nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒04‒08
twelve papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Challenges in predicting poverty trends using survey to survey imputation. Experiences from Malawi By Astrid Mathiassen; Bjørn K. Wold
  2. Property rights, market access and crop cultivation in Southern Rhodesia: evidence from historical satellite data By Tawanda Chingozha; Dieter von Fintel
  3. Decolonizing with data: The cliometric turn in African economic history By Johan Fourie; Nonso Obikili
  4. Improving learning outcomes in Francophone Africa: More resources or improved efficiency? By Élisé Wendlassida Miningou; Jean-Marc Bernard; Medjy Pierre-Louis
  5. More Work to Do? Taking Stock of Latin American Labor Markets By Antonio David; Frederic Lambert; Frederik G Toscani
  6. Roles of Agricultural Transformation in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals on Poverty, Hunger, Productivity, and Inequality By Katsushi S. Imai
  7. Corruption: Fertility, electricity and television: is there a link? Evidence from Pakistan, 1990-2012 By Luca Tasciotti, Farooq Sulehria and Natascha Wagner
  8. Health insurance and self-employment transitions in Vietnam By Le, Nga; Groot, Wim; Tomini, Sonila M.; Tomini, Florian
  9. Inequality and Trade Policy: Pro-Poor Bias of Contemporary Trade Restrictions By Ural Marchand, Beyza
  10. Boosting quality education with inclusive human development: empirical evidence from sub-Saharan Africa By Simplice A. Asongu; Nicholas M. Odhiambo
  11. Is structural transformation-led economic growth immiserising or inclusive? The case of Indonesia By Kyunghoon Kim; Andy Sumner; Arief Anshory Yusuf
  12. Climate change, chemical fertilisers, and sustainable development – panel evidence from Tanzanian Maize farmers By Christiane Heisse and Risa Morimoto

  1. By: Astrid Mathiassen; Bjørn K. Wold (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: Poverty in low-income countries is usually measured with large and infrequent household surveys. A challenge is to find methods to measure poverty more frequently. The objective of this study is to test a method for predicting poverty, based upon a statistical model utilizing consumption surveys and light annual surveys. A decade of poverty predictions and regular poverty estimates in Malawi provides us with a unique real-life experience to better understand the suitability of such approaches to monitor trends in poverty. The analysis from Malawi suggests that a modelling approach works per se, given that information on the household’s demographic composition is included in the model. The main challenge when predicting onto other surveys seems to be related to comparability between the surveys. Differences in implementation, questionnaire design and survey sample size are aspects that may contribute to incomparability of data collected between the surveys.
    Keywords: Survey-to-survey imputation; poverty measurement; poverty model; household surveys; Malawi
    JEL: C21 C81 D12 I3
    Date: 2019–03
  2. By: Tawanda Chingozha (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Dieter von Fintel (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University and Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn)
    Abstract: Agriculture plays a central role in the efforts to fight poverty and achieve economic growth. This is especially relevant in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where the majority of the population lives in rural areas. A key issue that is generally believed to unlock agriculture potential is the recognition of property rights through land titling, yet there is no overwhelming empirical evidence to support this in the case of SSA (Udry, 2011). This paper investigates access to markets as an important pre-condition for land titles to result in agricultural growth. Using the case of Southern Rhodesia, we investigate whether land titles incentivised African large-scale holders in the Native Purchase Areas (NPAs) to put more of their available land under cultivation than their counterparts in the overcrowded Tribal Trust Areas (TTAs). We create a novel dataset by applying a Support Vector Machine (SVM) learning algorithm on Landsat imagery for the period 1972 to 1984 - the period during which the debate on the nexus between land rights and agricultural production intensified. Our results indicate that land titles are only beneficial when farmers are located closer to main cities, main roads and rail stations or sidings.
    Keywords: land titling, access to markets, machine learning, remote sensing
    JEL: C81 N37 Q13 Q15
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Johan Fourie (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Nonso Obikili (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Our understanding of Africa's economic past -- the causes and consequences of precolonial polities, the slave trade, state formation, the Scramble for Africa, European settlement, and independence -- has improved markedly over the last two decades. Much of this is the result of the cliometric turn in African economic history, what some have called a `renaissance'. Whilst acknowledging that cliometrics is not new to African history, this chapter examines the major recent contributions, noting their methodological advances and dividing them into four broad themes: persistence of deep traits, slavery, colonialism and independence. We conclude with a brief bibliometric exercise, noting the lack of Africans working at the frontier of African cliometrics.
    Keywords: Africa, history, poverty, reversal of fortunes, sub-Saharan, trade, slavery, colonialism, missionaries, independence
    JEL: N01 N37 O10
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Élisé Wendlassida Miningou (World Bank Group); Jean-Marc Bernard (World Bank Group); Medjy Pierre-Louis (World Bank Group)
    Abstract: The lack of resources is often highlighted as the most important correlate of poor learning outcomes in developing countries. However, increasing school resources may not necessarily drive better learning if resources are not properly translated into learning outcomes. The current paper investigates the efficient utilization of school resources to promote learning. Applying the Data Envelopment Analysis methodology, an efficiency analysis is performed using PASEC 2014 learning assessment that covers 10 francophone, West and Central African countries. This paper also tries to better understand to which extent efficiency plays a role in the relationship between school resources and learning outcomes. The results show that the efficiency of school resource utilization varies across countries and across schools within the same countries. The relationship between some of the key elements of school resources and learning is weak in the least efficient schools. This suggests that resources allocated to the low efficient schools should consider first addressing inefficiency issues. While efficiency drivers may vary depending on the country’s specific contexts, findings show that students’ absenteeism, implication of the community in school management, teaching time and school environment play a role in school efficiency.
    Keywords: Education, Learning outcomes, Efficiency.
    JEL: O15 I25
    Date: 2019–04
  5. By: Antonio David; Frederic Lambert; Frederik G Toscani
    Abstract: We analyze the performance of labor markets in Latin America since the late 1990s. Strong GDP growth during the commodity boom period led to important gains in employment and a fall in the unemployment rate as labor demand outpaced an increasing labor supply. We emphasize the role of informality in the dynamics of labor markets in Latin America. A re-examination of Okun’s law shows that informality dampens changes in unemployment accompanying output fluctuations. Moreover, we present some evidence that countries with higher redundancy costs and cumbersome dismissal regulations, exhibit “excess” informality over and above what would be expected based on their income and educational levels. Labor market reforms could thus contribute to reducing informality and increasing the responsiveness of labor markets to output growth. However, looking at selected case studies of reforms using the synthetic control method, we find mixed results in terms of labor market outcomes.
    Date: 2019–03–08
  6. By: Katsushi S. Imai (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan, and Department of Economics, The University of Manchester, UK)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of the transformation of the rural agricultural sector in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 10 drawing upon the cross-country panel data over the past four decades for 105 developing countries. We define agricultural transformation by three different indices, namely, (i) the agricultural openness index – the share of agricultural export in agricultural value added of the country, (ii) the commercialization index - the share of processed agricultural products, fruits, green vegetables, and meats in all primary and processed agricultural products, and (iii) the product diversification index to capture the extent to which the country diversify the agricultural production. Drawing upon the dynamic panel model, we have found that transformation of the agricultural sector in terms of agricultural openness has increased the overall agricultural productivity and its growth and has consequently reduced national, rural and urban poverty significantly. Agricultural openness alleviates child malnutrition, namely underweight and stunting, and improves food security in terms of energy supply adequacy, protein supply, lack of food deficit and reduction of the prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women. The agricultural openness is negatively associated with the Gini coefficient at both national and subnational levels for both rural and urban areas. Except for Latin America, product diversification reduces agricultural productivity, implying the efficiency gains from economies of scale of fewer crops. On the other hand, the commercialisation does not generally increase the agricultural productivity and this may be related to a positive effect of the higher share of cereal production on productivity observed in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Policies improving the efficiency of agricultural production, for example through better rural infrastructure, or promoting agricultural exports, through regional economic integrations or reducing transaction costs such as tariff and non-tariff barriers, would help to achieve SDGs indirectly through the productivity improvement.
    Keywords: Agricultural Transformation, Rural Transformation, Poverty, Inequality, Nutrition, Hunger, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    JEL: C23 I30 I14 O18 Q19
    Date: 2019–03
  7. By: Luca Tasciotti, Farooq Sulehria and Natascha Wagner (Department of Economics, SOAS University of London, UK)
    Abstract: Pakistan has the second highest fertility rate in South Asia with every women giving birth to 3.4 children on average. This paper uses three waves of the Demographic Health Survey data to empirically analyse fertility trends in Pakistan between 1990 and 2013; accounting for wealth and the use of contraceptives and birth spacing, this paper looks at three additional pathways for reducing fertility: (i) electrification, (ii) access to TV and (iii) family planning commercials broadcasted on television. The pooled regression results suggest that the direct effect that the access to electricity has on fertility is limited. In contrast, access to television had a significant effect in reducing fertility rates, especially after the 2000s. To further disentangle the contribution of television to the fertility decline, we assess the role of family planning commercials broadcasted on television. We provide complementary qualitative evidence on the content and evolution of Pakistani soap-operas and we argue that the role models, the typology of households and the messages conveyed by the soap-operas are possible drivers of the fertility decline. We show that a similar conclusion cannot be drawn in the case of radio. Our findings suggest that in one of worldís most populous country access to modern role models via soap-operas might be one of the most powerful fertility-reducing interventions.
    Keywords: Fertility, electricity, television, Pakistan, panel analysis
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2019–03
  8. By: Le, Nga (UNU-MERIT); Groot, Wim (UNU-MERIT, TIER and CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University); Tomini, Sonila M. (UNU-MERIT); Tomini, Florian (Centre for Primary Care and Public Health Queen Mary University, London,)
    Abstract: Health insurance can have important effects on self-employment and self- employment transitions. However, there is a literature gap on the relationship between health insurance and self-employment in low and middle income countries, especially in the context of rapid expansion of health insurance in these countries. This paper examines this relationship in Vietnam with a focus on the comparison between the voluntary scheme for the informal sector (mostly self-employed workers) and the compulsory insurance for the formal sector (mostly wage workers). We employ a Probit model with selection on a panel from the Vietnamese Household Living Standards Surveys 2010-2014 to investigate the association between health insurance and self-employment entry and exit. We show that those with compulsory health insurance in Vietnam, the formal workers, are 10 percentage points less likely to enter self-employment compared to those having voluntary insurance. Regarding self-employment exit, people with compulsory insurance are more likely to exit self-employment compared to those covered by voluntary insurance. However, the effect size is relatively small.
    Keywords: health insurance, self-employment, Vietnam, self-employment entry, self-employment exit
    JEL: I13 J22
    Date: 2019–03–22
  9. By: Ural Marchand, Beyza (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper studies the pro-poor bias of contemporary trade policy in India by estimating the household welfare effects of eliminating the current protection structure. The elimination of a pro-poor trade policy is expected to have lower welfare gains or higher welfare loss at the low end of the per capita expenditure distribution. The paper first constructs trade restrictiveness indices for household consumption items and industry affiliations using both tariffs and the ad valorem equivalent of non-tariff barriers. The welfare effects are estimated through its impacts on household expenditure and earnings. The results indicate that Indian trade policy is regressive through the expenditure channel as it disproportionately raises the cost of consumption for poorer households, while it is progressive through the earnings channel in urban areas and neutral in rural areas. The net distributional effect through these two channels is estimated to be regressive, and elimination of current trade protection structure is expected to reduce inequality. These results indicate that a trade protection structure that designed as a progressive trade policy through the earnings channel may induce price effects that are regressive through the expenditure channel.
    Keywords: Trade Protection; Consumption Inequality; Poverty
    JEL: D31 F14 I30 O12
    Date: 2019–03–27
  10. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroon); Nicholas M. Odhiambo (Pretoria, South Africa)
    Abstract: This study examines the importance of inclusive human development in promoting education quality in a panel of forty-nine Sub-Saharan African countries for the period 2000-2012. The empirical evidence is based on Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), Fixed Effects (FE) and Quantile Regression (QR) estimations. It is apparent from the OLS and FE findings that inclusive human development has a negative effect on the outcome variable. This negative effect implies that inclusive human development improves education quality. This result should be understood in the light of the fact that the adopted education variable is a negative economic signal given that it is computed as the ratio of pupils to teachers. Therefore, a higher ratio reflects diminishing education quality. From QR, with the exception of the highest quantile, the tendency of inclusive human development in reducing poor quality education is consistent throughout the conditional distribution of poor education quality. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Education; inclusive human development; Africa
    JEL: G20 I10 I32 O40 O55
    Date: 2019–01
  11. By: Kyunghoon Kim; Andy Sumner; Arief Anshory Yusuf
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between structural transformation and the inclusivity of growth using the case of Indonesia. In the past two decades, Indonesia has become a service-centred economy; manufacturing sector’s capacity to generate employment and lead productivity growth has deteriorated compared to during the two decades prior to the Asian financial crisis. A multidimensional analysis of Indonesia’s structural transformation shows that productivity growth since the crisis has been higher than the long-term average, driven both by within-sector productivity gains and labour movement to higher productivity sectors. Also, Indonesia has not experienced a rising level of informality that is increasingly a concern for other developing countries going through service-led structural change. We argue thus that structural transformation has offered sustainable opportunities to the Indonesian workers in general. However, Indonesia’s economic growth is unlikely to as dynamic as during the high growth period (1986–1996) if the service sector continues to lead structural transformation. Compared to the industrial subsector, the service subsector with large employment absorptive capacity, has low productivity. Indonesia face challenges of recovering economic dynamism as well as managing the consequences of structural transformation.
    Keywords: Indonesia, structural change, inclusive growth, productivity, employment
    JEL: O14 O16 O53
    Date: 2018
  12. By: Christiane Heisse and Risa Morimoto (Department of Economics, SOAS University of London, UK)
    Abstract: We study the impact of rainfall risk on fertiliser use by Tanzanian maize farmers using newly available spatially disaggregated agronomic survey data on Tanzanian maize producers. We show that fertiliser use is highly sensitive to rainfall risks. Our discussion embeds these findings into the wider debate around environmental sustainability and mineral fertilisers, thus relating directly to the country’s government efforts of climate mainstreaming into their (agricultural) policies. We conclude that chemical fertilisers are useful for agricultural productivity growth but that they should be used to supplement more economically and environmentally sustainable practices.
    Keywords: Climate change, fertilisers, sustainable development, Tanzania, Maize farmers, panel analysis
    JEL: Q10 Q15 Q56 R15 R28
    Date: 2019–02

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