nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2019‒12‒16
six papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Self-employment and Migration By Samuele Giambra; David McKenzie
  2. Probing Indirect Effects of Civil Conflict on Child Health in Non-Conflict Zones: Evidence from Sri Lanka By Jia LI; Koji YAMAZAKI; Takahiro ITO
  3. Impacts of the Global Food Price Crisis on Household Welfare and Poverty in Lao PDR By Shinya TAKAMATSU
  4. Domestic revenue mobilization in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America: A comparative analysis since 1980 By Gwaindepi, Abel
  5. The Revival of Agriculture and Inclusive Growth during the Commodity Boom in Latin America? By Andersson, Martin; Palacio, Andrés
  6. Is the Remedy Worse Than the Disease? The Impact of Teacher Remediation on Teacher and Student Performance in Chile By María Lombardi

  1. By: Samuele Giambra (Brown University); David McKenzie (World Bank)
    Abstract: There is a widespread policy view that a lack of job opportunities at home is a key reason for migration, accompanied by suggestions of the need to spend more on creating these opportunities so as to reduce migration. Self-employment is widespread in poor countries, and faced with a lack of existing jobs, providing more opportunities for people to start businesses is a key policy option. But empirical evidence to support this idea is slight, and economic theory offers several reasons why the self-employed may in fact be more likely to migrate. We put together panel surveys from eight countries to descriptively examine the relationship between migration and self-employment, finding that the self-employed are indeed less likely to migrate than either wage workers or the unemployed. We then analyze seven randomized experiments that increased self-employment, and find their causal impacts on migration are negative on average, but often small in magnitude.
    Keywords: internal migration; international migration, self-employment, migrant selection,randomized experiment
    JEL: F22 J61 O15
    Date: 2019–10
  2. By: Jia LI (School of Social Science, Tsinghua University); Koji YAMAZAKI (Center for Social Systems Innovation, Kobe University); Takahiro ITO (Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University)
    Abstract: We examine the indirect effect of violent conflict on child health in non-conflict zones for the case of Sri Lankan civil war. Using variations in timing, location, and intensity of violent events happened in the neighboring districts, we found evidence for the negative indirect effect on children living in adjacent areas to conflict zones. Our findings suggest the existence of a vulnerable population often neglected in the process of war reconstruction, that is, people living in neighboring areas of conflict zones. The causal pathway of the indirect effect is different from the one for the direct impact of violence on people in conflict zones. Our analysis of causal mechanisms indicates that inflows of internally displaced persons may have caused a short-run nutritional deficiency due to an increase in food prices, which suggests the importance of early policy responses to mitigate the negative impacts on people in neighboring non-conflict zones.
    Keywords: civil conflict, child health, indirect effect, internally displaced persons, Sri Lanka
    Date: 2019–12
  3. By: Shinya TAKAMATSU (Poverty and Equity Global Practice, The World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impacts of the 2007-2008 food price crisis, especially price increases of rice, on household welfare and poverty in Laos that is atypical in that glutinous rice is the main staple. With a nationally representative household survey, net sellers and buyers of ordinary and glutinous rice are identified, and consumer and producer price data are analyzed. The study found that the impact of the food price crisis in 2007-2008 was negligible. This is mainly because the role of ordinary rice in sales and purchases in Laos is not as significant as in other Southeast Asian countries. However, with hypothetical higher growth rates for increases of glutinous rice, the change in household welfare for the average Lao household is neutral, but it is positive in rural areas and negative in urban areas.
    Keywords: food price crisis, Lao PDR, poverty, household welfare, glutinous rice
    Date: 2018–10
  4. By: Gwaindepi, Abel (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: Domestic revenue mobilization continues to feature on the agendas of international development agents and academic communities. There is, however, a strong focus on comparing the developed and developing countries with the aim of finding transferable lessons to the latter. Thus, most comparative studies default to comparing tax performances of developing countries with OECD averages. Interregional peer-to-peer or context-sensitive comparisons remain relatively unexplored. This paper compares the Sub-Saharan African countries (SSA) with the Latin American & Caribbean countries (LAC) since 1980. The paper focuses on tax efforts, revenue volatility and a context-sensitive analysis of the determinants of tax revenues. Using fiscal data from the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD), the world development indicators (WDI) and other publicly available datasets, the paper finds that although the LAC countries are performing better on tax collection, they lag behind the SSA countries on tax efforts. Revenue volatility is higher on average for the SSA countries than for the LAC countries. By implementing a panel framework of 83 countries from both regions, the paper finds that the standard tax determinants behave as theoretically expected but only for the upper-middle-income countries that are relatively developed. The implication for policy is that custom-built and second-best reforms are more appropriate for the poorer countries than any ‘best practice’ from the developed regions.
    Keywords: fiscal capacity; taxation; Sub-Saharan Africa; Latin America; tax effort; revenue volatility; public revenues; developing regions; comparative analysis
    JEL: H20 H24 H27 N46 N47
    Date: 2019–11–14
  5. By: Andersson, Martin (Department of Economic History, Lund University); Palacio, Andrés (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: Latin America has constituted a recent example of inclusive growth by reducing poverty and income inequality simultaneously during the latest commodity boom. Against the backdrop of non-inclusive and non-transformative nature of commodity booms, we ask whether growth of agriculture was able to speed up structural transformation, and, relatedly, if agricultural growth was inclusive. We examine 16 countries for the period 1994-2014 and find that the increase in agricultural productivity is associated with an increase in both non-agricultural employment during the boom. We also find that income per capita growth has been increasing also among the poor, even if the income elasticities are lower in rural than in urban areas. Focusing on the distribution of agricultural income in Brazil and Colombia between 2003 and 2013, we find that any improvement did go through income for the bottom and the intermediate deciles. Furthermore, formal employment was positively connected to the development of agricultural prices, income improvement of the bottom 40 per cent and the quality of manufacturing exports. In other words, the commodity boom, through agricultural growth, increased linkages across sectors. We conclude that the boom is associated with advances in structural change and moderate inclusive growth rather than mere redistribution.
    Keywords: agriculture; commodity boom; inclusive growth; Latin America; structural transformation
    JEL: O13 O54
    Date: 2019–11–07
  6. By: María Lombardi
    Abstract: I study the impact of remedial training for low-performing teachers in Chile. Taking advantage of the fact that assignment to remediation is mainly based on teacher evaluation scores, I use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design and find that teachers barely assigned to remediation improve their pedagogical practices as measured by their next evaluation scores. While there is suggestive evidence that these teachers’ students obtain higher standardized test scores after the training is complete, this result is not robust, and the suggestive positive impact disappears after one year. I also find that during the year of their teacher’s reevaluation, the students of teachers assigned to remedial training obtain significantly lower test scores. Teachers assigned to remediation report lower prestige and job satisfaction, suggesting that the stigma of being labeled as a low performer leads teachers to put more effort into preparing their teaching evaluations, causing a temporary drop in student learning.
    Keywords: education, teachers, training, Chile
    JEL: I21 J24 M53
    Date: 2019–09

This nep-dev issue is ©2019 by Jacob A. Jordaan. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.