nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒07‒23
six papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Social protection investments, human capital, and income growth: Simulating the returns to social cash transfers in Uganda By Dietrich, Stephan; Malerba, Daniele; Barrientos, Armando; Gassmann, Franziska; Mohnen, Pierre; Tirivayi, Nyasha; Kavuma, Susan; Matovu, Fred
  2. Vulnerability and Clientelism By Gustavo Bobonis; Paul Gertler; Marco Gonzalez-Navarro; Simeon Nichter
  3. Role of WASH and Agency in Health: A study of isolated rural communities in Nilgiris and Jalpaiguri By Ramani, Shyama V.
  4. Educational Investment Responses to Economic Opportunity: Evidence from Indian Road Construction By Adukia, Anjali; Asher, Samuel; Novosad, Paul
  5. Human Capital Development and Parental Investment in India. By Orazio Attanasio; Costas Meghir; Emily Nix
  6. A mixed-methods study of Bambara farming in Mtwara, Tanzania By Basile Boulay

  1. By: Dietrich, Stephan (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University); Malerba, Daniele (GDI, University of Manchester); Barrientos, Armando (GDI, University of Manchester); Gassmann, Franziska (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University); Mohnen, Pierre (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University); Tirivayi, Nyasha (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University); Kavuma, Susan (Makerere University); Matovu, Fred (Makerere University)
    Abstract: In this paper we assess the short- and mid-term effects of two cash transfer programmes in Uganda in terms of child underweight, school attainment, and the monetary returns to these indirect effects. Using a micro-simulation approach we test how the scale-up of these pilot interventions could affect human capital indicators and income growth. We first use panel data to estimate the links between income, child health, and school attainment. Thereafter we insert the estimates in a micro-simulation model to predict how cash transfer programmes could generate income returns through higher education attainment and compare programmes in terms of their rates of return.
    Keywords: Cash Transfer, Uganda, Education, Child Health, Simulation
    JEL: I25 I26 I15 H54 O15
    Date: 2017–06–22
  2. By: Gustavo Bobonis; Paul Gertler; Marco Gonzalez-Navarro; Simeon Nichter
    Abstract: Political clientelism is often deemed to undermine democratic accountability and representation. This study argues that economic vulnerability causes citizens to participate in clientelism. We test this hypothesis with a randomized control trial that reduced household vulnerability through a development intervention: constructing residential water cisterns in drought-prone areas of Northeast Brazil. This exogenous reduction in vulnerability significantly decreased requests for private benefits from local politicians, especially by citizens likely to be involved in clientelist relationships. We also link program beneficiaries to granular voting outcomes, and show that this reduction in vulnerability decreased votes for incumbent mayors, who typically have more resources to engage in clientelism. Our evidence points to a persistent reduction in clientelism, given that findings are observed not only during an election campaign, but also a full year later.
    Keywords: Vulnerability, Clientelism, Voting.
    JEL: P16 O10 O12 O54
    Date: 2017–07–11
  3. By: Ramani, Shyama V. (UNU-MERIT, and School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: The objective of the Swachh Bharath Mission (SBM) or Clean India Mission of the Indian Government is to eliminate open defecation in India through installation of toilets and triggering of behavioural change by 2019. The problem is most daunting in isolated communities with poor WASH infrastructure and local agencies with scarce resources. In India, tribal communities, living near forests and along mountain ranges are among the most isolated, which means that the study of the impact of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour) and the effectiveness of local agencies responsible for public hygiene in such communities is pertinent for our research query. Thus, this working paper presents the results of a study of 20 villages located in two districts, Nilgiris and Jalpaiguri, in two distinct Indian states - Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively. The central research question is: What is the role of WASH infrastructure and capabilities and local agencies in containing the incidence of excreta related diseases in isolated rural Indian communities? A novel multi-level model is developed and estimated and further validated through focus research groups. It confirms that disease incidence is jointly determined by the quantity as well as the quality of WASH. The role of agency seems to matter more at village level rather than at the household level.
    Keywords: WASH, Sanitation, Health, Public Health, Health Policy, Inequality, Economic development, Social Innovation, India
    JEL: I12 I15 I18 O15 O18 O35
    Date: 2017–05–08
  4. By: Adukia, Anjali; Asher, Samuel; Novosad, Paul
    Abstract: The rural poor in developing countries, once economically isolated, are increasingly being connected to regional markets. Whether these new connections crowd out or encourage educational investment is a central question. We examine the impacts on educational choices of 115,000 new roads built under India's flagship road construction program. We find that children stay in school longer and perform better on standardized exams. Treatment heterogeneity supports the predictions of a standard human capital investment model: enrollment increases are largest where nearby labor markets offer the highest returns to education and lowest where they imply high opportunity costs of schooling.
    Keywords: Education; Roads; India; Human capital; labor demand shocks; infrastructure; development
    JEL: I25 J24 O18
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Orazio Attanasio (University College of London); Costas Meghir (Yale University); Emily Nix (UCL and USC FBE Marshall)
    Abstract: We estimate production functions for cognition and health for children aged 1-12 in India, where over 70 million children aged 0-5 are at risk of developmental deficits.The inputs into the production functions include parental background, prior child cognition and health, and child investments. We use income and local prices to control for the endogeneity of investments. We find that cognition is sensitive to investments throughout the age range we consider, while health is mainly affected by early investments. We also find that inputs are complementary, and crucially that health is very important in determining cognition. Our paper contributes in understanding how investments and early health outcomes are important in child development. Classification-I14,I15,I25,I32,J13,J24,O 15
    Date: 2017–07
  6. By: Basile Boulay
    Abstract: Economic research tends to focus on a reduced set of crops, leaving a vast array of crops under-researched. However, these ‘marginal crops’ have typically been farmed for centuries and are better suited for the local environment in which they are grown than crops prioritized within existing research. As such, they can contribute towards a less intensive and productivist mode of farming while at the same time help achieving important sustainable development goals. Our mixed-methods study conducted in Tanzania contributes to advancing knowledge of one such marginal crop, the Bambara nut. On the quantitative side, we surveyed 270 farmers across 16 villages in the Mtwara rural district to gather socio-economic and agricultural data. On the qualitative side, we ran focus groups in four villages to enquire about village norms and constraints surrounding the farming of Bambara. We show that Bambara is often seen as a vital crop for food consumption and food security, as it is easy to grow and has a strong nutritional content. However, despite selling at a high price, its market is not well developed due to lack of availability of improved seeds and unreliable marketing channels. We argue that developing the economic potential of indigenous crops constitutes a path towards greater agricultural sustainability as these crops are suited to local environments, need little chemical inputs, are drought resilient and extremely nutritious. Doing so would constitute a first step towards changing the existing and highly problematic agricultural paradigm and reducing farmers’ dependency on input and output markets.
    Keywords: agriculture, underutilised crops, mixed-methods, sustainability JEL Classification: O13, Q01, Q12, Q18, Q19
    Date: 2017

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