nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒09‒30
thirteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Malaria Control and Infant Mortality in Africa By Denis Cogneau; Pauline Rossi
  2. Are Small Farms Really more Productive than Large Farms? By Fernando Aragon Sanchez; Diego Restuccia; Juan Pablo Rud
  3. The Impact of Food Prices on Conflict Revisited By Jasmien De Winne; Gert Peersman
  4. E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs : Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India By Banerjee, Abhijit; Duflo, Esther; Imbert, Clement; Mathew, Santhosh; Pande, Rohini
  5. Can Women’s Self-Help Groups Contribute to Sustainable Development? Evidence of Capability Changes from Northern India By Anand, Paul; Saxena, Swati; Gonzalez, Rolando; Dang, Hai-Anh H.
  6. Computerization and Development: Formalizing Property Rights and its Impact on Land and Labor Allocation By beg, Sabrin
  7. The effect of antimalarial campaigns on child mortality and fertility in sub-Saharan Africa By Joshua Wilde; Bénédicte Apouey; Joseph Coleman; Gabriel Picone
  8. Teacher Performance Pay and Student Learning: Evidence from a Nationwide Program in Peru By Bellés Obrero, Cristina; Lombardi, María
  9. Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration By Burzyńskia, Michał; Deuster, Christoph; Docquier, Frédéric; de Melo, Jaime
  10. IFAD RESEARCH SERIES 39 - Smallholder farming, growth linkages, structural transformation and poverty reduction By Suttie, David
  11. The Arab Inequality Puzzle: The Role of Income Sources in Egypt and Tunisia By Krafft, Caroline; Davis, Elizabeth E.
  12. Inequality in the Quality of Health Services : Wealth, Content of Care, and Price of Antenatal Consultations in the Democratic Republic of Congo By Fink,Gunther; Kandpal,Eeshani; Shapira,Gil
  13. Is there an early gender gap in Ghanaian children development? Evidence from 3-4 years old boys and girls By Bago, Jean-Louis; Souratié, Wamadini M.; Ouédraogo, Ernest; Lompo, Miaba Louise; Ouédraogo, Moussa; Perrault, Nicolas

  1. By: Denis Cogneau (Paris School of Economics); Pauline Rossi (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Has massive distribution of insecticide-treated-nets contributed to the reduction in infant mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past 15 years? Using large household surveys collected in 16 countries and exploiting the spatial correlation in distribution campaigns, we estimate the relationship between the diffusion of bednets and the progress in child survival. We find no evidence of a causal link in cities, and no impact either in rural areas with low malaria prevalence. By contrast, in highly malarious rural areas where bednet coverage reached high levels, above 75% of households, infant mortality has been reduced by at least 3 percentage points, which amounts to 25% of the initial mortality. The identified impact is even higher for the children of mothers with no education. It lies at the upper bound found with RCTs, most likely because those were implemented in contexts with lower mortality and/or malaria prevalence.
    Keywords: Child mortality, Malaria, Africa, Foreign aid
    JEL: I1 J1 O1 F35
    Date: 2019–09–20
  2. By: Fernando Aragon Sanchez (Simon Fraser University); Diego Restuccia (University of Toronto); Juan Pablo Rud (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: We revisit the long-standing empirical evidence of an inverse relationship between farm size and productivity using rich micro data from Uganda. We show that farm size is nega- tively related with yields (output per hectare), as commonly found in the literature, but positively related with farm productivity (a farm-specific component of total factor pro- ductivity). These conflicting results do not arise because of omitted variables such as land quality, measurement error in output or inputs, or specification issues. Instead, we reconcile the findings emphasizing decreasing returns to scale in farm production and farm-specific distortions. We exploit regional variation in land tenure regimes in Uganda in evaluating the role of farm-specific distortions. Our findings point to the limited value of yields (or land productivity) in establishing the size-productivity relationship. More generally, we highlight farm size as an ineffective instrument for policy implementation since size is deeply con- founded by distortions in developing countries.
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Jasmien De Winne; Gert Peersman (-)
    Abstract: Studies that examine the impact of food prices on conflict usually assume that (all) changes in international food prices are exogenous shocks for individual countries or local areas. By isolating strictly exogenous shifts in global food commodity prices, we show that this assumption could seriously distort estimations of the impact on conflict in African regions. Specifically, we show that increases in food prices that are caused by harvest shocks outside Africa raise conflict significantly, whereas a “naive” regression of conflict on international food prices uncovers an inverse relationship. We also find that higher food prices lead to more conflict in regions with more agricultural production. Again, we document that failing to account for exogenous price changes exhibits a considerable bias in the impact. In addition, we show that the conventional approach to evaluate such effects; that is, estimations that include time fixed effects, ignores an important positive baseline effect that is common for all regions.
    Keywords: conflict, food prices, instrumental variables
    JEL: C23 D74 F44 Q11 Q34
    Date: 2019–09
  4. By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT); Duflo, Esther (MIT); Imbert, Clement (University of Warwick); Mathew, Santhosh (Bill and Melida Gates Foundation); Pande, Rohini (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Can e-governance reforms improve government policy? By making information available on a realtime basis, information technologies may reduce the theft of public funds. We analyze a large eld experiment and the nationwide scale-up of a reform to India's workfare program. Advance payments were replaced by "just-in-time" payments, triggered by e-invoicing, making it easier to detect misreporting. Leakages went down: program expenditures dropped by 24%, while employment slightly increased; there were fewer fake households in the ocial database; program ocials' personal wealth fell by 10%. However, payment delays increased. The nationwide scale-up resulted in a persistent 19% reduction in program expenditure.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Anand, Paul; Saxena, Swati; Gonzalez, Rolando; Dang, Hai-Anh H.
    Abstract: This paper investigates a women’s self-help group program with more than 1.5 million participants in one of the poorest rural areas of Northern India. The program has four streams of activity in micro-savings, agricultural enterprise training, health and nutrition education, and political participation. The paper considers whether there is any evidence that program membership is associated with quality of life improvement. Using new data on a variety of self-reported capability indicators from members and non-members, the paper estimates propensity score matching models and reports evidence of differences in some dimensions as well as significant benefits to those from the most disadvantaged groups—scheduled castes and tribes. The paper considers robustness and concludes that for some dimensions, there is evidence that the program has contributed to sustainable development through improvements in the quality of life.
    Keywords: capabilities,self-help groups,sustainable development,propensity score matching
    JEL: I31 I32
    Date: 2019
  6. By: beg, Sabrin
    Abstract: I test the land and labor market effects of a property rights reform that computerized rural land records, and provided access to digitized records and automated transactions to agricultural landowners and cultivators in Pakistan. Using the staggered roll-out of the program, I find that while the reforms do not shift land ownership, landowning households are more likely to rent out land and lower their agricultural participation. At the same time, cultivating households have access to more land, as rented in land and overall farm size per cultivating household increases. Improved tenure security also shifts the type of rental contracts, and the input choices of cultivators. Aggregate district level data suggests an improvement in overall crop yield. These results have implications for both the allocation of land across farmers and the selection of labor into farming.
    Keywords: Property Rights, Rural Mobility, Agricultural Land Markets, ICT in Development, Institutions
    JEL: O1 O10 O12 O13
    Date: 2019–09–19
  7. By: Joshua Wilde (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Bénédicte Apouey; Joseph Coleman; Gabriel Picone
    Abstract: We examine the extent to which recent declines in child mortality and fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa can be attributed to insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). Exploiting the rapid increase in ITNs since the mid-2000s, we employ a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to identify the causal effect of ITNs on mortality and fertility. We show that the ITN distribution campaigns reduced all-cause child mortality, but surprisingly increased total fertility rates in the short run in spite of reduced desire for children and increased contraceptive use. We explain this paradox in two ways. First, we show evidence for an unexpected increase in fecundity and sexual activity due to the better health environment after the ITN distribution. Second, we show evidence that the effect on fertility is positive only temporarily – lasting only 1-3 years after the beginning of the ITN distribution programs – and then becomes negative. Taken together, these results suggest the ITN distribution campaigns may have caused fertility to increase unexpectedly and temporarily, or that these increases may just be a tempo effect -- changes in fertility timing which do not lead to increased completed fertility.
    Keywords: Africa, child mortality, fertility, malaria
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2019–09
  8. By: Bellés Obrero, Cristina (University of Mannheim); Lombardi, María (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)
    Abstract: We study the impact on student achievement of a nationwide teacher pay-for-performance program implemented in Peruvian public secondary schools in 2015. Schools compete in a tournament primarily based on 8th graders' performance in a standardized test, where the principal and teachers of the top 20 percent of schools receive a substantial bonus. We perform a difference-in-differences estimation comparing the internal grades of 8th and 9th graders of the same school, before and after the program. We find a precisely estimated zero effect on student achievement, and we reject impacts greater than 0.017 standard deviations, well below those previously found in the literature. We provide evidence against a series of potential explanations, and argue that this zero effect could be a consequence of teachers' uncertainty about how to improve their students' performance in the standardized test tied to the bonus.
    Keywords: education, teachers, incentives, compensation, Peru
    JEL: I21 M52 J4
    Date: 2019–09
  9. By: Burzyńskia, Michał (LISER); Deuster, Christoph (IRES, Université catholique de Louvain); Docquier, Frédéric (LISER); de Melo, Jaime (University of Geneva)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term implications of climate change on local, interregional, and international migration of workers. For nearly all of the world's countries, our micro-founded model jointly endogenizes the effects of changing temperature and sea level on income distribution and individual decisions about fertility, education, and mobility. Climate change intensifies poverty and income inequality creating favorable conditions for urbanization and migration from low- to high-latitude countries. Encompassing slow- and fast-onset mechanisms, our projections suggest that climate change will induce the voluntary and forced displacement of 100 to 160 million workers (200 to 300 million climate migrants of all ages) over the course of the 21st century. However, under current migration laws and policies, forcibly displaced people predominantly relocate within their country and merely 20% of climate migrants opt for long-haul migration to OECD countries. If climate change induces generalized and persistent conflicts over resources in regions at risk, we project significantly larger cross-border flows in the future.
    Keywords: climate change, migration, inequality, urbanization, conflicts
    JEL: E24 F22 J24 J61 Q54
    Date: 2019–09
  10. By: Suttie, David
    Abstract: In the context of urbanization and expanding markets for agricultural products, the prospects for smallholder farming systems to contribute to development across sub-Saharan Africa is particularly relevant today. Despite scepticism among some, arguments in the literature point to potential productivity, inclusion and multiplier non-farm growth benefits arising from the development of small-farming systems. This research investigates such viewpoints by categorizing countries according to whether national agriculture is small-farm dominated or large-farm dominated and looking at variables dependent on relevant socio-economic phenomena. Findings indicate small-farming countries have performed better in improving levels of productivity, reducing poverty and advancing structural transformation in the period in question. Findings are robust to the effects of differing levels of rural investment. However, sample sizes and the nature of data collection in a context of scarcity limits the capacity to generalize findings. Although the research finds small-farming countries outperform large-farming countries in progress across these variables, bivariate analysis does not establish that linkages from agricultural development to first, poverty reduction and, second, structural transformation are stronger in small-farming contexts. Overall, findings show that possessing an agricultural sector dominated by smallholdings is no impediment to making progress across key indicators of social and economic development. Consequently, reflection on the merits of public expenditure to support smallholder models and opportunities to leverage private finance in smallholder farming are emphasized. Further, the scope for integration of small- and large-farming models in mutually beneficial arrangements can be a useful complement to mechanisms that support exclusively smallholder farming models.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Krafft, Caroline; Davis, Elizabeth E.
    Abstract: Egypt and Tunisia are perceived to have high levels of inequality, yet based on standard measures, inequality in these two countries is not unusually high. In this study we explore a new dimension of inequality in Egypt and Tunisia by using a more complete measure of income and decomposing inequality by income sources (factor components). We find that higher-income households have more income sources than lower-income ones. Informal wage work and earnings from household enterprises are more common in Egypt than Tunisia, while formal wage work, pensions, and social assistance are more common in Tunisia. Social assistance does little to offset income inequality in either country. Enterprise earnings (in Egypt) and agricultural earnings (in Tunisia) as well as rent and other capital income in both countries play a large role in inequality. High inequality in these non-wage income sources may help explain why inequality is perceived to be high.
    Keywords: Income inequality,inequality decomposition,wages,Egypt,Tunisia
    JEL: D31 O15 P46
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Fink,Gunther; Kandpal,Eeshani; Shapira,Gil
    Abstract: Using unique direct observations of patient-provider interactions linked to patient exit interviews and detailed household surveys, this paper assesses the relationship between patient wealth and the quality and price of antenatal care in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Overall, the analysis finds a significant wealth-quality gradient, with a standard deviation increase in wealth being associated with an increase of 4 percentage points in protocol compliance. This increase in compliance represents 8 percent of the average quality of care received by women in the lowest wealth quintile. Over half of the wealth-quality gradient is driven by lower facility quality in poorer areas. However, the analysis also finds statistically significant within-village and even within-facility wealth-quality relationships. Within villages, wealth-quality gradients are primarily driven by wealthier women seeking care at higher-quality even if more distant facilities. Within the same facilities, poorer women tend to receive worse care, but on average they also pay less for the same quality of care compared with wealthier women. The price gap increases in the local ratio of wealthy to poor households, suggesting that providers do not charge different prices only for redistributive reasons.
    Date: 2019–04–15
  13. By: Bago, Jean-Louis; Souratié, Wamadini M.; Ouédraogo, Ernest; Lompo, Miaba Louise; Ouédraogo, Moussa; Perrault, Nicolas
    Abstract: Using data from the 2011 round of the Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), we investigate the presence of an early gender gap in child development among children 3-4-year-old. Based on that survey, we built multidimensional indexes of child development that account for children’s ability to read, count, recognize numbers, interact with peers and others, follow rules and be independent for their health outcomes and for their physical skills. This allowed us to estimate the gender gap while controlling for factors affecting child development. Using this approach, we found overall no evidence of gender difference in children’s child development. One index suggests that being female is associated with higher children development. This result is robust to several specifications and sensitivity tests. We also found that a mother’s education, a father’s involvement and the fact of living in an urban area, all increase child development both for boys and for girls. In terms of policy, these findings indicate that the educational gender gap in Ghana most likely reflects unequal access to schooling opportunities between boys and girls.
    Keywords: gender gap, child development, Ghana
    JEL: I2 O1
    Date: 2019–08

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