nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒06‒17
nineteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Education Quality and Teaching Practices By Marina Bassi; Costas Meghir; Ana Reynoso
  2. Climate-change vulnerability in rural Zambia: the impact of an El Nino-induced shock on income and productivity By Alfani, Federica; Arslan, Aslihan; McCarthy, Nancy; Cavatassi, Romina; Sitko, Nicholas J.
  3. March 2019 PovcalNet Update: What's New By Aziz Atamanov; R. Andres Castaneda Aguilar; Paul A. Corral Rodas; Reno Dewina; Carolina Diaz-Bonilla; Dean M. Jolliffe; Christoph Lakner; Kihoon Lee; Jose Montes; Laura Liliana Moreno Herrera; Rose Mungai; David Locke Newhouse; Minh C. Nguyen; Espen Beer Prydz; Prem Sangraula; Judy Yang
  4. Informality and Gender Gaps Going Hand in Hand By Vivian Malta; Lisa L Kolovich; Angelica Martinez; Marina Mendes Tavares
  5. Food security and armed conflict: a cross-country analysis By van Weezel, Stijn
  6. The 2012 crisis in Mali and its implications on resilience and food security By d’Errico, Marco; Grazioli, Francesca; Mellin, Aurélien
  7. Roads and Loans By Sumit Agarwal; Abhiroop Mukherjee; S Lakshmi Naaraayanan
  8. Climate resilience pathways of rural households: evidence from Ethiopia By Asfaw, Solomon; Maggio, Giuseppe; Palma, Alessandro
  9. Effect of Disasters and Climate Change on Poverty and Inequality in India By Tripathi, Sabyasachi
  10. Civil War and International Migration from Nepal: Evidence from a Spatial Durbin Model By Hari Sharma; John Gibson
  11. Son Preference and Child Under Nutrition in the Arab Countries: Is There a Gender Bias Against Girls? By Sharaf, Mesbah; Rashad, Ahmed; Mansour, El-Hussien
  12. Terrorism, education and the role of expectations: evidence from al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya By Marco Alfano; Joseph-Simon Gorlach
  13. Tenure security, investment and the productivity of agricultural farms in the communal area of Kavango West region of Namibia: Any evidence of causality? By Uchezuba, D.; Amaambo, P.; Mbai, S.
  14. How do extreme weather events affect livestock herders' welfare? Evidence from Kyrgyzstan By Conti, Valentina; Sitko, Nicholas J.; Ignaciuk, Ada
  15. Women's nutritional empowerment and their well-being Identifying key drivers in India and Bangladesh By Sudha Narayanan; Udayan Rathore; Mohit Sharma
  16. Household vulnerability to food insecurity in the face of climate change in Paraguay By Ervin, Paul A.; Gayoso de Ervin, Lyliana
  17. Seedling choices of perennial crops: The role of subjective belief of yield and risk behaviours By Hasibuan, Abdul Muis; Gregg, Daniel; Stringer, Randy
  18. Impacts of modifying Malawi's farm input subsidy programme targeting By Asfaw, Solomon; Cattaneo, Andrea; Pallante, Giacomo; Palma, Alessandro
  19. Cropping system diversification in Eastern and Southern Africa: Identifying policy options to enhance productivity and build resilience By Maggio, Giuseppe; Sitko, Nicholas J.; Ignaciuk, Ada

  1. By: Marina Bassi (World Bank); Costas Meghir (Cowles Foundation, Yale University, NBER, IZA, CEPR, and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Ana Reynoso (Department of Economics, University of Michigan)
    Abstract: Improving school quality with limited resources is a key issue of policy. It has been suggested that instructing teachers to follow specific practices together with tight monitoring of their activities may help improve outcomes in under-performing schools that usually serve poor populations. This paper uses an RCT to estimate the e?ectiveness of guided instruction methods as implemented in under-performing schools in Chile. The intervention improved performance substantially and by equal amounts for boys and girls. However, the effect is mainly accounted for by children from relatively higher income backgrounds and not for the most deprived. Based on the CLASS instrument we document that quality of teacher-student interactions is positively correlated with the performance of low income students; however, the intervention did not affect these interactions. Guided instruction can improve outcomes, but it is a challenge to reach the most deprived children.
    Date: 2019–06
  2. By: Alfani, Federica; Arslan, Aslihan; McCarthy, Nancy; Cavatassi, Romina; Sitko, Nicholas J.
    Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of the El Nino during the 2015/2016 season on maize productivity and income in rural Zambia. The analysis aims at identifying whether and how sustainable land management (SLM) practices and livelihood diversification strategies have contributed to moderate the impacts of such a weather shock. The analysis was conducted using a specifically designed survey called the El Nino Impact Assessment Survey (ENIAS), which is combined with the 2015 wave of the Rural Agricultural Livelihoods Surveys (RALS), as well as high resolution rainfall data from the Africa Rainfall Climatology version 2 (ARC2). This unique, integrated data set provides an opportunity to understand the impacts of shocks like El Nino that are expected to get more frequent and severe in Zambia, as well as understand the agricultural practices and livelihood strategies that can buffer household production and welfare from the impacts of such shocks to drive policy recommendations. Results show that households affected by the drought experienced a decrease in maize yield by around 20 percent, as well as a reduction in income up to 37 percent, all else equal. Practices that moderated the impact of the drought included livestock diversification, income diversification, and the adoption of agro-forestry. Interestingly, the use of minimum soil disturbance was not effective in moderating the yield and income effects of the drought. Policies to support livestock sector development, agroforestry adoption, and off -farm diversification should be prioritized as effective drought resiliency strategies in Zambia.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2019–02–16
  3. By: Aziz Atamanov; R. Andres Castaneda Aguilar; Paul A. Corral Rodas; Reno Dewina; Carolina Diaz-Bonilla; Dean M. Jolliffe; Christoph Lakner; Kihoon Lee; Jose Montes; Laura Liliana Moreno Herrera; Rose Mungai; David Locke Newhouse; Minh C. Nguyen; Espen Beer Prydz; Prem Sangraula; Judy Yang
    Abstract: The March 2019 update to PovcalNet involves several changes to the data underlying the global poverty estimates. Some welfare aggregates have been changed for improved harmonization, and the national accounts and population input data have been updated. This document explains these changes in detail and the reasoning behind them. Emphasis is given to the update of the CPIs series released by the IMF on November 2018 and the changes to the national inequality measures in China, India, and Indonesia. In addition to the changes listed here, 50 new country-years have been added, bringing the total number of surveys to 1657.
    Date: 2019–03
  4. By: Vivian Malta; Lisa L Kolovich; Angelica Martinez; Marina Mendes Tavares
    Abstract: In sub-Saharan Africa women work relatively more in the informal sector than men. Many factors could explain this difference, including women’s lower education levels, legal barriers, social norms and demographic characteristics. Cross-country comparisons indicate strong associations between gender gaps and higher female informality. This paper uses microdata from Senegal to assess the probability of a worker being informal, and our main findings are: (i) in urban areas, being a woman increases this probability by 8.5 percent; (ii) education is usually more relevant for women; (iii) having kids reduces men’s probability of being informal but increases women’s.
    Date: 2019–05–23
  5. By: van Weezel, Stijn
    Abstract: Significant progress has been made in improving global food security, yet some countries still face severe challenges. In some cases, violent armed conflict has potentially contributed t local food insecurity due to disruption of food production and agricultural markets. Despite the relevance of this topic in context of tracking global food security, there is a paucity of empirical work examining this cross-country variation. Therefore, this study uses country level data, covering 106 countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America between 1961-2011, to estimate the relation between conflict and food security. To proxy food security the dietary energy supply (DES) is used. Results show that conflict is associated with lower food security levels. Specifically conflicts about government power or with large fatality numbers are correlated with a large estimated reduction in the national DES. The results highlight the negative correlation between conflict and food security, illustrating how certain types of conflict could potentially undo years of progress.
    Keywords: Food Security and Poverty, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2018–08–03
  6. By: d’Errico, Marco; Grazioli, Francesca; Mellin, Aurélien
    Abstract: Food security can be considered an outcome of resilience. From this perspective, a household can be considered resilient if it manages to recover from a shock and return to the previous level of food security that it held prior to the shock occurring. As such, exploring the nexus between resilience and conflict means looking at both a theoretical and an analytical framework that can help to establish the channels through which conflict affects resilience and, ultimately, food security. This approach also draws policymakers' attention to the key aspects to be considered (in the case of conflict) in order to restore and/or maintain resilience and, thus, food security. This analysis highlights that household resilience deteriorates as a result of: reduced adaptive capacity; a decrease in productive and non-productive assets; and an increase in exposure to shocks. This paper looks at datasets from Mali in order to econometrically measure the impact of conflict ' namely, the 2012 Tuareg rebellion and insurrection of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) ' on resilience to food insecurity for the population in northern Mali. The findings of this paper show that these conflicts have had a strong impact, which must be adequately addressed with supportive interventions.
    Keywords: Food Security and Poverty, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2017–07–20
  7. By: Sumit Agarwal (National University of Singapore); Abhiroop Mukherjee (Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); S Lakshmi Naaraayanan (Ph.D in Finance, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: Does financing respond to changes in productive opportunities even for the world's poor? We shed light by examining the response of private bank financing to a rural road-building program in India. The program prioritized roads for villages above explicit population thresholds, allowing us to use discontinuities in treatment probability for identification. We find large financing responses - odds of a villager getting a loan is twice as high, and the average loan amounts are about 50% higher - for villages just above the threshold compared to those below. Benefits seem to flow disproportionately to those traditionally disadvantaged in rural societies.
    Date: 2019–05
  8. By: Asfaw, Solomon; Maggio, Giuseppe; Palma, Alessandro
    Abstract: Climate variability and extreme events continue to impose significant challenges to households, particularly to those that are less resilient. By exploring the resilience capacity of rural Ethiopian households after the drought shock occurred in 2011, using panel data, this paper shows important socio-economic and policy determinants of households' resilience capacity. Three policy indications emerge from the analysis. First, government support programmes, such as the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), appear to sustain households' resilience by helping them to reach the level of pre-shock total consumption, but have no impact on the food-consumption resilience. Secondly, the 'selling out assets strategy' affects positively households' resilience, but only in terms of food consumption ' not total consumption. Finally, the presence of informal institutions, such as social networks providing financial support, sharply increases households' resilience by helping them to reach preshock levels of both food consumption and total consumption.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Food Security and Poverty
    Date: 2018–11–28
  9. By: Tripathi, Sabyasachi
    Abstract: This study assesses the impact of disasters and climate change on poverty and inequality in India from 1900 to 2018. Country level analysis shows that natural disasters, mainly flood, is increasing over time. Almost 41% of the total deaths in the period 1900–2018 occurred between 1991and 2018 due to natural disasters. Climate change variables show a whopping 545% increase in the CO2 emissions, 7% increase in the mean temperature, and a mammoth 835% increase in annual rainfall from 1960 to 2014. Poverty figures show that there is a 23.4% decline in poverty from 1993–94 to 2011–12. Inequality in India has increased from 0.33 in 1973–74 to 0.36 to 2011–12. The calculated correlation values show that the rate of poverty is negatively associated with CO2 emissions, annual mean temperature, and annual rainfall. A state-level analysis shows that the correlation between rainfall and inequality is positive. Statewise panel data model analysis from the period of 2004–05 to 2011–12 shows that natural disasters and climate change, which are measured by the change in rainfall, has a positive effect on state-level poverty and inequality in India. Finally, we suggest that eco-friendly economic growth strategies and redistributive policies are essential for sustainable economic growth in India.
    Keywords: Disasters, climate change, poverty, inequality, India
    JEL: D63 I32 Q53 Q54
    Date: 2019–04–02
  10. By: Hari Sharma (University of Waikato); John Gibson (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: A growing literature studies microeconomic effects of war on human capital formation and labour market activity. A common research design is to relate spatially aggregated data on conflict rates at the first or second sub-national level to more spatially disaggregated survey data on outcomes of interest. Several studies focus on Nepal’s civil war, that ran for a decade from 1996, and use conflict-related deaths in Nepal’s 75 districts (the second sub-national level). Variation in the conflict-related death rate within Nepal’s districts is more than three times higher than the variation between districts. Consequently, using district-level conflict data creates a measurement error on the right-hand side of regression models, making the conflict seem more widespread, and biases econometric estimates of conflict impacts. Prior studies also ignore spatial spillovers, where local conflict may affect outcomes not only locally but also in surrounding areas. To deal with these biases, we use measures of conflict intensity for Nepal’s 3982 localities in a spatial Durbin model of the change in emigration rates between the 2001 and 2011. We distinguish emigration to India, which is informal and long-standing, from emigration to other countries that is a recent development for Nepal and requires formal recruitment and visa processes. Higher local conflict intensity is associated with slower local growth in the emigration rate between 2001 and 2011. It is mainly indirect impacts, based on the spatial lags, which matter and it is emigration to destinations other than India that was deterred by the conflict. The estimated impacts would be substantially distorted if conflict intensity was measured at the more aggregated, district-level, as in the existing literature.
    Keywords: aggregation; conflict; emigration; spatial Durbin model; Nepal Length: 27 pages
    JEL: C21 D74 F22 O15
    Date: 2019–06–15
  11. By: Sharaf, Mesbah (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Rashad, Ahmed (Government of Dubai); Mansour, El-Hussien (City University of New York)
    Abstract: Although son preference has been demonstrated in the MENA region with different manifestations and at several phases of human development, the literature remains sparse with studies that examined the early childhood phase. The current study aims to explore the presence of a gender bias in child nutrition status and its association with maternal son preference in three Arab countries; namely, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen on which limited research has been conducted. Child nutritional status is measured using the Height-for-Age z-score (HAZ). To examine the presence of gender bias across the entire nutritional distribution, we utilized a quantile regression framework which characterize the heterogeneous association of each determinant across the different percentiles of the nutrition distribution. We use data from the most recent rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey on a nationally representative sample of children aged 0-4 years, for which we observe their health measures. The multivariate analyses include a set of HAZ determinants that are widely used in the literature. Descriptive statistics show that 21.5% of the mothers have son preference in Yemen compared to 19.10% in Jordan and 13.26% in Egypt. Results of the baseline OLS model demonstrate a robust pro-girl nutrition bias in the three countries. However, results of the quantile regression model show that this pro-girl nutrition bias is only prevalent at the lower segment of the conditional HAZ distribution for Jordan and Yemen and is prevalent across the whole conditional HAZ distribution for Egypt. We also find no statistically significant association between maternal son preference and gender bias in child nutrition in the three countries. Although son preference is manifested in several phases of human development in the MENA region, the current study finds no nutritional bias against girls in the examined countries at early childhood.
    Keywords: child malnutrition; son preference; socio-demographic characteristics; quantile regression; Egypt; Jordan; Yemen
    JEL: I14 J13 J16
    Date: 2019–06–06
  12. By: Marco Alfano (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde); Joseph-Simon Gorlach (Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, University College London)
    Abstract: This paper explores how terrorism alters human capital investment by affecting expectations. Using different estimators, we identify a negative causal effect of terrorism on Kenyan primary school enrolment and attendance. Among these, we exploit al-Shabaab's revenue streams and position in the al-Qaeda network to predict attacks. To isolate the significant contribution of indirect mechanisms|like expectation we use fi nely geo-coded data on children and their closest schools as well as border discontinuities in educational provision, combined with media and attitudinal data. Moreover, we evaluate the degree and effect of the discrepancy between objective and subjective expectations in a structural model.
    Keywords: terrorism, education, expectations
    JEL: D74 I21 O15
    Date: 2019–03
  13. By: Uchezuba, D.; Amaambo, P.; Mbai, S.
    Abstract: The study aims to determine causality amid the decision to apply for leasehold land right, increased farm investment, and total farm productivity on livestock farms in the Kavango West region of Namibia. Various econometric models have been used to model these relationships in the literature. However, there is a growing concern that methods which do not explicitly account for the endogeneity of regressors and which are used to investigate the relationship between property rights and the economic activities on agricultural farms often produce bias estimates that are inefficient and inconsistent. This study applied an instrumental variable (IV) regression using a survey data of 510 farmers to correct for endogeneity. A test of endogeneity of tenure security, investment, and farm productivity in the various models shows that tenure security is exogenous to farm investment decision and farm productivity. On the other hand, farm investment decision was found to be exogenous to farm productivity, which implies that farmers make investment decisions given a secure tenure right that enhances their productivity on the farm. Overall, there was no evidence to support reverse causality in any of the tests. These findings highlight the importance of secure property rights as being a stimulus for increased agricultural investment and productivity.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Productivity Analysis
    Date: 2019–04–15
  14. By: Conti, Valentina; Sitko, Nicholas J.; Ignaciuk, Ada
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the harsh 2012 winter on livestock herding households in Kyrgyzstan and identifies policy options to increase household resilience to such shocks. While existing studies mostly focus on rainfall shocks in tropical or dry climate areas, this analysis examines the exceptionally harsh winter that hit Kyrgyzstan in 2012, which resulted in the death of 25 000 animals. Using a unique household panel survey, merged with observed temperature data, the analysis finds that, on average, the negative effects of the winter shock on household welfare are significant and persistent over time, leading to a 5 percent and a 8 percent decrease in households' food consumption expenditure in the short- (2011'2013) and medium-run (2011'2016), respectively. When disaggregating by income quantiles, the evidence shows that negative impact is concentrated in the upper quantiles of the welfare distribution. Several policy options are identified as effective in mitigating the negative welfare impacts of the weather shock. First, supporting households to restock their herds following weather shocks is found to significantly improve medium-term welfare by 10 percent relative to those that did not restock. Restocking efforts can be addressed in a holistic manner that takes into account immediate household needs, while simultaneously building long-term resilience in the livestock sector. This may include mitigating animal losses through the development of local forage markets that increase the availability of winter forage, combined with efforts to improve the genetic pool of livestock species through breeding programmes that select for resiliency traits. Second, results show that households living in regions with higher access to public veterinary services had significantly better welfare outcomes following the winter shock. Improvements of veterinary services and strengthening community-based organizations focusing on livestock and pasture development may help herding households to cope with weather shocks.
    Keywords: Farm Management, Livestock Production/Industries
    Date: 2018–11–29
  15. By: Sudha Narayanan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Udayan Rathore (Collaborative Research and Dissemination, New Delhi); Mohit Sharma (Collaborative Research and Dissemination, New Delhi)
    Abstract: This paper uses six nationally representative household surveys from India and Bangladesh to examine the link between women's empowerment and their own nutritional status. Using a recently developed concept of nutritional empowerment, we first assess the degree to which these surveys capture its constituent elements. After identifying the relevant variables in these surveys that best represent the various aspects of nutritional empowerment, we use these surveys to estimate the relative contribution of different factors of nutritional empowerment to women's nutritional outcomes, specifically BMI (in India and Bangladesh) and anemia (in India). While there are a number of approaches to decomposing the contribution of various factors driving nutrition, we present a novel application of the Shapley-Owen decomposition method, hitherto not applied in the context of determinants of nutritional status. This decomposition method reflects not just the independent, standalone contribution of a specific factor, but a factor's contribution including possible interaction with other factors of nutritional empowerment. Consistent across the surveys, we find that resources, particularly those of health and food drive BMI, while resources relating to health and fertility overwhelmingly determine haemoglobin levels (anemia) in India. We also find that the contribution of knowledge and agency correlate positively with resources, suggesting that these dimensions are complementary. Our findings suggest that policies aimed at empowering women must therefore not focus merely on providing knowledge or seek to strengthen women's decision-making roles in the family. Rather, they should prioritize providing health resources to women in constrained settings.
    Keywords: India, Bangladesh, women, nutritional empowerment, decomposition techniques, Shapley-Owen values
    JEL: J16 D13 I00 I3
    Date: 2019–02
  16. By: Ervin, Paul A.; Gayoso de Ervin, Lyliana
    Abstract: This working paper analyses the effect climate change is expected to have on agricultural productivity, caloric consumption, and vulnerability to food insecurity of household agricultural producers in Paraguay. Our results suggest that increasing temperatures and reduced precipitation will reduce agricultural productivity and caloric consumption, and increase vulnerability to food insecurity. Specifically, a 1 percent increase in average maximum temperatures is associated with a 5 percent reduction in agricultural productivity. A 5 percent reduction in agricultural productivity translates into nearly a 1 percent reduction in caloric consumption. Vulnerability to food insecurity in Paraguay is expected to increase by 28 percentage points by 2100 due to climate change, increasing fastest in areas where temperatures are increasing and rainfall is diminishing. We explore a number of interventions that policy makers can pursue to limit the impact of climate change on food insecurity.
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Food Security and Poverty, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2019–02–20
  17. By: Hasibuan, Abdul Muis; Gregg, Daniel; Stringer, Randy
    Abstract: Seedling variety choice is one of the most important steps for perennial crop farmers as it is a key component of farm profitability over the long-term. Certified seedling varieties have become more common in recent years in developing country areas as a response to concerns about low-quality seedling and an increasing amount of climate variability for which new certified varieties may provide increased resilience. However, the adoption rate of certified seedling varieties in developing countries is generally low. Given the long-lived nature of such investments and the high level of uncertainty regarding both the climate to which they will be exposed as mature trees and the quality of the seedling there are clear linkages to farmers’ subjective belief regarding yields differential between certified and uncertified seedling, their time and risk preferences. We consider these aspects using a recently developed survey-based toll for measuring risk and time preferences and link those to stated preferences and observations on the adoption of certified seedlings. Results show that there are differences in subjective belief of yield which strongly associated with the non-adopter farmers’ intention to adopt. Time preferences play a role in adopter farmers’ intention, but risk preferences do not significantly related to adoption behaviours.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2019–04–15
  18. By: Asfaw, Solomon; Cattaneo, Andrea; Pallante, Giacomo; Palma, Alessandro
    Abstract: In this paper, we evaluate the impact of this proposed change to the existing FISP design and implementation mechanisms by utilizing two waves of the Living Standards Measurement Study - Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA)survey merged with historical climate data. We estimate how the demand for agricultural inputs varies according to a variation in the targeting criteria and identify more efficient farmers that should be eligible for the FISP.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Farm Management
    Date: 2017–09–05
  19. By: Maggio, Giuseppe; Sitko, Nicholas J.; Ignaciuk, Ada
    Abstract: Crop diversification is an important policy objective to promote climate change adaptation, yet the drivers and impacts of crop diversification vary considerably depending on the specific combinations of crops a farmer grows. This paper examines adoption determinants of seven different cropping systems in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, and the impact of their adoption on maize productivity and income volatility ' using a multinomial endogenous treatment effect model. These cropping systems consist in different combinations of four categories of crops: dominate staple (maize), alternative staples, legumes, and cash-crops. The study finds that relative to maize mono-cropping systems, the vast majority of systems have either neutral or positive effects on maize productivity, and either reduce or have neutral effects on crop income volatility. In particular, cropping systems that include legumes produce better outcome in most cases than those that feature cash crops...
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Productivity Analysis
    Date: 2018–09–28

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