nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒04‒30
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. From Proof of Concept to Scalable Policies: Challenges and Solutions, with an Application By Banerjee, Abhijit V.; Banerji, Rukmini; Berry, James; Duflo, Esther; Kannan, Harini; Mukerji, Shobhini; Shotland, Marc; Walton, Michael
  2. The New Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment By Clemens, Michael; Pritchett, Lant
  3. Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of "Teaching at the Right Level" in India By Banerjee, Abjijit; Banerji, Rukmini; Berry, James; Duflo, Esther; Kannan, Harini; Mukerji, Shobhini; Shotland, Marc; Walton, Michael
  4. The Impact of Social Safety Net Scholarships Program to School Dropout Rates in Indonesia: The Intention-To-Treat Analysis By Kharisma, Bayu; Satriawan, Elan; Arsyad, Lincolin
  5. The Multiple Effects of Child Health Insurance in Vietnam By Dang, Thang
  6. Attrition in Randomized Control Trials: Using tracking information to correct bias By Macours, Karen; Molina Millan, Teresa
  7. Are there different spillover effects from cash transfers to men and women? Impacts on investments in education in post-war Uganda By Margherita Calderone
  8. Human capital, labour market outcomes, and horizontal inequality in Guatemala By Carla Canelas; Rachel M. Gisselquist
  9. Resource endowments and agricultural commercialization in colonial Africa: Did labour seasonality and food security drive Uganda’s cotton revolution? By Michiel de Haas; Kostadis J. Papaioannou
  10. Crop Diversification and Technical Efficiency in Afghanistan: Stochastic Frontier Analysis By Hayatullah Ahmadzai

  1. By: Banerjee, Abhijit V. (MIT and BREAD, Duke U); Banerji, Rukmini (ASER Centre, Pratham); Berry, James (Cornell University); Duflo, Esther (MIT and BREAD, Duke U); Kannan, Harini (J-PAL, MIT); Mukerji, Shobhini (J-PAL, MIT); Shotland, Marc (J-PAL, MIT); Walton, Michael (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The promise of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is that evidence gathered through the evaluation of a specific program helps us--possibly after several rounds of fine-tuning and multiple replications in different contexts--to inform policy. However, critics have pointed out that a potential constraint in this agenda is that results from small, NGO-run "proof-of-concept" studies may not apply to policies that can be implemented by governments on a large scale. After discussing the potential issues, this paper describes the journey from the original concept to the design and evaluation of scalable policy. We do so by evaluating a series of strategies that aim to integrate the NGO Pratham's "Teaching at the Right Level" methodology into elementary schools in India. The methodology consists of re-organizing instruction based on children's actual learning levels, rather than on a prescribed syllabus, and has previously been shown to be very effective when properly implemented. We present RCT evidence on the designs that failed to produce impacts within the regular schooling system but helped shape subsequent versions of the program. As a result of this process, two versions of the programs were developed that successfully raised children's learning levels using scalable models in government schools.
    Date: 2016–09
  2. By: Clemens, Michael (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC); Pritchett, Lant (Harvard University and Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)
    Abstract: For decades, migration economics has stressed the effects of migration restrictions on income distribution in the host country. Recently the literature has taken a new direction by estimating the costs of migration restrictions to global economic efficiency. In contrast, a new strand of research posits that migration restrictions could be not only desirably redistributive, but in fact globally efficient. This is the new economic case for migration restrictions. The case rests on the possibility that without tight restrictions on migration, migrants from poor countries could transmit low productivity ("A" or Total Factor Productivity) to rich countries--offsetting efficiency gains from the spatial reallocation of labor from low to high-productivity places. We provide a novel assessment, proposing a simple model of dynamically efficient migration under productivity transmission and calibrating it with new macro and micro data. In this model, the case for efficiency-enhancing migration barriers rests on three parameters: transmission, the degree to which origin-country total factor productivity is embodied in migrants; assimilation, the degree to which migrants' productivity determinants become like natives' over time in the host country; and congestion, the degree to which transmission and assimilation change at higher migrant stocks. On current evidence about the magnitudes of these parameters, dynamically efficient policy would not imply open borders but would imply relaxations on current restrictions. That is, the new efficiency case for some migration restrictions is empirically a case against the stringency of current restrictions.
    JEL: F22 J61 O11
    Date: 2016–12
  3. By: Banerjee, Abjijit (MIT and BREAD, Duke U); Banerji, Rukmini (ASER Centre and Pratham); Berry, James (Cornell University); Duflo, Esther (MIT and BREAD, Duke U); Kannan, Harini (J-PAL, MIT and IFMR, Sri City); Mukerji, Shobhini (J-PAL, MIT and IFMR, Sri City); Shotland, Marc (J-PAL, MIT); Walton, Michael (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Previous randomized studies have shown that addressing children's current learning gaps, rather than following an over-ambitious uniform curriculum, can lead to significant learning gains. In this study, we evaluate a series of efforts to scale up the NGO Pratham's approach to teaching children according to their actual learning level, in four Indian States. While this approach was previously shown to be extremely effective when implemented with community volunteers outside of school, the objective of these new scale-up evaluations was to develop a model that could be implemented within the government school system. In the first two instances (Bihar and Uttarakhand), the methodology was not adopted by government schoolteachers, despite well-received training sessions and Pratham support. Motivated by the quantitative and qualitative analysis of these early attempts, we adapted the approach and designed large-scale experiments in the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to test two new scale-up models. In Haryana, teachers received support from government resource persons trained by Pratham, and implemented the approach during a dedicated hour. In Uttar Pradesh, Pratham volunteers implemented high-intensity, short-burst "learning camps" for 40 days, in school and during school hours, with additional 10-day summer camps. Both models proved effective, with gains in language of 0.15 standard deviation in Haryana, and 0.70 standard deviations in Uttar Pradesh, on all students enrolled in these schools at baseline. These two models provide blueprints that can be replicated inside other government systems.
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Kharisma, Bayu; Satriawan, Elan; Arsyad, Lincolin
    Abstract: This study aims to investigate the role of Indonesia’s Social Safety Net Scholarships Program to the school dropout rates in basic education in Indonesia using Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) and the Intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis. Randomized controlled trials often suffer from two major complications, i.e., noncompliance and missing outcomes. One potential solution to this problem is a statistical concept called intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis. One of the challenges of estimating the effect of the JPS program is the non-random allocation of the scholarships. The results showed that the JPS scholarship received by boys and girls per 100 children is proven to be effective in reducing the school dropout rates in basic education, given that levels of education are very vulnerable to dropping out of school as a result of the impact of the economic crisis, particularly in junior secondary school. Meanwhile, the JPS scholarships received by boys more effective to reduce school dropout rates than girls in reducing the school dropout rates, considering that boys are more involved during the economic crisis. The findings were the same in Java and Bali that the average number of boys per 100 children who received JPS scholarship has shown a more significant share in reducing the total dropout number compared to those who are outside the Java and Bali areas. Thus, it will reduce the households that tried to offset the impact of the economic crisis with a variety of coping strategies, especially using boy’s child labor in Java and Bali. Although the JPS scholarship effectively reduces the school dropout rates in basic education, but the influence is still felt inadequate. Therefore, the government needs to fix the target criteria for scholarships recipients to be more accurate and on target with the latest data update. This is important because accurate targeting will determine the effectiveness of the program. Furthermore, it has poor selection criteria carried out by the committee schools, therefore, it needs to be fixed in order to avoid any irregularities.
    Keywords: Social Safety Net Scholarships Program, School Dropout Rates, IFLS, ITT
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Dang, Thang
    Abstract: This paper estimates multiple effects of tremendous expansion in health insurance coverage for children on medical services utilizations for both children and parents by focusing on Free Care for Children Under Six, a child health insurance program that provides free access to health care practices for children under 6 in Vietnam. Using a regression discontinuity design, the paper finds that child health insurance has considerable positive effects on children’s health care uses whereas it reduces parental health care utilization for some outcomes. In particular, child health health insurance increases the probabilities of public inpatient visit and private outpatient visit by 22.3% and 33% respectively while it rises the frequencies of public inpatient visits and private outpatient visits by 0.32 times and 2.24 times respectively. In contrast, child health insurance reduces a mother’s probabilities of public inpatient visit and public outpatient visit by 32.6% and 27% respectively, number of public inpatient visits by 0.41 times. Also, paternal impacts of child health insurance consists of a 23.2% reduction in the probability of private outpatient visit and a 1.01 time decrease in the frequency of private outpatient visits. The paper significantly provides a more insightful understanding of various impacts of a health policy on health care utilization from developing countries.
    Keywords: Child health insurance; health care utilization; regression discontinuity; Vietnam
    JEL: I12 I13 I18
    Date: 2017–04–19
  6. By: Macours, Karen; Molina Millan, Teresa
    Abstract: This paper starts from a review of RCT studies in development economics, and documents many studies largely ignore attrition once attrition rates are found balanced between treatment arms. The paper analyzes the implications of attrition for the internal and external validity of the results of a randomized experiment with balanced attrition rates, and proposes a new method to correct for attrition bias. We rely on a 10-years longitudinal data set with a final attrition rate of 10 percent, obtained after intensive tracking of migrants, and document the sensitivity of ITT estimates for schooling gains and labour market outcomes for a social program in Nicaragua. We find that not including those found during the intensive tracking leads to an overestimate of the ITT effects for the target population by more than 35 percent, and that selection into attrition is driven by observable baseline characteristics. We propose to correct for attrition using inverse probability weighting with estimates of weights that exploit the similarities between missing individuals and those found during an intensive tracking phase. We compare these estimates with alternative strategies using regression adjustment, standard weights, bounds or proxy information.
    Keywords: attrition; long-term evaluation; randomized control trials
    JEL: C31 C81 C93 O12
    Date: 2017–04
  7. By: Margherita Calderone
    Abstract: This paper looks at the spillover effects of grants under the Youth Opportunities Programme (YOP) on human capital investments in conflict-affected Northern Uganda. The YOP grant was primarily aimed at providing start-up money to groups of underemployed young people, and in practice worked similarly to an unconditional cash transfer. It kept a gender balance by mandating that groups should be at least one third female. Overall, the intervention had a significant impact on education-related expenditures, increasing them by 11–15 per cent (US$17– 23) in the shorter and longer term (i.e. after two and four years). However, the educational expenditures of women did not increase. Female recipients seem not to have spent more on education, at least in part because of redistributive pressures such as probable financial requests from other members of their YOP group. These findings are relevant for future designs of group eligibility rules and for targeting of cash transfers.
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Carla Canelas; Rachel M. Gisselquist
    Abstract: With the second largest indigenous population by percentage in Latin America, Guatemala is an important case for understanding horizontal inequality and indigenous politics. This paper presents new analysis of survey data, allowing for consideration both of indigenous and ladino populations, as well as of ethno-linguistic diversity within the indigenous population. Overall, our analysis illustrates both the depth and persistence of horizontal inequalities in educational and labour market outcomes, and a broad trend towards greater equality. Earnings gaps have been reduced by, among other factors, improved educational outcomes. Ethnic groups also show distinct patterns of wages and wage gaps, and there is evidence of a ‘sticky floor’ effect at the lower ends of the income spectrum affecting some groups more than others. Our findings suggest that the focus on the indigenous/non-indigenous divide found in much of the economic literature on Latin America obscures meaningful diversity within the indigenous population. We posit that further consideration of such within-group diversity has implications for broader theories of ethnic politics, and in particular for understanding the comparative weakness of indigenous political mobilization in Guatemala at the national level.
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Michiel de Haas (Wageningen University, University of Michigan); Kostadis J. Papaioannou (London School of Economics & Political Science)
    Abstract: Why did some African smallholders adopt cash crops on a considerable scale, while most others were hesitant to do so? This study sets out to explore the importance of factor endowments in shaping the degrees to which cash crops were adopted in colonial tropical Africa. We conduct an in-depth case study of the ‘cotton revolution’ in colonial Uganda to put the factor endowments perspective to the test. Our empirical findings, based on an annual panel data analysis at the district-level from 1925 till 1960, underscore the importance of Uganda’s equatorial bimodal rainfall distribution as an enabling factor for Uganda’s ‘cotton revolution’. We also provide evidence at a unique spatial micro-level, by capitalizing on detailed household surveys from the same period. We demonstrate that previous explanations associating variegated responses of African farmers to cash crops either to the role of colonial coercion, or to a distinction between ‘forest/banana’ and ‘savannah/grain’ zones cannot explain the widespread adoption of cotton in Uganda. We argue, instead, that the key to the cotton revolution were Uganda’s two rainy seasons, which enabled farmers to grow cotton while simultaneously pursuing food security. Our study highlights the importance of food security and labour seasonality as important determinants of agricultural commercialization in colonial tropical Africa.
    Keywords: Agricultural Commercialization, Resource Endowments, African Economic History, Rainfall distribution, Cotton
    JEL: N17 N57 Q17 C23 N97
    Date: 2017–04
  10. By: Hayatullah Ahmadzai
    Abstract: Using Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA), this paper centered on analysing the impact of Crop Diversification (CD) on farm level technical efficiency in Afghanistan. Data from a household level survey conducted in 2013-2004 by the Central Statistic Organization (CSO) is used in the analysis. The results revealed that adoption of a diversified portfolio of crops by the farmers significantly improves technical efficiency. In addition, access to extension services, farm size, cattle, oxen and tractor ownership by the farm households, and regional variables were other important factors that significantly affect technical efficiency. It is evident from the results that the estimated technical efficiency indices from the preferred truncated normal distribution range from 1.5% to 99.29%, with a sample mean of 71.9%. The basic SFA model was investigated for potential endogeneity in crop diversification. Instrumental Variable (IV) method was employed to correct for endogeneity in crop diversification. The results of the IV estimation reveal that failing to account for endogeneity in the basic model leads to a downward bias which is consistent with attenuation bias (measurement error in CD implies that OLS coefficients are biased towards zero, so one would predict IV coefficients greater in absolute size). The results of crop diversification index showed the presence of a relatively low level of crop diversification. Maximum likelihood estimation of translog stochastic frontier model shows that land, labour, and other purchased inputs (fertilizer, seeds, pesticides usage) have positive impact on farm revenues. The results show an evidence of constant returns to scale.
    Keywords: Agricultural economics, Afghanistan, applied econometrics, technical efficiency, crop diversification JEL Classification: O12, Q12, O13, Q18, D24
    Date: 2017

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