nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒10‒28
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. "Fighting Against Learning Crisis in Developing Countries: A Randomized Experiment of Self-Learning at the Right Level" By Yasuyuki Sawada; Minhaj Mahmud; Mai Seki; An Le; Hikaru Kawarazaki
  2. Feed Thy Neighbour: how Social Ties shape Spillover Effects of Cash Transfers on Food Security and Nutrition By Alessandro Carraro; Lucia Ferrone
  3. Migration and Remittances in Haiti: Their Welfare Impact on Poor and Non-Poor Households By Adriana Cardozo; Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann D.; Calvin Zebaze Djiofack
  4. Anemia, diet, and cognitive development: Impact of health information on diet quality and child nutrition in rural India By Marion Krämer; Santosh Kumar; Sebastian Vollmer
  5. Economic Complexity and Inequality : Does Productive Structure Affect Regional Wage Differentials in Brazil? By Margarida Bandeira Morais; J. Swart; J.A. Jordaan
  6. Ecosystems and Human Health: The Local Benefits of Forest Cover in Indonesia By Garg, Teevrat
  7. Lump-sum Transfers for Agriculture and Household Decision Making By Kate Ambler; Alan de Brauw; Susan Godlonton
  8. Revisiting Mexican migration in the Age of Mass Migration. New evidence from individual border crossings By David Escamilla-Guerrero
  9. Understanding Pastoralists’ Dynamic Insurance Uptake Decisions: Evidence from Four-year Panel Data in Ethiopia By Kazushi Takahashi; Yuma Noritomo; Munenobu Ikegami; Nathaniel D. Jensen

  1. By: Yasuyuki Sawada (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo); Minhaj Mahmud (Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies); Mai Seki (College of Economics, Department of Economics, Ritsumeikan University); An Le (Le: NextGeM Inc.); Hikaru Kawarazaki (Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effectiveness of a globally popularmethod of self-learning at the right level in improving the cognitiveand non-cognitive abilities of disadvantaged pupils in a developing country, Bangladesh. Using a randomized control trial design,we find substantial improvement in cognitive ability measured bymathematics test scores and catch-up effects on non-cognitive ability measured by a pupil self-esteem measure. These findings areconsistent with a longer-term impact found in take-up rates andscores on a national-level primary school completion exam. Moreover, the teachers' ability to assess student performance substantially improves. Based on our estimates, program benefit exceedscost in a plausible way. Above findings suggest that self-learning atright level can effectively address the learning crisis by improvingthe quality of primary education in developing countries.
    Date: 2019–09
  2. By: Alessandro Carraro; Lucia Ferrone
    Abstract: Economic development in Sub Saharan African countries is strongly tied to households’ ability to cope with exogenous events affecting their well-being. Using data from the Lesotho Child Grant Program dataset we provide evidence on whether households’ food security and nutrition are influenced by the presence of a particular network structure, and if there is any spill-over effect of the program on ineligible households living in treated villages. We take advantage of information on money and in-kind transfers to build a set of indicators representing quantitatively and qualitatively the network architecture of each household. We find relevant spill-over effects of the CGP on the food security and nutrition of ineligible households living in treated villages and embedded in a social network.
    Keywords: Cash Transfers, Informal Networks, Randomized Control Trial Experiment, Food and Nutrition Security, Lesotho
    JEL: I31 O12
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Adriana Cardozo (University of Goettingen / Germany); Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann D. (University of Goettingen / Germany); Calvin Zebaze Djiofack (World Bank)
    Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify a person’s likelihood of emigrating to another country and to identify a household’s likelihood of receiving remittances. We also compute average treatment effects as well as the marginal impact of receiving remittances on household welfare, across welfare quantiles. The novelty of our approach is to control for omitted variable bias by including the difference between individual and average propensity scores obtained in an auxiliary regression. The fact that an individual or household is above or below the average propensity score can thus be considered as a proxy of being different from the average for a variety of characteristics that might also be unobservable or unquantifiable. Based on Haitian household survey data from 2012, we find that non-poor individuals are more likely to emigrate but the welfare level of a household per se does not trigger the receipt of remittances. The receipt of remittances favors non-poor households in absolute terms but not in relative terms. While remittances can help overcome extreme poverty (for the poorest 10% but not for the poorest 1%), they do not help people escape moderate poverty.
    Keywords: Migration; Remittances; Household Welfare; Average Treatment Effect; Omitted Variable Bias
    JEL: C C D19 F22 F24
    Date: 2019–10–15
  4. By: Marion Krämer (German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), Bonn, Germany); Santosh Kumar (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville TX, USA); Sebastian Vollmer (Department of Economics & Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Goettingen, Germany)
    Abstract: Lack of information about health risks may limit adoption of improved nutritional and healthy behavior. This paper studies the effect of nutrition information intervention on household dietary behavior, child health, and cognitive ability of children in rural India. Using experimental data and regression discontinuity design that exploits the exogenous cutoff of hemoglobin level for anemia, we find statistically insignificant treatment effects on dietary improvements, child health, and cognitive outcomes of children. Our findings suggest that nutrition information alone, even when parents are informed about the anemia status of their children, may not promote healthy behavior and factors other than information might constrain households in making nutritional investments for their children.
    Keywords: Health information; Child health; Anemia; Cognition; Regression discontinuity; India
    JEL: I12 I15 I18 O12
  5. By: Margarida Bandeira Morais; J. Swart; J.A. Jordaan
    Abstract: Brazil is an upper middle income economy, with a GDP per capita of close to 12,000 (constant) dollars in 2014. Nonetheless, Brazil has a significant amount of people living under poverty. 7.6% of the population was poor in 2014 (Poverty headcount ratio at $3.10 a day, 2011 PPP), making Brazil one of the most unequal countries in the world. Concomitantly, Brazil's different regions and states are highly heterogeneous with respect to income levels, inequality, and prevalence of poverty. Moreover, in the last past decades, the dispersion of inequality between states has increased. This paper shows that Brazilian states are also heterogenous in terms of economic complexity; and analyzes how economic complexity affects income inequality. To test the relationship between economic complexity and income inequality we employ panel data analysis for the 27 Brazilian states over the period 2002-2014. Our main proposition is that economic complexity affects regional wage differentials in a nonlinear way. Our findings confirm this proposition and point to an inverted U-shaped relationship, whereby higher economic complexity is initially associated with higher, and subsequently lower, inequality levels.
    Keywords: Income inequality, economic complexity, productive structure, Brazil, Kuznets curve, wage differentials, Gini, Theil, economic development, Brazilian states, panel data, ECI
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Garg, Teevrat (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: This paper documents the effect of primary forest cover loss on increased incidence of malaria. The evidence is consistent with an ecological response. I show that land use change, anti-malarial programs or migration cannot explain the effect of primary forest cover loss on increased malarial incidence. Falsification tests reveal that the effect is specific to malaria, with forest cover having no discernible effect on other diseases with a disease ecology different from that of malaria. Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that the morbidity-related malaria-reducing local benefits of primary forests are at least $1-$2 per hectare.
    Keywords: deforestation, malaria
    JEL: Q53 O13 Q56 Q57 Q20
    Date: 2019–10
  7. By: Kate Ambler (International Food Policy Research Institute); Alan de Brauw (International Food Policy Research Institute); Susan Godlonton (Williams College)
    Abstract: We study the impact of one-season transfers framed for agricultural investment on smallholders in Senegal and Malawi using data from an RCT in each country. We find suggestive evidence that transfers reduced both the number of decision makers and female decision making in Senegal in the short-run, particularly for measures directly related to agriculture. Effects are gone two years after the transfers. Conversely, transfers in the Malawi program led to robust transitory increases in these measures.
    Date: 2019–09
  8. By: David Escamilla-Guerrero
    Abstract: This paper introduces and analyses the Mexican Border Crossing Records (MBCRs), an unexplored data source that records aliens crossing the Mexico-United States land border at diverse entrance ports from 1903 to 1955. The MBCRs identify immigrants and report rich demographic, geographic and socioeconomic information at the in¬dividual level. These micro data have the potential to support cliometric research, which is scarce for the Mexico-United States migration, especially for the beginnings of the flow (1884–1910). My analysis of the MBCRs suggests that previous literature might have inaccurately described the initial patterns of the flow. The results diverge from historical scholarship because the micro data capture better the geographic composition of the flow, allowing me to characterize the initial migration patterns with more precision. Overall, the micro data reported in the MBCRs offer the opportunity to address topics that concern the economics of migration in the past and present.
    Keywords: migration, micro data, Mexico
    JEL: N01 N36
    Date: 2019–10–24
  9. By: Kazushi Takahashi (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan); Yuma Noritomo (Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo); Munenobu Ikegami (Faculty of Economics, Hosei University); Nathaniel D. Jensen (International Livestock Research Institute)
    Abstract: Using a unique data set covering four years and six semi-annual sales periods of an index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) product in southern Ethiopia, we examine the dynamics of pastoralists’ demand for IBLI. We find that: (1) there is intertemporal dependence of an uptake decision, represented by correlations of unobserved household factors over time; (2) conditional on previous purchase decisions, factors related to continuing the purchase of IBLI to augment existing coverage and replace lapsing contracts differ significantly; (3) controlling for time-invariant household-fixed effects, neither a one-shot subsidy nor the uptake of others in one’s social network influence subsequent demand, whereas less vegetation and reduced insurance premiums induce households to purchase IBLI. Overall, our study provides rigorous micro-evidence to better understand the dynamic uptake of IBLI and signifies the importance of an empirical analysis that takes into account the dynamic demand structure.
    Date: 2019–10

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