nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒05‒06
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Targeting when Poverty is Multidimensional By Marcos Agurto; César Calvo; Miguel Ángel Carpio
  2. Workfare programs and their delivery system effectiveness of construyendo Perú By Escudero, Verónica.
  3. Violence and Human Capital Investments By Martin F. Koppensteiner; Lívia Menezes
  4. Land Reform and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Micro Data By Tasso Adamopoulos; Diego Restuccia
  5. Birth Order, Fertility, and Child Height in India and Africa By Spears, Dean; Coffey, Diane; Behrman, Jere R.
  6. Spatial Spillovers in the Implicit Market Price of Soil Erosion: An Estimation using a Spatio-temporal Hedonic Model By Caffera, Marcelo; Vásquez Lavín, Felipe; Rodríguez Anza, Daniel; Carrasco-Letelier, Leonidas; Hernández, José Ignacio; Buonomo, Mariela
  7. Neonatal Death in India: Birth Order in a Context of Maternal Undernutrition By Coffey, Diane; Spears, Dean
  8. The Effects of Exposure to Air Pollution on Subjective Well-being in China By Zhang, Xin; Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
  9. Intergenerational Mobility: An Assessment for Latin American Countries By Yavuz, Hasan Bilgehan; Pastore, Francesco; Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal
  10. Employment Scenario in Afghanistan from 2007-08 to 2013-14 By Dasgupta, Anirban.; Anhal, Rohin.; Bhatnagar, Apurva.
  11. Regression tree analysis of soil fertility and agro-economic practices and the effects on yield in Tanzania By Jan Lietava; Risa Morimoto

  1. By: Marcos Agurto (Universidad de Piura); César Calvo (Universidad de Piura); Miguel Ángel Carpio (Universidad de Piura)
    Abstract: The view of poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon has swiftly become mainstream. However, the debate remains open as to how such ?multidimensional poverty? should be assessed in practical settings, particularly when identifying the beneficiaries of poverty alleviation programmes. This paper develops a novel empirical approach that explicitly takes into account the goals and needs of the policy-maker. In particular, the paper takes up the case of a government official running a budget constrained programme to alleviate a few dimensions of poverty, and translates her concerns into a set of desiderata which the multidimensional measure should meet. The policy-maker targeting ability and aversion to the risk of leakages play crucial roles in setting the desired properties. We illustrate our methodology in the context of a CCT programme in Peru, and show that it improves expected leaking and undercoverage relative to alternative Alkire-Foster based approaches.
    Keywords: Multidimensional poverty, targeting, Peru
    JEL: I3 I32 D63 O1 H1
    Date: 2019–03
  2. By: Escudero, Verónica.
    Abstract: This paper estimates the medium- to long-term effects of the workfare program Construyendo Perú, implemented in Peru from 2007 to 2011, to support unemployed populations in situations of poverty and extreme poverty. The paper finds that the intervention helped raise employment and reduce inactivity for certain groups of beneficiaries but at the cost of locking participants in lower quality jobs (i.e. informal and paid below the poverty line). Particularly, the program was not able to improve the perspectives of lower-educated participants in terms of job quality (although it was in terms of employment) and exacerbated the job quality perspectives of women, men, and higher-educated individuals. In terms of the mechanisms, it appears that the shift from infrastructure- to service-sector-related projects during the last two years—which were less costly, of shorter duration, and had no training component—exacerbated the effects of the program. The evaluation is carried out through a regression discontinuity approach, which exploits for the first time an interesting assignment rule of the program at the district level, namely, only districts above a certain level of poverty and development shortcomings were eligible to participate.
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Martin F. Koppensteiner (University of Surrey); Lívia Menezes (University of Leicester)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the effect of exposure to homicides on the educational performance and human capital investments of students in Brazil. We combine extremely granular information on the location and timing of homicides with a number of very large administrative educational datasets, to estimate the effect of exposure to homicides around schools, students' residence, and on their way to school on these outcomes. We show that violence has a detrimental effect on school attendance, on standardised test scores in math and Portuguese language and increases dropout rates of students substantially. The effects are particularly pronounced for boys, indicating important heterogeneous effects of violence. We use exceptionally rich information from student- and parent-background questionnaires to investigate the effect of violence on the aspirations and attitudes towards education. In line with the effects on dropout and the longer-term human capital accumulation of students, we find that boys systematically report lower educational aspiration towards education. Making use of the very rich information from the homicides and education data, we explore a number of underlying transmission channels, including mechanisms related to school supply, bereavement and incentives for human capital investments.
    JEL: I25 K42 O12
    Date: 2019–04
  4. By: Tasso Adamopoulos; Diego Restuccia
    Abstract: We assess the effects of a major land policy change on farm size and agricultural productivity using a quantitative model and micro-level data. We study the 1988 land reform in the Philippines that imposed a ceiling on land holdings, redistributed above-ceiling lands to landless and smallholder households, and severely restricted the transferability of the redistributed farm lands. We study this reform in the context of an industry model of agriculture with a non-degenerate distribution of farm sizes featuring an occupation decision and a technology choice of farm operators. In this model, the land reform can reduce agricultural productivity not only by misallocating resources across farmers but also by distorting farmers' occupation and technology decisions. The model, calibrated to pre-reform farm-level data in the Philippines, implies that on impact the land reform reduces average farm size by 34% and agricultural productivity by 17%. The government assignment of land and the ban on its transfer are key for the magnitude of the results since a market allocation of the above-ceiling land produces about 1/3 of the size and productivity effects. These results emphasize the potential role of land market efficiency for misallocation and productivity in the agricultural sector.
    JEL: O11 O13 O14 O4 O53 Q1 R2 R52
    Date: 2019–04
  5. By: Spears, Dean (University of Texas at Austin); Coffey, Diane (rice Institute); Behrman, Jere R. (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: The poor state of child health in India has generated a number of puzzles that have received attention in the literature. A recent focus on birth order has produced contradictory results. Coffey and Spears (2019) document an early-life survival advantage in India accruing to later birth orders, which they interpret as the result of a pattern of improving maternal nutrition over mothers' childbearing careers. In apparent contrast, Jayachandran and Pande (2017) show, using the same set of demographic surveys, a disadvantage in child height for later birth orders in India relative to Africa's birth order gradient. They interpret this pattern as discrimination against later birth-order children in India. This paper resolves the apparent contradiction, showing how differing correlations between sibsize (a child's number of siblings) and household wellbeing can account for the empirical findings of both studies: A mother having higher fertility, rather than lower, implies more socioeconomic disadvantage within India than within Africa. Accounting for sibsize reverses the apparent Indian laterborn disadvantage in child height, reversing the interpretation of Jayachandran and Pande. In short, a child's sibsize (or, equivalently, its mother's fertility) is an omitted variable in Jayachandran and Pande's analysis of birth order effects. Resolving these puzzles is critical for human development policy to combat the enduring challenges of disproportionately high rates of stunting and neonatal death in India, where one-fifth of global births occur.
    Keywords: child height, birth order, India, DHS, high-dimensional fixed effects
    JEL: O15 I15
    Date: 2019–04
  6. By: Caffera, Marcelo; Vásquez Lavín, Felipe; Rodríguez Anza, Daniel; Carrasco-Letelier, Leonidas; Hernández, José Ignacio; Buonomo, Mariela
    Abstract: Abstract: We estimate the implicit market price of soil erosion, fitting a spatio-temporal hedonic price model using quarterly data of 3,563 agricultural farms traded in Uruguay between 2000 and 2014. A unique feature of our estimation is that we allow for possible spatial spillovers. We find evidence of a negative and statistically significant association between erosion and land values. A 1% increase in own topsoil loss due to own erosion is associated with a decrease of 0.22% in the per-hectare price of agricultural land (p-value: 0.013, 95% CI: -0.0039, -0.0005). This is equivalent to a decrease of 7.7 USD in the average price per hectare and USD 1,040 in the price of the average farm (134 hectares). This value increases to USD 1,277 when we add the average cross marginal effect of erosion in nearby farms. Our estimates are sensitive to our measure of erosion and our specification of the spatio-temporal weighting matrix. We also find evidence consistent with our hypothesis that farms entering a governmental erosion control plan sent a valuable signal to the market regarding soil management. An indicator of whether the farm has at least one parcel under the government erosion control plans is associated with a 29% increase in the farm´s per-hectare price (p-value: 0.000, 95% CI: 16.26%, 41.53%) higher than those with no parcel under these plans. The average total marginal effect (own plus cross effects) of the erosion control plans is 35.37% (p-value: 0.000, 95% CI: 20.33%, 50.40%).
    Keywords: spatial spillovers, spatio-temporal hedonic model, soil erosion, farmland values, Uruguay
    JEL: Q1 Q12 Q15
    Date: 2019–04–30
  7. By: Coffey, Diane (rice Institute); Spears, Dean (University of Texas at Austin)
    Abstract: We document a novel fact about neonatal death, or death in the first month of life. Globally, neonatal mortality is disproportionately concentrated in India. We identify a large effect of birth order on neonatal mortality that is unique to India: later-born siblings have a steep survival advantage relative to the birth order gradient in other developing countries. We show that India's high prevalence of maternal undernutrition and its correlation with age and childbearing can explain this pattern. We find that Indian mothers exit the underweight body mass range at an internationally comparatively high rate as they progress through childbearing careers.
    Keywords: neonatal mortality, infant mortality, birth order, maternal nutrition, India
    JEL: O15 I15
    Date: 2019–04
  8. By: Zhang, Xin (Beijing Normal University); Chen, Xi (Yale University); Zhang, Xiaobo (Peking University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of six main air pollutants on three key dimensions of subjective well-being (SWB) – life satisfaction, hedonic happiness and mental health. We match a nationally representative survey in China with local air quality and rich weather conditions according to the exact date and county of each interview. By making use of variations in exposures to air pollution across similar respondents living in the same county, we find that PM2.5 reduces hedonic happiness and increases the rate of depressive symptoms, but does not affect life satisfaction. Our results show that the benefits of reducing air pollution would be higher if the hidden costs of air pollution on SWB in China are taken into account.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, hedonic happiness, depressive symptoms, air pollution, China
    JEL: I31 Q51 Q53
    Date: 2019–04
  9. By: Yavuz, Hasan Bilgehan (Adana Alpaslan Türkeş Science and Technology University); Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli); Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal
    Abstract: This paper aims to study the process of intergenerational income mobility in some Latin American economies (Panama and Brazil), which have been much neglected in the existing literature. Like other countries in the area, also Brazil and Panama have a stagnant economy coupled with high income inequality. Our rich and detailed dataset, the IPUMS survey data bank allows us to provide the most reliable and robust estimates of intergenerational transfer, after controlling for a number of additional control variables which were unavailable in previous studies, such as family size, literacy level of fathers, and location in rural versus urban areas. We provide estimates broken down for different genders, age, location, education of fathers in each country. Our results are robust to different specifications and suggest that previous studies significantly overrated the extent of the intergenerational transfer in the countries considered. However, our figures are still compatible with an extremely low degree of social mobility.
    Keywords: latin american economies, occupational mobility, intergenerational mobility
    JEL: J62 J60 D3 D6
    Date: 2019–04
  10. By: Dasgupta, Anirban.; Anhal, Rohin.; Bhatnagar, Apurva.
    Abstract: This paper examines the employment situation in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2014 using unit level micro data from three rounds of the Afghanistan Living Conditions Surveys (ALCS). Afghanistan has one of the youngest populations in the world. Unemployment levels in the country have been rising significantly over time and have nearly doubled during the period under examination. These were over 18 per cent in 2014. Even in rural areas where around 70 per cent of Afghan labour force lives, and where we expect open unemployment to be low, unemployment rates are very high. The country also has one of the lowest participation rates for women in the region. Although women’s participation rates decline at high education levels in Afghanistan the latter category constitutes a very small proportion of women. If unemployment rates have risen by 10 per cent in the period, it is also the case that informal employment shares in total employment have fallen by from around 90 per cent to 80 per cent. These changes are also simultaneous with a decline of over 12 per cent in the labour force participation rates. Although the decline in shares of informal employment can be seen as encouraging, the withdrawal from the labour market, the decline in informal employment and the resulting rising in open unemployment may also be related to safety and security considerations. The corresponding proportionate rise in relatively more formal employment has, in recent years, largely been due to the expansion of government jobs. The main types of jobs within services are in government, defense and community services. The employment challenges the country faces are formidable. In particular, if we expect aid and development funds to decline in the future, good jobs will be difficult to sustain-either with the further expansion of State jobs or with jobs in services that presently rely on expenditures associated with the externally supported parts of the economy. This means that in agriculture and industry, special policy measures will be needed and indeed will have to be financed. The report identifies some growth strategies as well as some supply side measures that could partly address this impending challenge for the country.
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Jan Lietava; Risa Morimoto (Department of Economics, SOAS University of London, UK)
    Abstract: Food security and yield production have been extensively studied in regard to fertiliser response in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. Soil fertility gradients within farms interact with other complex factors such as plot management, alongside bio-physical as well as socio-economic constraints, to create extensive heterogeneity in yield production. Hence, blanket recommendations regarding increasing inputs may not just lead to limited or no change in productivity but may affect long term sustainability. To try and explore the relationships between these factors, Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis was used to simplify the effect of plot management decisions. Data was from the focal plots of the 2016 and 2017 Tanzanian Agronomy Panel Survey (TAPS 2017; n = 580) with a range of yields and socio-economic contexts (2.10tha-1 – 3.68tha-1). Results suggested that in low resource fields, management factors are subservient to extreme soil degradation while in high resource fields good management such as optimal planting are needed for maximum predicted yield (4.48tha-1; n = 51). Boundary line analysis was conducted, and maximum yield-nutrient response values calculated. The yield gap obtained suggested only up to 60% of locally obtainable yield is reached, highlighting the necessary balance between intensity of resource use and good management for sustainable and sufficient crop production, especially in the case of extreme soil degradation.
    Keywords: Regression tree analysis, soil property, Tanzania, agro-economic practice
    JEL: Q10 Q15 Q56 R15 R28
    Date: 2019–02

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