nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒10‒22
eighteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Active Labour Market Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evidence from a Meta Analysis By Escudero, Veronica; Kluve, Jochen; Mourelo, Elva López; Pignatti, Clemente
  2. Gender and Multidimensional Poverty in Nicaragua, An Individual-based Approach By Espinoza-Delgado, Jose; Klasen, Stephan
  3. Gender, Self-concept and Mathematics and Science Performance of South African Grade 9 Students By Debra Lynne Shepherd
  4. Ethnic fragmentation and school provision in India By Nishant Chadha; Bharti Nandwani
  5. Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India By Karthik Muralidharan; Abhijeet Singh; Alejandro J. Ganimian
  6. Household responses to the cessation of grant income: The case of South Africa's Old Age Pension By Vimal Ranchhod
  7. Roles of Agricultural Transformation in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals on Poverty, Hunger, Productivity, and Inequality By Katsushi S. Imai
  8. The ambiguous causal relationship between body-mass and labour income in emerging economies: The case of Mexico. By Levasseur, Pierre
  9. Determinants of children’s education in Vietnam: Evidence from the 2014 Intercensal Population and Housing Survey By Nguyen, Cuong
  10. Regional Inequalities in Child Malnutrition in Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen: A Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Analysis By Mesbah Sharaf; Ahmed Rashad
  11. Structural transformation and its relevance for economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa By Busse, Matthias; Erdogan, Ceren; Mühlen, Henning
  12. Welfare and Environmental Impact of Incentive Based Conservation: Evidence from Kenyan Community Forest Associations By Boscow Okumu; Edwin Muchapondwa
  13. Decentralized Despotism? Indirect colonial rule undermines contemporary democratic attitudes By Lechler, Marie
  14. Adoption of Soil Fertility Management Technologies in Malawi: Impact of Drought Exposure By Katengeza, Samson P.; Holden , Stein T.; Fisher , Monica
  15. Drivers of farmers' income: The role of farm size and diversification By Varun Kumar Das; A. Ganesh Kumar
  16. Livestock asset dynamics among pastoralists in Northern Kenya By Mburu, Samuel; Kaiser, Micha; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
  17. Public-private sector wage differentials and household poverty among Black South Africans By Malikah Jacobs
  18. Roads & SDGs, tradeoffs and synergies: Learning from Brazil's Amazon in distinguishing frontiers By Pfaff, Alexander S. P.; Robalino, Juan D.; Reis, Eustáquio José; Walker, Robert T.; Perz, Stephen George L.; Laurance, William F.; Bohrer, Claudio; Aldrich, Steven; Arima, E. Y.; Caldas, Marcellus Marques; Kirby, Katherine

  1. By: Escudero, Veronica (ILO International Labour Organization); Kluve, Jochen (Humboldt University Berlin, RWI); Mourelo, Elva López (ILO International Labour Organization); Pignatti, Clemente (ILO International Labour Organization)
    Abstract: We present a systematic collection and assessment of impact evaluations of active labour market programmes (ALMP) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The paper delineates the strategy to compile a novel meta database and provides a narrative review of 51 studies. Based on these studies, the quantitative analysis extracts a sample of 296 impact estimates, and uses meta regression models to analyse systematic patterns in the data. In addition to analysing earnings and employment outcomes as in previous meta analyses, we also code and investigate measures of job quality, such as the effects on hours worked and formality. We find that ALMPs in LAC are particularly effective in increasing the probability of having a formal job, compared to other outcomes. Our results also show that training programmes are slightly more effective than other types of interventions. Moreover, when looking at the sample of training programmes alone, we observe that formal employment is also the outcome category that is most likely to be impacted positively by these programmes. In terms of targeting, we find that ALMPs in the region work better for women than for men, and for youth compared to prime-age workers. Finally, medium-run estimates are not more likely to be positive than short-run estimates, while programmes of short duration (4 months or less) are significantly less likely to produce positive effects compared to longer interventions.
    Keywords: active labour market program, Latin America and the Caribbean, employment, informality, impact evaluation, meta analysis
    JEL: J08 J24 O54
    Date: 2017–09
  2. By: Espinoza-Delgado, Jose; Klasen, Stephan
    Abstract: Most existing empirical papers concerned about multidimensional poverty use the household as the unit of analysis, so that the multidimensional poverty status of the household is equated with the multidimensional poverty status of all its members. This assumption ignores intra-household inequalities. Additionally, households containing both a female and a male cannot contribute to a gender gap in poverty, so gender differentials in poverty cannot be estimated. But, the Sustainable Development Goals have put special emphasis on gender equality; therefore, new measures able to capture the gender differences are needed. Consequently, in this paper, we propose an individual-based multidimensional poverty measure in order to estimate the three I’s of multidimensional poverty (incidence, intensity, and inequality) in Nicaragua as well as the gender differentials. We also estimate logit regressions to better understanding the determinants of multidimensional poverty in this country. Overall, we find that there are statistically significant gender differences in multidimensional poverty in Nicaragua; but, they are estimated to be small and lower than 5%. However, the gender differential in inequality is larger than 10%, and it suggests that multi-dimensionally poor women are living in very intense poverty when compared with multi-dimensionally poor men. We also find that the elderly and children are the most vulnerable people in terms of multidimensional poverty in this country; furthermore, when information on employment, domestic work, and social protection is considered in the analysis, the gender gaps become more substantial, and women are more likely to be poor than men.
    Keywords: multidimensional poverty, poverty measurement, intra-household inequality, gender gaps, Latin America, Nicaragua
    JEL: D1 D13 D6 D63 I3 I32 O5 O54
    Date: 2017–09–30
  3. By: Debra Lynne Shepherd (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Despite improvements over the past decade, South African women continue to be underrepresented in tertiary studies and professional careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. This has implications not only for economic development and growth, but also for social inequality as women continue to have lower access to higher paying employment opportunities. Using data from the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study of 2011, this paper finds that whilst grade 9 girls in the poorest 80% of South African schools experience no difference in domain-specific performance, self-concept and motivation, girls in the wealthiest subset of schools are found to significantly underperform in both subjects, as well as possess lower self-concept and motivation, and higher anxiety. Teacher gender and education are shown to correlate with these results; specifically, female teachers with math backgrounds negatively influence girls’ performances in wealthy schools. This is argued to be in keeping with stereotype threat theory (Steele, 2003) whereby women that are highly identified with math are subject to greater anxiety and concern over their performance. The relative difference in the performance of girls taught by a female versus a male teacher compared to the performance of boys is smaller when exposed to teachers with education training, suggesting that classroom methodology plays a role in the attainment of girls. Student fixed effects estimation reveals that the teacher characteristics mentioned above play important roles for moderating the relationship between student self-concept and performance of boys and girls.
    Keywords: gender inequality, STEM, stereotype, performance, self-concept, development
    JEL: C21 I21 I24 J16
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Nishant Chadha; Bharti Nandwani
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the impact of ethnic fragmentation on the provision of private and public schools, separately. The distinction is made because the two types of schools have different objective functions, a factor which can influence the relationship between ethnic fragmentation and public goods provision. We find that ethnic fragmentation has a negative impact on the provision of schools overall, but this effect manifests differently for the two types of schools considered. To explain our findings we show that ethnic fragmentation lowers collective action, and because of the different objectives of provision of private and public schools, lack of collective action results in a differential impact. While private schools are shown to be lower in number, public schools are of lower quality in fragmented districts.
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Karthik Muralidharan; Abhijeet Singh; Alejandro J. Ganimian
    Abstract: We present experimental evidence on the impact of a technology-aided after-school instruction program on learning outcomes in middle school grades in urban India, using a lottery that provided students with a voucher to cover program costs. A key feature of the program was its ability to individually customize educational content to match the level and rate of progress of each student. We find that lottery winners had large increases in test scores of 0.36ó in math and 0.22ó in Hindi over just a 4.5-month period. IV estimates suggest that attending the program for 90 days would increase math and Hindi test scores by 0.59ó and 0.36ó respectively. We find similar absolute test score gains for all students, but the relative gain was much greater for academically-weaker students because their rate of learning in the control group was close to zero. We show that the program was able to effectively cater to the very wide variation in student learning levels within a single grade by precisely targeting instruction to the level of student preparation. The program was highly cost-effective, both in terms of productivity per dollar and unit of time. Our results suggest that well-designed technology-aided instruction programs can sharply improve productivity in delivering education.
    Keywords: computer-aided learning, productivity in education, personalized learning, teaching at the right level, post-primary education, middle school, secondary school
    JEL: C93 I21 J24 O15
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Vimal Ranchhod (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: How do poor households respond to the cessation of cash transfers in developing countries? South Africa's generous social pension system results in most of the poor elderly being the primary 'breadwinner' in the household. We extract a longitudinal dataset using the rotating panel component of the nationally representative Quarterly Labour Force Surveys, and use fixed effects regression models to estimate the magnitude of changes in household composition and employment that coincide with the departure of a pensioner from the household. We find statistically significant changes in both of these outcome measures. Compositional changes include a decrease in the number of school going aged children, the number of teenagers, and the number of young adults; while the number of older adults increases. We also find significant increases in the number of employed prime aged adults and older adults. The combination of compositional changes and employment changes results in an increase in the mean proportion employed in all of the working age adult groups that we investigate. Overall, households respond by decreasing the number of dependents, increasing the number of potential caregivers, and increasing the proportion of adults engaged in income generating activities.
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Katsushi S. Imai (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan and School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of the transformation of the rural agricultural sector in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2 and 10 drawing upon the cross-country panel data over the past four decades for 105 developing countries. We define agricultural transformation by three different indices, namely, (i) the agricultural openness index – the share of agricultural export in agricultural value added of the country, (ii) the commercialization index - the share of processed agricultural products, fruits, green vegetables, and meats in all primary and processed agricultural products, and (iii) the product diversification index to capture the extent to which the country diversify the agricultural production. Drawing upon the dynamic panel model, we have found that transformation of the agricultural sector in terms of agricultural openness has dynamically increased the overall agricultural productivity and its growth and has consequently reduced national, rural and urban poverty significantly. We have also found that agricultural openness tends to significantly alleviate child malnutrition, namely underweight and stunting, and improve food security in terms of energy supply adequacy, protein supply, lack of food deficit and reduction of the prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women. The agricultural openness is found to be negatively associated with the Gini coefficient at both national and subnational levels (for both rural and urban areas). Except for Latin America, product diversification reduces agricultural productivity, implying the efficiency gains from economies of scale of fewer crops. On the other hand, we argue that the commercialisation does not generally increase the agricultural productivity and this may be related to a positive effect of the higher share of cereal production on productivity observed in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. It has been suggested that policies improving the efficiency of agricultural production, for example through better rural infrastructure, or promoting agricultural exports, through regional economic integrations or reducing transaction costs such as tariff and non-tariff barriers, would help to achieve SDGs 1, 2 and 10 indirectly through the productivity improvement. However, a separate policy to support the poorest below the US$1.90 a day poverty line is also necessary for achieving SDG 1.
    Date: 2017–10
  8. By: Levasseur, Pierre
    Abstract: The effect of body-mass on labour outcomes seems to be closely linked to the level of development of the country concerned. In rich countries, excess weight is penalised at work, whereas in the poorest societies overweight is rewarded. These divergences indicate that this effect depends on sociocultural factors related to weight perception and stigmatisation. In the case of emerging economies, weight perception appears to be unclear given a hybrid nutritional panorama: hunger and obesity coexist. Although the literature suggests a quadratic causal relationship between body-mass and earnings in middle-income countries, these economies are quite heterogeneous in terms of the body-mass distribution. The main objective of this study is therefore to explore the impact of body-mass index (BMI) on hourly income in an emerging country with high obesity prevalence, such as Mexico. We use panel data from the Mexican Family Life Survey and perform a bootstrapped three-step parametric model, based on an expanded Mincer earning function to control for potential sample selection bias and endogeneity problems. Then, we test the robustness of results implementing a bootstrapped three-step semiparametric model. For employees, our results show a right-leaning U-inverted causal relationship between BMI and hourly wage in Mexico. In other words, while overweight is rewarded at work, obesity is significantly penalised. By contrast, for self-employed workers, we observe a linear and positive effect of BMI on earnings, at least up to a BMI of 32 kg/m². The source of stigmatisation, as well as sociocultural heterogeneity, can explain why earning penalties are higher for employers than self-employed workers. To conclude, our findings suggest that two paradoxical phenomena are occurring in emerging countries such as Mexico: (i) a social acceptance of overweight, due to past nutritional deprivations and to the growing normalisation of obesity; (ii) a social reject of obesity, due to the large diffusion and adoption of thinness ideals from Western culture.
    Keywords: Mexico; emerging countries; labour income; obesity; weight stigma.
    JEL: I15 J31
    Date: 2017–10
  9. By: Nguyen, Cuong
    Abstract: This study investigates several determinants of children’s education in Vietnam. It finds an important role of living with both parents on. More specifically, children in households without either parent, due to divorce or death of parents, have lower enrollment rates than other children. Importantly, the effect on children of divorce of parents is even higher than the effect of parental death. Children with parents who migrate also have lower enrollment rates compared to children living in households where parents do not migrate. The study also shows correlation between inter-ethnic marriage and children's education. Children in families in which one Kinh parent and one from an ethnic minority group, as well as children of parents from two different ethnic minorities, have higher school attendance rates than children with parents from the same ethnic minority group.
    Keywords: Children, Young, Education, Vietnam
    JEL: I1 J1
    Date: 2016–08–15
  10. By: Mesbah Sharaf (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada); Ahmed Rashad
    Abstract: There is substantial evidence that on average, urban children have better health outcomes than rural children. This paper investigates the underlying factors that account for the regional disparities in child malnutrition in three Arab countries, namely; Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen. We use data on a nationally representative sample from the most recent rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey. A Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis is conducted to decompose the rural-urban differences in child nutrition outcomes into two components; one that is explained by regional differences in the level of the determinants (covariate effects), and another component that is explained by differences in the effect of the determinants on the child nutritional status (coefficient effects). Results show that the under-five stunting rates are 20% in Egypt, 46.5 % in Yemen, and 7.7% in Jordan. The rural- urban gap in child malnutrition was minor in the case of Egypt (2.3%) and Jordan (1.5%), while the regional gap was significant in the case of Yemen (17.7%). Results of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition show that the covariate effect is dominant in the case of Yemen while the coefficients effect dominates in the case of Jordan. Income inequality between urban and rural households explains most of the malnutrition gap. Results were robust to the different decomposition weighting schemes. By identifying the underlying factors behind the rural- urban health disparities, the findings of this paper help in designing effective intervention measures aimed at reducing regional inequalities and improving population health outcomes.
    Date: 2017–12–10
  11. By: Busse, Matthias; Erdogan, Ceren; Mühlen, Henning
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the role of structural transformation in view of the remarkable growth performance of sub-Saharan African countries since the mid-1990s. Our analysis covers 41 African countries over the period 1980 to 2014 and accounts for structural transformation by employing the analytical frameworks of (1) growth decomposition and (2) growth regression. Even though the low-productive agricultural sector continues to employ most of the African workforce, our results reveal that structural transformation has taken place and that it has contributed significantly to African growth in the past decades.
    Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa,structural transformation,economic growth,growth regressions,dualistic approach
    JEL: O11 O13 O47
    Date: 2017
  12. By: Boscow Okumu; Edwin Muchapondwa
    Abstract: This paper focuses on whether the provision of landless forest-adjacent communities with options to grow appropriate food crops inside forest reserves during early stages of reforestation programmes enable vertical transition of low income households and conserves forests. We consider the welfare and environmental impact of a unique incentive scheme known as the Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) in Kenya. PELIS was aimed at deepening community participation in forestry, and improving the economic livelihoods of adjacent communities. Using data collected from 22 Community Forest Associations and 406 households, we evaluated the mean impact of the scheme on forest cover and household welfare using matching methods and further assessed the heterogeneous impact of the scheme on household welfare using the endogenous quantile treatment effects model. The study revealed that on average, PELIS had a significant and positive impact on overall household welfare (estimated between 15.09% and 28.14%) and on the environment (between 5.53% and 7.94%). However, in terms of welfare, the scheme cannot be defended on equity grounds as it has inequitable distributional impacts on household welfare. The scheme raises welfare of the least poor than the poorest and marginalizes sections of the community through elite capture and lack of market linkages.
    Keywords: household welfare, heterogeneity, Selection Matching, QTE
    JEL: D02 Q23
    Date: 2017–08
  13. By: Lechler, Marie
    Abstract: We identify indirect and direct colonial rule as causal factors in shaping support for democracy by exploiting a within-country natural experiment in Namibia. Throughout the colonial era, northern Namibia was indirectly ruled through a system of appointed indigenous traditional elites whereas colonial authorities directly ruled southern Namibia. Using this spatial discontinuity, we find that individuals in indirectly ruled areas are less likely to support democracy and turnout at elections.
    JEL: F54 N27 N47 P16
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Katengeza, Samson P. (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Holden , Stein T. (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Fisher , Monica (Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology)
    Abstract: Soil fertility management (SFM) technologies may potentially protect against climate risks, reduce nutrient depletion and enhance food security. In this paper, we study impact of drought exposure on adoption and adoption intensity of SFM technologies, specifically, focusing on maize-legume intercropping and organic manure. The paper uses four-round panel data collected from six districts in Malawi over a period of nine years and we use correlated random effects models with a control function approach for data analysis. Results show an increase in adoption rates from 33% in 2006 to 76% in 2015 for maize-legume intercropping and from 30% (2006) to 53% (2015)for organic manure. Regression results reveal that exposure to early and late dry spells increases the likelihood of adoption and adoption intensity of maize-legume intercropping with late droughts also having a positive impact on adoption and adoption intensity of organic manure. We also find positive effects of fertilizer use intensity and fertilizer price on adoption and adoption intensity of both intercropping and organic manure.
    Keywords: Soil fertility management; maize-legume intercropping; organic manure; adoption; drought impacts; Malawi
    JEL: Q12 Q16 Q54 Q56
    Date: 2017–10–16
  15. By: Varun Kumar Das (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); A. Ganesh Kumar (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: The basic objective of this study is to analyse the role of farm size and diversification in determining farmers' income. Using data from NSS 70th round Situation Assessment Survey, the study considers two measures of income, viz., farm income per hectare (from crop and animal husbandry) and farmer's income per capita (from both farm and non-farm sources). Linear, log linear and panel data models are estimated to understand the nature of relationship between income, farm size and the two forms of diversification (on-farm and off-farm diversification). The study finds that a U-shaped relationship exists between farm size and farm / farmer's income. The results also show that both on-farm and off-farm diversification have an inverted U-shape relationship with farm / farmer's income. That is, diversification up to some level helps improve income but excessive diversification might lead to misallocation of resources and hence a fall in income. The results also show that engagement in public works programme such as MGNREGA has an adverse impact on farm / farmer's income, possibly due to the opportunity cost of time spent in such programmes. Finally, positive effect of education on income is seen only at somewhat high education levels.
    Keywords: Farm size, farm income, farmer's income, on-farm / off-farm diversification
    JEL: L25 Q12 Q15 Q18
    Date: 2017–09
  16. By: Mburu, Samuel; Kaiser, Micha; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
    Abstract: Understanding household-level asset dynamics has important implications for designing relevant poverty reduction policies. To advance this understanding, we develop a microeconomic model to analyze the impact of a shock (for example a drought) on the behavioral decisions of pastoralists in Northern Kenya. Using household panel data this study then explores the livestock asset dynamics using both non-parametric and semi-parametric techniques to establish the shape of the asset accumulation path and to determine whether multiple equilibria exist. More specifically, using tropical livestock units as a measure of livestock accumulation over time, we show not only that these assets converge to a single equilibrium but that forage availability and herd diversity play a major role in such livestock accumulation.
    Keywords: poverty dynamics,pastoralists,livestock,semi-parametric estimation,Kenya
    Date: 2017
  17. By: Malikah Jacobs
    Abstract: This paper examines the extent and implications of the public-private sector wage differential prevalent amongst the Black South African populace. In this paper we quantify the public sector wage premium, examine the impact of the wage premium on the incidence of household poverty, and perform a robustness analysis to determine whether the poverty effect of the wage premium varies by household type. Our results suggest that a public sector wage premium of approximately 30% exists for Black formal-sector employees, that the wage premium dampens the incidence of household poverty among Black South Africans, and that Black females are more handsomely rewarded as state employees than Black males are.
    Keywords: Black South Africans, public sector, private sector, wage differential, wage premium
    Date: 2017–09
  18. By: Pfaff, Alexander S. P.; Robalino, Juan D.; Reis, Eustáquio José; Walker, Robert T.; Perz, Stephen George L.; Laurance, William F.; Bohrer, Claudio; Aldrich, Steven; Arima, E. Y.; Caldas, Marcellus Marques; Kirby, Katherine
    Abstract: To inform the search for SDG synergies in infrastructure provision, and to reduce SDG tradeoffs, the authors show that road impacts on Brazilian Amazon forests have varied significantly across settings. Forest loss varied predictably with prior development - both prior roads and prior deforestation - and in a spatial pattern suggesting a synergy between forests and urban growth in such frontiers. Examining multiple roads investments, the authors estimate impact for settings of high, medium and low prior roads and deforestation. Census-tract observations are numerous for each setting and reveal a pattern, not consistent with endogeneity, that confirms our predictions for this kind of frontier. Impacts are: low after relatively high prior development; larger for medium prior development, at the forest margin; then low again for low prior development. For the latter setting, the authors note that in such isolated areas, interactions with conservation policies influence forest impacts over time. These Amazonian results suggest "SDG strategic" locations of infrastructure, an idea they suggest for other frontiers while highlighting differences in those frontiers and their SDG opportunities.
    Keywords: deforestation,roads,infrastructure,climate change,biodiversity,Brazil
    JEL: O12 O13 H23 H41 Q23 Q24 Q56
    Date: 2017

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