nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2018‒02‒26
eight papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Do Different Types of Assets Have Differential Effects on Child Education? Evidence from Tanzania By Kafle, Kashi; Jolliffe, Dean; Winter-Nelson, Alex
  2. Women's Inheritance Rights Reform and the Preference for Sons in India By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Brulé, Rachel; Roy, Sanchari
  3. Why Aid-to-GDP Ratios? By Kurt Annen; Stephen Kosempel
  4. Agricultural Productivity Shocks, Labor Reallocation, and Rural-Urban Migration in China By Luigi Minale
  5. Religion and Abortion: The Role of Politician Identity By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Clots-Figueras, Irma; Iyer, Lakshmi
  6. Political Activism as a Determinant of Clientelistic Transfers: Evidence from an Indian Public Works Program By Chau, Nancy; Liu, Yanyan; Soundararajan, Vidhya
  7. Political Change and Informality: Evidence from the Arab Spring By Elsayed, Ahmed; Wahba, Jackline
  8. Does Foreign Aid Reduce Poverty In Sub-Saharan Africa? A Dynamic Panel-Data Analysis By Mahembe, Edmore; Odhiambo, Nicholas M.

  1. By: Kafle, Kashi (International fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)); Jolliffe, Dean (World Bank); Winter-Nelson, Alex (University of Illinois)
    Abstract: This analysis is motivated by recognition that anti-poverty interventions often affect both the level and composition of assets held by beneficiaries. To assess the conventional view that assets uniformly improve childhood development through wealth effects, we use three waves of panel data from Tanzania and test whether different types of assets have differential effects on children's educational out-comes. Our results indicate that household durables and housing quality have positive effects, but agricultural assets have adverse effects on children's highest grade completed and exam performances. We use a Hausman-Taylor instrumental variable (HTIV) panel data estimator to identify the effects of both time-varying and time-invariant endogenous variables. We find that the negative effect of agricultural assets is driven by large agricultural equipment and livestock ownership and the negative effect is more pronounced among rural children, poor children, and children from farming households, presumably due to the higher opportunity cost of schooling.
    Keywords: LSMS-ISA, Tanzania, asset ownership, child education, highest grade completed, school performance
    JEL: I25 J22 D13 O12
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Essex); Brulé, Rachel (New York University, Abu Dhabi); Roy, Sanchari (King's College London)
    Abstract: We investigate whether legislation of equal inheritance rights for women modifies the historic preference for sons in India, and find that it exacerbates it. Children born after the reform in families with a first-born daughter are 3.8–4.3 percentage points less likely to be girls, indicating that the reform encouraged female foeticide. We also find that the reform increased excess female infant mortality and son-biased fertility stopping. This suggests that the inheritance reform raised the costs of having daughters, consistent with which we document an increase in stated son preference in fertility post-reform. We conclude that this is a case where legal reform was frustrated by persistence of cultural norms. We provide some suggestive evidence of slowly changing patrilocality norms.
    Keywords: inheritance rights, ultrasound, female foeticide, sex selection, son preference, gender, India
    JEL: O12 K11 I21
    Date: 2017–12
  3. By: Kurt Annen (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph, Guelph ON Canada); Stephen Kosempel (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph, Guelph ON Canada)
    Abstract: Virtually all aid-growth regression studies normalize aid by dividing it by GDP. This paper questions the usefulness of this practice: First, there are no clear theoretical reasons for this practice unless one assumes that donors allocate aid-to-GDP ratios. Second, using aid-to-GDP ratios introduces econometric problems that most likely introduce a downward bias for the aid-growth relationship. We illustrate this point by running simulations in which aid does not affect growth by construction but find strong negative and in some cases also positive correlations when using aid-to-GDP ratios. Finally, we replicate the Burnside-Dollar study and show that there is a significant positive relationship between aid and growth when using total aid instead of the aid-to-GDP ratio. We present a similar finding when estimating aid-growth regressions using data for the last 20 years (1995--2014).
    Keywords: Aid Eectiveness, aid and growth, growth convergence
    JEL: O10 O19
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Luigi Minale (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the way households in rural China use rural-urban migration and off-farm work as a response to negative productivity shocks in agriculture. I employ various waves of a longitudinal survey to construct a panel of individual migration and labour supply histories, and match them to detailed weather information, which I use to instrument agricultural productivity. For identification, I exploit the year-by-county variation in growing season rainfalls to explain within-individual changes in labor allocation. Data on days of work supplied to each sector allow to study the responses to weather shocks along both the participation and the intensive margin. Results suggest that farming activity decreases by 4.5% while migration increases by about 5% in response to a 1-standard deviation negative rainfall shock. Increment in rural-urban migration derives from both longer spells in the city as well as raise in the likelihood to participate in the urban sector. I find interesting heterogeneous responses across generations driven by age-specific migration costs and changes in the relative productivity of sectors. Finally, land tenure insecurity seems to partially prevent households from freely reallocating labor away from farming in bad times.
    Keywords: Agricultural productivity, Labor supply, Rural-urban migration, China
    JEL: J22 R23 J61
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Essex); Clots-Figueras, Irma (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Iyer, Lakshmi (University of Notre Dame)
    Abstract: Leveraging close elections to generate quasi-random variation in the religious identity of state legislators in India, we find lower rates of female foeticide in districts with Muslim legislators, which we argue reflects a greater (religious) aversion to abortion among Muslims. These districts exhibit increases in fertility that offset the decrease in girl abortion. We find no evidence of greater postnatal neglect of girls once more girls are born. Our findings show that politician preferences over abortion influence abortion-related outcomes, most likely through greater enforcement of laws against sex determination.
    Keywords: religion, politician identity, abortion, sex selection, fertility, infant mortality, India, Muslims
    JEL: I15 J13 O15 P16
    Date: 2018–01
  6. By: Chau, Nancy (Cornell University); Liu, Yanyan (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute); Soundararajan, Vidhya (Indian Institute of Management)
    Abstract: Are political activists preferentially targeted by politicians engaging in clientelistic transfers to bolster political support? We provide the first model to highlight two possible rationales for such transfers: to mobilize support from the activists themselves, or to mobilize support from electors these activists have influence over. Using novel household data on ex ante political affiliation and jobs received subsequent to large-scale decentralized workfare program in India, we find that activists are indeed preferentially targeted, and furthermore, such transfers are more pronounced in locations where citizen political involvement is less common, and in remote and less connected areas where activists' role in information transfers is most critical. We argue that the evidence is consistent with the use of transfers to leverage the influence of activists over the decision-making of other electors. Our results are not driven by self selection, reverse causality, and other program transfers, and are robust to alternate definitions of "activism".
    Keywords: political clientelism, political activism, NREGS, India
    JEL: D7 H5
    Date: 2018–01
  7. By: Elsayed, Ahmed (IZA); Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton)
    Abstract: This paper examines informality during the political and economic turmoil that accompanied the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt. The paper focuses on unprotected employment and the extent to which it changed by educational level right after the January Uprising of 2011. We find that over time and particularly after the revolution, informal employment has increased for both high- and low-educated workers however, through different paths: high educated were more likely to be stuck in informality, whilst low-educated formal workers were more likely to lose their contracts. The results suggest a high level of rigidity in the Egyptian labor market even in the wake of the Arab Spring.
    Keywords: informal employment, job contracts, Arab Spring
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J31 O17
    Date: 2017–12
  8. By: Mahembe, Edmore; Odhiambo, Nicholas M.
    Abstract: The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of official development assistance (ODA) or foreign aid on poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region over the period 1981-2011. This study uses recent dynamic panel estimation techniques, including those methods which deal with endogeneity and simultaneity concerns. To test the robustness of the results, the study uses three different proxies for poverty and five proxies for foreign aid. The main finding of the study is that foreign aid does have statistically significant poverty reduction effect. The results are consistent across all the three poverty proxies. The disaggregating of aid by source and type could not offer conclusive results. On the other hand, the study found that income per capita have around three times higher poverty-reducing effect compared to foreign aid while inequality has a detrimental effect on the fight against poverty.
    Keywords: Official development assistance (ODA); foreign aid; poverty; economic growth; inequality; developing countries; dynamic panel data analysis; system GMM
    Date: 2018–02–16

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