nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒12‒02
eighteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Social Interventions, Health and Wellbeing: The Long-Term and Intergenerational Effects of a School Construction Program By Mazumder, Bhashkar; Rosales, Maria Fernanda; Triyana, Margaret
  2. The long term impacts of grants on poverty: 9-year evidence from Uganda’s Youth Opportunities Program By Blattman, Chris; Fiala, Nathan; Martinez, Sebastian
  3. Public Schools Can Improve Student Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India By Naveen Kumar
  4. Inequality of educational opportunity and time-varying circumstances: Longitudinal evidence from Peru By José María Rentería
  5. Long run relationship between biological well being, and economic development in Colombia By Meisel-Roca, Adolfo; Ramírez-Giraldo, María Teresa; Santos-Cárdenas, Daniela
  6. How Do Early-Life Shocks Interact with Subsequent Human Capital Investments? Evidence from Administrative Data By Duque, Valentina; Rosales-Rueda, Maria; Sanchez, Fabio
  7. The adoption of mechanization, labour productivity and household income: Evidence from rice production in Thailand By Srisompun, Orawan; Athipanyakul, Thanaporn; Isvilanonda, Somporn
  8. Land Tenure and Missing Women: Evidence from North India By Lal, Apoorva
  9. Credit Access, Migration, and Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Bangladesh By Chen, Joyce; Flatnes, Jon
  10. Technology Adoption and Access to Credit via Mobile Phones By Apoorv Gupta; Jacopo Ponticelli; Andrea Tesei
  11. Mining and quality of public services: The role of local governance and decentralisation By Konte, Maty; Vincent, Rose Camille
  12. Status of Agricultural Technologies Adoption and Sustainable Intensification in Chickpea Crop in Rain-fed region: A study in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in India By Rajalaxmi, Amand; Revathi, E.
  13. Remittances and Bribery in Africa By Konte, Maty; Ndubuisi, Gideon
  14. All They're Cracked Up to Be? The Impact of Chicken Transfers in Guatemala By Mullally, Conner; Rivas, Mayra; McArthur, Travis
  15. Labor Laws and Manufacturing Performance in India: How Priors Trump Evidence and Progress Gets Stalled By Servaas Storm
  16. Early childhood health during conflict: The legacy of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda By Sarah Bridges; Douglas Scott
  17. The Effects of the Vietnam Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction Program on Schooling By Bertoni, Marco; Huynh, Quynh; Rocco, Lorenzo
  18. State Capacity and Demand for Identity: Evidence from Political Instability in Mali By Maxim Ananyev; Michael Poyker

  1. By: Mazumder, Bhashkar (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago); Rosales, Maria Fernanda (Rutgers University); Triyana, Margaret (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
    Abstract: We analyze the long-run and intergenerational effects of a large-scale school building project (INPRES) that took place in Indonesia between 1974 and 1979. Specifically, we link the geographic rollout of INPRES to longitudinal data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey covering two generations. We find that individuals exposed to the program have better health later in life along multiple measures. We also find that the children of those exposed also experience improved health and educational outcomes and that these effects are generally stronger for maternal exposure than paternal exposure. We find some evidence that household resources, neighborhood quality, and assortative mating may explain a portion of our results. Our findings highlight the importance of considering the long-run and multigenerational benefits when evaluating the costs and benefits of social interventions in a middle-income country.
    Keywords: Intergenerational transmission of human capital; education; adult wellbeing; income
    JEL: I38 J13 O15
    Date: 2019–10–28
  2. By: Blattman, Chris; Fiala, Nathan; Martinez, Sebastian
    Abstract: There is growing enthusiasm for cash grants as a tool to tackle poverty globally, but we have little sense whether the promising short-run impacts persist in the long term. In 2008, Uganda gave $400/person to thousands of young people, to help them start skilled trades. Four years on, an experimental evaluation found grants raised earnings by 38% (Blattman, Fiala, Martinez 2014). We return after 9 years to find these start-up grants raised earnings and consumption temporarily only. Grantees’ investment leveled off; controls eventually increased their incomes through business and casual labor; and so both groups converged in employment, earnings, and consumption. Grants had lasting impacts on assets, skilled work, and possibly child health, but had little effect on mortality, fertility, health or education.
    Date: 2019–04–16
  3. By: Naveen Kumar
    Abstract: I exploit a natural experiment in education policy in India to examine the effects of creating high-quality public schools. The "model" schools program established schools that admit students through an entrance exam. I estimate the effect of model schools on educational outcomes using a fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design based upon the entrance exam cutoffs. With a data set of over 63,000 students, I consider three dimensions: (i) academic achievement; (ii) educational attainment; and (iii) career choice. For academic achievement outcomes, attending a model school increases test scores in math by 0.38 standard deviations, in science by 0.26 sd, and in social science by 0.26 sd on average. Attending a model school also increases the probability of obtaining an A in tenth-grade by 20 percentage points. For educational attainment indicators, model schools increase the probability of joining pre-university by 11.5 percentage points. However, attending a model school has no effect on the choice of major in pre-university college. Furthermore, I estimate multiple local average treatment effects and find that model schools have a similar positive effect for students across the ability distribution. Lastly, the per-pupil expenditure in model schools is comparable to that of traditional public schools. Overall, this paper provides suggestive evidence that the quality of public schools can be raised but other barriers persist.
    JEL: H52 I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2019–11–24
  4. By: José María Rentería (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This document provides for the first time in the literature both lower and upper bounds estimates of inequality of opportunity on learning achievement in Peru. It exploits an unusual and rich longitudinal data set on a cohort of children who have been followed for fifteen years almost since they were born. This feature allows for studying empirically the role of time-varying circumstances, a problem that has been neglected until present in the inequality of opportunity literature. In this context, the sensitivity of the upper bound methodology proposed by Niehues and Peichl (2014) is evaluated.
    Abstract: Ce document fournit, pour la première fois dans la littérature, des estimations des limites inférieures et supérieures de l'inégalité des opportunités en matière des acquis scolaires au Pérou. Il exploite un ensemble de données longitudinales inhabituelles et riches sur des enfants suivis pendant quinze ans pratiquement depuis leur naissance. Cette particularité permet d'étudier empiriquement le rôle des circonstances qui varient dans le temps, un problème qui n'a pas été traité jusqu'à présent dans la littérature sur l'inégalité des opportunités. Dans ce contexte, est évaluée la sensibilité de la méthodologie proposée par Niehues et Peichl (2014).
    Keywords: Inequality of opportunity,learning achievement,acquis scolaires,inégalité des opportunités
    Date: 2019–11
  5. By: Meisel-Roca, Adolfo; Ramírez-Giraldo, María Teresa; Santos-Cárdenas, Daniela
    Abstract: This paper explores the long run relationship between the physical stature of Colombians born during the twentieth century and several socio-economic development indicators using time series techniques. The econometric analysis is carried out considering three height measures: female’s height, male’s height, and the gender height dimorphism. The database comprises height information from the national identification cards for nearly 13 million persons born between 1910 and 1989: 6.283.452 men and 6.383.023 women. Results suggest the existence of a long-run relationship between all height measures and the economic variables included in the analysis. In general, the results indicate that improvements in the availability of better-quality food, and the reduction in food prices, measured by the degree of openness and by infrastructure developments, as well as improvements in the economic conditions lead to increases in average height. Regarding gender height inequality, the results show that height dimorphism in absolute terms decreased during the twentieth century. However, the downward trend observed until the end of 1950s reversed at the beginning of the 1960s, despite the advances in the living conditions of women during this period. This result suggests that earlier improvements in the economic conditions benefited women more than men, given the considerable gender gap in education, health, and income at the beginning of the twentieth century. On the contrary, GDP growth during the second half of the twentieth had higher returns for men relative to women.
    Keywords: Anthropometrics; Dimorphism; Income; Economic development; Cointegration
    JEL: I10 I15 N36 C22
    Date: 2019–11
  6. By: Duque, Valentina; Rosales-Rueda, Maria; Sanchez, Fabio
    Abstract: We explore how early-life shocks interact with subsequent human capital investments to influence children’s long-term outcomes. Using large-scale administrative data from Colombia, we combine a difference-in-difference framework with a regression discontinuity design to exploit two sources of exogenous variation: i) early-life exposure to adverse weather shocks that affect children’s initial skills and ii), the introduction of conditional cash transfers (CCT) that promote investments in children’s health and education. We show that the timing and type of CCT-induced investments matter for both the effects of CCTs and their interactive effects with weather shocks. When the CCT-induced investments occur in sensitive periods of human capital formation (e.g., early childhood), the effects are large and their interactive effects with weather conditions suggest that the returns of the program are even larger for children exposed to “normal” weather conditions. In contrast, CCT-induced investments that come relatively late in childhood (e.g., adolescence), have a smaller “main” effect and a smaller or zero interactive effect with weather shocks. We also find that initial CCT-induced health investments tend to have larger returns than initial CCT-induced educational investments. These findings shed new light on the developmental production function for human capital and the role of social policies in closing gaps generated by early-life adversities.
    Keywords: Early-life influences, Human development, Social programs
    Date: 2019–11
  7. By: Srisompun, Orawan; Athipanyakul, Thanaporn; Isvilanonda, Somporn
    Abstract: The planning of mechanization requires the quantitative assessment of a mechanization index and the impact of this index on agricultural yield and economic factors. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of the adoption of agricultural mechanization and scale production on labour productivity and the generation of income for farmers. Cross-sectional data for jasmine rice production by 569 households in 1,003 plots in the north eastern part of Thailand in 2017 were employed. The study found that the average rice planting workforce and labour productivity have an inverse relationship with planted area, while large farms have the highest ratio for machine labour to workforce. The rice yield, labour usage and labour productivity of the farmers varied by mechanization level (ML) and farm size while different levels of Machinery Owned labour (MO) have no effect on rice yield. Therefore, there are three main suggestions: 1) performing land consolidations, since applying a production strategy with large rice paddies may increase labour productivity and the net profit of rice famers; 2) improving the quality of machinery for use in rice production in Thailand, especially the performance of the machinery to prevent losses during harvest; and 3) increasing the mechanization level to 50-75%, which could also increase labour productivity and net returns.
    Keywords: Family labour, Farm size, Hired labour, Multivariate analysis-of-variance, Pillai's statistics, Production cost, Rice yield, Small farm
    JEL: Q12 Q16 Q18
    Date: 2019–11
  8. By: Lal, Apoorva
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of colonial era land tenure institutions on modern day demographic outcomes in villages in North India. I exploit the staggered annexation of the kingdom of Awadh in North India by the British East India company in 1803 and 1856 and as a source of exogenous variation in land-tenure (as classified in Banerjee and Iyer 2005) to evaluate the effects of different property-rights systems on modern-day outcomes using a spatial regression discontinuity design on the 2001 village level census. I find that villages where property rights were granted to the cultivators (mahalwari villages) have more skewed sex-ratios, lower female literacy, and lower female labour force participation rate than villages where property rights were granted to the landlord (zamindari villages). I hypothesise that the likely mechanism is that farmers who have property to pass on to future generations have a stronger preference for male children. These property rights may also grant the men more bargaining power in the household, thereby entrenching intra-household inequalities and manifesting in worse educational and labour market outcomes for women.
    Date: 2019–03–15
  9. By: Chen, Joyce; Flatnes, Jon
    Abstract: We explore the impact of flooding on migration in Bangladesh and examine whether migration responses are mitigated by access to credit. Using unique data from a household survey conducted in rural Bangladesh shortly after the 1998 flood, we estimate the effect of flooding on both permanent and temporary migration. We utilize a difference-in-differences approach that relies on randomized early access to microfinance. Flood exposure is based on village-level reports of flood intensity, which can be treated as exogenous to individual households. We find that flooding led to increased temporary migration, with no effect on permanent migration. Moreover, access to credit several years earlier fully mitigates the migration effect, suggesting that credit access allows farmers to cope with severe climate events without having to migrate. Our study thus provides an important contribution to the broader literature on climate change adaptation, by demonstrating that relieving credit constraints could enhance local livelihood strategies during environmental hazards, without deterring gradual permanent migration away from vulnerable areas.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Environmental Economics and Policy
    Date: 2019–11–15
  10. By: Apoorv Gupta (Northwestern University); Jacopo Ponticelli (Northwestern University & CEPR); Andrea Tesei (Queen Mary University of London, CEPR, CEP (LSE) & CESifo)
    Abstract: Farmers in developing countries often lack access to timely and reliable information about modern technologies that are essential to improve agricultural productivity. The recent diffusion of mobile phones has the potential to overcome these barriers by making information available to those previously unconnected. In this paper we study the effect of mobile phone network expansion in rural India on adoption of high yielding variety seeds and chemical fertilizers. Our empirical strategy exploits geographical variation in the construction of mobile phone towers under a large government program targeting areas without existing coverage. To explore the role of mobile phones in mitigating information frictions we analyze the content of 1.4 million phone calls made by farmers to a major call center for agricultural advice. Farmers seek advice on which seed varieties and fertilizers better meet their needs and how to use them. We find that areas receiving mobile phone coverage experience higher adoption of these technologies. We also observe that farmers are often unaware of the eligibility criteria and loan terms offered by subsidized credit programs. Consistently, we find that areas receiving mobile phone coverage experience higher take-up of agricultural credit.
    Keywords: India, Agriculture, HYV Seeds, Credit Card
    JEL: G21 Q16 E51
    Date: 2019–09–12
  11. By: Konte, Maty (UNU-MERIT); Vincent, Rose Camille (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of mining on the quality of public services - as reported by the citizens - and on people's optimism about their future living conditions. More particularly, it examines how the quality of local governance and the level of decentralisation may shape the proximity to mine effects. We connect more than 130,000 respondents from the Afrobarometer survey data (2005-2014) to their closest mines based on the geolocation coordinates of the enumeration areas and data on the mines and their respective status from the SNL Metals & Mining. Using a difference-in-difference strategy, the results from the baseline model suggest that residents living within 50 km to an active mine are less likely to approve the government performance in key public goods and services delivery. Compared to the distance to an inactive mine, the geographical closeness to an active mine lowers the likelihood of a positive assessment by 2.2% points on how the government handles improving living standards of the poor, by 2.6% points on job creation, by 1.2% points for both health services and water and sanitation, by 1.9% points on public services as a whole. Living near an active mine also lowers optimism about future living conditions by 1.7% points. Exploring the confoundedness of local governance and decentralisation, the results show that the incidence of bribe payments (effective corruption) at the local level has a negative effect on the relationship between mining and quality of public services. On the other hand, we found that the closeness to a mine tends to have a positive effect in more decentralised countries; however, the positive marginal effects of decentralisation tend to be reduced in an environment with poor quality of local governance, high incidence of bribe payment and low level of trust in local government officials. In communities within 50-km to an active mine, low corruption and high decentralisation is the best-case scenario, while high decentralisation and high corruption constitute the worst scenario.
    Keywords: Mining, Public Services, Local Governance, Decentralisation, Africa
    JEL: H41 H70 O55 Q38
    Date: 2019–10–31
  12. By: Rajalaxmi, Amand; Revathi, E.
    Abstract: Chickpea is predominantly cultivated pulse crop in the selected study area in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states in India. The performance of the chickpea crop has been impressive with a positive growth rate in area, production and productivity on adoption of the improved crop technologies (improved short duration varieties, package of practices, farm mechanization) in last three decades period. On this backdrop, present study taken up to analyze the household adoption behavior in adoption of improved agricultural technologies and their impact at farm level. Secondly to assess farm efficiencies and socio-economic and environmental sustainability of chickpea crop in the study area. The findings of the study reveals that, shortage of labour and crop profitability are statistically significant and positively influence chickpea cultivation in the study area whereas improved access to markets and increased support from financial institutions and extension departments may lead to crop shift and decline in chickpea cultivation in the study area. The calculated farm efficiencies explains that, on an average, farmers were able to obtain only 27.43 percent, 89.12 percent and 24.98 percent technical, allocative and economic efficiency respectively. Large landholding farms are more technically and economically efficient whereas marginal farms have achieved highest allocative efficiency. Farm level three dimensional crop performance analysis reveals that, the average crop efficiency achieved in chickpea crop is in the range of 30-60 percent across the different land holdings in the study area. Chickpea cultivation is more profitable on medium and large farm holdings than the marginal and small landholdings. The marginal and small farmers are incurring negative net returns while the medium and large farmers are able to get good average net returns. The social indicates infers that, there exists gender equity in work and income distribution of chickpea cultivation. The peer advice network is stronger compared to the informal and formal advice group in dissemination of crop technologies information in the study area. The environmental crop performance indicators witnessed efficient use of improved seed, unbalanced and excess use of fertilizers and poor application of FYM in chickpea cultivation farms. Constant use of machinery, in rainfed conditions without practicing the sustainable management practices resulted in lower technical and economical farm efficiencies in study area. The intensive cultivation of chickpea crop by using inputs disproportionately without practicing the sustainable management practices, constant mono cropping and failure to provide protected irrigation, poor institutional support are few factors that resulted in significant yield variation across the different land holdings and lower technical and economic efficiency of the chickpea farms in the study area.
    Keywords: Farm Management
    Date: 2019–11–25
  13. By: Konte, Maty (UNU-MERIT); Ndubuisi, Gideon (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of remittances on bribe payments to public officials to access public goods and services in Africa. We argue that migrant remittances may affect bribery among remittance recipients through the income and norm channels. Using Afrobarometer surveys administered in thirty-six African countries between 2004 and 2016, we find that remittance receivers are more prone to bribe payment than non-receivers. More importantly, we find that individuals who live in countries with higher levels of remittances as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) are more likely to pay bribes than individuals from countries with lower remittances as a share of GDP, which supports the income channel. However, the positive link between remittances and bribery diminishes in countries with a high level of control over corruption. When looking at the stock of migrants living abroad, we find that citizens from African countries that record a high stock of migrants living in OECD countries are less likely to pay bribe than citizens from African countries with lower level of stock of migrants in OECD countries. This finding is in line with the norm channel, but more data are needed for a better understanding of this mechanism.
    Keywords: Remittances, Bribery, Africa, SDGs
    JEL: F24 O55
    Date: 2019–10–31
  14. By: Mullally, Conner; Rivas, Mayra; McArthur, Travis
    Abstract: We evaluate a program in Guatemala offering training and transfers of a local chicken variety using a randomized phase-in design with imperfect compliance. We do not find strong evidence for or against positive intent-to-treat effects on household-level outcomes, including indicators of expenditure, calorie and protein intake, diet quality, egg consumption and production, as well as chicken ownership and management. Among girls between the ages of six and 60 months, we find that the program reduced stunting by 23.5 (+/- 19.4) percentage points, while also improving other height and weight outcomes. Boys are more likely to suffer from intestinal illness, which could explain differences in program impacts by sex. Children in the poorest households experienced the largest impacts on dietary diversity and the probability of consuming animal-source foods, but these impacts did not translate into larger effects on height or weight.
    Date: 2019–03–06
  15. By: Servaas Storm (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
    Abstract: Strong labor protections for ordinary workers are often portrayed as a `luxury developing countries cannot afford`. No study has been more influential in propagating this perversity trope in the context of the Indian economy than the QJE article of Besley and Burgess (2004). Their article provides econometric evidence that pro-worker regulation resulted in lower output, employment, investment and productivity in India`s registered manufacturing sector. This paper reviews existing critiques of Besley and Burgess (2004), which highlight conceptual and measurement errors and uncover econometric weaknesses. The paper takes a step beyond these: it reports a failure to replicate Besley and Burgess’ findings and demonstrate the non- robustness of their results. My deconstruction is not only about the econometrics, however. I show that Besley and Burgess` findings are not just inconsistent with their theoretical priors, but also internally contradictory and empirically implausible, taxing any person’s capacity for belief. The paper, written by two `useful economists`, exhibits a gratuitous empiricism in which priors trump evidence. On all counts, it fails the test of being useful to the purpose of `evidence-based` public policy advice.
    Keywords: Manufacturing performance; industrial relations; pro-worker regulation; labor laws; Indian economy; Industrial Disputes Act (IDA)
    JEL: B50 C26 O10
    Date: 2019–01
  16. By: Sarah Bridges; Douglas Scott
    Abstract: This study finds evidence of irreversible health deficits amongst young children who were exposed to the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Northern Uganda (1987- 2007). The causal effect of the conflict is found to be a 0.65 standard deviation fall in height-for-age z-scores amongst children exposed for a period of more than six months. In contrast, the health impacts of shorter periods of exposure are found to be relatively minimal. These findings highlight the need for a swift resolution to conflict, in particular where it impacts heavily upon civilian populations, without which, the health consequences of protracted wars may extend far beyond the current generation.
    Keywords: conflict, Uganda, child health
    Date: 2019
  17. By: Bertoni, Marco (University of Padova); Huynh, Quynh (University of Padova); Rocco, Lorenzo (University of Padova)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of the Vietnam Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction (HEPR) program on school enrolment, using longitudinal data that span over 15 years and a difference-in-differences research design. We find that early treatment (at age 8) increases children enrolment by about 9 percent. This positive effect disappears by age 15, and is more pronounced in urban areas. In sharp contrast, children receiving treatment later (age 12–15) are more likely to drop out by age 15, especially in rural areas. The decline in enrolment is paralleled by an increase in labor market participation. We interpret these divergent results by age as an unintended effect of another program aimed at fostering vocational training among the 15+ in rural areas. Our findings highlight the importance of integrating different anti-poverty measures to reduce inefficiency and achieve social goals.
    Keywords: child poverty, child education, enrolment, Vietnam, poverty reduction
    JEL: H52 H53 I24 I32
    Date: 2019–11
  18. By: Maxim Ananyev (University of Melbourne); Michael Poyker (Columbia University)
    Abstract: We demonstrate that civil conflict erodes self identification with a nation state even among non rebellious ethnic groups in non conflict areas. We perform a difference in difference estimation using Afrobarometer data. Using the onset of Tuareg led insurgency in Mali caused by the demise of the Libyan leader Muammar al Gaddafi as an exogenous shock to state capacity, we find that residents living closer to the border with the conflict zone experienced a larger decrease in national identification. The effect was greater on people who were more exposed to local media. We hypothesize about the mechanism and show that civil conflict erodes national identity through the peoples` perception of a state weakness.
    Keywords: Conflict, National Identity, Media, Trust
    JEL: D74 H56 N47 O55 Z10
    Date: 2019–06

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