nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒12‒03
seven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Picking Winners: Measuring the Effectiveness of Selectively Placed Policy Interventions By Melinda Vigh; Chris Elbers
  2. Growth Breaks and Growth Spells in Sub-Saharan Africa By Francisco Arizala; Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia; Charalambos G Tsangarides; Mustafa Yenice
  3. Considering the Effects of Mobile Phones on Financial Inclusion in Cambodia By Seng, Kimty
  4. Rainfall inequality, trust and civil conflict in Nigeria By Muhammad Kabir Salihu; Andrea Guariso
  5. Urbanization patterns, social interactions and female voting in rural Paraguay By Alberto Chong; Gianmarco León; Vivian Roza; Martin Valdivia; Gabriela Vega
  6. Do emigrants self-select along cultural traits? Evidence from the MENA countries By Docquier, Frédéric; Tansel, Aysit; Turati, Riccardo
  7. US and China Aid to Africa: Impact on the Donor-Recipient Trade Relations By Liu, Ailan; Tang, Bo

  1. By: Melinda Vigh (Tinbergen Institute); Chris Elbers (Tinbergen Institute)
    Abstract: In practice, social and development interventions are often targeted at groups or individuals with the largest expected benefits. In such cases, treatment effects are usually affected by selection on unobservable factors. We show that modeling the process of selective intervention placement allows us to correct for this and identify the Average Treatment Effect using observational panel data. We illustrate the estimation method using simulated data, as well as, data on a large-scale sanitation intervention in Mozambique. Our results provide a useful tool for the assessment of targeted policy interventions, and inform decisions on their continuation or replication.
    Keywords: Program evaluation; Selection effect; Correlated random coefficients
    JEL: D04 C23
    Date: 2017–11–24
  2. By: Francisco Arizala; Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia; Charalambos G Tsangarides; Mustafa Yenice
    Abstract: This paper examines the growth performance of sub-Saharan African countries since 1960 through the lens of growth turning points (accelerations and decelerations) and periods of sustained growth (growth spells). Growth accelerations are generally associated with improved external conditions, increased investment and trade openness, declines in inflation, better fiscal balances, and improvements in the institutional environment. Transitioning from growth accelerations to growth spells often requires additional efforts beyond what is needed to trigger an acceleration. Growth spells are sustained by fiscal policy that prevents excessive public debt accumulation, monetary policy geared toward low inflation, outward-oriented trade policies, and structural policies that reduce market distortions, as well as supportive external environment and improvements in democratic institutions. Overall, determinants of growth spells in sub-Saharan Africa are different from those in the rest of the emerging and developing countries.
    Keywords: Africa;Angola;Benin;Botswana;Burkina Faso;Burundi;Cameroon;Central African Republic;Chad;Comoros;Djibouti;Equatorial Guinea;Eritrea;Ethiopia;Gabon;Gambia, The;Ghana;Guinea;Guinea-Bissau;Kenya;Lesotho;Liberia;Madagascar;Malawi;Mali;Mauritania;Mauritius;Middle East;Mozambique;Namibia;Niger;Nigeria;Rwanda;Senegal;Seychelles;Sierra Leone;South Africa;Sub-Saharan Africa;Swaziland;Tanzania;Uganda;Togo;Zambia;Zimbabwe;Congo, Democratic Republic of the;Congo, Republic of;Growth, accelerations, duration analysis, Africa JEL Classification Numbers: O11, O47, C41, O55, Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    Date: 2017–09–08
  3. By: Seng, Kimty
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of mobile phones on financial inclusion in terms of households’ uptake of microcredit in Cambodia, with data from the Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey conducted in 2014. The analysis is conducted with a propensity score matching approach to address endogeneity issues of the use of mobile phones and to evaluate the effects. The results suggest that mobile phones are very likely to induce households to take up credit offered by microfinance institutions, in particular for non-agricultural investment purpose, but to discourage households from using credit for non-productive purpose.
    Keywords: Mobile phones, financial inclusion, microfinance, Cambodia
    JEL: O10 O12
    Date: 2017–10–27
  4. By: Muhammad Kabir Salihu; Andrea Guariso
    Abstract: Do changes in the distribution of rainfall between ethnic groups increase the risk of armed conflicts within Nigeria? In this paper, we exploit variation in rainfall during the growing season, to study how resource inequality between ethnic groups affects the risks of violent conflicts in Nigeria. Our main results show that a one standard deviation change in between-group rainfall inequality during the growing season increases civil conflicts prevalence in Nigeria by about seven percentage points. This relationship is driven, in part, by declining social capital. Specifically, we demonstrated that an unequal distribution of rainfall between ethnic groups reinforces citizens grievances over government performance and creates mistrust between predominantly farming communities and those engaged in nomadic herding. The analysis highlights the need to develop conflict-sensitive mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce the adverse effects of climatic shock.
    Keywords: Conflict, Inequality, Rainfall, Trust, Nigeria
    JEL: D63 D74 E01
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Alberto Chong; Gianmarco León; Vivian Roza; Martin Valdivia; Gabriela Vega
    Abstract: We use a field experiment to evaluate the impact of two informational get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaigns to boost female electoral participation in Paraguay. We find that public rallies have no effect either on registration or on voter turnout in the 2013 presidential elections. However, households that received door-to-door (D2D) treatment are 4.6 percentage points more likely to vote. Experimental variation on the intensity of the treatment at the locality level allows us to estimate spillover effects, which are present in localities that are geographically more concentrated, and thus may favor social interactions. Reinforcement effects to the already treated population are twice as large as diffusion to the untreated. Our results underscore the importance of taking into account urbanization patterns when designing informational campaigns.
    Keywords: Voter behavior, electoral politics, urbanization, spillover effects, Paraguay
    JEL: O10 D72 O53 D71
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: Docquier, Frédéric; Tansel, Aysit; Turati, Riccardo
    Abstract: This paper empirically investigates whether emigrants from MENA countries self-select on cultural traits such as religiosity and gender-egalitarian attitudes. To do so, we use Gallup World Poll data on individual opinions and beliefs, migration aspirations, short-run migration plans, and preferred destination choices. We find that individuals who intend to emigrate to OECD, high-income countries exhibit significantly lower levels of religiosity than the rest of the population. They also share more gender-egalitarian views, although the effect only holds among the young (aged 15 to 30), among single women, and in countries with a Sunni minority. For countries mostly affected by Arab Spring, since 2011 the degree of cultural selection has decreased. Nevertheless, the aggregate effects of cultural selection should not be overestimated. Overall, self-selection along cultural traits has limited (albeit non negligible) effects on the average characteristics of the population left behind, and on the cultural distance between natives and immigrants in the OECD countries.
    Keywords: International migration,self-selection,cultural traits,gender-egalitarian attitudes,religiosity,MENA region
    JEL: F22 J61 Z10
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Liu, Ailan; Tang, Bo
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of the US and China’s foreign aids to Africa on trade flows between donor and recipient countries. Evidence from the gravity model estimates reveals that the two donors’ exports are strengthened by their aids to African partners. Interestingly, China’s aid shows a positive effect on its total volume of trade and imports from Africa, while the aid from the US exhibits little impact on the US-Africa total trade and its imports from Africa. A possible explanation for such a difference could be due to the dissimilar national interests of donors in Africa. This study finally suggests that African countries should accelerate the pace of advancing domestic economies and rely less on foreign assistance, in order to establish a fairer and more equal international economic order.
    Keywords: Foreign aid, Aid-trade relations, Gravity model
    JEL: F35 P33
    Date: 2017–10

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