nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2018‒02‒12
seventeen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. International commodity prices and civil war outbreak: new evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond By Antonio Ciccone
  2. Returning Home after Civil: WarFood security and nutrition among Burundian households By Philip Verwimp; Juan Carlos Munoz Mora
  3. Rainfall Inequality, Political Power, and Ethnic Conflict in Africa By Andrea Guariso; Thorsten Rogall
  4. Secondary towns, agricultural prices, and intensification: Evidence from Ethiopia By Joachim Vandercasteelen; Seneshaw Tamru; Bart Minten; Johan Swinnen
  5. Voodoo, Vaccines and Bed Nets By Nik Stoop; Marijke Verpoorten; Koen Deconinck
  6. From Corn to Popcorn? Urbanization and Food Consumption in sub-Sahara Africa: Evidence From Rural-Urban Migrants in Tanzania By Lara Cockx; Liesbeth Colen; Joachim De Weerdt
  7. MGNREGA, paid work and women’s empowerment By De Mattos, Fernanda Bárcia.; Dasgupta, Sukti.
  8. Disentangling the Effect of International Migration on Household Food and Nutrition Security By Donato Romano; Silvio Traverso
  9. Formal education, malaria preventive behaviour, and children’s malarial status in Tanzania By Ninja Ritter Klejnstrup; Joel Silas Lincoln
  10. Does publicly provided health care affect migration? Evidence from Mexico By Mahé, Clotilde
  11. Large-scale farms and smallholders: Evidence from Zambia By Lay, Jann; Nolte, Kerstin; Sipangule, Kacana
  12. Investigating growing inequality in Mozambique By Carlos Gradín; Finn Tarp
  13. The impact of assistance on poverty and food security in a protracted conflict context: the case of West Bank and Gaza Strip By Donato Romano; Gianluca Stefani; Benedetto Rocchi; Claudio Fiorillo
  14. Effects of health insurance on labour supply: Evidence from the health care fund for the poor in Viet Nam By Le, Nga T.Q.; Groot, Wim; Tomini, Sonila; Tomini, Florian
  15. Financial Literacy and Intra-Household Decision Making: Evidence from Rwanda By Antonia Grohmann; Annekathrin Schoofs
  16. Labour migration in Indonesia and the health of children left behind By James Ng
  17. The Impact of Rural Electrification on Income and Education: Evidence from Bhutan By Santosh Kumar; Ganesh Rauniyar

  1. By: Antonio Ciccone
    Abstract: A new dataset by Bazzi and Blattman (2014) allows examining the effects of international commodity prices on the risk of civil war outbreak with more comprehensive data. I find that international commodity price downturns sparked civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another finding with the new dataset is that commodity price downturns also sparked civil wars beyond Sub-Saharan Africa since 1980. Effects are sizable relative to the baseline risk of civil war outbreak. My conclusions contrast with those of Bazzi and Blattman, who argue that the new dataset rejects that commodity price downturns cause civil wars. The reason is that I calculate commodity price shocks using time-invariant (fixed) export shares as commodity weights. Bazzi and Blattman also calculate commodity price shocks using export shares as commodity weights but but the exports shares they use are time-varying. Using time-invariant export shares as commodity weights ensures that time variation in price shocks solely re ects changes in international commodity prices. Price shocks based on time-varying export shares partly re ect (possibly endogenous) changes in the quantity and variety of countries' exports, which jeopardizes causal estimation.
    Keywords: civil wars, commodity price downturns
    JEL: E3 O1 Q1 Q10
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Philip Verwimp; Juan Carlos Munoz Mora
    Abstract: This paper investigates the food security and nutritional status of formerly displaced households (HHs). Using the 2006 Core Welfare Indicator Survey for Burundi we compare their food intake and their level of expenses with that of their non-displaced neighbours. We test whether it is the duration of displacement that matters for current food security and nutritional status or the time lapsed since returning home. We use log-linear as well as propensity score matching and an instrumental variable-approach to control for self-selection bias. We find that the individuals and HHs who returned home just before the time of the survey are worse off compared to those who returned several years earlier. On average, the formerly displaced have 5 per cent lower food expenses and 6 per cent lower calorie intake. Moreover, we find evidence in favour of duration of displacement as the main mechanisms through which displacement affects HH welfare. Results are robust after controlling for self-selection bias. Despite international, government and NGO assistance, the welfare of recent returnees is lagging seriously behind in comparison with the local non-displaced populations.
    Keywords: development, migration, Burundi
    JEL: O15 O18
    Date: 2017–08–01
  3. By: Andrea Guariso; Thorsten Rogall
    Abstract: Does higher resource inequality between ethnic groups lead to ethnic conflict? In this paper, we empirically investigate this question by constructing a new measure of inequality using rainfall on ethnic homelands during the plant-growing season. Our dataset covers the period 1982-2001 and includes 214 ethnicities, located across 42 African countries. The analysis at the country level shows that one standard-deviation increase in rainfall-based inequality between ethnic groups increases the risk of ethnic conflict by 16 percentage points (or 0.43 standard deviations). This relationship depends on the power relations between the ethnic groups. More specifically, the analysis at the ethnicity level shows that ethnic groups are more likely to engage in civil conflicts whenever they receive less rain than the leading group. This effect does not hold for ethnic groups that share some political power with the leading group and is strongest for groups that have recently lost power. Our findings are consistent with an increase in resource inequality leading to more ethnic conflicts by exacerbating grievances in groups with no political power.
    Keywords: Conflict, Ethnic Inequality, Rainfall, Africa, Ethnic Power Relations
    JEL: D63 D74 E01
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Joachim Vandercasteelen; Seneshaw Tamru; Bart Minten; Johan Swinnen
    Abstract: Urbanization is happening fast in the developing world and especially so in sub-Saharan Africa where growth rates of cities are among the highest in the world. While cities and, in particular, secondary towns, where most of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa resides, affect agricultural practices in their rural hinterlands, this relationship is not well understood. To fill this gap, we develop a conceptual model to analyze how farmers’ proximity to cities of different sizes affects agricultural prices and intensification of farming. We then test these predictions using large-scale survey data from producers of teff, a major staple crop in Ethiopia, relying on unique data on transport costs and road networks and implementing an array of econometric models. We find that agricultural price behavior and intensification is determined by proximity to a city and the type of city. While proximity to cities has a strong positive effect on agricultural output prices and on uptake of modern inputs and yields on farms, the effects on prices and intensification measures are lower for farmers in the rural hinterlands of secondary towns compared to primate cities.
    Keywords: urbanization, cities, secondary towns, Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural prices, intensification
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Nik Stoop; Marijke Verpoorten; Koen Deconinck
    Abstract: We provide the first quantitative analysis to scrutinize the ample ethnographic evidence that magico-religious beliefs affect the demand for conventional healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. We rely on the unique case of Benin, where Voodoo-adherence is freely reported, and varies greatly within villages and even within households, yet can be traced to historic events that are arguably exogenous to present-day healthcare behavior. These features allow us to account for confounding village- and household-factors, and address self-selection into Voodoo. We find that Voodoo adherence of the mother is associated with lower uptake of preventive healthcare measures and worse child health outcomes, a relationship that weakens but remains when controlling for village dummies and a large set of observables. We employ three different strategies to test for the potential influence of unobservables. The results suggest that the estimated Voodoo-effects are partly causal. A tentative exploration of the causal mechanisms suggests a mediating role of traditional healers.
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Lara Cockx; Liesbeth Colen; Joachim De Weerdt
    Abstract: There is rising concern that the ongoing wave of urbanization will have profound effects on eating patterns and increase the risk of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases. Yet, our understanding of urbanization as a driver of food consumption remains limited and primarily based upon research designs that fail to disentangle the effect of living in an urban environment from other socioeconomic disparities. Data from the Tanzania National Panel Survey, which tracked out-migrating respondents, allow us to compare individuals’ dietary patterns before and after they relocated from rural to urban areas and assess whether those changes differ from household members who stayed behind or moved to a different rural area. We find that individuals who relocated to urban areas experience a much more pronounced shift away from the consumption of traditional staples, and towards more high-sugar, conveniently consumed and prepared foods. Contrary to what is often claimed in the literature, living in an urban environment is not found to contribute positively to the intake of protein-rich foods, nor to diet diversity. Though we do not find a strong association with weight gain, these changes in eating patterns represent a clear nutritional concern regarding the potential longer-term impacts of urbanization. Our results however also indicate that the growth of unhealthy food consumption with urbanization is largely linked to rising incomes. As such, health concerns over diets can be expected to spread rapidly to less-urbanized areas as well, as soon as income growth takes off there. Our findings clearly call for more in-depth research that may help to improve health and food and nutrition security as well as correctly predict food demand and adapt trade, agricultural and development policies.
    Date: 2017
  7. By: De Mattos, Fernanda Bárcia.; Dasgupta, Sukti.
    Abstract: This paper examines the nexus between legislation, paid employment, women’s empowerment and transformative gender equality in India. Using a sample of married women from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), we find that the government legislated rural employment guarantee, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), has been instrumental in ensuring paid employment for women – for many married women it is the first opportunity for paid work. We also find paid employment and MGNREGA had positive and significant effects on women’s control over household decisions. However, we do not find enough evidence to suggest a transformative impact in terms of breaking the cycle of disadvantage, proxied by the timethe older girl child spends in school.
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Donato Romano; Silvio Traverso (Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa)
    Abstract: This paper explores the linkages between international migration and household food and nutrition security (FNS) from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. First, building on the limited previous literature, the paper develops a unifying conceptual framework for identifying the main microeconomic channels through which international migration can affect household FNS. Second, adopting an encompassing definition of migrant households and using Bangladesh as case-study, it estimates the overall impact of international migration on household FNS. Third, by disentangling the overall effect, the paper assesses the importance of the various microeconomic channels, i.e. the change in the household structure, overseas remittances and the presence of returned migrants. The empirical strategy is based on a multiple treatment counterfactual framework, using a linearized propensity score matching technique. On the one hand, the estimates indicate that international migration has a positive impact on all FNS dimensions, allowing households to consume more food, to have access to more expensive food products and to shift towards a more diversified diet, richer in foods and micronutrients. On the other hand, the disentanglement of the impact corroborates the validity of the conceptual framework and supports the conclusion that the average effect of international migration on household FNS through all the identified microeconomic channels is always non-negative. Finally, the paper contributes to the literature on the so-called ‘Bangladesh paradox’ suggesting that international migration may have contributed to the exceptional progress in health and nutrition achieved by Bangladesh during a period of relatively poor economic growth.
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Ninja Ritter Klejnstrup; Joel Silas Lincoln
    Abstract: In this study, we assess formal education as a causal determinant of women’s malaria preventive behaviour, as well as children’s risk of malaria infection. For identification, we rely on exogenous variation in educational attainment generated by educational reforms during the 1970s. We use data from a total of four rounds of either Demographic and Health Surveys or Malaria Indicator Surveys, which allows us to explore variation in relationships over time. In the earliest survey rounds (2004–05 and 2007–08), our results indicate that each additional year of schooling increased women’s probability of using malaria prophylaxis during pregnancy by between 3.7 and 14.5 percentage points, and their children’s probability of sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) by between 1.8 and 3.0 percentage points. Results for both women’s use of ITN and children’s malaria status are inconclusive across all survey rounds. We argue that differences in magnitude and strength of evidence of causality between effect estimates for women’s use of malaria prophylaxis and women’s and children’s use of ITN is likely due to differences in the mechanisms linking these outcomes to education, with the latter being mediated by income to a higher degree than the former.
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Mahé, Clotilde (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Do social policies affect migration? To answer this question, I exploit the random expansion of a publicly provided health care programme in Mexico, as well as the panel dimension and the timing of the Mexican Family Life Survey. Non-contributory health care is found to increase internal migration by freeing up care (time) constraints and strengthening household economic resilience in the face of health- related shocks. However, the alleviation of financial and time constraints is not significant enough to alter international migration, more costly by nature. Results point to the relevance of including both resident and non-resident household members in assessing the effects of social policies on labour market behaviours. They suggest that publicly provided health care complements, rather than substitutes, informal livelihood strategies in that relaxing binding financial and time constraints enables labour force detachment of working-age members in afiliated households.
    Keywords: Health insurance, migration, Mexico, occupational choice
    JEL: I13 I15 I18 I38 J21 O15
    Date: 2017–11–27
  11. By: Lay, Jann; Nolte, Kerstin; Sipangule, Kacana
    Abstract: In light of the surge in large-scale farms in developing countries, concerns have been raised that smallholders may be negatively affected. There is, however, very little evidence beyond case studies to support these claims. Drawing on nationally representative household data sets and an inventory of large-scale farms in Zambia, this study investigates the relationship between large-scale farms and smallholders. First, we analyse the geographical contexts of wards that host large-scale farms and show that large-scale farms are found in wards with good infrastructure and soil quality. Second, we adopt a difference-in-differences approach to estimate the impacts of large-scale farms on smallholders' area cultivated, maize yields, and access to fertiliser. We find that smallholders in wards with large-scale farms increase their area cultivated and maize yields, but have lower fertiliser usage. This hints at positive spillovers at the extensive and intensive margins but not at improved access to agricultural inputs. It is likely that these results are also driven by the emergence of medium-scale farms in these regions.
    Keywords: large-scale farms,yields,smallholders,spillovers,Zambia
    JEL: Q12 Q15 Q18
    Date: 2018
  12. By: Carlos Gradín; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the long-term trend of consumption inequality in Mozambique. We show that an imbalanced growth path disproportionally benefited the better-off and caused increasing inequality, especially in more recent years, curbing the necessary reduction in poverty. Using a regression decomposition technique, our results suggest that this trend was strongly associated with the higher attained education of household heads and with changes in the structure of the economy (with less workers in the public and subsistence sectors). The trend was, however, mitigated by the tendency for the higher level of attained education and the smaller public sector to become associated with less inequality over time. These results point to the importance of accelerating the expansion of education and improving the productivity of the large subsistencesector to lower inequality in line with the sustainable development goals.
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Donato Romano; Gianluca Stefani; Benedetto Rocchi; Claudio Fiorillo (Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa)
    Abstract: This paper assesses what is the impact of assistance on the wellbeing of Palestinian households, using in an original way standard econometric techniques coupling the classical counterfactual framework of the impact evaluation analysis – specifically, using a difference-in-difference approach that allows the treatment of sample selection bias – with instrument variable econometric modelling – specifically a fixed effect IV model that gets rid of endogeneity problems. Using data from the last two rounds (2013 and 2014) of the Palestinian Socio-Economic and Food Security (SEFSec) survey, we estimate the impact of assistance to West Bank and Gaza Strip households on their poverty and food security status. Results suggest that whereas in the case of poverty reduction there is a clear positive impact of the intensity of assistance, in the case of food security results show mixed evidence. Specifically, the intensity of assistance affects positively the frequency of consumption of fruit, vegetable, cereals, tubers and pulses while it seems to have a negative impact on the consumption of other food groups such as meat, milk, oil and sugar.
    Keywords: Q18, I32
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Le, Nga T.Q. (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Groot, Wim (TIER and CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University,); Tomini, Sonila (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Tomini, Florian (TIER, Maastricht University, and Amsterdam School of Economics, University of Amsterdam,)
    Abstract: The expansion of health insurance in emerging countries raises concerns about unintended negative effects of health insurance on labour supply. This paper examines the labour supply effects of the Health Care Fund for the Poor (HCFP) in Vietnam in terms of the monthly number of work hours and the probability of employment. Employing Difference-in- Differences Matching methods on the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey 2002-2006, we show that HCFP, which aims to provide poor people and disadvantaged minority groups with free health insurance, has a positive labour supply effect in the short run. However, in the longer run, the net effect becomes negative due to the income effect. This is manifested in both average work hours per month and the probability of employment albeit the effect on the latter is statistically insignificant. Interestingly, the finding of the income effect is mainly driven by the non-poor recipients living in rural areas. This raises the question of targeting strategy of the programme to avoid unintended labour supply distortion.
    Keywords: health insurance, human resources, labour supply, health care funding, welfare, Vietnam
    JEL: I13 J22 O15
    Date: 2017–12–04
  15. By: Antonia Grohmann; Annekathrin Schoofs
    Abstract: Despite considerable policy efforts, women continue to be underrepresented in positions of power and decision making. As an important aspect of women empowerment, we examine women’s participation in intrahousehold financial decision making and how this is affected by financial literacy. Using both OLS and IV regression analysis, we show that women with higher financial literacy are more involved in household financial decisions. In line with the literature, we further find that women are less financially literate than men. Results from decomposition analysis show that education and personality traits (openness, happiness, and depression) drive this financial literacy gender gap.
    Keywords: financial literacy, women empowerment, intra-household decision making
    JEL: D14 J16 G02
    Date: 2018
  16. By: James Ng
    Abstract: Economic research on labour migration in the developing world has traditionally focused on the role played by the remittances of overseas migrant labour in the sending country’s economy. Recently, due in no small part to the availability of rich microdata, more attention has been paid to the effects of migration on the lives of family members left behind. This paper examines how the temporary migration of parents for the sole purpose of work affects the health outcomes of children left behind using longitudinal data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS). The anthropomorphic measure of child health used, height-for-age, serves as a proxy for stunting. The evidence suggests that whether parental migration is beneficial or deleterious to child health depends on which parent moved. In particular, migration of the mother has an adverse effect on child height-for-age, reducing height-for-age Z-score by 0.5 standard deviations. This effect is not seen for father’s migration.
    Date: 2018
  17. By: Santosh Kumar (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University); Ganesh Rauniyar (Independent Evaluator, Paraparaumu, New Zealand)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of a rural electrification program on household income and children’s schooling in rural Bhutan. Using Propensity Score Matching, we find that electrification had a statistically significant impact on non-farm income and education. Non-farm income increased by 61 percent and children gained 0.72 additional years of schooling and 9 minutes of study time per day. We do not observe significant effects on farm income. Results are consistent and robust to different matching algorithms. Our findings indicate that investments in reducing energy deficit may help improve human welfare in Bhutan.
    Keywords: Rural electrification, income, education, Bhutan
    JEL: O12 O13 Q48
    Date: 2018–02

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