings in response to exposure to floods and storms. Using two unique panel datasets, we find evidence of autonomous adjustments in both countries. In Bangladesh, farmers move away from farm to nonfarm employment as a coping strategy to tackle immediate reductions in their total household income from exposure to disasters, whereas nonfarmers increase their off-farm labor supply. Such adjustments in employment strategies are stronger among the storm-affected households than the flood-affected households. On the other hand, although farmers in Pakistan move away from agriculture as an immediate response to disasters, they eventually come back to agriculture within a year of disaster exposure. We also identify that such adjustments in employment and income strategies help farmers to overcome the immediate losses from disaster exposure as the disasteraffected households from both Bangladesh and Pakistan exhibit at least no decrease in their savings behavior. We discuss policy implications in terms of developing nonfarm employment opportunities to reduce the future harms of disaster and financing economic migration to reduce income vulnerability.
    Keywords: Bangladesh; income; natural disasters; Pakistan; savings
    JEL: D13 D64 Q15 Q24 Q54
    Date: 2016–12–23
  15. By: Dacuycuy, Connie B.
    Abstract: Using fixed effects estimators to remove unobserved heterogeneity and instrumental variable technique to address the endogeneity of income, this paper analyzes the effect of weather events on welfare in the Philippines. It finds that, one, treating income as an exogenous variable underestimates the effect of income on the household's resource allocation. Two, there are more expenditure shares for which income is endogenous using the tropical cyclone data than using the heat index deviation data as instruments. Three, households choose cheaper foods but just as nutritious when they are frequently hit by tropical cyclones. Four, the presence of children affects most of the food items, and it has the biggest effect on non-alcoholic beverages, such as juice and coffee, while the presence of the elderly affects only a few expenditure items, such as education and medical care. Based on the results, specific recommendations are forwarded. In broader terms, the study points to the desirability of greater forms of investment in resilience against weather events and climate change. At the household level, poverty is a binding constraint to good investment in resilience against weather events and the government has to continue its efforts toward poverty reduction. To this end, the government should ensure that the Department of Social Welfare and Development internal and external convergence strategy is successfully implemented.
    Keywords: Philippines, weather events, welfare, fixed effects, Department of Social Welfare and Development
    Date: 2016
  16. By: Sudha Narayanan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Upasak Das (Centre for Development Studies); Yanyan Liu (International Food Policy Research Institute); Christopher B. Barrett (Cornell University)
    Abstract: This study investigates the consequences of poor implementation in public workfare programs, focusing on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India. Using nationally representative data, we test empirically for a discouraged worker effect arising from either of two mechanisms: administrative rationing of jobs among those who seek work and delays in wage payments. We find strong evidence at the household and district levels that administrative rationing discourages subsequent demand for work. Delayed wage payments seem to matter significantly during rainfall shocks. We find further that rationing is strongly associated with indicators of implementation ability such as staff capacity. Politics appears to play only a limited role. The findings suggest that assessments of the relevance of public programs over their lifecycle need to factor in implementation quality.
    Keywords: administrative rationing, discouraged worker effect, employment guarantee, India, labor supply, MGNREGA, workfare programs
    JEL: J08 J38
    Date: 2016–11

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