nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒02‒10
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The challenges of universal health insurance in developing countries: Evidence from a large-scale randomized experiment in Indonesia By Banerjee, Abhijit; Finkelstein, Amy; Hanna, Rema; Olken, Benjamin; Rema Hanna,; Ornaghi, Arianna
  2. Is the Remedy Worse Than the Disease? The Impact of Teacher Remediation on Teacher and Student Performance in Chile By María Lombardi
  3. Inequality of educational opportunity and time-varying circumstances: Longitudinal evidence from Peru By José María Rentería
  4. Investing in Agriculture when it is worth it. Empirical evidence from rural Uganda By Olivia Bertelli
  5. Mass Media Exposure and Maternal Healthcare Utilization in South Asia By Fatema, Kaniz; Lariscy, Joseph
  6. Ancient Plagues in Modern Times: The Impact of Desert Locust Invasions on Child Health By Conte, Bruno; Piemontese, Lavinia; Tapsoba, Augustin
  7. Can Development Aid Empower Women? Evidence from a Field Experiment in the Congo By van der Windt, Peter Cornelis
  8. Agricultural Transformation and Farmers' Expectations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda By Jacopo Bonan; Harounan Kazianga; Mariapia Mendola
  9. Who benefits from the return of the rains? The case of the Ferlo breeders in Senegal By Catherine Araujo Bonjean; Alioune N’diaye; Olivier Santoni
  10. The impact of land fragmentation on household income: Evidence from rural Vietnam By Quang Tran, Tuyen; Van Vu, Huong

  1. By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT); Finkelstein, Amy (MIT); Hanna, Rema (Harvard University); Olken, Benjamin (MIT); Rema Hanna,; Ornaghi, Arianna (University of Warwick Sudarno Sumarto, TNP2K and SMERU)
    Abstract: To assess ways to achieve widespread health insurance coverage with financial solvency in developing countries, we designed a randomized experiment involving almost 6,000 households in Indonesia who are subject to a nationally mandated government health insurance program. We assessed several interventions that simple theory and prior evidence suggest could increase coverage and reduce adverse selection: substantial temporary price subsidies (which had to be activated within a limited time window and lasted for only a year), assisted registration, and information. Both temporary subsidies and assisted registration increased initial enrollment. Temporary subsidies attracted lowercost enrollees, in part by eliminating the practice observed in the no subsidy group of strategically timing coverage for a few months during health emergencies. As a result, while subsidies were in effect, they increased coverage more than eightfold, at no higher unit cost; even after the subsidies ended, coverage remained twice as high, again at no higher unit cost. However, the most intensive (and effective) intervention – assisted registration and a full one-year subsidy – resulted in only a 30 percent initial enrollment rate, underscoring the challenges to achieving widespread coverage.
    Date: 2020
  2. 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
  3. By: José María Rentería (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    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
  4. By: Olivia Bertelli (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine, DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme)
    Abstract: One of the reasons for the persistent low agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa isthe lack of adoption of protable agricultural technologies. Yet, what is protable in a controlledexperimental setting may not be protable in a real-world setting. Estimating the returns to asingle input is, in fact, challenging as farmers may respond to adoption by re-optimizing the useof other inputs. This paper explores farmers behavioral response to a positive random shockon future productivity by disentangling inputs returns from farmers' response. Using a uniquehousehold panel dataset collected in rural Uganda, I proxy a future productivity shock with thebirth of a female calf against that of a male calf. Calves have no technical returns, but femalecalves will become cows producing milk, providing a stable source of income, while bulls andoxen are of little use in this context. The main OLS and difference-in-differences results showthe existence of a crowd-in effect. Farmers react to the birth of a female calf by increasinginputs' expenditures. They invest more on their cattle's health, increase hired labor and aremore willing to pay for cattle-related investments but not for other activities. This increase ininvestments leads to an increase in milk production and revenues that lasts over time. Furtherresults show that economies of scale associated with the number of female animals seem toexplain this behavioral response.
    Abstract: L'une des raisons de la faible productivité agricole persistante en Afrique Sub-saharienne estle manque d'adoption de technologies agricoles rentables. Cependant, ce qui est rentable dansun cadre expérimental contrôlé peut ne pas l'être une fois appliqué sur le terrain. En fait, ilest difficile d'estimer les retours d'une seule technologie, car les agriculteurs peuvent réagir àl'adoption en re-optimisant l'utilisation d'autres facteurs de production. Cet article explore laréponse comportementale des agriculteurs a un choc aléatoire positif sur la productivité futureen dissociant les retours des facteurs de production à la réponse des agriculteurs. En utilisantdes données de panel de ménages uniques collectées dans des zones rurales ougandaises, je mesure un choc sur la productivité future par la naissance d'un veau femelle par rapport àcelle d'un veau m^ale. Les veaux n'ont pas de rendements techniques, mais les veaux femellesdeviendront des vaches productrices de lait, offrant une source de revenu stable, tandis queles taureaux et les boeufs sont très peu rentables dans ce contexte. Les principaux résultatsobtenus par des estimateurs MCO et de Double Différences montrent l'existence d'un eetde crowd-in. Les agriculteurs réagissent à la naissance d'un veau femelle en augmentant lesinvestissements productifs. Ils investissent davantage dans la santé de leurs animaux, augmententla main-d'oeuvre embauchée et ont une disposition à payer plus élevée pour des dépenses liéesau bétail, mais pas pour d'autres activités. Cette augmentation des investissements entraîne uneaugmentation de la production de lait et des revenus qui dure dans le temps. D'autres résultatsmontrent que les économies d'échelle associées au nombre d'animaux femelles semblent expliquercette réaction comportementale.
    Keywords: cattle,investments,Sub-Saharan Africa,bétail,investissements,Afrique Sub-Saharienne
    Date: 2020–01–21
  5. By: Fatema, Kaniz; Lariscy, Joseph (University of Memphis)
    Abstract: Maternal mortality is a serious issue in the developing world due in part to inadequate healthcare before, during, and after childbirth. Mass media has the potential to disseminate information on maternal healthcare that can improve birth outcomes for mothers and infants, particularly among women with limited educational attainment. This study examines the impact of mass media exposure (e.g., television, radio, and newspaper) and sociodemographic factors on maternal healthcare utilization in four South Asian countries: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Afghanistan. Analyses use 2014–2016 Demographic and Health Surveys, nationally representative surveys of women aged 15–49 years. Results show that maternal healthcare utilization is significantly higher among women exposed to mass media across countries, even after controlling for mother’s, husband’s, and household socioeconomic status. Women exposed to mass media are 39–113% more likely to receive antenatal care, 17–99% more likely to deliver their babies by skilled birth attendants, and 24–95% more likely to receive postpartum check-ups after their delivery across countries. Mother’s educational attainment moderates the association between mass media and maternal healthcare in three of the four countries. Governments and public health organizations can consider mass media as a key intervention in promoting maternal health in developing contexts.
    Date: 2020–01–24
  6. By: Conte, Bruno; Piemontese, Lavinia; Tapsoba, Augustin
    Abstract: This paper estimates the causal impact on child health of a locust plague that occurred in Mali during the mid 2000s. Using a Difference-in-Differences strategy, we show that children who were exposed in utero to the plague suffer major health setbacks. Affected children have, on average, a height-for-age Z-score 0.33 points lower than non-exposed children. We argue that, in this type of agricultural economy, locust invasions could have an impact on child health mainly through two channels: first, a speculative/anticipatory price effect that kicks in during the plague itself, followed by local crop failures effect that would constitute an income shock for affected farmers and a local food supply shock for markets. We find that children exposed only to the speculative price effect in utero suffer as much as those exposed to the actual crop failure effect.
    Keywords: Child Health; Plagues; Agricultural Shocks; Differences-in-Differences.
    JEL: I15 O12 Q12 Q18
    Date: 2020–01
  7. By: van der Windt, Peter Cornelis
    Abstract: Can development aid empower women? We randomly assigned 1,250 Congolese communities to a development program that distributed development funds and included women in project selection and implementation, with the goal of empowering women. In 2010 and 2011, we revisited 816 treatment and control communities to collect survey data. Furthermore, in 413 communities we implemented a $1,000 unconditional cash transfer program to assess behavioral change. We find only weak evidence that the program influenced the role of women in the community and policy outcomes and no evidence that the program had an impact on the role of women within the household or attitudes toward them.
    Date: 2020–01–14
  8. By: Jacopo Bonan (Politecnico di Milano); Harounan Kazianga (Oklahoma State University); Mariapia Mendola (Università Milano Bicocca)
    Abstract: Adoption rate of profitable agricultural technologies in Africa remains low and variations in adoption choices across farmers are yet to be fully understood. This paper studies Ugandan subsistence smallholders’ decisions to adopt profitable cash crops (oilseeds) that can allow them to transition to commercial farming. More specifically, we exploit the randomized roll-out of a national extension service program in order to investigate the role of farmers’ expectations in crop take–up decisions as well as the extent to which ex-ante beliefs about crop profitability explain adoption. We find that, randomly assigned extension services lead to an increase of oilseeds adoption by 15%, and farmers who under-estimate the oilseeds price at baseline are the most likely to adopt new crops. By testing how farmers update their beliefs after being randomly provided with extension services, our results point towards changes in expectations as an important driver of agricultural technology take-up.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption; Commercial Farming; Randomized Controlled Trial; Uganda
    JEL: O13 O33 Q14 Q15 Q16
    Date: 2019–12–23
  9. By: Catherine Araujo Bonjean (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Alioune N’diaye (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR SELMET - Systèmes d'élevage méditerranéens et tropicaux - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Montpellier SupAgro - Centre international d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique); Olivier Santoni (FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International)
    Abstract: The return of more abundant rainfall in the Sahel region since the early 2000s raises questions about the consequences of this change for breeders in the Ferlo region of Senegal. A detailed analysis of precipitation data shows that with the return of a more humid rainfall regime, the climatic risk has changed in nature but remains present. The increase in annual precipitations and in the lengthening of the rainy season is offset by an increase in rainfall aggressiveness and in the number of dry spells. In the end, the efficiency of precipitations in terms of vegetation growth does not increase or even decreases. The data collected in 2015 for a representative sample of farmers makes it possible to assess the impact of the monsoon characteristics on milk production and animal sales. The results, based on the analysis of livestock breeders' behavior in the dry and wet seasons, show the sensitivity of milk production to rainfall and vegetation conditions. They also show that adverse rainfall conditions lead farmers to increase livestock's sales, but they do not support the income-smoothing hypothesis.
    Abstract: Le retour à un régime de précipitations plus abondantes au Sahel à partir des années 2000 conduit à s'interroger sur les conséquences de ce changement pour les éleveurs du Ferlo sénégalais. Une analyse fine des données de précipitations montre qu'avec le retour d'un régime pluviométrique plus humide, le risque climatique a changé de nature mais reste présent. L'augmentation des précipitations et l'allongement de la saison des pluies sont compensés par une augmentation de l'agressivité des pluies et du nombre d'épisodes secs. Au final, l'efficacité des pluies en termes de croissance de la végétation n'augmente pas, voire diminue. Les données collectées en 2015, pour un échantillon représentatif d'éleveurs, permettent d'évaluer l'impact de ces différents paramètres sur la production laitière et les ventes d'animaux. Les résultats, basés sur l'analyse du comportement des éleveurs en saison sèche et en saison humide, montrent la sensibilité de la production laitière aux pluies et à l'état de la végétation. Ils soulignent aussi que des conditions pluviométriques défavorables entrainent un déstockage d'animaux, conséquence des difficultés des éleveurs à entretenir leur cheptel plutôt que d'une stratégie de lissage de leur revenu.
    Keywords: Climate change,Pastoralism,Senegal,Changement climatique,pastoralisme,Sénégal
    Date: 2019–12–19
  10. By: Quang Tran, Tuyen; Van Vu, Huong
    Abstract: Our study provides evidence that land fragmentation has negative consequences for household income, possibly because of its negative effects on crop income in ruralVietnam. Notably, using the Instrumental Variables (IV) method, we find that the negative effect is much greater after addressing the endogeneity of land fragmentation. IV analysis, therefore, suggests that a conventional approach which often uses the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) method is likely to underestimate the impact of land fragmentation on rural households. Also, the finding implies that reducing land fragmentation would minimize its negative consequences for household income by reducing its negative effect on crop income.
    Keywords: Cropland; Endonegeity; Land law 1993; Land reform; Fragmentation; Household income, rural Vietnam
    JEL: Q1 Q12 Q18
    Date: 2019

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