nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒08‒06
seven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Tailoring Instruction to Improve Mathematics Skills in Preschools: A Randomized Evaluation By Francisco Gallego; Emma Näslund-Hadley; Mariana Alfonso
  2. Inequality, poverty and the intra-household allocation of consumption in Senegal By Sylvie Lambert; Philippe De Vreyer
  3. Food, Drought and Conflict Evidence from a Case-Study on Somalia By Astrid Sneyers
  4. Age of Marriage, Weather Shocks, and the Direction of Marriage Payments By Lucia Corno; Nicole Hildebrandt; Alessandra Voena
  5. Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics By Andrew Dickens
  6. Vocational Training Programs and Youth Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Nepal By Shubha Chakravarty; Mattias Lundberg; Plamen Nikolov; Juliane Zenker
  7. Commodity Prices Shocks and Poverty Reduction in Chile By Roberto Álvarez; Álvaro García Marín; Sebastián Ilabaca

  1. By: Francisco Gallego; Emma Näslund-Hadley; Mariana Alfonso
    Abstract: Previous research suggests that tailoring instruction to each student needs can produce significant learning gains. However, few programs have successfully implemented this approach in practice. In this paper, we present the results of a randomized evaluation of a program that uses an individualized scaffolding approach during regular school hours to teach the basic elements of numbers and shapes to preschoolers using a sample of 107 preschool centers and almost 3,000 children in Peru. The program improves Math outcomes among all children (by 0.10 standard deviations) and has stronger impacts for students in the lower quintiles of the distribution of outcomes and for students with teachers with university degrees. The effect in the areas that were implemented in a more intense way persists even one year after the program ended. Interestingly, we find no evidence of effects that are different across gender, language-spoken at home, and proxies for SES, contrasting with results from previous research that suggest that effects of Math programs are biased along gender and socioeconomic lines.
    JEL: I21 I28 O15
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Sylvie Lambert (Paris School of Economics, INRA); Philippe De Vreyer (Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University,IRD, LEDa, DIAL)
    Abstract: This paper uses a novel survey to re-examine inequality levels in Senegal. Using consumption data collected at a relatively disaggregated level within households, it first underlines that consumption inequality in this country is likely to be much higher that what is commonly thought, with a Gini index reaching 0.54. This paper also reveals the extent of within household consumption inequalities. We show that within household inequality accounts for nearly 16% of total inequality in Senegal. One of the consequences of such unequal repartition of resources within households is the potential existence of “invisible poor” in households classified as non-poor. Our assessment is that as many as 12.5% of the poor individuals live in non-poor households. In total, our results suggest that the more complex the household structure, the bigger the household size, the more inequality is likely to be underestimated when computed using standard consumption surveys.
    Date: 2017–04
  3. By: Astrid Sneyers (nternational Security and Development Center LICOS, Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, University of Leuven, Belgium)
    Abstract: This paper aims at disentangling the mutual link between conflict, drought and food security in Somalia. The analysis is conducted using various indicators for food security and on different (national and sub- national) aggregation levels. The evidence is partly based on datafrom a household-level survey, collected in various regions in Somalia in 2013. In addition, we use geo-spatial regional and district level data, which combines (geo-referenced) drought data, with information on conflict from the joined ACLED-PRIO database, together with other location-specific variables. Overall, we find a positive effect of drought on the percentage underweight individuals for pastoral livelihoods on the regional level. At the same time, drought seems to have a small linear increasing effect on the ratio of rural populations in stressed, crisis, and emergency food security situations, while there seems to be no significant effect for urban populations. Based on household panel data, a negative effect of drought on non-food expenditures is found as well as a negative effect of conflict on non-food expenditures, confirming that these households buy less non-food items when confronted with distressing situations. Furthermore, we find an increasing effect of one-sided, intrastate, and internationalized conflict on the percentage underweight individuals on the regional level. In addition, we also find a negative effect of conflict exposure on food expenditures for pastoral (rural) households, in contrast with urban households. This emphasizes the fact that conflict has a more profound effect on the food security of rural households, notwithstanding their functions as food producers. Finally, on the district level, we do not find substantial evidence that drought triggers conflict. In contrast, on the household level we find strong evidence for this, suggesting that conflict analysis at a lower aggregation level does reveal findings that we may not pick up on at a higher aggregation level.
    Keywords: none JEL Classification: none
  4. By: Lucia Corno (Cattolica University); Nicole Hildebrandt (Boston Consulting Group); Alessandra Voena (The University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper studies how aggregate economic conditions affect marriage markets in developing countries where marriage is regulated by traditional customary norms. We examine how local economics shocks influence the timing of marriage, and particularly child marriage, in Sub-Saharan Africa and in India, where substantial monetary or in-kind transfers occur with marriage: bride price across Sub-Saharan Africa and dowry in India. In a simple equilibrium model of the marriage market in which parents choose when their children marry, income shocks affect the age of marriage because marriage payments are a source of consumption smoothing, particularly for a woman's family. As predicted by our model, we show that droughts, which reduce annual crop yields by 10 to 15%, have opposite effects on the marriage behavior of a sample of 400,000 women in the two regions: in Sub-Saharan Africa, they increase the annual hazard into child marriage by 3%, while in India droughts reduce such a hazard by 4%. Changes in the age of marriage due to droughts are associated with changes in fertility, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, and with declines in observed marriage payments. Our results indicate that the age of marriage responds to short-term changes in aggregate economic conditions and that traditional norms determine this response. This suggests that, in order to design successful policies to combat child marriage and improve investments in daughters' human capital, it it crucial to understand the economic role of traditional cultural norms.
    Keywords: marriage market, income shocks, informal insurance, Africa, India, dowry, bride price
    JEL: J10 O15
    Date: 2017–07
  5. By: Andrew Dickens (Department of Economics, Brock University)
    Abstract: I document evidence of ethnic favoritism in a panel of 163 ethnolinguistic groups partitioned across 35 African countries. In contrast to previous studies, I construct a computerized lexicostatistical measure of linguistic similarity between each ethnic group and the national leader as a novel measure of ethnic proximity. I exploit the arbitrary placement of African political borders as a source of exogenous within-group variation, where the similarity of the same partitioned group varies over time according to the ethnolinguistic identity of the national leader on each side of the border. To quantify patronage at the group level, I isolate time variation in night light luminosity resulting from changes in the ethnolinguistic identity of a leader. Using a triple-difference estimator I find that a one standard deviation increase in linguistic similarity yields a 7.0 percent increase in luminosity, which corresponds to a 2.1 percent increase in group-level GDP per capita. I then use the continuity of linguistic similarity to show that favoritism exists among groups that are not coethnic to the leader, where the mean effect of non-coethnic similarity is one quarter the size of the coethnic effect. I corroborate this evidence using individual-level data and establish that it's where an individual lives and the attached ethnolinguistic identity that predicts favoritism, not the identity of the individual respondent. I relate these results to the literature on coalition building, and provide evidence that ethnicity is one of the guiding principles behind high-level government appointments.
    Date: 2017–07
  6. By: Shubha Chakravarty (The World Bank); Mattias Lundberg (The World Bank); Plamen Nikolov (State University of New York (at Binghamton)); Juliane Zenker (University of Göttingen)
    Abstract: Lack of skills is arguably one of the most important determinants for high levels of unemployment and poverty. Targeting youth unemployment and also important because of its strong influence on other important social outcomes. Using a “fuzzy” regression discontinuity design, we examine the employment effects of a vocational training program in Nepal launched in 2009 over a three-year period. We find program participation generated an increase in non-farm employment of 28 percentage points for an overall gain of 95 percent, three years into the program. The program also generated an average monthly earnings gain of 2,167NRs (˜ 29 USD) or 171 percent. Applying heterogeneous local average treatment effect (HLATE) estimators, we find striking differences in the impacts by gender: program impacts are almost double the size for women than for men.
    Keywords: training, employment, labor, economic development, Nepal, Regression Discontinuity, gender
    JEL: I21 I28 I38 J08 J24 O15
    Date: 2017–07
  7. By: Roberto Álvarez; Álvaro García Marín; Sebastián Ilabaca
    Abstract: This paper examines the local economic impact of large increases in metal-mining product prices on poverty in Chile. Using household data from 1998 to 2013 and exploiting differences in municipalities’ exposure to price changes, we provide evidence of a reduction in poverty rates following the positive terms of trade shock of 2003. According to our estimations, the increase in mineral prices experienced between 2003 and 2009 reduced poverty by more than 2 percentage points in municipalities relatively exposed to the commodity boom – with at least 7% of employment in the metal-mining sector – in comparison to municipalities with no exposure to the boom. In addition, we explore some of the mechanisms explaining the reduction in poverty. We find significant effect of higher products prices on wages and employment, especially for unskilled workers and for workers employed in metal-mining industries.
    Date: 2017–07

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