nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒02‒05
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Women's Economic Capacity and Children's Human Capital Accumulation By de Hoop, Jacobus; Premand, Patrick; Rosati, Furio C.; Vakis, Renos
  2. The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa By Eoin McGuirk; Marshall Burke
  3. High School Track Choice and Liquidity Constraints: Evidence from Urban Mexico By Avitabile, Ciro; Bobba, Matteo; Pariguana, Marco
  4. Do farmers with less education realize higher yield gains from GM maize in developing countries? Evidence from the Philippines By Jones, Michael S.; Rejesus, Roderick M.; Brown, Zachary S.; Yorobe, Jose M.
  5. The Impact of Changes in Commodity Prices on Household Welfare in Rural Burkina Faso By Nakelse, Tebila; Dalton, Timothy; Hendricks, Nathan; Kabore, Moussa
  6. Urbanization and the two tails of malnutrition in Tanzania By Hannah Ameye
  7. Does Market Access Improve Dietary Diversity? Evidence from Bangladesh By Davidson, Kelly A.; Kropp, Jaclyn D.
  8. Cost-sharing in health insurance and its impact in a developing country– Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment By Nguyen, Ha; Connelly, Luke B.
  9. Landholders’ Choice to Adopt Improved Watershed Management in the Lower Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia By Legesse, Befikadu; Yeboah, Osei
  10. Islamic Law and Investments in Children: Evidence from the Sharia Introduction in Nigeria By Marco Alfano

  1. By: de Hoop, Jacobus (UNICEF Office of Research, Innocenti); Premand, Patrick (World Bank); Rosati, Furio C. (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Vakis, Renos (World Bank)
    Abstract: Programs that increase the economic capacity of poor women can have cascading effects on children's participation in school and work that are theoretically undetermined. We present a simple model to describe the possible channels through which these programs may affect children's activities. Based on a cluster-randomized trial, we examine how a program providing capital and training to women in poor rural communities in Nicaragua affected children. Children in beneficiary households are more likely to attend school one year after the end of the intervention. An increase in women's influence on household decisions appears to contribute to the program's beneficial effect on school attendance.
    Keywords: women's economic capacity, female empowerment, Nicaragua, child labor, human capital accumulation, field experiment
    JEL: D13 H43 I25 J22 J24 O15 O22 Q12
    Date: 2017–01
  2. By: Eoin McGuirk (Yale University); Marshall Burke (Stanford University and NBER)
    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.
    Date: 2017–01
  3. By: Avitabile, Ciro (University of Surrey); Bobba, Matteo (Toulouse School of Economics); Pariguana, Marco (University of Western Ontario)
    Abstract: We study how a large household windfall affects sorting of relatively disadvantaged youth over high school tracks by exploiting the discontinuity in the assignment of a welfare program in Mexico. The in-cash transfer is found to significantly increase the probability of selecting vocational schools as the most preferred options vis-a-vis other more academically oriented education modalities. We find support for the hypothesis that the transfer relaxes the liquidity constraints preventing relatively poor students from choosing a schooling career with higher out-of-pocket expenditures and higher expected returns. The observed change in stated preferences across tracks effectively alters school placement, and bears a positive effect on on-time graduation.
    Keywords: school choice, tracking, financial constraints, vocational education, returns to education, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2017–01
  4. By: Jones, Michael S.; Rejesus, Roderick M.; Brown, Zachary S.; Yorobe, Jose M.
    Abstract: For genetically-modified (GM) maize with genes for insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin expression and glyphosate tolerance, there is ample developing world evidence demonstrating general increases in farmer average yields. However, little work carefully examines farmer profiles to explain mechanisms for heterogeneity in yield effects. In this article, we view Bt and stacked traits as simplifying input components, removing much complexity in farmer pest control needs. With panel data from the Philippines, we test whether these traits serve as substitutes or complements to human capital. We thus examine an oft-discussed but previously unexplored facet of Bt technology impacts. Results indicate GM traits are substitutes with proxies for human capital and pest control knowledge. For every year decrease in formal education and maize farming experience, farmers realize significantly higher yield gains from planting GM maize. This evidence provides additional insights about ‘pro-poor’ claims of many GM proponents, given small-scale, poor farmers tend to have lower levels of education.
    Keywords: genetically modified crops, Bt maize, education, Philippines, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Nakelse, Tebila; Dalton, Timothy; Hendricks, Nathan; Kabore, Moussa
    Abstract: We use unique panel data to estimate the effect of an increase in the price of food commodities on household welfare in Burkina Faso. Our analysis includes the negative impacts on households as food consumers, as well as the positive impacts as food producers to estimate their net welfare change. The data were collected each year by the Burkina Faso Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, which covered periods of food price crises. To evaluate the welfare effect of the price shocks, we first estimate demand and supply responses and then derive the net welfare change at the household and country level. Overall, the price shocks are associated with a gain in the rural household welfare because the producer’s effect outweighed the consumer’s effect.
    Keywords: Welfare Economics, Microeconomics, Demand Elasticities, Supply Elasticities, Burkina Faso, Consumer/Household Economics, Demand and Price Analysis, International Development, Marketing,
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Hannah Ameye
    Abstract: It is increasingly recognized that urbanization is accompanied by profound changes in African diets. Some studies hold the hope that urbanization will help eradicate hunger and undernourishment, both still prominent issues in the region. Others have warned that urbanization may actually shift the problem from the left to the right tail of the food consumption distribution, with urban diets being dominated by high-calorie processed foods and an excessive intake of oil and sugar. Throughout the literature, most datasets simply provide aggregated nutritional information and lack the necessary level of granularity hampering investigation into these issues. Most studies also aggregate everything from small towns to megacities into a single ‘urban’ category, potentially missing important heterogeneity with respect to dietary change. This paper overcomes these problems by using a dataset of 1,498 households from Tanzania, each of whom completed a 2-week consumption diary that records detailed information on the quantity and characteristics of all food consumed. This allows us to calculate the macro- and micronutrient content of these diets. Dietary differences across urban and rural households are documented using OLS regressions and the doubly robust estimation method. These analyses are split into separate income groups to account for income heterogeneity. Our results caution against generalizations about urban diets as “right tail” theories have done. Firstly, we observe that the average urban household has a more wholesome diet indicating that micronutrient deficiencies are less prominent. This thus contradicts theories stating that urban diets are unhealthy. On the one hand, low and middle income urban households from our sample area meet the daily recommended values of most nutrients, making their diet more fulfilling compared to that of rural households. On the other hand, rich urban and rural households are found to overconsume, yet urban households tend to be less extreme. Secondly, when disaggregating urban areas into various categories, it is found that secondary towns present favourable diets and although larger cities such as Dodoma and Dar Es Salaam show higher levels of consumption, sufficient micronutrients are taken in and unhealthy substances do not reach alarmingly high levels.
    Keywords: Micronutrient Intake, Malnutrition, Urbanization, Secondary Towns, Tanzania
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Davidson, Kelly A.; Kropp, Jaclyn D.
    Abstract: The persistence of malnutrition resulting from micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries has led to a recent movement for better linkages between agriculture extension and nutrition education in development work. Few empirical studies have examined this link, and previous studies in the agricultural development literature have primarily focused on the link between nutrition and farm diversity, productivity and profitability. Smallholder farmers are often faced with the decision to consume or sell farm products. These joint production and consumption decisions impact household nutrition and dietary diversity. Furthermore, the farmer’s decision may be driven by access to markets for selling products produced by the household or for purchasing food for home consumption. Using primary data from a household-level survey in Bangladesh, this study investigates the effect of agricultural production and market participation on food group consumption. The data was collected from over 1,000 households from two districts in Bangladesh from August to November. The empirical analysis models consumption of various food groups as a function of farm production diversity, access to markets, household income and household characteristics such as age, gender and education of the household head.
    Keywords: Food Security, Nutrition, Agriculture, Bangladesh, Consumer/Household Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, International Development,
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Nguyen, Ha; Connelly, Luke B.
    Abstract: Though the impact of cost-sharing on health care demand is well documented in developed countries, evidence from developing countries is rare. This paper’s contribution is to analyse the impact of increasing coinsurance in a developing nation -Vietnam – by exploiting a quasi-natural experiment in that country. In 2007, the Vietnam government reintroduced a 20 percent coinsurance for individuals who hold voluntary health insurance policies. As individuals with compulsory health insurance were exempt from this re-imposition of coinsurance, this policy change may be regarded as a quasi-natural experiment. To exploit this change, we use a difference-in-difference approach to examine whether the increase in coinsurance effectively reduced the demand for health care services among those affected. We find it has no statistically significant effect on the quantity of health care demanded. We however find that those who were under 18 or in low income households reduced their health care use after the increase in coinsurance. These findings hold – at least in the short-run, with a variety of different outcomes and estimators.
    Keywords: Health insurance, Difference-in-difference, Cost-sharing, Developing country, Vietnam
    JEL: G22 I13 I18
    Date: 2017–01
  9. By: Legesse, Befikadu; Yeboah, Osei
    Abstract: Watersheds are tremendously degraded worldwide, largely in developing countries especially in the Blue Nile Basin in Ethiopia. The degradation is due to several factors including pressure from land use and economic development. The degradation might be characterized by poor water quality, irregularity in water quantity, heavy floods that destroy life and property, sediment deposition in streams and irrigation canals; and sediment deposition on dams etc. Several researchers have suggested different watershed management interventions to end these problems, especially in developing countries. They include reforestation; construction of stone terrace; soil bunds; water harvesting technologies; and crop residue management. However, most landholders are not adopting these recommended technologies mainly due to socio-economic, institutional and policy-related issues. This paper empirically examines existing factors that are perceived to affect landholders’ decisions for adopting improved watershed management intervention technologies in the Blue Nile Basin in Ethiopia. A multi-stage probability sampling techniques was used to sample 300 respondents and a binary Logit model was applied to the data. Results indicate that education, farm size, fertilizer, tropical livestock unit, traditional local institutions, land security and distance to nearest market are found to be significant factors that influence downstream landholders’ decision to adopt improved watershed management technologies.
    Keywords: Adoption behavior, improved watershed management, Blue Nile basin, downstream landholders, binary logit model, Environmental Economics and Policy, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Land Economics/Use, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Marco Alfano (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: Islamic law lays down detailed rules regulating the upbringing of children. This study examines the effect of such rules on parental behaviour by analysing the introduction of Sharia law in northern Nigeria. The empirical strategy exploits variation across administrative areas, time and religion together with the fact that the historical homelands of some Nigerian ethnicities fall into both states that introduced Islamic laws and states that did not. Estimates show that the introduction of Sharia law increased fertility, the duration of breastfeeding and primary school enrolment. Evidence further suggests that the Sharia affected behaviour by increasing the economic returns to sons and by raising the value of conspicuous adherence to Islam.
    Keywords: Islam, Fertility, Breastfeeding, Nigeria
    JEL: O15 J12 J13
    Date: 2017–01

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