nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2017‒12‒11
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Effect of Teacher Bonuses on Learning Outcomes and the Distribution of Teacher Skill: Evidence from Rural Schools in Peru By Juan F. Castro; Bruno Esposito
  2. Smarter Teachers, Smarter Pupils? Some New Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. By Nadir Altinok; Manos Antoninis; Phu Nguyen-Van
  3. Temperature shocks, growth and poverty thresholds: evidence from rural Tanzania By Marco Letta; Pierluigi Montalbano; Richard S.J. Tol
  4. Attrition in randomized control trials: Using tracking information to correct bias By Teresa Molina Millan; Karen Macours
  5. Are Urban-Rural Welfare Differences Growing in India? By Mehtabul Azam
  6. Remittances and healthcare consumption: human capital investment or responses to shocks? Evidence from Peru By Gabriella Berloffa; Sara Giunti
  7. Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data By Diego Restuccia; Tasso Adamopoulos
  8. Group meeting frequency and borrowers’ repayment performance in microfinance: Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in South Africa By Lucia, Dalla Pellegrina; Angela, De Michele; Giorgio, Di Maio; Paolo, Landoni; Susanna, Parravicini;
  9. Measuring Equality of Opportunity in Early Childhood: A methodological proposal using Demographic and Health Surveys By Lykke E. Andersen; Augustus Griffin; Justus J. Krause; Gabriel Orduña Montekio
  10. Intergenerational Transmission of Risk Attitudes: The Role of Gender, Parents and Grandparents in Burkina Faso By Sephavand, Mohammad; Shahbazian, Roujman
  11. Can social safety nets protect public health? The effect of India's workfare and foodgrain subsidy programmes on anaemia By Sudha Narayanan; Nicolas Gerber; Udayan Rathore; Karthikeya Naraparaju

  1. By: Juan F. Castro (Universidad del Pacifico); Bruno Esposito (Universidad del Pacifico)
    Abstract: Teachers tend to avoid working in places with poor basic services, where transport costs are high and students show low performance. As a result, less advantaged students living in rural areas usually get paired with less qualified teachers. In many developing countries, teachers are offered monetary incentives to work in rural or remote schools. The literature, however, offers very little evidence about their effect on teacher qualifications. Moreover, this is the first study to produce causal evidence about the effect on these incentives on learning outcomes. This paper analyses the effect of unconditional monetary incentives on learning outcomes and the distribution of teacher skill in public rural schools in Peru. Teachers working in a rural school receive, on average, an additional 430 soles each month (around US$ 130 and approximately 30% of the starting salary). Schools are classified as rural based on the population of their community and their distance to the nearest province capital. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits the exogenous shift in the amount of the bonus that occurs around the population and distance thresholds used to classify a school as rural. We find that the average bonus had a positive effect of around 0.16 standard deviations on reading comprehension and mathematics test scores obtained by second grade students in the 2014 and 2015 national evaluations. One of the mechanisms by which teacher bonuses can have a positive effect on learning is by making rural schools more attractive for talented teachers. We find evidence in favor of this channel. In fact, the bonus caused a shift of 0.38 standard deviations in the average score obtained by rural school teachers in the 2015 recruitment evaluation.
    Keywords: Teacher incentives, rural schools, regression discontinuity
    JEL: I21 C26
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Nadir Altinok; Manos Antoninis; Phu Nguyen-Van
    Abstract: We study the effect of teacher subject knowledge on student achievement in mathematics and reading by using a dataset from six Sub-Saharan African countries. By using a difference-indifference between pupils’ and teachers’ scores in two skills, we are able to avoid potential endogeneity bias. In most estimations, we do not find a significant teacher knowledge effect in most countries. The main reason is teacher absenteeism and the need to focus on core knowledge. Indeed, more knowledgeable teachers improve student learning only if certain conditions are met. For instance, a high level of teacher absenteeism and low teacher performance in a subset of items that are also administered to students can dampen the teacher subject knowledge effect on student learning. When these conditions are met, teacher subject knowledge has a significant and positive effect on student achievement in most countries.
    Keywords: Teacher knowledge; Africa; Learning; SACMEQ; cognitive skills.
    JEL: I2 O12
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Marco Letta (Sapienza University of Rome); Pierluigi Montalbano (Sapienza University of Rome; University of Sussex); Richard S.J. Tol (University of Sussex; Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam; CESifo, Munich)
    Abstract: Using the LSMS-ISA Tanzania National Panel Survey by the World Bank, we study the relationship between rural household consumption growth and temperature shocks over the period 2008 – 2013. Temperature shocks have a negative and significant impact on household growth only if their initial consumption lies below a critical threshold. As such, temperature shocks slow income convergence among households. Agricultural yields and labour productivity are the main transmission channels. These findings support the Schelling Conjecture: economic development would allow poor farming households to cope with climate change, and closing the yield gap and modernizing agriculture is crucial for adaptation to the negative impacts of global warming.
    Keywords: weather shocks; climate change; household consumption growth; rural development
    JEL: I32 O12 Q12 Q54
    Date: 2017–11
  4. By: Teresa Molina Millan; Karen Macours
    Abstract: This paper starts from a review of RCT studies in development economics, and documents many studies largely ignore attrition once attrition rates are found balanced between treatment arms. The paper analyzes the implications of attrition for the internal and external validity of the results of a randomized experiment with balanced attrition rates, and proposes a new method to correct for attrition bias. We rely on a 10-years longitudinal data set with a nal attrition rate of 10 percent, obtained after intensive tracking of migrants, and document the sensitivity of ITT estimates for schooling gains and labour market outcomes for a social program in Nicaragua. We nd that not including those found during the intensive tracking leads to an overestimate of the ITT effects for the target population by more than 35 percent, and that selection into attrition is driven by observable baseline characteristics. We propose to correct for attrition using inverse probability weighting with estimates of weights that exploit the similarities between missing individuals and those found during an intensive tracking phase. We compare these estimates with alternative strategies using regression adjustment, standard weights, bounds or proxy information. JEL codes:
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Mehtabul Azam (Oklahoma State University)
    Abstract: Using data from the large scale consumption expenditure surveys collected by Indian National Sample Survey Organization, we examine the urban-rural welfare gap in India in 1983, 1993-94, 2004-05, and 2011-12 across the entire distribution. Our main measure of welfare is spatially adjusted per capita consumption expenditure. We find that the urban-rural gap increased considerably between 1993-94 and 2004-05, and increase is larger at the higher quantiles. Using the unconditional quantile regression decomposition, we find that majority of the gap is explained by the urban advantage in endowments in all four years. The contribution of the unexplained effect (differences in rewards) in urban advantage was negative in 1983 and 1993-94 across the entire distribution. We find that difference in educational distribution across urban and rural areas is the most important driver of the observed gap. We find similar patterns using income data for 2004-05 and 2011-12 from India Human Development Surveys.
    Keywords: Urban-rural welfare gap, unconditional quantile regression, India
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: Gabriella Berloffa; Sara Giunti
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of international remittances on healthcare consumption. We test whether consumption decisions of remittance-receiving households with respect to healthcare are driven by the occurrence of health shocks or reveal different preferences to invest in human capital. Using data from the "Peruvian National Survey of Households", we find that remittances have a positive impact on healthcare consumption shares and a negative one on consumption goods, net of the remittance-related income effect. This suggests a tendency to devote larger shares of income from remittances to human capital investment, compared to other sources of income. This propensity is independent of the occurrence of a health shock, confirming the role of migrant transfers for human capital accumulation.
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Diego Restuccia (University of Toronto); Tasso Adamopoulos (York University)
    Abstract: What accounts for the extremely low agricultural productivity in poor countries? We assess the quantitative role of geography and land quality for agricultural productivity differences across countries using high-resolution micro-geography data and a simple spatial accounting framework. Our rich spatial data provide in each plot of land covering the entire globe actual yields for crops produced and potential yields for 18 main crops that account for soil quality, climate conditions, and terrain topography. There is considerable heterogeneity in land quality across space, even within narrow geographic regions. Yet, we find that low agricultural productivity in poor countries is not due to poor land endowments. If countries produced current crops according to potential yields, the rich-poor agricultural yield gap would virtually disappear, from more than 200 percent to less than 5 percent. If in addition countries produced in each location the crop with the highest potential yield, the yield gap turns into a gain of 23 percent. Our evidence indicates that the rich-poor yield gap is mostly due to low efficiency in producing existing crops within plots in poor countries, with a smaller role for the composition of crops within plots and the distribution of crop production across plots within countries.
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Lucia, Dalla Pellegrina; Angela, De Michele; Giorgio, Di Maio; Paolo, Landoni; Susanna, Parravicini;
    Abstract: A quasi-natural experiment has been carried out in which the Centre Meeting (CM) rules of some centres of a large Microfinance Institution (MFI) that offers microfinance services, in the form of group lending, were changed. The study has been carried out at the Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF), an MFI that operates in South Africa. The frequency of group meetings, organised as part of the “Monthly Centre Meetings†pilot programme, was reduced from bimonthly to monthly, and only one member per credit-group was asked to participate instead of all the group members. The purpose of these changes was to allow borrowers to save time to spend on their own economic activities. This new policy was put into force for one year, from May 2014 to the end of April 2015. After selecting a suitable control group of micro-borrowers, using Propensity Score Matching techniques, we ran difference-in-difference (DID) regressions to evaluate the impact of the policy changes on the client’s repayment and saving behaviour. The obtained estimates suggest that the change in the policy rules had led to a deterioration of the customers’ saving balances and had increased delayed repayments. Text mining techniques, applied to survey data, pointed towards a lack of trust within the groups, the members of which did not meet frequently outside the CMs, and this was found to be one of the main causes of failure of the pilot experiment. We have concluded that group meetings are an effective tool to stimulate the accumulation of social capital for some categories of clients, and that those MFIs that wish to implement similar interventions should be aware of the drawbacks pertaining to borrowers’ behaviour.
    Keywords: Microfinance, Group lending, Group meetings, Quasi-natural experiment, Repayment delay, Savings
    JEL: G21 O15 L31 I25
    Date: 2017–11–30
  9. By: Lykke E. Andersen (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Augustus Griffin (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Justus J. Krause (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Gabriel Orduña Montekio (Institute for Advanced Development Studies)
    Abstract: There is conceptually a big difference between inequality of opportunity and inequality of outcomes, and the policies needed to address the two different kinds of inequality are also very different. However, it is difficult to measure inequality of opportunity. This paper proposes a new measure of equality of opportunity, based on the importance of family background variables for nutritional status in early childhood. We applied the proposed methodology to 166 Demographic and Health Surveys, from 60 different countries, carried out between 1991 and 2015. What stands out most strongly from these estimations is the low level of equality of opportunity in Latin America compared to the rest of the world. Family background is much more important for children’s nutritional status in this region than in the rest of the world. In contrast, the countries of sub-Saharan Africa were found to have surprisingly high equality of opportunity, suggesting that in this region other factors than family background determine nutritional outcomes. The paper also explores relations between equality of opportunity and key development variables, as well as changes over time.
    Keywords: Equality of opportunity, early childhood development, social mobility, nutritional mobility, Demographic and Health Surveys
    JEL: I14 I15
    Date: 2017–10
  10. By: Sephavand, Mohammad (Department of Economics); Shahbazian, Roujman (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This study investigates the intergenerational transmission of risk attitudes for three risk domains in Burkina Faso. First, our results shows a strong transmission of attitudes from parents to children. Although, estimates from intergenerational transmission of risk attitudes in developing countries should not be compared directly with those from developed countries, our results goes in the same direction as previous literature from Germany. That is risk attitudes are transmitted from; parents to children, local enviorment to children and positive assortative mating of parents strengthens the parents’ transmission of attitudes to her child. Second we analyze three generations of risk attitude transmission. Our results indicates that it exist a transmission of risk attitudes from grandparents to their grandchildren. The strength and significance of this socialization decreases when we control for parents risk attitudes. Third, since there are strong gender roles in Burkina Faso, we test if mothers and fathers transmission of risk attitudes on their daughter is the same as on their son. We find that mother’s transmission of risk attitudes is stronger on their daughters than sons. For fathers the pattern is reverse. However, our findings show that it exist a heterogenity in the transmission of risk attitudes in male and female dominated risk domains. This gives support for the gender-specific role model hypothesis in terms of risk attitudes.
    Keywords: risk attitudes; inter and multigenerational transmission; socialization; Burkina Faso
    JEL: D81
    Date: 2017–11–20
  11. By: Sudha Narayanan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Nicolas Gerber (Center for Development Research, University of Bonn); Udayan Rathore (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Karthikeya Naraparaju (Indian Institute of Management, Indore)
    Abstract: Can large-scale social safety nets be nutrition sensitive even if they do not explicitly incorporate health and nutrition as programmatic goals? This paper focuses on the consequences of a countrywide guaranteed workfare programme (MGNREGA) and subsidised food distribution scheme (PDS) in India for the prevalence of anaemia, examining whether individuals in districts with a broader reach of these mega-programmes are less likely to be anaemic. Using an Instrumental Variable (IV) approach to address the endogeneity of programme scale, we find that an individual residing in a district where the programmes have broader reach is less likely to suffer from all forms of anaemia and has a lower haemoglobin deficit from the benchmark suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - ranging between 0.91 to 6.2 percentage points for a 10 percentage point expansion in programme scale. While the PDS seems to be more effective in reducing the incidence of mild anaemia than moderate or severe anaemia, while the strength of effects for MGNREGA seem to be the least for mild. These are catch-all effects that represent partial and general equilibrium impacts through multiple pathways. Programme interaction effects suggest the MGNREGA and PDS may be substitutes - associated improvements in anaemia for regions with higher PDS access (MGNREGA participation) are more pronounced when the scale of MGNREGA participation (PDS access) is low. There exist nonlinearities in these relationships with the efficacy of both programmes varying across scales of implementation.
    Keywords: safety nets, PDS, MGNREGA, India, anaemia
    JEL: I18 J08 J48 H55
    Date: 2017–10

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