nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒10‒15
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Can Outsourcing Improve Liberia’s Schools? Preliminary Results from Year One of a Three-Year Randomized Evaluation of Partnership Schools for Liberia By Mauricio Romero; Justin Sandefur; Wayne Aaron Sandholtz
  2. Heterogeneity, Measurement and Misallocation in African Agriculture By Christopher Udry; Douglas Gollin
  3. Burden of Climate Change on Malaria Mortality By Shouro Dasgupta
  4. Age-Profile Estimates of the Relationship Between Economic Growth and Child Health By Joseph Cummins; Anaka Aiyar
  5. Contract Farming, Farm Mechanization, and Agricultural intensification: The Case of Rice Farming in Cote d’Ivoire By MANO, Yukichi Y.; TAKAHASHI, Kazushi; OTSUKA, Keijiro
  6. Rates of return to antipoverty transfers in Uganda By Dietrich, Stephan; Malerba, Daniele; Barrientos, Armando; Gassmann, Franziska
  7. Gender and Birth Order Effects on Intra-household Schooling Choices and Education Attainments in Kenya By Fredrick M. Wamalwa; Justine Burns
  8. Occupational choice of return migrants: Is there a 'Jack-of-all-trades' effect? By Mahe, Clotilde
  9. Cash transfer programmes, poverty reduction and women's economic empowerment experience from Mexico By Orozco Corona, Mónica E.; Gammage, Sarah
  10. Household behaviour in times of political change: Evidence from Egypt By Yvonne Giesing; Almedina Music
  11. Intergenerational effect of education reform: mother's education and children's human capital in Nepal By Vinish Shrestha; Rashesh Shrestha

  1. By: Mauricio Romero (University of California, San Diego); Justin Sandefur (Center for Global Development); Wayne Aaron Sandholtz (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: After one year, public schools managed by private contractors in Liberia raised student learning by 60 percent, compared to standard public schools. But costs were high, performance varied across contractors, and contracts authorized the largest contractor to push excess pupils and underperforming teachers onto other government schools.
    Keywords: public-private partnership, randomized controlled trial, school management
    JEL: I25 I28 C93 L32 L33
  2. By: Christopher Udry (Yale University); Douglas Gollin (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Empirical analysis of farm-level data from African agriculture consistently shows enormous dispersion in measured total factor productivity (TFP) at the farm level. Some farmers achieve relatively high levels of TFP, but many farms appear to operate at very low levels of measured TFP. One possible explanation for this is that some farmers have low levels of skill but continue nevertheless to farm because of market failures or distortions that make it difficult for them to be bought out by more skillful farmers. Previous research has suggested that this kind of misallocation may be an important source of differences in agricultural productivity across countries – and thus an important explanation for cross-country differences in per capita income. This paper notes that misallocation can be difficult to distinguish empirically from a range of measurement errors, classical and non-classical. It can also be difficult to measure productivity well in a highly volatile production environment. Finally, differences in farmer quality can be observationally similar to heterogeneity in unobserved land quality. Our paper presents a theoretical framework and empirical results that seek to advance our understanding of the distinctions between heterogeneity, measurement error, and misallocation in African agriculture, using data from three African countries. We use within-farmer variation in factor shares and productivity across plots to disentangle measurement error, land productivity variation and transitory shocks from misallocation as sources of dispersion in factor allocation, output and TFP. Preliminary results suggest that both measurement error and unobserved heterogeneity in land quality can account for a large amount of the measured differences in farm productivity, and these results also imply that misallocation has a relatively modest impact on output.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Shouro Dasgupta (Università Ca’ Foscari, FEEM and CMCC)
    Abstract: In 2015, an estimated 429,000 deaths and 212 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide, while 70% of the deaths occurred in children under five years old. Changes in climatic exposure such as temperature and precipitation makes malaria one of the most climate sensitive outcomes. Using a global malaria mortality dataset for 105 countries between 1980 and 2010, we estimate that the global optimal temperature maximizing all-age malaria mortality is 20.6, lower than previously predicted in the literature. While in the case of child mortality, a significantly lower optimum temperature of 19.3° is estimated. Our results also suggest that in Africa and Asia, the continents where malaria is most prevalent malaria, mortality is maximized at 28.4 and 26.3, respectively. Furthermore, we estimate that child mortality (ages 0-4) is likely to increase by up to 20 percent in some areas due to climate change by the end of the 21st century.
    Keywords: Climate change, Malaria, Vector borne disease, Temperature, Precipitation
    JEL: C10 C23 Q54 Q56
    Date: 2017–09
  4. By: Joseph Cummins (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside); Anaka Aiyar (Cornell University)
    Abstract: For the last several years, there has been a debate in the academic literature regarding the association between economic growth and child health in under-developed countries, with many arguing the association is strong and robust and several new papers arguing the association is weak or nonexistent. Focusing on child growth faltering as a process that unfolds over the first several years of life, we provide new evidence tracing out the relationship between macroeconomic trends and the trajectory of child growth through age 5. Using two novel regression models that each harness different kinds of within- and between-country variation, and data on over 600,000 children from 38 countries over more than 20 years, our estimates of the association are relatively small but precise, and are consistent across both estimators. We estimate that a 10% increase in GDP around the time of a child's birth is associated with a decrease in the rate of loss of HAZ of about 0.002 SD per month over the first two years of life, which generates a cumulative effect of around 0.04 SD by age 3 that then persists through age 5. Our estimates are small compared to most previously published statistically significant estimates, more precisely estimated than previous insignificant estimates, and relate to a broader population of children than previous estimates focused on dichotomous outcomes.
    Keywords: anthropometrics; child health; economic growth
    JEL: I15 J13 O15
    Date: 2017–10
  5. By: MANO, Yukichi Y.; TAKAHASHI, Kazushi; OTSUKA, Keijiro
    Abstract: It is critically important to intensify farming systems by disseminating proper agronomic practices and promoting the increased application of inputs to raise agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the region’s public agricultural extension systems are weak, and their input and output markets often fail to function properly. Under these circumstances, contract farming (CF) is expected to be a promising way to overcome market imperfections by providing inputs, production training, and marketing services. We examine this possibility by analysing the case of rice production CF in Cote d’Ivoire. We find that CF did not lead to farming intensification, due mainly to the inadequate and uncertain provision of tractor services. Further analysis reveals a complementarity between tractor use and labour inputs, whereby tractor use in land preparation enhanced the adoption of input- and labour-intensive practices in subsequent farming activities, thereby increasing labour use and improving land productivity. The diffusion of tractors is thus likely to be key to the intensification of rice farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: contract farming, rice production, tractor, farm mechanization, agricultural intensification, Green Revolution, sub-Saharan Africa, Cote d’Ivoire
    JEL: N57 O12 O13 Q12 Q16 Q18
    Date: 2017–09
  6. By: Dietrich, Stephan (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Malerba, Daniele (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik); Barrientos, Armando (University of Manchester); Gassmann, Franziska (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: A growing literature measures the impact of antipoverty transfer programmes on variables of interest among participants in low- and middle-income countries. To date, few studies provide information on net benefits or rates of return from these programmes. This paper constructs estimates of rates of return to an antipoverty transfer programme in Uganda using appropriate welfare weights. Survey and experimental methods empirically validate the range of welfare weights applied. We find that rates of return estimates applying appropriate prioritarian welfare weights are significantly higher than utilitarian rates of return.
    Keywords: poverty, income distribution, preference for redistribution, welfare, welfare weights, cash transfers, rates of return, Uganda
    JEL: D61 D63 I38 O15
    Date: 2017–09–20
  7. By: Fredrick M. Wamalwa; Justine Burns
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the effect of two important family characteristics-gender and birth order-on intra-household investments in, and educational outcomes of, children in Kenya. We measure intra-household education investments in children by household's decision to enrol children in private schools and educational outcomes by two variables, completed years of education and relative grade attainment. We use a large household survey data set that allows us to apply family fixed effects models that address the potential endogeneity of children's gender, birth order and family size as well as factors that are unobservable at the household level. Although we do not find an intra-household gender preference in terms of investments in children's education, there is a female advantage in terms of the two measured education outcomes. Our results show significantnegative birth order effects on private enrolment, completed years of education and relative grade attainment. Family wealth plays a significant role in propagating the gender and birth order effects we observe.
    Keywords: household fixed effects, gender, Kenya
    JEL: C21 J16 I21
    Date: 2017–09
  8. By: Mahe, Clotilde (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Although it has been found that return migrants are more likely to be self-employed than non-migrants, the role of migration episodes per se remains unclear. With reference to Lazear's Jack-of-all-trades hypothesis, this paper examines whether migrants are more likely to choose self-employment upon return because of the diverse work experience they gained abroad. Using the 2012 Egypt Labour Market Panel Survey, seemingly unrelated regression model estimates show that return migrants' greater propensity to be self-employed, to survive or to generate jobs as self-employed might proceed from participating in significantly more occupations, sectors and jobs over their work history than non-migrants. Results hold for non-agricultural activities, rural areas, and controlling for financial resources. In line with Lazear's framework, they confirm that entrepreneurship can be learnt, and that exposure to multiple occupations and industries matters for entering into and persisting in self-employment.
    Keywords: International migration, Return migration, Entrepreneurship, Human capital, North Africa, Egypt
    JEL: F22 J24 L26 O12 O15
    Date: 2017–09–18
  9. By: Orozco Corona, Mónica E.; Gammage, Sarah
    Keywords: cash benefit, poverty alleviation, Mexico
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Yvonne Giesing; Almedina Music
    Abstract: Using representative household survey data, we study the short-term microeconomic effects of the Egyptian revolution on household behaviour in terms of education, health expenditure and savings. We construct a new measure of political instability by analysing the number of fatalities during political protests throughout the country. Difference-in-Differences estimations show that affected households increased spending on education, especially on their sons' higher education. This can be explained by a positive outlook towards the future, with better labour market prospects. At the same time, households decreased spending on health and increased savings, which can be interpreted as precautionary behaviour.
    Keywords: Egypt, education, health, household savings, political uncertainty
    JEL: D14 D74 I10 I22
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Vinish Shrestha (Department of Economics, Towson University); Rashesh Shrestha (Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA))
    Abstract: We examine a potential intergenerational transfer of human capital by investigating the effect of maternal education on children's educational and labor outcomes in the context of a developing country Nepal. To account for endogeneity of mother's education, we use education reform in the 1970s that had differential impact on women due to their year and district of birth. We also account for birth order effects by implementing a triple-difference strategy. The education reform increased schooling of females that were most affected by the reform. Furthermore, an increase in mother's highest level of schooling increased the child's probability of finishing 5th grade only among mothers from a higher caste households. We find modest effects of mother’s education on child labor outcomes, with the IV estimate indicating that a year increase in mother's education reduces a child's weekly work by approximately an hour. A lack of intergenerational impact among relatively lower caste households suggests that exclusionary social structure should be considered when promoting maternal education as a medium to improve children's well-being.
    Keywords: : Intergenerational effect, maternal education, children human capital, schooling.
    JEL: I10 I15
    Date: 2017–10

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