nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒09‒24
sixteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Poverty and the Colonial Origins of Elite Capture: Evidence from Philippine Provinces By Michael Batu
  2. The Impact of Subsidized Antimalarials on Treatment Seeking Behavior By Jacqueline Fiore
  3. Child Marriage and Infant Mortality: Evidence from Ethiopia By Jorge García Hombrados
  4. The effects of land titling in Tanzania By Jehovaness Aikaeli; Thomas Markussen
  5. Land Reform, Property Rights and Private Investment: Evidence from a Planned Settlement in Rural Tanzania By Francis Makamu
  6. The Cost of High Food Prices in West Africa By Thomas Allen
  7. Are free loans of land really free? An exploratory analysis of risk-coping motives in land arrangements in the Northeast of Thailand By Gwendoline Promsopha
  8. Causes and Impacts of Remittances: Household Survey Evidence from Egypt By Mohammad Reza Farzanegan; Sherif Maher Hassan; Ribal Abi Raad
  9. Subjective income expectations and risks in rural India By Alok Kumar
  10. Determinants of the Adoption of Organic Tea Production in Northern Vietnam: A Robustness Analysis By Nicolas Lampach; Phu Nguyen-Van; Nguyen To-The
  11. Profiling Multidimensional Poverty and Inequality in Kenya and Zambia at Sub-National Levels By Muna Shifa; Murray Leibbrandt
  12. Development and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa By Tony Addison; Ville Pikkarainen; Risto Rönkkö; Finn Tarp
  13. Mobile Money and Household Consumption Patterns in Uganda By J Paul Dunne; Elizabeth Kasekende
  14. Working and Women’s Empowerment in the Egyptian Household: The Type of Work and Location Matter By Clémentine Sadania
  15. A Fresh Look at the Nutrition Transition in Vietnam using Semiparametric Modeling By Simioni, Michel; Thomas-Agnan, Christine; Trinh, Thi-Huong
  16. Does choice of drought index influence estimates of drought-induced cereal losses in India? By Francisco Pereira Fontes, Ashley Gorst, Charles Palmer

  1. By: Michael Batu (Department of Economics, University of Windsor)
    Abstract: This paper offers new evidence on the causal link between poverty and elite capture within a democratic country. The extent of elite capture was derived from the names of 64,152 elected officials in four election cycles at the provincial and municipal levels in the Philippines. To identify the causal relationship between elite capture and poverty, this study exploits the exogenous variation in the number of churches constructed in the Philippines during the Spanish colonization period (1521-1898). These structures were built in locations where political families developed and persisted to the present. Using the number of colonial churches as an instrument in a two-stage least-squares regression, this study finds that poverty in Philippine provinces is inversely proportional to the percentage of positions controlled by elites and directly proportional to decreased competition among elites. Results are robust to the measure of poverty used as well as controlling for other plausible channels through which the presence of colonial churches may influence poverty in the Philippine provinces.
    Keywords: Political elites; elite capture; poverty; institutions
    JEL: D72 F54 I32
    Date: 2017–09
  2. By: Jacqueline Fiore (Department of Economics, Tulane University)
    Abstract: I investigate the effect of the first multi-country antimalarial subsidy on the type and source of treatment taken for children under five years of age reporting a fever. I use nationally representative, cross-sectional survey data from sixteen malaria endemic African countries over a ten year period. My research design exploits the within country variation in malaria treatment subsidies. Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) are the recommended first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria. Overall, the ACTs subsidy achieved two of its main objectives. Among children reporting a fever, countries offering subsidized ACTs showed a statistically significant 8.1 percentage point increase in ACTs taken from private sector outlets compared to countries not participating in the subsidy. To complement these results, the ACTs subsidy was associated with a decrease of 10.7 percentage points in children taking lesser effective antimalarial monotherapies from any source for participating countries. However, the effect of the ACTs subsidy was not consistent among the four countries participating in the subsidy. Uganda showed the desired response with the greatest magnitude to the subsidy whereas no significant effect was observed in Ghana. The mixed results among countries participating in the ACTs subsidy may be due to differences in ACTs availability, price, market share, and supporting interventions.
    Keywords: Malaria, subsidy, Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria, Private Sector Co-payment Mechanism
    JEL: I11 I12 I18
    Date: 2017–09
  3. By: Jorge García Hombrados (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: This study uses age discontinuities in the degree of exposure to a law that raised the legal age of marriage for women from 15 to 18 years in some regions of Ethiopia to provide the first evidence on (a) the beneficial effects on child marriage and infant mortality of laws that ban underage marriage and on (b) the causal effect of delaying women's age at cohabitation on infant mortality using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. The results show that although the introduction of the law did not end child marriage among Ethiopian women, it had large effects on the incidence of child marriage and on the probability of infant mortality of the first born child. Besides, the results suggest that a one-year delay in women's age at cohabitation during teenage years decreases the incidence of infant mortality of the first born by 3.8 percentage points. The size of this effect is comparable to the joint impact on child mortality of measles, BCG, DPT, Polio and Maternal Tetanus vaccinations. This effect on infant mortality seems to be closely linked to the impact of delaying cohabitation on the age of women at first birth.
    Keywords: child marriage, infant mortality, family economics
    JEL: K0
    Date: 2017–09
  4. By: Jehovaness Aikaeli; Thomas Markussen
    Abstract: We use household survey data to investigate the effects of formal, private property rights to agricultural land on agricultural investment, land valuation and access to credit in Tanzania. Results show that while there are no detectable effects of formal, private land property rights (written documentation of ownership) on agricultural investment, land ownership documents nevertheless increase the market value of land substantially (more than 25 percent). One reason appears to be that well-documented private property rights facilitate the use of land as collateral for loans and therefore eases access to credit. The findings suggest that there are potentially significant, economic returns to systematic land titling in Tanzania and other countries, although more research is needed to firmly establish this conclusion.
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Francis Makamu
    Abstract: I investigate the mass resettlement of rural population in Tanzania that occurred in early 1970s. The policy was implemented to strengthen the role of the state in establishing villages for communal production and development. The villagisation process that followed was implemented with unclear goals, haste and at some point coercion that it was unlikely to bring any short-term improvement in the rural economy. I exploit a recent survey data to examine the impact of the ujamaa operation on farming activities. The findings show that areas affected by the villagisation in which proprietary rights in land were given to households had significantly better transferability rights and had made significant investments in land. I detect improvement in access to rural credit market and a closing gender gap in land ownership.
    JEL: O12 O13
    Date: 2017–01–24
  6. By: Thomas Allen (OECD)
    Abstract: West African households were particularly affected by the food price crisis of 2007-08. As these households depend on markets for two-thirds of their food supplies, prices have become a key determinant of access to food. However, food prices are 30-40% higher in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world at comparable levels of per capita income. These price levels have a negative impact on the purchasing power of households and are a major factor of food and nutrition insecurity. Price monitoring systems need to be updated and strengthened. Increasing productivity, promoting regional trade and supporting food value chain development are three of the policy options available to decision-makers to drive down food prices sustainably.
    Keywords: competitiveness, food and nutrition security, food system, prices, regional trade
    JEL: F15 O11 Q11 Q13 Q18
    Date: 2017–09–22
  7. By: Gwendoline Promsopha (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to an emerging literature on the relationship between free exchange of land use rights and risk-coping motives in developing countries. We argue that in-depth empirical analysis of the nature of land arrangements is crucial to understand risk-coping motives in land tenure. Using mixed quantitative and qualitative data collected in Thailand, the paper proposes an innovative framework which looks at transfers of use rights in a continuum from pure market to free exchange. Land transfers are categorized along three dimensions: the nature of the relationship between the parties involved, the nature of the payment made, and how explicit the payment is in the contractual terms. The economic motivations in each of the consequent categories of land arrangement are then analyzed with a multinomial probit. Our main results suggest that while free loans of land are allegedly common practice in Thailand, only a small number of those transfers are really free. Most appear to be a `disguised form of rental contract' set by households who rely heavily on their risk-sharing network for risk-coping, and hold property rights vulnerable to family claims despite the presence of formal titles. Our preliminary results also confirm what the literature has previously shown: when confronted with local social norms and the economic rationales created by multimarket failures, a sound formal property rights system proves non- sufficient to establish de facto formal property rights.
    Keywords: Land tenure, risk coping
    Date: 2016–06–15
  8. By: Mohammad Reza Farzanegan (Philipps-Universität Marburg); Sherif Maher Hassan (Philipps-Universität Marburg); Ribal Abi Raad (Concordia university, Montreal)
    Abstract: This research provides a qualitative and empirical investigation of the microeconomic causes and impacts of remittances in Egypt. We use data from a field study, involving interviews of 304 remittance-receiving families across 16 Egyptian governorates during May 2015–May 2016. Our Ordinary Least Square (OLS) and Tobit regressions show that the duration of migration, migrant’s age, household income, and household head’s job are the most important predictors of the level of remittances. The first three variables induce the value of received remittances, while the final variable, household head’s job, acts to the contrary and reduces remittances. In terms of remittances allocation, everyday expenses and real estate investments absorb the vast majority of channeled remittances. Most of the respondents (85%) do not invest remittances, and those who invest remittances mainly reside in Upper and Lower Egypt due to the low living costs in these regions.
    Keywords: remittances; Egypt; altruistic; self-interest; Tobit
    JEL: D14 J6 O15
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Alok Kumar
    Abstract: This paper analyses the pattern and determinants of income risk and expectation in rural India. It uses unique primary survey data eliciting subjective income distribution from households in twelve villages in Bihar. It finds that expected future income is significantly and positively associated with its variance. Current income is a significant predictor of expected future income and its variance. While both expected future income and its variance increase with current income, there is a significant negative association between the coefficient of variation of future income and current income, suggesting that low-income households face greater variability in their income. Upper caste households and households reliant on non-agricultural income have significantly higher expected future income and variance. Income process is highly persistent. This paper is one of the first to utilize subjective expectation data to analyse income risk in a developing country.
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Nicolas Lampach; Phu Nguyen-Van; Nguyen To-The
    Abstract: Increasing consumer awareness on sustainable and healthy food choices gave rise to a growing demand for organic tea in the past decades. Most of this demand is met by imports from developing countries. This article examines the main factors affecting the choice of farm households to adopt organic tea production in Northern Vietnam. We apply a logit model to survey data on 241 Vietnamese tea farming households. We assess the robustness of the results by addressing three important statistical issues: (i) regressor endogeneity, (ii) unobserved heterogeneity at farm level and (iii) missing values. The main results are chiefly robust and largely in line with the theoretical predictions. We find that farm households with higher revenues and located in rich natural and physical environments are significantly more inclined to adopt organic tea production. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that farm households being consulted by extension agents and belonging to a tea association increase the odds for the adoption of organic tea cultivation.
    Keywords: Organic farming; Regressor endogeneity; Unobserved heterogeneity; Multiple imputations method; Tea production; Vietnam.
    JEL: Q15 O33 Q18
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Muna Shifa (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town); Murray Leibbrandt (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Persistent spatial disparities in poverty remain prevalent in most developing and transition economies. However, spatial analyses of poverty in poor countries are generally limited to rural-urban or provincial breakdowns. In addition, despite the fact that poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon, existing sub-national level poverty analyses mainly use money metric indicators of individual welfare. In this study, we use census data to estimate multidimensional poverty at lower levels of geographic disaggregation in Zambia and Kenya. Our results show that, in general, the extent of multidimensional poverty is significantly higher in rural areas than urban areas in both countries. However, although deprivation levels in access to basic services are relatively lower in large urban centres such as Nairobi and Mombasa in the case of Kenya, and Lusaka, Livingstone, and Ndola in Zambia, these urban centres are also areas where deprivation levels have increased significantly over time. These findings suggest that the extent of provision of basic services in urban centres do not match to the extent required to accommodate the rapid urban growth that has occurred over the last few decades in both countries. Furthermore, there are large differences in poverty within urban areas and even within cities. For instance, constituency level estimates show that within Nairobi city, the incidence of poverty varies from 20% in Westland constituency to 41% in Langata constituency. In the case of Zambia, within Lusaka city, the incidence of poverty ranges widely, from 17% in Kabwata constituency to 53-55% in Chawama and Kanyama constituencies. An examination of inequality, measured either with the Gini coefficient for income and the variance for multiple deprivation levels, reveals important variations in intra-regional inequities across regions. This inequality picture cuts across the poverty status of regions. These results highlight the importance of sufficient level of geographic disaggregation in poverty analysis in order to identify disadvantaged areas within rural and urban regions of a country.
    Date: 2017
  12. By: Tony Addison; Ville Pikkarainen; Risto Rönkkö; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: This paper puts sub-Saharan Africa’s economic development into perspective. While much did not go as hoped for at independence, much of the region has been on a more promising development trajectory since the mid-1990s, as we illustrate using growth, poverty, and human development indicators. We identify key weaknesses, including lack of structural transformation and the slow rate of employment growth. We refer to global shocks that have played a critical role in sub-Saharan Africa’s economic performance alongside domestic events, policies, and governance. Finally, we discuss a set of critical challenges requiring effective management for subSaharan Africa to realize its considerable development potential.
    Date: 2017
  13. By: J Paul Dunne (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Elizabeth Kasekende (Bank of Uganda)
    Abstract: Financial services in low income countries are often not well developed, thus, individuals rely heavily on informal means of financial services to send, receive and save money, with a large number of the population unbanked. Mobile money, a type of financial innovation, enables individuals to transfer, deposit and save money using cell phone technology. It not only has the potential to improve access to financial services but could also have an effect on household consumer behaviour and improve individuals' livelihoods. This paper investigates the difference in consumption patterns between mobile money users and non-users in Uganda, one of the countries that have seen significant increases in mobile money usage, since its introduction in 2009. It is based on the Financial Inclusion Tracker Surveys (FITS) household level data that was conducted in 2012. Using ordinary least squares and seemingly unrelated regression estimation techniques, the results suggests that mobile money users are less likely to spend on food, a necessity, and more likely to spend on luxury goods, than non-users. In addition, mobile money users are more likely to receive more remittances and, as a result, they are able to spend more efficiently on particular commodities than non-users. This suggests that mobile money could indeed potentially improve individuals' livelihoods.
    Keywords: Mobile money, Consumption patterns
    JEL: D12
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Clémentine Sadania (Aix-Marseille Univ. (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS, EHESS and Centrale Marseille)
    Abstract: This paper explores the impact of women’s work on empowerment in Egypt. Existing evidence suffers from several limitations, which I attempt to address. First, I develop an instrumental variable strategy to account for the endogeneity of work. Second, I allow for a heterogeneous impact of work, distinguishing between working in the public sector, outside work in the private sector and home-based work. Third, women’s empowerment is directly measured as their participation in household decisions. Outside work has the greatest impact. Interestingly, home-based work enhances joint decision-making. Distinguishing between urban and rural residence reveals distinct patterns of impact on decision-making.
    Keywords: women’s empowerment, employment, household decision-making
    JEL: D13 J16 J21
    Date: 2016–12
  15. By: Simioni, Michel; Thomas-Agnan, Christine; Trinh, Thi-Huong
    Abstract: Policies aimed at reducing starvation and redressing nutritional deficiencies remain among the most widely accepted policies in the world. These policies can take many different forms, from subsidized prices of basic foodstuffs to cash transfers, and their effectiveness depends on the existence of a sensitivity of food demand to income variation and its magnitude. This paper revisits the issue of estimating the relationship between calorie intake and income. We present and compare estimates of this relationship for Vietnam which has undergone profound economic changes over the last 30 years. After estimating semiparametric generalized additive models are estimated, we compare their performances are compared to the performance of the classical double log model using the recently proposed revealed performance test. This methodology is implemented using successive waves of the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey. The application delivers some new and interesting insights on nutritional transition in Vietnam between 2004 and today. The analysis focuses not only on the comparison of the general shape of the estimated curves but also on the decomposition of the evolution of average calorie intake in terms of changes in the structure of the surveyed sample (greater urbanization, for example) and changes in preferences as reflected by changes in the estimated curves over time.
    Keywords: Calorie -income relationship; Nutritional transition; Vietnam; Semiparametric modeling
    Date: 2017–09
  16. By: Francisco Pereira Fontes, Ashley Gorst, Charles Palmer
    Abstract: Drought events have critical impacts on agricultural production yet there is little consensus on how these should be measured and defined. This has implications for drought research and policy, which tends to either define droughts purely based on rainfall or focus uniquely on 'hot' droughts when temperature is considered. We develop a flexible, rainfall-temperature drought index which captures all dry events, including a previously overlooked class of drought that we term 'cold' droughts. Our index is applied to a panel dataset of Indian districts over the period 1966-2009. Results suggest a statistically significant relationship between the index and agricultural production. Cold droughts are found to have consistent, negative marginal impacts that are comparable to those of hot droughts. Estimates of average yield losses due to hot droughts are reduced by as much as 33% when cold droughts are omitted. The associated economic costs are even more severely underestimated, by up to 107%.
    Date: 2017–08

This nep-dev issue is ©2017 by Jacob A. Jordaan. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.