nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2018‒08‒20
thirteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Economics of Missionary Expansion: Evidence from Africa and Implications for Development By Remi Jedwab; Felix Meier zu Selhausen; Alexander Moradi
  2. Technology Adoption and the Agricultural Supply Response Function By Guilherme DePaula
  3. Drivers of Student Performance: Evidence from Higher Secondary Public Schools in Delhi By Goel, Deepti; Barooah, Bidisha
  4. Malaria Control and Infant Mortality in Africa By Denis Cogneau; Pauline Rossi
  5. The determinants of adoption of commercially -priced inorganic fertilizer for use on maize in Tanzania By Mather, David
  6. The Value of Health Insurance: A Household Job Search Approach By Gabriella Conti; Rita Ginja; Renata Narita
  7. Who remits and why? Evidence on internal migrant remittances from Vietnam and Thailand By Sharma, Rasadhika; Grote, Ulrike
  8. Weather Risk: How does it change the yield benefits of nitrogen fertilizer and improved maize varieties in sub-Saharan Africa? By Hurley, Terrance; Koo, Jawoo; Tesfaye, Kindie
  9. Gender Composition of Children and Sanitation Behavior In India By Deepak Saraswat
  10. Does Farm Structure Matter? The Effects of Farmland Distribution Patterns on Rural Household Incomes By Chamberlin, Jordan; Jayne, T. S.
  11. The Challenge of Substituting Sunflower Oil for Imported Palm Oil: Evidence from Tanzania By Olabisi, Michael; Tschirley, David L.; Nyange, David; Awokuse, Titus
  12. From Maputo to Malabo: Public Agricultural Spending and Food Security in Africa By Charlotte Sers; Mazhar Mughal
  13. The Distributional Impact of Climate Change in Brazilian Agriculture: A Ricardian Quantile Analysis with Census Data By Guilherme DePaula

  1. By: Remi Jedwab; Felix Meier zu Selhausen; Alexander Moradi
    Abstract: One of the most powerful cultural transformations in modern history has been the dramatic expansion of Christianity outside Europe. Recent, yet extensive, literature uses Christian missions established during colonial times as a source of exogenous variation to study thelong-term effects of religion, human capital and culture in Africa, the Americas and Asia. We argue that the endogeneity of missionary expansion may be underestimated, thus questioning the link between missions and economic development. Using annual panel data on missions from 1751 to 1932 in Ghana as well as cross-sectional data on missions for 43 sub-Saharan African countries in 1900 and 1924, we show that: (i) locational decisions were driven by economic factors, as missionaries went to healthier, safer, and more accessible and developed areas, privileging the best locations first; (ii) these factors may spuriously explain why locations with past missions are more developed today, especially as most studies rely on historical mission atlases that tend to only report the best mission locations. Our study identifies factors behind the spatial diffusion of religion. It also highlights the risks of omission and endogenous measurement error biases when using historical data and events for identification.
    Keywords: Path Dependence; Economic Development; Economics of Religion; Human Capital; Compression of History; Measurement Error; Christianity; Colonization; Africa
    JEL: F54 L31 N37 O15 O17 Z12
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Guilherme DePaula
    Abstract: Abstract: In this study, I exploit the recent technology-driven soy boom in Brazil to assess how the diffusion of different technologies, namely the genetically modified soy and biological nitrogen-fixing soy varieties adapted to the Brazilian savanna, change the agricultural supply response function. I use a novel panel dataset combining farm-level data for 1.5 million commercial farms from the 1996 and 2006 Brazilian agricultural census surveys to estimate the price effects on the expansion of the soy acreage. I find that the acreage response functions become increasingly elastic towards the agricultural frontier because of the existence of different technological diffusion processes. The large price effect on the adoption of nitrogen-fixing soy designed to convert marginal savanna pastureland into soy production explains most of the heterogeneity in the acreage supply function in Brazil. The estimated long-run price elasticity of soy acreage is 0.6 in the south and 1.8 in the savanna. On the agricultural frontier close to the savanna–Amazon border, the price elasticity of agricultural land is 0.13, implying that a 10% permanent increase in soy prices would result in the conversion of 1 million hectares of natural vegetation to farmland.
    Date: 2018–07
  3. By: Goel, Deepti; Barooah, Bidisha
    Abstract: We examine the role of teachers and students in the formation of grade 12 test scores in public schools in Delhi. There is substantial variation in teacher and student quality within schools. Over the period spanning grades 11 and 12, being taught by a standard deviation better than average teacher raises test scores by 0.373 standard deviation; being a standard deviation better than average student raises it by 0.799 standard deviation. Being tenured positively predicts teacher effectiveness, while educational qualifications, training, experience and personality traits have no predictive power. Relative to families where only fathers earn, those where both parents earn negatively predict student effectiveness, while religion, caste and parents’ education have no predictive power. There is some evidence that principals’ rating of teachers and value added measures of teacher quality are positively correlated. We recommend teacher compensation be based in-part on ex-post evaluation of value-added measures and principal ratings.
    Keywords: Value added,Test scores,Teacher quality,Student quality,India
    JEL: I20 I23
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Denis Cogneau (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)); Pauline Rossi (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE ParisTech - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)
    Abstract: Have malaria control efforts contributed to the reduction in infant mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past 15 years? Using large household surveys collected in 19 countries between 2000 and 2015, we estimate the correlation between the distribution of bednets and the progress in child survival. We find that the large increase in bednets ownership observed between 2000 and 2015 is associated with a decrease in infant mortality by 1.3pp, which amounts to one third of the total decrease in infant mortality over the period. We further discuss to which extent this correlation might be interpreted as a causal impact.
    Keywords: Child mortality,Malaria,Africa,Foreign aid
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Mather, David
    Abstract: While Tanzania has enjoyed strong growth in GDP per capita since 2000 (approximately 7% per year), until 2007, this growth had led to neither substantial reductions in rural poverty nor significant improvements in household nutritional status (World Bank, 2015). While basic needs poverty declined from 34.4 percent to 28.2 percent between 2007 and 2012 (and extreme poverty declined from 11.7 percent to 9.7 percent), a large share of the population remains right above or below the poverty line, which implies that small changes in the cost of living can result in many households transitioning either into or out of poverty (ibid, 2015). Rural areas account for over 70 percent of Tanzania’s population, 80 percent of the poor and the extreme poor in Tanzania live in rural areas, and more than half of the rural poor depend upon subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods (ibid, 2015). As has been recognized by donors and African governments alike in recent years, one of the keys to reducing rural poverty and improving the nutritional status of rural households in Tanzania will be to achieve wide -spread improvements in food crop productivity among smallholder farmers. Prior to the international food price crisis of 2007/08, maize yields in Tanzania remained low, averaging between 800-900 tons/ha nation-wide, despite Tanzania’s favorable agro-ecological potential (NBS, 2004)1. Subsequently, maize production stagnated during the 2000s and did not keep pace with population growth (World Bank, 2009). While there are like ly to be a range of factors which contribute to low maize yields in Tanzania, an obvious constraint is the fact that as of 2007/08 (NBS, 2008), few smallholders outside of the Southern Highlands region used inorganic fertilizer on maize or improved maize seed.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty, International Development
    Date: 2017–06–06
  6. By: Gabriella Conti (University College London); Rita Ginja (University of Bergen); Renata Narita (University of São Paulo)
    Abstract: Do households value access to free health insurance when making labor supply decisions? We answer this question using the introduction of universal health insurance in Mexico, the Seguro Popular (SP), in 2002. The SP targeted individuals not covered by Social Security and broke the link between access to health care and job contract. We start by using the rollout of SP across municipalities in a differences-in-differences approach, and find an increase in informality of 4% among low-educated families with children. We then develop and estimate a household search model that incorporates the pre-reform valuation of formal sector amenities relative to the alternatives (informal sector and non-employment) and the value of SP. The estimated value of the health insurance coverage provided by SP is below the government’s cost of the program, and the corresponding utility gain is, at most, 0.56 per each peso spent.
    Keywords: search, household behavior, health insurance, informality, unemployment
    JEL: J64 D10 I13
    Date: 2018–08
  7. By: Sharma, Rasadhika; Grote, Ulrike
    Abstract: The paper analyses determinants and motivations of internal migrant remittances based on a unique data set that combines a household survey from three provinces in Vietnam and Thailand with a migrant tracing survey that was conducted in Ho Chi Minh City and the Greater Bangkok area. Using the Heckman model, we find that human capital, stronger family ties and better living conditions positively influence the migrant’s decision to remit. In terms of the amount remitted, migrants engaged in the service sector remit lower shares of their income and remittances decrease as the household wealth increases. Furthermore, we explore the behavioral side of remittances by constructing proxy groups that represent each strand of migrant’s motivation for remitting. We examine the relationship of these proxy groups and remittances to conclude that exchange or loan repayment motive underpinned by altruism is the strongest motivation in our case.
    Keywords: Remittances, Altruism, Self-interest, Heckman model, Thailand, Vietnam
    JEL: F24 J61 O53 D90
    Date: 2018–08
  8. By: Hurley, Terrance; Koo, Jawoo; Tesfaye, Kindie
    Abstract: The purpose of this research was to explore how weather risk affects the value of nitrogen fertilizer use and improved seed variety adoption to Sub-Saharan African (SSA) maize farmers. It contributes to the literature by providing additional broad support for the hypothesis that low rates of fertilizer use and improved seed variety adoption can be attributed to the fact that the SSA landscape is heterogeneous, so fertilizer and improved seed are not always advantageous, especially when considering the potentially high cost to farmers of obtaining fertilizer and improved seed. The analysis finds a synergy between nitrogen fertilizer and improve seed varieties. While the benefits of nitrogen tend to increase overtime without improved seed varieties and the benefits of improved seed varieties tend to decrease overtime without nitrogen, combining the two provides more sustained productivity benefits. Therefore, securing both nitrogen use and improved variety adoption is important for promoting sustained productivity increases across most of SSA. The research also contributes to the literature a methodology for calculating willingness to pay bounds that assess the importance of farmers’ risk tolerances as a barrier to fertilizer use or improved seed variety adoption.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2016–10–15
  9. By: Deepak Saraswat (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Open Defecation has been linked to various public health issues and has gained significant policy attention. Investing in adoption of better sanitation has also been advocated on the grounds of providing women with privacy and protection from po-tential harassment. Nonetheless, previous research has shown that due to son-biased preferences, households in India under-invest in outcomes for their female children. I use the gender of the first-born child as an indicator of the presence of adult female children in households and find that, in certain cases, households reduce open defeca-tion if the first-born child is a girl. The findings in this paper provide a new first stage association between gender composition of children and sanitation behavior and also contribute to the economic literature on decision making in households belonging to developing countries.
    Keywords: Sanitation, Open Defecation, Gender Composition of Children, India
    JEL: O10 O18 J18
    Date: 2018–07
  10. By: Chamberlin, Jordan; Jayne, T. S.
    Abstract: ABSTRACT Land acquisitions by foreign and local investor farmers has generated much speculation about the impacts on smallholder households and rural communities. This study addresses these issues by exploiting inter-district variation in farmland distribution patterns in Tanzania to determine the impact of localized farm structure on rural household incomes using three rounds of panel data from the Tanzanian National Panel Survey (2009, 2011 and 2013). Because farm structure is a multifaceted concept, five alternative indicators of farm structure are used in the analysis, including (i) the Gini coefficient; (ii) skewness; (iii) coefficient of variation; (iv) share of controlled farmland under medium-scale farms; and (v) share of controlled farmland under large farms. The study highlights four main findings. First, most indicators of farmland concentration are positively associated with rural household incomes, after controlling for other factors. Second, household incomes from farm, agricultural wage and non-farm sources are positively and significantly associated with the share of land in the district controlled by 5-10 hectare farms. Third, these positive spillover benefits are smaller and less statistically significant in districts with a relatively high share of farmland controlled by farms over 10 hectares in size. Fourth, poor rural households are least able to capture the positive spillovers generated by medium-scale farms and by concentrated farmland patterns.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty, International Development, Land Economics/Use
    Date: 2017–10–04
  11. By: Olabisi, Michael; Tschirley, David L.; Nyange, David; Awokuse, Titus
    Abstract: ABSTRACT Edible oil imports to Africa grew over 10% per year from 2006 to 2015, and accounted for 34% of the continent’s total growth in food imports over this period—the highest share of any food group. In the same period, several African countries experienced a boom in the local production and processing of oil-seeds. The combination of import growth and domestic production booms reveals a gap in the literature on the characteristics of edible oil demand in Africa. We begin to fill this gap by estimating own-price, cross-price, and expenditure elasticities of demand for palm, sunflower, and other edible oils in Tanzania. We apply a QUAIDS model to detailed household level data-focusing on palm and sunflower oil, because for the most part, palm oil is imported and sunflower is domestically produced. Our main finding is a surprisingly low level of substitution between the domestic and imported edible oils. Simulated budget shares from our estimates suggest that a 10% tariff increase on palm oil leads to less than a 0.06% change in the budget share of domestically produced sunflower oil. We identify other potential policy implications from our findings and highlight steps for further research.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Demand and Price Analysis, Food Security and Poverty, International Development, International Relations/Trade
    Date: 2018–05–02
  12. By: Charlotte Sers (ESC Pau); Mazhar Mughal (ESC Pau)
    Abstract: Africa is the world's biggest battleground in the fight against hunger. African governments and the international development community have increasingly focused on finding ways and means to end hunger and ensure the right to food to the continent's burgeoning population. Public spending on agriculture is one such measure. This study examines the role government spending on agriculture has played in enhancing Africa's state of food security during the past 25 years. We examine whether this relationship varies over time and space. We explore various aspects of food security and check whether spending on research and development follows the same patterns as the overall public agriculture spending. We find little evidence of significant beneficial effects of public agricultural spending on food security as a whole. However, food security has improved in countries which spend more on agriculture. Spending on agricultural research and development too has shown a useful impact on Africa's food security. There also exists some evidence in favour of public spending's size and time effects. We conclude that the commitment by African government in the Maputo Declaration to allocate 10% of public spending to agriculture appears to be pertinent. JEL Classifications: 011, 055, Q18
    Abstract: L'Afrique est particulièrement concernée par le problème de la faim. Les gouvernements africains et la Communauté internationale ont intensifié leurs efforts pour améliorer la situation en matière de sécurité alimentaire et assurer le droit à l'alimentation face à une population grandissante. Parmi les mesures prises, un accent particulier a été mis sur les dépenses publiques agricoles. Cette étude cherche à mesurer l'impact des dépenses publiques agricoles sur la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique sur les 25 dernières années. A travers les estimations effectuées, il s'agit de voir si la relation entre les dépenses publiques agricoles et la sécurité alimentaire varie dans le temps et dans l'espace. Différentes mesures de la sécurité alimentaire sont prises en compte. De plus, il s'agit de voir si les dépenses en faveur de la recherche et développement ont le meme impact que les dépenses publiques agricoles totales. Les résultats indiquent que dans l'ensemble les dépenses publiques agricoles n'ont pas eu d'effet significatif sur l'évolution de la sécurité alimentaire. Cependant, la situation en matière de sécurité alimentaire s'est améliorée pour les pays qui ont dépensé plus d'argent que la moyenne en faveur de l'agriculture. De plus, les dépenses publiques pour la recherche et développement ont un effet positif sur la sécurité alimentaire. Les résultats indiquent un effet de taille et de temps des dépenses publiques. Pour conclure, l'engagement pris par les gouvernements africains lors de la conference de Maputo de consacrer 10% de ses dépenses à l'agriculture apparaît donc comme pertinent.
    Keywords: public agricultural spending,food security,undernutrition,Africa
    Date: 2018–07–19
  13. By: Guilherme DePaula
    Abstract: Abstract: The economic impact of global warming varies across firms because of differences in climate, technology, and adaptive capacity. Aggregate estimates of the average effect of warming are thus insufficient to model climate change vulnerability in developing countries. In this study, I measure the distributional effect of climate change in Brazilian agriculture by estimating the quantile and interquantile regressions of land value on climate, using agricultural census data for 490,000 commercial farms. The effect of a 1°C rise in average temperature on land values ranges from -5% for the most productive farmers located in the colder South region to -34% for the least productive farmers located in the warmer North region. The impact is most severe in the extreme 0.01 quantile of the land value distribution. The productivity inequality between farms in the extremes of the distribution of land values may double with marginal warming.
    Date: 2018–07

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