nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒08‒27
fifteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Health insurance, a friend in need? Evidence from financial and health diaries in Kenya By Geng, Xin; Ide, Vera; Janssens, Wendy; Kramer, Berber; van der List, Marijn
  2. Cooking contests for healthier recipes: Impacts on nutrition knowledge and behaviors in Bangladesh By Kramer, Berber
  3. Assessing the health and nutrition risks of smallholder poultry production in Burkina Faso: Insights from formative research By Gelli, Aulo; Headey, Derek D.; Ngure, Francis; Becquey, Elodie; Ganaba, Rasmané; Huybregts, Lieven; Pedehombga, Abdoulaye; Sanou, Armande; Traore, Abdoulaye; Zongo, Florence; Zongrone, Amanda
  4. Learning about the Enforcement of Conditional Welfare Programs: Evidence from Brazil By Brollo, Fernanda; Kaufmann, Katja Maria; Ferrara, Eliana La
  5. Food expenditure patterns and dietary diversity in Nepal: Is dietary quality improving? By Kumar, Anjani; Thapa, Ganesh B.; Joshi, Pramod Kumar
  6. The Political Economy of Program Enforcement: Evidence from Brazil By Brollo, Fernanda; Kaufmann, Katja Maria; Ferrara, Eliana La
  7. Cash transfers and management advice for agriculture: Evidence from Senegal: By Ambler, Kate; de Brauw, Alan; Godlonton, Susan
  8. Women’s land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence By Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Doss, Cheryl R.; Theis, Sophie
  9. Does fiscal decentralization enhance citizens’ access to public services and reduce poverty? Evidence from a conflict setting By Tiangboho SANOGO
  10. Can the land rental market facilitate smallholder commercialization? Evidence from northern Ethiopia By Gebru, Menasbo; Holden, Stein T.; Tilahun, Mesfin
  11. Empowerment, adaptation, and agricultural production evidence from Niger By Wouterse, Fleur Stephanie
  12. Fertile Ground for Conflict By Nicolas Berman; Mathieu Couttenier; Raphael Soubeyran
  13. Does Maternal Employment Affect Child Nutrition Status? New Evidence from Egypt By Rashad, Ahmed; Sharaf, Mesbah
  14. Determinants of Successful Collective Management of Forest Resources: Evidence from Kenyan Community Forest Associations By Boscow Okumu; Edwin Muchapondwa
  15. Does Female Education have a Bargaining Effect on Household Welfare? Evidence from Ghana and Uganda By Raymond B. Frempong; David Stadelmann

  1. By: Geng, Xin; Ide, Vera; Janssens, Wendy; Kramer, Berber; van der List, Marijn
    Abstract: Health insurance can protect consumption from health shocks, but it can also crowd out informal transfers. This paper examines whether health insurance improves consumption smoothing in the face of health shocks, and to what extent results depend on households’ access to informal transfers as a risk coping strategy. Using high-frequency panel data on health and finances collected in rural Kenya, we show that mobile money users have stronger access to informal transfers than nonusers. We further find that health shocks induce nonusers of mobile money to lower their nonhealth expenditures by approximately 25 percent in weeks when they are uninsured. These same households are able to smooth consumption in weeks with insurance coverage, due to lower out-of-pocket health expenditures. In contrast, mobile money users are able to smooth consumption when experiencing health shocks even in the absence of health insurance, due to an inflow of informal transfers. For this group, health insurance improves healthcare utilization and does not crowd out the inflow informal transfers during weeks with health shocks. These findings have implications for the design of health insurance and mobile health financing products.
    Keywords: health insurance,
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Kramer, Berber
    Abstract: Many poverty alleviation programs aiming to enhance nutrition include behavior change communication (BCC). This study uses a field experiment in Bangladesh to assess the impacts of BCC, focusing on nutrition training (providing information) and cooking contests (providing experience). First, in 900 households, we tested the nutrition knowledge of two household members and invited one of them to participate in a nutrition training. Comparing differences in pre-training and post-training knowledge among trained and nontrained household members, we find that training has a positive effect on nutrition knowledge, but the improved knowledge does not translate into healthier diets. Second, in randomly selected neighborhoods, the nutrition training was followed by a cooking contest designed to reinforce nutrition training messages and encourage participants to learn by doing. We find no additional effects of these contests on either knowledge or diets. We conclude that low-cost BCC strategies help improve knowledge, but alternative interventions are needed to strengthen links between knowledge and behavior.
    Keywords: consumption, field experiments, nutrition education,
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Gelli, Aulo; Headey, Derek D.; Ngure, Francis; Becquey, Elodie; Ganaba, Rasmané; Huybregts, Lieven; Pedehombga, Abdoulaye; Sanou, Armande; Traore, Abdoulaye; Zongo, Florence; Zongrone, Amanda
    Abstract: The Soutenir l’Exploitation Familiale pour Lancer l’Élevage des Volailles et Valoriser l’Économie Rurale (SELEVER) study is designed to evaluate the impact of an integrated agriculture-nutrition intervention package (including poultry value chain development; women’s empowerment activities; and a behavior change communications strategy to promote improved diets and feeding, care, and hygiene practices) on the diets, health, and nutritional status of women and children in Burkina Faso. The aim of the formative research was to assess the need for an intensive water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and poultry-related hygiene component that could be rolled out alongside the SELEVER intervention in the context of the cluster randomized controlled trial. This paper is based on an observational mixed-methods study that included a literature review, pathways analysis, and primary and secondary data analysis. A theory-based framework was developed to map the different pathways linking WASH, animal husbandry practices, and child nutrition and development outcomes. This framework was used to critically review the literature on each of the pathways involved. Hygiene-related programmatic materials from the SELEVER intervention were also reviewed. Secondary data were analyzed on livestock rearing, WASH practices, and exposure to human and livestock feces. Primary research included data collection from three selected villages where SELEVER activities were being piloted, including direct observations of 20 caregiver-child pairs, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. The literature review suggested that WASH interventions have substantial potential for improving child nutrition, though the evidence on their effectiveness is far from definitive. The secondary data analysis confirmed that exposure to poultry and poultry feces is extremely widespread in Burkina Faso. Fully 80 percent of rural households owned poultry, and most poultry could roam freely throughout the compound. Visible animal feces were reported in 84 percent of compounds in both the CHANGE and PROMIS surveys. Moreover, WASH practices and general hygiene were very low: toilet ownership was extremely low (22 percent nationally), water supply was a major constraint, and handwashing with soap was very rare (in the CHANGE survey, only 2 percent of households reported having soap for handwashing). The primary data confirmed the poor state of WASH, extreme exposure to poultry and poultry feces, and poor knowledge of the risks associated with children’s exposure to animal feces. The hygiene-related content of the SELEVER intervention focuses primarily on the promotion of practical measures to improve WASH-related practices at the household level, including food preparation, water and sanitation, and waste management, with some messaging on the risks of exposure to animal feces. Emerging evidence suggests that exposure to animal feces is an important health risk for young children. However, the question of how to best mitigate this risk programmatically is still unclear. In rural Burkina Faso, the general WASH environment appears severely constrained, and free-scavenging poultry production systems are ubiquitous. These findings suggest the opportunity to develop a community-oriented behavioral change intervention that emphasizes, rather than isolates, the importance of reducing children’s exposure to poultry feces. In the context of SELEVER, this intervention would aim to increase production and consumption of poultry products while concomitantly reducing children’s exposure to poultry feces. Scaling up an intensive WASH package alongside the standard SELEVER intervention in the context of the randomized trial would provide rigorous, policy-relevant evidence in this emerging field.
    Keywords: nutrition, hygiene, poultry, livestock, diet, health,
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Brollo, Fernanda (University of Warwick); Kaufmann, Katja Maria (Mannheim University); Ferrara, Eliana La (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: We study the implementation of Bolsa Familia, a program that conditions cash transfers to poor families on children’s school attendance. Using unique administrative data, we analyze how beneficiaries respond to the enforcement of conditionality. Making use of random variation in the day on which punishments are received, we find that school attendance increases after families are punished for past noncompliance. Families also respond to penalties experienced by peers: a child’s attendance increases if her own classmates, but also her siblings’ classmates (in other grades or schools), experience enforcement. As the severity of penalties increases with repeated noncompliance, households’ response is larger when peers receive a penalty that the family has not (yet) received. We thus find evidence of spillover effects and learning about enforcement.Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Kumar, Anjani; Thapa, Ganesh B.; Joshi, Pramod Kumar
    Abstract: The paper measures dietary diversity among different income groups in Nepal and identifies the drivers of this diversity as a first step toward addressing the widespread prevalence of nutrient deficiency. The level of diversity in household diets is an indirect measure of dietary quality and the extent to which the nutritional needs of households are being met. However, there is limited understanding of the trends, patterns, and determinants of dietary diversity in Nepal. This study is an attempt to enrich the literature on this issue. Drawing on unit-level data from three rounds (1995, 2004, and 2011) of the Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS), we use multilevel modeling, quantile regression, and the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method to decipher the trends, determinants, and drivers of dietary diversity in Nepal. Our study finds that changes in household sociodemographic and agricultural characteristics are very important in explaining the improvement in dietary quality. Changes in household characteristics account for at least 37 percent of the observed improvement, and agriculture-related changes explain at least 16 percent of the observed improvement. Variables positively associated with dietary quality are remittances, social cash transfers, parents’ education, crop diversity, access to markets and paved roads, and ownership of a television and telephone, among others. Our findings are highly robust across the different model specifications. Our study concludes by calling for a multisectoral approach to tackle nutrition issues in Nepal.
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Brollo, Fernanda (University of Warwick); Kaufmann, Katja Maria (Mannheim University); Ferrara, Eliana La (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: Do politicians manipulate the enforcement of conditional welfare programs to in- fluence electoral outcomes? We study the Bolsa Familia Program (BFP) in Brazil, which provides a monthly stipend to poor families conditional on school attendance. Repeated failure to comply with this requirement results in increasing penalties. First, we exploit random variation in the timing when beneficiaries learn about penalties for noncompliance around the 2008 municipal elections. We find that the vote share of candidates aligned with the President is lower in zip codes where more beneficiaries received penalties shortly before (as opposed to shortly after) the elections. Second, we show that politicians strategically manipulate enforcement. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find weaker enforcement before elections in municipalities where mayors from the presidential coalition can run for reelection. Finally, we provide evidence that manipulation occurs through misreporting school attendance, particularly in municipalities with a higher fraction of students in schools with politically connected principals.
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Ambler, Kate; de Brauw, Alan; Godlonton, Susan
    Abstract: This study analyzes impacts of large, one-time cash transfers and farm management plans among farmers in Senegal. Farmers were randomized into groups receiving advisory visits, the visits and an individualized farm plan, or the visits, the plan, and a cash transfer. After one year, crop production and livestock ownership were higher in the transfer group relative to the group that only received visits. Livestock gains persisted after two years. Results suggest that the plans increased crop production in year one, but there is no other evidence that the plans were effective when not accompanied by a transfer.
    Keywords: agriculture, livestock,
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Doss, Cheryl R.; Theis, Sophie
    Abstract: Land is an important asset for rural households, and having secure land rights is important for poverty reduction. Despite the large body of literature on the relationship between land tenure security, livelihoods, and poverty, most of this literature is based on household-level data and does not consider possible intrahousehold inequalities in land ownership. We know very little about the relationship between women’s land rights and poverty, not only because data on women’s land rights (WLR) are rare, but also because of the implicit assumption that women belong to households that pool resources completely. Thus, it is the land rights of households, not women, that matter for poverty reduction. However, growing evidence that households do not pool resources completely and that women have fewer assets than men warrants attention to the potential role of WLR in poverty reduction. This paper reviews the literature on WLR and poverty reduction. It adapts the Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project (GAAP) conceptual framework to identify pathways by which WLR could reduce poverty and increase wellbeing of women and their households in rural areas. It uses a systematic review search methodology to identify papers for inclusion, but adopts a more synthetic approach to assess the level of agreement and the amount of evidence within this literature. The paper examines the evidence from qualitative as well as quantitative studies on each of these pathways. Owing to the scarcity of experimental studies, the review of empirical work is based mostly on observational studies. We find some evidence on these relationships, but many of the key pathways have not been empirically analyzed. The evidence is strong for relationships between WLR and bargaining power and decision making on consumption, human capital investment, and intergenerational transfers. There is a high level of agreement, but weaker evidence on the relationship between WLR and natural resource management, government services and institutions, empowerment and domestic violence, resilience and HIV risk, and consumption and food security. There is less agreement and insufficient evidence on the associations between WLR and other livelihoods, and a higher level of agreement, but still limited evidence on associations between WLR and credit, technology adoption, and agricultural productivity. Notably, we find no papers that directly investigate the link between WLR and poverty. Many gaps in the evidence arise from a failure to account for the complexity of land rights regimes, the measurement of land rights at the household level, the lack of attention paid to gender roles, and the lack of studies from countries outside Africa. Many studies are limited by small sample sizes, the lack of credible counterfactuals, lack of attention to endogeneity and selection bias, and possible response bias on questions of domestic violence and empowerment. There are very few rigorous evaluations of reforms that strengthened WLR. The paper concludes that gaps in the evidence should not deter the careful design and implementation of programs and policies to strengthen WLR, given the ongoing land tenure reforms in many countries. Different modalities and mechanisms for strengthening WLR could be tested, with appropriate counterfactuals. Program designers and evaluators can strategically identify pathways and outcomes where evidence gaps exist, and deliberately design studies to close those gaps.
    Keywords: property rights, assets, poverty, gender, land rights, households, women, land tenure, livelihoods, land ownership,
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Tiangboho SANOGO
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether, and how, the devolution of revenue raising responsibilities to municipalities enhances access to public services and contributes to reducing poverty in Côte d’Ivoire. The analysis uses a local government’ revenue and expenditure dataset from 2001 to 2011 for 115 municipalities in 35 departments. An adjusted multidimensional poverty index and a headcount poverty index are calculated at the local level using the Household Living Standard Survey. The empirical analysis uses a grouped fixed effect approach, combined with a two-stage least squares methodology with panel corrected standard errors clustered by department, to address both time-varying heterogeneity and local revenue endogeneity. The results suggest that increased local revenue positively affects access to public services and reduces poverty. However, there is evidence that fiscal decentralization has a more robust effect on access to public service, than on poverty. This effect seems to work mainly through enhancing access to education more than access to health, water, and sanitation services. Contrary to existing literature, our results indicate that municipalities are more likely to improve access to public services in less ethnically diverse localities and in rural zones. The study provides evidence that the effect of the conflict experienced by the country has been limited statistically.
    Keywords: Fiscal decentralization, Local development, Multidimensional poverty, Local government revenue, Municipalities, Côte d’Ivoire.
    JEL: I32 H75 H71
    Date: 2017–08
  10. By: Gebru, Menasbo (Mekelle University); Holden, Stein T. (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Tilahun, Mesfin (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
    Abstract: The paper utilizes household panel data to investigate whether the land rental market can facilitate improved access to land for land-poor tenant households over time and thereby facilitate expansion of their farming activity. The paper utilizes data 8-17 years after land certification to assess the long-term effect of land certification on the allocative efficiency in the land rental market in areas where land certification stimulated land renting in the early years after certification. The paper uses three rounds of balanced panel data collected from 320 smallholder farmers in 2006, 2010 & 2015 from rural Tigrai, northern Ethiopia. Random effects dynamic probit and Tobit models were used to assess factors that may explain access, participation, and intensity of participation on the tenant side of the tenancy market. Tenants’ access to land was found to be severely constrained. Previous access and participation had strong positive effect on access and participation and intensity of participation in later periods. Non-convex transaction costs and entry barriers, therefore, appear as severe constraints towards the land rental market facilitating smallholder commercialization through tenancy access to land. More active land rental market coordination interventions are needed to boost the land rental market as a vehicle for facilitation of smallholder commercialization.
    Keywords: Land rental market; tenants’ land access; dynamic probit; dynamic tobit; Tigrai; Ethiopia
    JEL: Q15
    Date: 2017–08–16
  11. By: Wouterse, Fleur Stephanie
    Abstract: Located at the heart of West Africa, Niger is a landlocked country with three-quarters of its territory covered by the Sahara Desert. Niger’s climate is mostly arid, and it is one of the least developed countries in the world. The vast majority of its population lives in rural areas, and the country is strongly dependent on agriculture. Agriculture is predominantly rainfed and yields rely on one rainy season. Although productivity in Niger has shown a positive trend, agriculture has been strongly affected in recent decades by several crises partly or entirely due to extreme weather events. Farmers pursue a number of strategies in the face of climatic (and nonclimatic) stressors including soil and water conservation methods such as barriers, terracing, and planting pits, and their adaptive capacity is deemed critical for estimating the economic impact of climate change. An understanding of climate change adaptation processes at the farm household level is therefore crucial to the development of well-designed and targeted mitigation policies. In this study, we use new data from Niger and regression analysis to study climate change adaptation through the digging of zaї pits and food production and the role of human capital measures therein. We find that adaptation is influenced by the perception that the frequency of droughts has increased and by the availability of financial resources and household labor. Adaptation is also influenced by educational attainment—both formal and Koranic school education. Adaptation of zaї pits is found to play an important role in food productivity. Our counterfactual analysis reveals that even though all households would benefit from adaptation, the effect is found to be significantly larger for households that actually did adapt relative to those that did not, indicating that the prospects of closing the productivity gap through encouraging adaptation in less well-endowed households are limited.
    Keywords: smallholders, empowerment, regression analysis, land management, soil water conservation methods,
    Date: 2017
  12. By: Nicolas Berman; Mathieu Couttenier; Raphael Soubeyran
    Abstract: We investigate how variations in soil fertility affect civil conflicts. We first present a model with heterogeneous land in which variations in input prices (fertilizers) affect appropriable rents and the opportunity costs of fighting. The theory predicts that spikes in input prices increase the likelihood of conflicts through their effect on income and inequality, and that this effect is magnified when soil fertility is naturally more heterogenous. We test these predictions using data on conflict events covering all Sub-Saharan African countries at a spatial resolution of 0.5 x 0.5 degree latitude and longitude over the 1997-2013 period. We combine information on soil characteristics and worldwide variations in fertilizer prices to identify local exogenous changes in input costs. As predicted, variations in soil productivity triggered by variations in fertilizer prices are positively associated with conflicts, especially in cells where land endowments are more heterogeneous. In addition, we find that the distribution of land fertility both within and across ethnic groups affects violence, and that the effect of between-group heterogeneity in soil quality is magnified in densely populated areas. Overall, our findings imply that inequality in access to fertile areas - an issue largely neglected in the literature dealing with the roots of Sub-Saharan African civil wars - constitutes a serious threat to peace at the local-level.
    Date: 2017–08
  13. By: Rashad, Ahmed (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management); Sharaf, Mesbah (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Despite that maternal employment can increase family income; several studies suggest that it has adverse health consequences for children. The literature on the effects of maternal employment on children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is sparse. In this study, we assess the impact of maternal employment on children’s health in Egypt, the most populous country in the MENA region. We use a nationally representative sample of 12,888 children under the age of five from 2014 Demographic and Health Survey for Egypt, to estimate the causal impact of mothers’ employment on their children’s nutritional status, as measured by the Height-for-Age Score (HAZ). We adopt various estimation methods and control for observed and unobserved household characteristics to identify the causal effect of maternal employment. These different techniques include Propensity Score Matching (PSM), and an Instrumental Variable Two Stage Least Squares approach. We find that maternal employment has a robust negative impact on child nutritional status in Egypt. However, the effect of maternal employment is understated when the Ordinary Least Squares and PSM are applied. More family-friendly policies for working moms are strongly needed in Egypt.
    Keywords: Maternal Employment; Child Under-nutrition; Instrumental Variable; Egypt
    JEL: I15 J13
    Date: 2017–08–14
  14. By: Boscow Okumu; Edwin Muchapondwa
    Abstract: Participation of local communities in management and utilization of forest resources through collective action has become widely accepted as a possible solution to failure of centralized top down approaches to forest conservation. Developing countries have thus resorted to devolution of forest management through initiatives such as Participatory Forest Management (PFM) and Joint Forest Management (JFM). In Kenya, under such initiatives, communities have been able to self-organize into community forest associations (CFAs). However, despite these efforts and increased number of CFAs, the results in terms of ecological outcomes have been mixed with some CFAs failing and others thriving. Little is known about the factors influencing success of these initiatives. Using household level data from 518 households and community level data from 22 CFAs from the Mau forest conservancy, the study employed logistic regression, OLS and Heteroscedasticity based instrumental variable techniques to analyze factors influencing household participation levels in CFA activities and further identified the determinants of successful collective management of forest resources as well as the link between participation level and success of collective action. The results show that success of collective action is associated with level of household participation in CFA activities, distance to the forest resource, institutional quality, group size, salience of the resource and education level of the CFA chairperson among others. We also found that collective action is more successful when CFAs are formed through users’ self-motivation with frequent interaction with government institutions and when the forest cover is low. Factors influencing household level of participation are also identified. The study findings points to the need for: a robust diagnostic approach in devolution of forest management to local communities considering diverse socio-economic and ecological settings; government intervention in revival and re-institutionalizing existing and infant CFAs in an effort to promote PFM within the Mau forest and other parts of the country; and intense effort towards design of a mix of incentive schemes to encourage active and equal household participation in CFA activities.
    Keywords: PFM, Collective action, Participation, CFAs
    JEL: D02 Q23 Q28
    Date: 2017–08
  15. By: Raymond B. Frempong; David Stadelmann
    Abstract: Female education and its potential to empower women in the development process have engaged the interest of policy makers and academics over the years. By employing individual level data from Ghana and Uganda, we analyze whether female education has a direct bargaining effect on six household welfare indicators: child labor and school enrollment; food expenditure and nutrition intake; female labor force participation and fertility rates. The empirical results indicate that both, the level of the wife and her husband's education, are significant determinants of household welfare. However, the wife’s education has no larger effect than that of her husband's, and the relative bargaining position of the wife, at most, has negligible effects on the welfare indicators studied. Further robustness analysis largely confirms our findings. We conclude that, whilst female education has the potential to enhance household welfare, the effect does not necessarily work though enhanced bargaining power.
    Keywords: Women Empowerment; Intra-household Bargaining; Household Welfare; Ghana; Uganda
    JEL: I2 J13 J16
    Date: 2017–08

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