nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2018‒04‒02
thirteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Alleviating Global Poverty: Labor Mobility, Direct Assistance, and Economic Growth By Lant Pritchett
  2. Socio-Economic Determinants of Hunger in Latin American Countries By Maximo Rossi; Gastón Ares; Zuleika Ferre
  3. Diversify more or less? Household resilience and food security in rural Nigeria By Sènakpon F. A. Dedehouanou; John McPeak
  4. Does Deforestation Increase Malaria Prevalence? Evidence from Satellite Data and Health Surveys By Sebastian Bauhoff; Jonah Busch
  5. The Impact Of Wage Policy On The Distribution Of Labor Income And Poverty In Bolivia By Omar Rilver Velasco Portillo; Manuela Puente Beccar
  6. Maternal Depression, Women’s Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Large Randomized Control Trial By Victoria Baranov; Sonia Bhalotra; Pietro Biroli; Joanna Maselko
  7. Do safety net transfers improve household diets and reduce undernutrition? Evidence from rural Ethiopia By Tagel Gebrehiwot; Carolina Castilla
  8. A top-down behaviour (TDB) microsimulation toolkit for distributive analysis By Nkechi S. Owoo; Elizabeth Bageant; Joanna Upton
  9. Locus of Control and Technology Adoption in Africa: Evidence from Ethiopia By Kibrom A. Abay; Guush Berhane; Garrick Blalock
  10. Land Tenure Security, Land-Related Investments and Agricultural Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Efficiency or Equity? A Microeconomic Analysis Applied to the Case of Burkina Faso By Stéphane Korsaga
  11. Family Background, School Choice, and Students’ Academic Performance: Evidence from Sri Lanka By Harsha Aturupane; Tomokazu Nomura; Mari Shojo
  12. Fertility and the Puzzle of Female Employment in the Middle East By Majbouri, Mahdi
  13. Information Leverage: The Adoption of Clean Cooking Fuel in Bhutan By Ngawang Dendup; Toshi H. Arimura

  1. By: Lant Pritchett (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: Decades of programmatic experimentation by development NGOs combined with the latest empirical techniques for estimating program impact have shown that a well-designed, well-implemented, multi-faceted intervention can in fact have an apparently sustained impact on the incomes of the poor (Banerjee et al 2015). The magnitude of the income gains of the “best you can do” via direct interventions to raise the income of the poor in situ is about 40 times smaller than the income gain from allowing people from those same poor countries to work in a high productivity country like the USA. Simply allowing more labor mobility holds vastly more promise for reducing poverty than anything else on the development agenda. That said, the magnitude of the gains from large growth accelerations (and losses from large decelerations) are also many-fold larger than the potential gains from directed individual interventions and the poverty reduction gains from large, extended periods of rapid growth are larger than from targeted interventions and also hold promise (and have delivered) for reducing global poverty.
    Date: 2018–03–20
  2. By: Maximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Gastón Ares (Sensometrics & Consumer Science, Instituto Polo Tecnológico de Pando, Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República); Zuleika Ferre (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: This paper studies the influence of socio-economic variables on hunger prevalence in 18 Latin American countries using the database of Latinobarometro survey, developed by Latinobarometro Corporation. With this objective we estimate an ordered probit model. The results show that on average, only 52% of respondents indicated that they had never experienced lack of enough food in the last 12 months, which suggests that hunger is still a relevant problem in the region. Large heterogeneity across countries was found. Although the percentage of people who often experienced lack of food only corresponded to 2% for the countries in the southern part of Latin America (Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil), it reached values higher than 10% for several countries in Central and North America (Honduras, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico). These results indicate the need to implement public policies aimed at improving access to enough food in Latin America in order to achieve the goal of eradicating hunger by 2025 (FAO, 2015b).
    Keywords: hunger, Latin America, Latinobarometro, access to food
    JEL: I31 I32 O54
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: Sènakpon F. A. Dedehouanou; John McPeak
    Abstract: We provide new findings of rural livelihood diversification in Nigeria, using panel data from the Living Standards Measurement Study - Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). To a large extent, the patterns and the implications of livelihood diversification have been analysed using cross sectional data and a narrow definition of food security in previous studies. In some cases, analysis has been conducted in the absence of shock experiences. We find that some results about the determinants of income diversification in cross sectional analysis also hold true in the panel data setting, while others are only revealed due to the panel nature of the data set. We find that the relationship between wealth and income diversification in rural Nigeria is best categorized as upward sloping with diminishing marginal effect rather than a U shape or an inverted U shape as found in previous studies. We also find that income diversification favours food accessibility, food availability and food utilisation, and therefore resilience capacities overall. We do not find any evidence of income diversification in mitigating or aggravating the impact of shocks, as shock experiences appear to negatively affect food security in spite of income diversification.
    Keywords: Rural household, Livelihood diversification, Food security, Shocks, Nigeria
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Sebastian Bauhoff (Center for Global Development); Jonah Busch (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: Deforestation has been found to increase malaria risk in some settings, while a growing number of studies have found that deforestation increases malaria prevalence in humans, suggesting that in some cases forest conservation might belong in a portfolio of anti-malarial interventions. However, previous studies of deforestation and malaria prevalence were based on a small number of countries and observations, commonly using cross-sectional analyses of less-than-ideal forest data at the aggregate jurisdictional level. In this paper we combine fourteen years of high-resolution satellite data on forest loss with individual-level survey data on malaria in more than 60,000 rural children in 17 countries in Africa, and fever in more than 470,000 rural children in 41 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Adhering to methods that we pre-specified in a pre-analysis plan, we tested ex-ante hypotheses derived from previous literature. We did not find that deforestation increases malaria prevalence nor that intermediate levels of forest cover have higher malaria prevalence. Our findings differ from most previous empirical studies, which found that deforestation is associated with greater malaria prevalence in other contexts. We speculate that this difference may be because deforestation in Africa is largely driven by the slow expansion of subsistence or smallholder agriculture for domestic use by long-time residents in stable socio-economic settings rather than by rapid clearing for market-driven agricultural exports by new frontier migrants as in Latin America and Asia. Our results imply that at least in Africa anti-malarial efforts should focus on other proven interventions such as bed nets, spraying, and housing improvements. Forest conservation efforts should focus on securing other benefits of forests, including carbon storage, biodiversity habitat, clean water provision, and other goods and services.
    Keywords: Africa, pre-analysis plan, public health, Sustainable Development Goals
    JEL: C21 C23 I18 Q23
    Date: 2018–03–22
  5. By: Omar Rilver Velasco Portillo (Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Públicas); Manuela Puente Beccar (Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Públicas)
    Abstract: In Bolivia, the wage policy in recent years has been characterized by sustained increases of the minimum wage. Theory and empirical evidence suggest that this type of polices have various positive and negative effects. This paper analyzes the effects of the national minimum wage increase on the overall wage distribution and the poverty rate in Bolivia. Therefore, a pseudo-panel database is structured with information from the household survey conducted in 2005-2013. The results point to a positive effect of the minimum wage increases on the full wage distribution and on poverty reduction, considering both the formal and informal sectors.
    Keywords: Minimum Wage, Poverty, Pseudo Panel
    JEL: C23 I32 J38
    Date: 2016–07
  6. By: Victoria Baranov; Sonia Bhalotra; Pietro Biroli; Joanna Maselko
    Abstract: We evaluate the long-term impact of treating maternal depression on women’s financial empowerment and parenting decisions. We leverage experimental variation induced by a cluster-randomized control trial that provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. It was one the largest psychotherapy interventions in the world, and the treatment was highly successful at reducing depression. We locate mothers seven years after the end of the intervention to evaluate its long-run effects. We find that the intervention increased women’s financial empowerment, increasing their control over household spending. Additionally, the intervention increased both time- and monetary-intensive parental investments, with increases in investments tending to favor girls.
    Keywords: mental health, maternal depression, women’s labor supply, empowerment, early life, parenting, child development, randomized controlled trial, Pakistan
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Tagel Gebrehiwot; Carolina Castilla
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the impact of the Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program on household dietary diversity and child nutrition using both waves of the Ethiopian Socio-economic Survey. For identification, we use various methodologies. To estimate the effect of the program on household dietary diversity, we rely on the exogeneity of the change in the amount of money that kebeles (lowest administrative unit) have available to allocate among program beneficiaries, which depends on donor support. We present evidence that there is a discrete jump in the kebeles’ allocated budget between 2012 and 2014. We use the change in the amount of PSNP transfers in each kebele as an instrument for the change in the amount of the transfer received by each household. For robustness, we confirm our results using generalized propensity score matching with a continuous treatment. We find no effect of an increase in the amount of money received by households in the form of PSNP transfers on household dietary diversity. To examine the effect of PSNP participation on long-term child nutrition we use a difference-in-difference approach. We use children aged 6 to 24 months in 2012 as a baseline. The treatment group is children in beneficiary households between the ages of 6 and 24 months in 2014 because they were not born during the 2012 round of the survey, and the control group were children in the same age range in non-beneficiary households. We find no effect on height-for-age regardless of age cohort, model specification, or methodology. Results indicate consistently that PSNP has not had the desired effect on household dietary diversity or child nutrition, suggesting that perhaps the transfers need to be paired with additional interventions such as information about nutrition.
    Keywords: Nutrition security, Dietary diversity, Impact, Continuous treatment, Dose-response function, Propensity Score Matching
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Nkechi S. Owoo; Elizabeth Bageant; Joanna Upton
    Abstract: The article explores a series of questions and hypotheses related to polygynous family structures and both household and individual-level food security outcomes, using the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Survey data from Nigeria, collected in 2011 and 2013. A Correlated Random Effects (CRE) model is used to examine the relationship between polygyny and household-level food security, and the degree to which it is mediated by household wealth, size, and livelihood. A Household Fixed Effect model is employed to explore whether a mother’s status as monogamous versus polygynous relates systematically to her child’s health, and also whether child outcomes of senior wives are better than outcomes of junior wives within polygynous households. We find that polygynous households have better food security outcomes than monogamous households with differences in household composition and agricultural livelihood as potential explanatory mechanisms. We also find that within polygynous households, children of junior wives have better health outcomes than children of senior wives.
    Keywords: Food security, child nutrition, Polygyny, Nigeria
    Date: 2018
  9. By: Kibrom A. Abay; Guush Berhane; Garrick Blalock
    Abstract: We investigate the implication of farmers’ locus of control on their technology adoption decisions. Our empirical analysis is based on two longitudinal surveys and hypothetical choice exercises conducted on Ethiopian farmers. We find that locus of control significantly predicts farmers’ technology adoption decisions, including use of chemical fertilizers, improved seeds, and irrigation. We show that individuals with an internal locus of control have higher propensity of adopting agricultural technologies, while those with an external locus of control seem less likely to adopt one or more of these agricultural technologies. We observe these empirical regularities in both datasets, and for both revealed measures of farmers’ technology adoption decisions as well as farmers’ hypothetical demand for agricultural technology. The results hold even in a more conservative fixed effects estimation approach, assuming locus of control as time-variant and dynamic behavioral trait. These findings provide psychological (behavioral) explanations for the low rates of adoption of profitable agricultural technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results highlight that improving farmers’ psychological capital and non-cognitive skills may facilitate agricultural transformation. More generally, the results suggest that anti-poverty policies that only focus on relaxing short-term external constraints, including physical access to markets and technologies, may not sufficiently alleviate agricultural underinvestment.
    Keywords: Locus of control, internal constraints, behavioral biases, technology adoption, agricultural investment, chemical fertilizers.
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Stéphane Korsaga (LEMNA - Laboratoire d'économie et de management de Nantes Atlantique - UN - Université de Nantes)
    Abstract: In this article, we study the impact of both secure individual and mixed allocation of plots of land on the farming household propensity to invest in land as well as to improve the productivity of the soil. For that purpose, we resort to the World Bank LSMS-ISA database established in 2014 from a representative sample at the national level of 10,800 farming households in Burkina Faso. The empirical application favors the estimation of a multivariate Probit with random effects and of a translog model with household fixed effects. The results show that households which have got an individual land management on the one hand, and mixed management on the other have on average a greater tenure security effect on the performance of agricultural activities than the peasants who manage their land collectively. Consequently, it would be advisable to stress, strengthen and increasingly promote the protection of individual exploitations specifically.
    Keywords: Economics of Land Tenure,Burkina Faso,Sustainable Agricultural Development,Agricultural Performance,Tenure Security,Land-Related Investment
    Date: 2018–02–02
  11. By: Harsha Aturupane (The World Bank); Tomokazu Nomura (Aichi Gakuin University and Kobe University); Mari Shojo (The World Bank)
    Abstract: Sri Lanka has made great strides in increasing access to schooling. The country stands out as the only country in South Asia that has attained universal primary completion. Despite this past progress, Sri Lankan students still display weak performance. The key challenge now is to enhance the quality of education and improve student academic performance. This paper investigates how the student- and school-level factors are related to the academic performance of Sri Lankan grade 8 students in public schools. It also analyzes the factors related to school choice and how the school choice affects the students’ performance. The results of the study suggest that there are large dispersion of average test score among the schools. Looking at the school type, Type 1AB schools outperforms the other types of schools. Students who come from a family with high socioeconomic status are more likely to attend Type 1AB school, and treatment effect of attending Type 1AB school on academic performance is considerably large. Socioeconomic status also explains a significant part of dispersion of academic performance within a school. However, the result does not clearly show the relation between the observable characteristics of the teachers and academic performance of the students.
    Keywords: education, academic performance, school choice, socioeconomic status
    JEL: I25 O15
    Date: 2018–03
  12. By: Majbouri, Mahdi (Babson College)
    Abstract: Female labor force participation rates across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have remained low for over four decades, despite the fact that in the same period, women's education rapidly increased and fertility rates substantially decreased. This surprising phenomenon has remained a puzzle. This study tries to provide a better understanding of this puzzle by testing whether there is a causal impact of the number of children on mother's labor supply. It uses twins at first birth as an instrumental variable to estimate the causal impact of fertility on participation of mothers in the labor market, free of bias. It finds that having more children does not reduce women's employment. The paper discusses the implications of this interesting result in understanding the puzzle of female participation in MENA and in designing policies to increase women's work.
    Keywords: female labor force participation, fertility, instrumental variable, Middle East and North Africa, twins
    JEL: J13 J22 O53
    Date: 2018–02
  13. By: Ngawang Dendup (Graduate School of Economics, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan); Toshi H. Arimura (Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)
    Abstract: The outcome of household choice depends on the private information available to an agent, particularly in terms of costs and benefits. This study examines the role of information in the adoption of clean cooking fuel in Bhutan. We use a rural subsample of nationally representative data from the 2012 Bhutan Living Standard Survey (BLSS) conducted in all twenty districts. We estimate a bivariate probit model to control for the potentially endogenous information variable. The results indicate that households that have access to information are approximately 40 percent more likely to adopt clean cooking fuel. Similarly, households are 49 percent less likely to adopt dirty fuel (firewood) when exposed to information. Other factors such as education, the electricity supply, access to liquidity and the distance to the market are important factors that contribute to adopting clean cooking fuel. The results also show that the effect of information varies depending on the level of education of the household heads, thus highlighting the importance of accounting for the level of education of information recipients when designing a similar information provision.
    Keywords: clean fuel, information, operator, environment, indoor air pollution
    JEL: Q50 Q55
    Date: 2018–03

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