nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒01‒29
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Electrification and Welfare of Poor Households in Rural India By Aditi Bhattacharyya; Daisy Das; Arkadipta Ghosh
  2. The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa By Eoin McGuirk; Marshall Burke
  3. Extreme Weather Events, Farm Income, and Poverty in Niger By Nouve, Yawotse; Acharya, Ram N.
  4. Randomized Evaluation of the Unconditional Cash Transfer Scheme for the Elderly in Ekiti State Nigeria By Damilola Olajide; Maria Laura Alzua; Ana Dammert; Olusegun Sotola; Thompson Ayodele
  5. Impacts of the Peruvian Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Women’s Empowerment: A Quantitative and Qualitative Approach By Lorena Alcázar; María Balarin; Karen Espinoza
  6. Less Food for More Status: Caste Inequality and Conspicuous Consumption in India By Clément BELLET; Eve SIHRA
  7. The Medium-Term Impacts of Girl-Friendly Schools: 7-Year Evidence from School Construction in Burkina Faso By Harounan Kazianga; Leigh Linden; Cara Orfield; Matt Sloan; Ali Protik
  8. Identity, Perceptions and Institutions: Caste Differences in Earnings from Self-Employment in India By Deepti Goel; Ashwini Deshpande
  9. Adolescent Brides and Grooms' Education: Theory and Evidence By Sylvain Dessy, Setou Diarra, Roland Pongou; Setou Diarra; Roland Pongou
  10. Rainfall Patterns and Human Settlement in Tropical Africa and Asia Compared. Did African Farmers Face Greater Insecurity? By Frankema, Ewout; Papaioannou, Kostadis
  11. Gender Bias in Educational Attainment in India : The Role of Dowry Payments By Jacob, Arun

  1. By: Aditi Bhattacharyya (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University); Daisy Das (Cotton College State University, Guwahati, Assam, India); Arkadipta Ghosh (Mathematica Policy Research Inc)
    Abstract: We examine the impact of electrification on the welfare of poor households in rural India. We use two rounds of survey data (2004-2005 and 2011-2012) from the National Sample Survey Organization, and examine household welfare as captured by monthly and annual expenditures on multiple categories of goods and services among the poorest households. Using inverse propensity score weighting and difference-in-differences estimation in two separate analyses for households across all states and in eight backward states, we find significant evidence for improved welfare from electrification. This includes higher monthly expenditures in total as well as on food, fuel, entertainment, nonfood, education, and durable goods across all states. We also find evidence for higher expenditures in selected categories of goods like fuel, entertainment, nonfood, and education items after electrification in backward states. Additionally, we find that the poorest rural households in backward states experienced reduced medical expenditures after electrification.
    Keywords: Rural electrification, household welfare, poor households
    JEL: O13 I30
    Date: 2017–01
  2. By: Eoin McGuirk; Marshall Burke
    Abstract: We study the impact of plausibly exogenous global food price shocks on local violence across the African continent. In food-producing areas, higher food prices reduce conflict over the control of territory (what we call “factor conflict”) and increase conflict over the appropriation of surplus (“output conflict”). We argue that this difference arises because higher prices raise the opportunity cost of soldiering for producers, while simultaneously inducing net consumers to appropriate increasingly valuable surplus as their real wages fall. In regions without crop agriculture, higher food prices increase both factor conflict and output conflict, as poor consumers turn to soldiering and appropriation in order to maintain a minimum consumption target. We validate local-level findings on output conflict using geocoded survey data on interpersonal theft and violence against commercial farmers and traders. Ignoring the distinction between producer and consumer effects leads to attenuated estimates. Our findings help reconcile a growing but ambiguous literature on the economic roots of conflict.
    JEL: D74 H56 O10 O12
    Date: 2017–01
  3. By: Nouve, Yawotse; Acharya, Ram N.
    Abstract: Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. The most recent UNDP1 report classifies Niger as the last country in terms of human development index. Although more than 80 percent of the economically active population is involved in farming, the agriculture sector generates only around 40 percent of the gross domestic product. Since farm production is heavily dependent on rainfall, frequent extreme weather events may have a severe impact on agricultural output and household income. In this light, this study examines the potential impact of extreme weather events such as prolonged drought and flooding and other selected climate variables on yield of the three major crops in this country: millet, sorghum, and dry bean. Using data from a nationally representative survey conducted in 2014, the estimation results show that drought has a significant negative effect on sorghum and dry bean yield. However, flood have no impact on any of the three crop yields. An increase in temperature affects negatively all three crops yield threatening therefore farm income, and household food security. These results are likely to be further amplified by rising global warming and climate change.
    Keywords: extreme weather events, farm production, poverty, Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Food Security and Poverty, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, Risk and Uncertainty,
    Date: 2017–01–18
  4. By: Damilola Olajide; Maria Laura Alzua; Ana Dammert; Olusegun Sotola; Thompson Ayodele
    Abstract: Many countries in the developing world have implemented non-contributory old age pensions. However, evidence of the impacts on the elderly in Sub-Saharan Africa is scarce. This paper provides the first evidence from a randomized evaluation of an unconditional and non-contributory pension scheme targeted at the elderly and implemented in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The goal is to examine the extent to which such a scheme can serve as an instrument to improve the wellbeing of the beneficiaries in terms of improving their quality of life and reducing household vulnerability. The data used were collected over two six-month follow-up intervals from 6,326 eligible beneficiaries and 18,954 household members across 112 electoral wards in Ekiti State. The randomization of beneficiaries into treatment and control groups is done at the ward level, where 3,178 beneficiaries are eligible to receive an unconditional and non-contributory cash transfer and 3,148 beneficiaries are kept as controls. Treated beneficiaries self-report better overall quality of life, mainly in terms of more stable mental health, higher perceptions of happiness and capabilities, improvement in personal relationships, enhancing their community activities, and better health rating. However, the significant contributors to these results differ between the first and second follow-ups. Also, these effects are incremental in nature, suggesting that they are potentially sustainable over time. The findings provide evidence-based support for demand side interventions to improve the welfare of poor households, but also raise important policy implications for implementing countries. For Nigeria, there is scope for scaling-up to the national level targeting poor households. However, a successful and sustainable national social security scheme requires more equitable eligibility criteria, strong political will and commitment by the government.
    Keywords: randomized control trial, aging challenge, non-contributory elderly pensions, unconditional cash transfer, Ekiti State, Nigeria.
    JEL: C21 C93 H31 H55 H75 I38
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Lorena Alcázar; María Balarin; Karen Espinoza
    Abstract: This study aims to identify the effects of Juntos, the conditional cash transfer program in Peru, on women’s empowerment. Although the program does not envisage women’s welfare as an objective per se, women play a key role as they are the main recipients of the cash transfer and are responsible for compliance with the program’s conditions; thus, their empowerment level can be affected by the intervention. The study applies mixed methods complementing quantitative econometrics with qualitative methods to identify the effects of Juntos on six dimensions of empowerment: economic household decision-making, freedom of movement, gender ideology, agency, self-esteem and perceptions of life. Using two data sources for the quantitative approach (ENDES and Young Lives Study), the study finds positive significant effects on women’s empowerment, specifically on economic household decision-making (even when considering large purchases and resources earned by the partner), self-esteem and perceptions of life; the latter of which is found when women have been part of the program for more than three years. These results are strongly reinforced and explained by the findings of a qualitative approach. No significant results were found on agency, freedom of movement or gender ideology, but the qualitative fieldwork results show improvements on agency and freedom of movement mainly because of women’s participation in training sessions and informal socialization, where they are able to exchange ideas that are then incorporated into their daily lives. However, these improvements may be hampered in some cases by local management of the program in which vertical interaction between the government representatives and beneficiaries occur; women appear as the passive subjects who only receive benefits, conditions and instructions from the program.
    Keywords: gender, women empowerment, impact evaluation, transfer payments, CCT.
    JEL: I38 J16
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Clément BELLET (London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)); Eve SIHRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA))
    Abstract: Even under the direst necessity, Indian households do not seem to spend their budget in a rational of survival: households from lower castes choose to consume less food and more visible items than similar households from high castes, and this difference is stronger for the poor. Using variations in upper caste wealth across regions, we show that disadvantaged castes substitute visible consumption for food when upper castes are relatively richer. In regions where Upper Castes are twice richer, low caste households spend up to 8% more on visible and similarly less on food. For households under $2 dollars a day, it corresponds to a daily budget reallocation of 15 dollar cents. We argue that consumption choices can be partly explained by a preference for status, which depends on inequality between caste groups. Importantly, preferences are upward-looking between castes: the high caste is society’s reference group, and households outside of the caste system are not affected by it. Our results are not driven by general equilibrium effects on prices and no similar effect is observed on other expenditures. They underline the relevance of caste-targeted policies in the process of development.
    Date: 2016–09
  7. By: Harounan Kazianga; Leigh Linden; Cara Orfield; Matt Sloan; Ali Protik
    Abstract: We evaluate the long term effect of a "girl-friendly" primary school program in Burkina Faso, using a regression discontinuity design. The intervention consisted in upgrading existing three-classroom schools to six-classroom schools in order to accommodate more grades. After 6 years, the program increased enrollment by 15.4 percentage points and increased test scores by 0.29 standard deviations. Students in treatment schools progress farther through the grades, compared to students in non-selected schools. These upgraded schools are effective at getting children into school, at getting children start school on time and at keeping children in school longer. Overall, we find that the schools are able to sustain large impacts observed about 3 years earlier, with enrollment declining slightly from 18.5 to 14.9 for the cohorts of children who were exposed to both the first and second phases of the intervention.
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Deepti Goel (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India); Ashwini Deshpande (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India)
    Abstract: Using data from two rounds of the Employment-Unemployment Survey of the National Sample Survey for 2004-5 and 2009-10, we investigate the relationship between social identity, specifically caste identity in India, and perceptions of self-worth as measured by the amounts that individuals consider as remunerative earnings from self-employment. We also investigate if institutional change (e.g. a policy intervention such as an employment guarantee program, or change in the ruling party in power) mitigates this relationship. Finally, we examine the relationship between caste identity and actual earnings, and how institutional change can influence it. Our main finding is that caste identity in contemporary India does shape perceptions of self-worth. Among the fully self-employed, we find that controlling for other characteristics, lower-ranked groups earn lower amounts and perceive lower amounts as being remunerative. Further, institutional factors alter self-perceptions differentially for different caste groups, but in more nuanced ways than our ex-ante beliefs.
    Keywords: Caste Discrimination, Remunerative Earnings, Political Economy
    JEL: J15 O15 P16
    Date: 2016–08
  9. By: Sylvain Dessy, Setou Diarra, Roland Pongou; Setou Diarra; Roland Pongou
    Abstract: Public policy addressing the harmful practice of adolescent marriage tends to leave out men, as prospective grooms. Using micro-level data from Nigeria in combination with plausible instrumental variables, we find that a male's education significantly decreases the likelihood that he marries an adolescent girl. We show that this negative relationship is not a mere mechanical effect reflecting the endogeneity between schooling and marriage-timing decisions, and that it is stronger where patriarchal gender norms are weaker. We develop a model that explains this causal effect as resulting from the complementarity between father's and mother's education in the production of child quality.
    Keywords: Adolescent Marriage; Groom Education; Quantity-Quality Trade-off
    JEL: C12 C13 C14 J12 J13 O12
    Date: 2016
  10. By: Frankema, Ewout; Papaioannou, Kostadis
    Abstract: We explore a new dataset of annual and monthly district-level rainfall patterns to assess the longstanding idea that climatological conditions were more conducive to the development of dense rural populations in Asia than in Africa. We test whether there existed significant cross-regional differences in both the frequency and intensity of rainfall shocks (i.e. annual mean deviations exceeding one standard deviation). Our results confirm that rainfall shocks in tropical Africa were both more frequent and more severe. Second, we test the separate effects of precipitation levels and variability on district-level population densities from colonial population censuses. We hypothesize that higher mean levels of precipitation facilitate agricultural intensification and human settlement, while unpredictability of rainfall has the opposite effect. Controlling for average rainfall levels, we find a strong negative effect of rainfall variation on population densities. This study thus lends further support to a wide literature arguing that the ecological conditions of agricultural intensification were more challenging in the African than in the Asian tropics.
    Keywords: Africa; agriculture; Asia; Climate; Settlement
    JEL: N55 N57 O13 O44
    Date: 2017–01
  11. By: Jacob, Arun
    Abstract: This paper explores the linkages between dowry payments and educational attainment of women. It formulates an unitary household model that captures how these linkages can potentially impact the educational investment decisions within a household. Based on existing literature and the theoretical model, the following three competing hypotheses arise, namely, (i) dowry do not affect educational attainment (ii) dowry favors educational attainment of women (iii) dowry hampers educational attainment of women. Using a national level household survey from India, we test between these three hypotheses. It adopts an instrumental variable estimation strategy to correct for endogeneity of the dowry measure. It finds strong empirical evidence for the hypothesis that expected dowry payments adversely affects female educational attainment. This is mainly driven by the hypergamous marriage custom, by which a bride is normally matched with a groom of higher educational level, which leads to the perverse outcome of dowry increasing with educational level of both bride and groom. We find that future dowry payments have a significant role in lowering educational attainment among women in India. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt at empirically estimating the impact of dowry system on the educational attainment of women. An Engel curve estimation using household expenses reveals significant ender bias in terms of educational expenses. The extension of the research also shows dowry contributes to the ‘missing women’ phenomenon, due to the positive influence of dowry on parents’ preference for male children.
    Keywords: Education; Gender bias; Marriage; Dowry
    JEL: I21 I24 I25 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2016–08

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