nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2018‒06‒11
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Regional and Ethnic Favoritism in the Allocation of Humanitarian Aid By Christian Bommer; Axel Dreher; Marcello Perez-Alvarez
  2. Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools By Gilligan, Daniel O.; Karachiwalla, Naureen; Kasirye, Ibrahim; Lucas, Adrienne; Neal, Derek
  3. The Last of the Lost Generations? Formal and Non-Formal Education in Ghana during Times of Economic Decline and Recovery By Blunch, Niels-Hugo; Hammer, Jeffrey S.
  4. Social Protection in Ghana and Kenya through an Inclusive Development Lens: complex effects and risks By Nicky Pouw; Barbara Rohregger; Esther Schüring; Kennedy Alatinga; Bethuel Kinuthia; Katja Bender
  5. What can we learn on Chinese aid allocation motivations from new available data? A sectorial analysis of Chinese aid to African countries By Jacky MATHONNAT; Marlène GUILLON
  6. Household Savings and Marriage Payments: Evidence from Dowry in India By Anukriti, S; Kwon, Sungoh; Prakash, Nishith
  7. The Demand for Health Insurance in a Poor Economy: Evidence from Burkina Faso By Schleicher, Michael; Klonner, Stefan; Sauerborn, Rainer; Sié, Alie; Souares, Aurélia
  8. Improving Children Health and Cognition: Evidence from School-Based Nutrition Intervention in India By Marion Krämer; Santosh Kumar; Sebastian Vollmer
  9. Explaining inter-ethnic and inter-religious marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa By Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay; Elliott Green

  1. By: Christian Bommer; Axel Dreher; Marcello Perez-Alvarez
    Abstract: International humanitarian aid is pivotal in the response to natural disasters suffered by low-and middle-income countries. While its allocation has been shown to be influenced by donors’ foreign policy considerations, power relations within recipient countries have not been addressed. This paper is the first to investigate the role of regional and ethnic favoritism in the formation of humanitarian aid flows. We construct a novel dataset combining information on birth regions of political leaders and the geographic distribution of ethnic groups within countries with high numbers of natural disasters building on census (IPUMS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data. Our results suggest that the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) disburses larger amounts of aid when natural disasters affect the birth region of the countries’ leader. We find some evidence that OFDA disburses aid more frequently to leaders’ birth regions as well as when regions hit by disasters are populated by politically powerful or discriminated ethnicities. Our findings imply that humanitarian aid is not given for humanitarian reasons alone, but also serves elite interests within recipient countries.
    Keywords: humanitarian aid, disasters, ethnic favoritism, regional favoritism
    JEL: F35
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Gilligan, Daniel O. (International Food Policy Research Institute); Karachiwalla, Naureen (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute); Kasirye, Ibrahim (Economic Policy Research Centre); Lucas, Adrienne (University of Delaware); Neal, Derek (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: In low-income countries, primary school students often fall far below grade level and primary dropout rates remain high. Further, in some countries, educators encourage their weaker students to drop out before reaching the end of primary school. These educators hope to avoid the negative attention that authorities direct to a school when its students perform poorly on the primary leaving exams that governments use to certify primary completion and eligibility for secondary school. We report the results of an experiment in rural Uganda that sought to reduce dropout rates in grade six and seven by offering bonus payments to grade six teachers that rewarded each teacher for the performance of each of her students relative to comparable students in other schools. Teachers responded to this Pay for Percentile (PFP) incentive system in ways that raised attendance rates two school years later from .56 to .60. These attendance gains were driven primarily by outcomes in treatment schools that provide textbooks for grade six math students, where two-year attendance rates rose from .57 to .64. In these same schools, students whose initial skills levels prepared them to use grade six math texts enjoyed significant gains in math achievement. We find little evidence that PFP improved attendance or achievement in schools without books even though PFP had the same impact on reported teacher effort in schools with and without books. We conjecture that teacher effort and books are complements in education production and document several results that are consistent with this hypothesis.
    Keywords: achievement, dropout, educational triage, incentives, Uganda, complements in education production, teaching at the right level
    JEL: I0 J3 O1
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Blunch, Niels-Hugo (Washington and Lee University); Hammer, Jeffrey S. (Princeton University)
    Abstract: Using a cohort approach, this paper examines educational attainment in Ghana and its potential determinants considering both educational attainment in the formal education system and participation in non-formal education in the form of adult literacy programs. The results indicate an overall substitution between formal and non-formal education across the generations, with participation in adult literacy programs decreasing as the formal education system expanded its coverage across space and time in Ghana. Individuals who completed any formal education were also much less likely to participate in adult literacy programs, by about 10 percentagepoints per year of formal education completed. Additionally, the generations subject to the declining education system during the 1970s were substantially disadvantaged, with the cohort that was roughly of primary school age at the time of the economic breakdown in 1983 and the first few years thereafter being the last of the disadvantaged cohorts – the "lost generations." This is especially true for the particularly vulnerable group of individuals who never received any formal education, where the crisis cohort peaked in terms of adult literacy program participation relative to later (and earlier) cohorts, possibly in response to a decrease in the quality of the formal education system as well as increased competition from returning refugees. We perform a simple test for the declining quality of the formal education system in the 1970s and find evidence consistent with a decrease in the quality in the education system during the 1970s, followed by an increase in quality thereafter.
    Keywords: human capital, formal and non-formal education, adult literacy programs, cohort analysis, Ghana
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2018–04
  4. By: Nicky Pouw (University of Amsterdam, NL); Barbara Rohregger; Esther Schüring; Kennedy Alatinga; Bethuel Kinuthia; Katja Bender
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the complex effects and risks of social protection programmes in Ghana and Kenya on poor people’s human wellbeing, voice and empowerment and interactions with the social protection regulatory framework and policy instruments. For this purpose, it adopts a comprehensive Inclusive Development framework to systematically explore the complex effects of cash transfers and health insurance at the individual, household and community level. The findings highlight the positive provisionary and preventive effects of social protection, but also illustrate that the poorest are still excluded and that promotive effects, in the form of enhanced productivity, manifest themselves mainly for the people who are less resource poor. They can build more effectively upon an existing asset base, capabilities, power and social relations to counter the exclusionary mechanisms of the system, address inequity concerns and offset the transaction costs of accessing and benefitting from social protection. The inclusive development framework enables to lay these complex effects and interactions bear, and points to areas that require more longitudinal and mixed methodology research.
    Keywords: social protection, inclusive development, Ghana, Kenya, human wellbeing, transformative effects
    JEL: I38
    Date: 2018–05
  5. By: Jacky MATHONNAT (Cerdi - Université Clermont Auvergne); Marlène GUILLON (FERDI)
    Abstract: Since the creation of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000, Chinese official development assistance (ODA) to Africa has increased drastically. Only few analyses on the determinants of Chinese ODA allocation to African countries are available. Moreover, existing literature mainly focused on total aid flows while Chinese motivations for aid allocation might differ depending on the ODA sector considered. Our objective is to study the factors associated with Chinese aid allocation to African countries by sector between 2000 and 2014. We consider 3 ODA broad sectors as defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): the social infrastructure and services sector, the economic infrastructure and services sector and the production sector. Chinese ODA is measured using the AidData's Global Chinese Official Finance Dataset, 2000-2014, Version 1.0, released in fall 2017. Over the 2000-2014 period, China allocated 971, 218 and 138 ODA projects to African countries in the social infrastructure and services sector, the economic infrastructure and services sector and the production sector respectively. Between 2000 and 2014, the economic infrastructure and services sector was the first sector in terms of ODA amount with a total of US$18.9 billion ahead from the social infrastructure and services sector with US$7 billion or the production sector with US$3.1 billion. Results of our analysis suggest that the motivations of Chinese aid allocation to African countries differ by sector. Chinese ODA in the social infrastructure and services sector appears responsive to the economic needs of recipient countries but is also driven by foreign policy considerations. Chinese economic interest, in particular for natural resources acquisition, is associated with China’s ODA allocation in the economic infrastructure and services sector. Finally, while institutions in recipient countries are not related to Chinese ODA in the social infrastructure and services sector, we find that China allocates more ODA in the economic infrastructure and services sector and the production sector to African countries with weaker institutions. One of the strong conclusions of this study is to show that considering only China's overall aid to Africa can be misleading as to its underlying determinants, and therefore to point out the need to disaggregate the analysis by ODA sectors.
    Keywords: Official development assistance, China, Africa, sectorial analysis.
    JEL: F35
    Date: 2018–04
  6. By: Anukriti, S (Boston College); Kwon, Sungoh (University of Connecticut); Prakash, Nishith (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: This paper examines how traditional marriage market institutions affect households' financial decisions. We study how bride-to-groom marriage payments, i.e., dowries, influence saving behavior in rural India. Exploiting variation in firstborn gender and heterogeneity in dowry amounts across marriage markets, we find that the prospect of paying higher dowry increases household savings, which are primarily financed through increased paternal labor supply. This is the first paper that highlights this alternative motive for savings in dowry-paying societies. However, we find no impacts of dowry expectations on son-preferring fertility behaviors and investments in girls.
    Keywords: household savings, dowry, marriage payments, India, labor supply, fertility, sex ratio, child investments
    JEL: J1 D14 O15
    Date: 2018–04
  7. By: Schleicher, Michael; Klonner, Stefan; Sauerborn, Rainer; Sié, Alie; Souares, Aurélia
    Abstract: We investigate the properties of health insurance demand in Burkina Faso, where we offered poor households a voluntary health insurance product at half the usual price. The targeting procedure we implemented delivers a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, which identifies the price elasticity of demand for health insurance as well as associated selection effects. We find large price elasticities among urban households, whereas the demand of rural households is price-inelastic. There are important selection effects, with widowed male household heads being most price-sensitive. Correlating these heterogeneous effects with survey data on informal transfers and health expenditures, our results suggest that informal risk-sharing largely crowds out formal insurance and that a single insurance product may fail to align with poor households' small health budgets. We find no adverse selection into health insurance.
    Date: 2018–05–23
  8. By: Marion Krämer (Department of Economics, University of Goettingen, Germany); Santosh Kumar (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University); Sebastian Vollmer (Department of Economics & Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Goettingen, Germany)
    Abstract: We present experimental evidence on the impact of delivering double-fortified salt (DFS), salt fortified with iron and iodine, through the Indian school-feeding program called “mid-day meal” on anemia, cognition, and math and reading outcomes of primary school children. We conducted a field experiment that randomly provided a one-year supply of DFS at a subsidized price to public primary schools in one of the poorest regions of India. The DFS treatment had significantly positive impacts on hemoglobin levels and reduced the prevalence of any form of anemia by 20 percent but these health gains did not translate into statistically significant impacts on cognition and test scores. While exploring the heterogeneity in effects, we find that treatment had statistically significant gains in anemia and test scores among children with higher treatment compliance. We further estimate that the intervention was very cost effective and can potentially be scaled up rather easily.
    Keywords: Double-fortified salt, education, anemia, school feeding, India, and randomized controlled trial
    JEL: C93 I15 O11
    Date: 2018–06
  9. By: Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay (Queen Mary, University of London); Elliott Green (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Inter-cultural marriages have long been of great interest to social scientists who wish to examine how ethnic, religious, racial and other identities form and change over time. However, the vast majority of this research has been concentrated in developed countries. As such we undertake the first major examination into the causes and correlates of inter-ethnic and inter-religious marriage in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. We use Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) couples data in a series of multi-level logit models from up to 36 countries to document a number of findings. First, we show that inter-ethnic marriage rates are high, at 22.3% on average, and rising across Africa over the past 30 years, with rates approaching 50% for recent marriages in Gabon and Zambia and rising rates over time for all countries in our dataset. In contrast, however, we show that inter-religious marriage rates are much lower, at only 5%, and stagnant, with no country average higher than 15% and declining over time in a number of countries. Second, as expected from the literature on inter-cultural marriages in other contexts, we show that modernization variables such as urbanization, literacy/education, wealth and declines in polygamy and agricultural employment are significantly correlated with rising levels of inter-ethnic marriage; in contrast, the relationship between modernization and inter-religious marriage is much more ambiguous. Third, we show that inter-ethnic marriage is significantly correlated with higher age at marriage, being previously married and migration before marriage. Finally, we find no evidence that inter-married couples have fewer children, in contrast to findings elsewhere.
    Keywords: Ethnicity, Religion, Marriage, Sub-Saharan Africa, DHS data, Modernization
    JEL: J12 N37 O10
    Date: 2018–05

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