nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒03‒30
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Sweet child of mine: Parental income, child health and inequality By Nicolas Berman; Lorenzo Rotunno; Roberta Ziparo
  2. Can Environmental Cash Transfers Reduce Deforestation and Improve Social Outcomes ? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Mexico?s National Program (2011-2014) By Alix-Garcia,Jennifer M.; Sims,Katharine R. Emans; Orozco Olvera,Victor Hugo; Costica,Laura Elena; Fernandez Medina.Jorge David; Romo-Monroy,Sofia; Pagiola,Stefano P.
  3. Poverty Measurement in the Era of Food Away from Home : Testing Alternative Approaches in Vietnam By Farfan Bertran,Maria Gabriela; Mcgee,Kevin Robert; Perng,Julie Ting Ting; Vakis,Renos
  4. Household Consumption Volatility and Poverty Risk: Case Studies from South Africa and Tanzania By Matthieu Bellon; Carlo Pizzinelli; Roberto Perrelli
  5. Impact of Drought on Poverty in Somalia By Pape,Utz Johann; Wollburg,Philip Randolph
  6. The Effects of Land Markets on Resource Allocation and Agricultural Productivity By Chaoran Chen; Diego Restuccia; Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis
  7. Understanding the Geographical Distribution of Stunting in Tanzania : A Geospatial Analysis of the 2015-16 Demographic and Health Survey By Joseph,George; Gething,Peter William; Bhatt,Samir; Ayling,Sophie Charlotte Emi
  8. Does climate change make foodgrain yields more unpredictable? Evidence from India By Saumya Verma; Shreekant Gupta; Partha Sen
  9. Early Skill Effects on Types of Parental Investments and Long-Run Outcomes By Sebastian Gallegos; Pablo Celhay
  10. Mobilizing parents at home and at school: an experiment on primary education in Angola By Vincenzo Di Maro; Stefan Leeffers; Danila Serra; Pedro C. Vicente
  11. Conflict and the Composition of Economic Activity in Afghanistan By Galdo, Virgilio; Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys; Rama, Martin
  12. Highway Politics in a Divided Government : Evidence from Mexico By Selod,Harris; Soumahoro,Souleymane
  13. Risk Preference and Child Labour: Econometric Evidence By Raymond Boadi Frempong; David Stadelmann
  14. Affordability of nutritious diets in rural India By Raghunathan, Kalyani; Headey, Derek D.; Herforth, Anna

  1. By: Nicolas Berman (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Lorenzo Rotunno (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Roberta Ziparo (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: How to allocate limited resources among children is a crucial household decision, especially in developing countries where it might have strong implications for children and family survival. We study how variations in parental income in the early life of their children affect subsequent child health and parental investments across siblings, using micro data from multiple waves of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) spanning 54 developing countries. Variations in the world prices of locally produced crops are used as measures of local income. We find that children born in periods of higher income durably enjoy better health and receive better human capital (health and education) investments than their siblings. Children whose older siblings were born during favourable income periods receive less investment and exhibit worse health in absolute terms. We interpret these within-household reallocations in light of economic and evolutionary theories that highlight the importance of efficiency considerations in competitive environments. Finally, we study the implications of these for aggregate child health inequality, which is found to be higher in regions exposed to more volatile crop prices.
    Keywords: health,income,parental investments,intra-household allocations
    Date: 2020–03–04
  2. By: Alix-Garcia,Jennifer M.; Sims,Katharine R. Emans; Orozco Olvera,Victor Hugo; Costica,Laura Elena; Fernandez Medina.Jorge David; Romo-Monroy,Sofia; Pagiola,Stefano P.
    Abstract: Environmental conditional cash transfers, or"payments for ecosystem services"are a centerpiece of global efforts to protect biodiversity, safeguard watersheds, and mitigate climate change by reducing forest loss. This paper evaluates the impacts of Mexico's national payments for ecosystem services program, which provides five years of payments to landowners in exchange for maintaining and managing natural land cover. Using a regression discontinuity design, the paper studies impacts on environmental, socioeconomic, and social capital outcomes for the 2011-14 program cohorts. The analysis finds that treated communities increased management activities to protect land cover, such as patrolling for illegal conversion or combatting soil erosion (by 48 percent compared to controls). The program reduced the loss of tree cover in areas at high risk of deforestation (by 29 percent compared to controls), with effects being larger for those that have been in the program the longest (38 percent compared to controls). These results are similar to estimates of impact for earlier program cohorts and continue to highlight the importance of targeting the program to areas of high risk of land cover loss to increase environmental effectiveness. The program continued to reach poor communities and households, but estimated impacts on household wealth indicators are small in magnitude and not statistically significant. These results indicate that community-level conditional payments did not harm household-level socioeconomic indicators, a key safeguard requirement of conservation policies of the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The data also show that payments for ecosystem services significantly increased community social capital -- the institutions, attitudes, and values that govern human interactions -- (by 9 percent compared to controls), and these externally provided incentives did not crowd out household contributions to other community work.
    Keywords: Global Environment,Environmental Disasters&Degradation,Global Environment Facility,Biodiversity,Disability,Economic Assistance,Access of Poor to Social Services,Services&Transfers to Poor,Natural Resources Management,Forests and Forestry,Forestry,Sustainable Land and Crop Management,Environmental Protection,Forestry Management,Natural Resources Management and Rural Issues,Energy and Natural Resources,Coastal and Marine Resources,Sustainable Land Management
    Date: 2019–01–17
  3. By: Farfan Bertran,Maria Gabriela; Mcgee,Kevin Robert; Perng,Julie Ting Ting; Vakis,Renos
    Abstract: Food consumed outside the home in restaurants or other food establishments is a growing segment of consumption in many developing countries. However, the survey methods that are utilized to collect data on expenditures on food away from home are often simplistic and could potentially result in inaccurate reporting. This study addresses the potential inaccuracy of commonly used methods and tests potentially superior methods to inform best practices when collecting data on consumption of food away from home. A household survey experiment was implemented in Hanoi, Vietnam, to test these different methods. Using a food away from home consumption diary as a benchmark, the study finds that many of the alternative methods considered -- including asking about consumption in one line (the existing practice in Vietnam) or asking each individual about their food away from home -- lead to underreporting (33 and 22 percent underestimates, respectively). Surprisingly, using one respondent and helping them with recall with a simple worksheet as well as bounding (two-visits) results in food away from home estimates that are indistinguishable from those reported in the benchmark diary. This finding implies that there is a more cost-effective way to collect accurate data on food away from home than an intensive daily diary. Furthermore, it highlights the inaccuracy associated with collecting data on consumption of food away from home from a single question in a survey. Although limited analysis can be conducted on the implications for poverty, the study finds that the profiles of the poorest households differ across different methods of collecting information on food consumed away from home.
    Keywords: Inequality,Educational Sciences,Labor&Employment Law,Health Care Services Industry,Urban Governance and Management,Urban Housing and Land Settlements,Municipal Management and Reform,Urban Housing
    Date: 2019–01–08
  4. By: Matthieu Bellon; Carlo Pizzinelli; Roberto Perrelli
    Abstract: Economic volatility remains a fact of life in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Household-level shocks create large consumption fluctuations, raising the incidence of poverty. Drawing on micro-level data from South Africa and Tanzania, we examine the vulnerability to shocks across household types (e.g. by education, ethnic group, and economic activity) and we quantify the impact that reducing consumption volatility would have on aggregate poverty. We then discuss coverage of consumption insurance mechanisms, including financial access and transfers. Country characteristics crucially determine which household-level shocks are most prevalent and which consumption-smoothing mechanisms are available. In Tanzania, agricultural shocks are an important source of consumption risk as two thirds of households are involved in some level of agricultural production. For South Africa, we focus on labor market risk proxied by transitions from formal employment to informal work or unemployment. We find that access to credit, when available, and government transfers can effectively mitigate labor market shocks.
    Date: 2020–03–06
  5. By: Pape,Utz Johann; Wollburg,Philip Randolph
    Abstract: Understanding the magnitude and importance of income shocks, such as drought or conflict, in causing and perpetuating poverty is critical to designing policies aimed at building resilience and contributing toward the goal of ending poverty. This paper uses micro-data from two waves of the Somali High Frequency Survey to assess the impact of the severe drought that Somalia experienced in 2016/17 on poverty, hunger, and consumption. The analysis uses a regression framework to quantify the effects of the drought, relying on spatial variation in drought exposure and the timing of data collection, which took place before and during the drought, for identification. The drought is found to have a sizable effect on poverty, consumption, and hunger in rural areas, where agricultural households and those lacking access to infrastructure and basic services are most severely affected. A renewed drought shock could lead to an increase in poverty of 9 percentage points. The findings underscore the importance of investing in rural resilience, especially among agricultural households.
    Keywords: Natural Disasters,Inequality,Food Security,Nutrition,Gender and Development,Environmental Engineering,Health and Sanitation,Water and Human Health,Small Private Water Supply Providers,Water Supply and Sanitation Economics,Town Water Supply and Sanitation,Sanitation and Sewerage,Engineering,Sanitary Environmental Engineering
    Date: 2019–01–10
  6. By: Chaoran Chen; Diego Restuccia; Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis
    Abstract: We assess the effects of land markets on misallocation and productivity by exploiting effective variation in land rentals across time and space arising from a large-scale land certification reform in Ethiopia, where land remains owned by the state. Our main finding from detailed micro panel data is that land rentals substantially reduce misallocation and increase agricultural productivity. Our evidence builds from an empirical difference-in-difference strategy and a calibrated quantitative macroeconomic framework with heterogeneous household-farms that replicates---without targeting---the empirical effects, an outcome that externally validates our model. The empirical effects are nonlinear---impacting more farms farther away from efficient operational scale, consistent with our theory. Further, counterfactual model experiments suggest that the land reform reduces income inequality, is relatively scalable and explains a sizeable proportion of the full extent of misallocation. Additional insights on the role of (in)formality in land markets and its effects on technology adoption are provided.
    Keywords: Land markets, rentals, effects, misallocation, productivity, inequality, micro data, quantitative macro, informal markets, technology, fertilizers.
    JEL: E02 O10 O11 O13 O43 O55 Q15 Q18 Q24
    Date: 2020–03–19
  7. By: Joseph,George; Gething,Peter William; Bhatt,Samir; Ayling,Sophie Charlotte Emi
    Abstract: Tanzania is home to the third highest population of stunted children in Sub-Saharan Africa, with about 2.7 million children under the age of five failing to reach their full potential of growth attainment compared with the reference population as per the World Health Organization standards. Several studies have shown that stunted growth during childhood entraps the future of children in a vicious circle of recurrent diseases, reduced human development, and lower earnings, thus increasing their likelihood of being poor when they grow up. To reduce stunting, the Government of Tanzania and development partners are introducing a convergence of multisectoral interventions adapted to local needs. However, the existing stunting data are representative only at higher administrative levels, thus making it difficult to implement these efforts. The paper uses the 2016 geo-referenced Demographic and Health Survey in conjunction with relevant spatially gridded covariate data, such as nighttime lights, water and sanitation access, vegetation index, travel time, and so on. Geospatial techniques, such as model-based statistics and Bayesian inference implemented using the INLA algorithm, along with appropriate model validation exercises are employed to develop high-resolution maps of stunting in Tanzania at 1×1-kilometer spatial resolution. The maps show that areas of consistently high stunting rates tend to be more common in rural parts of the country, especially throughout the western and southwestern border areas. There is high prevalence of low stunting in the urban areas around Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Dodoma, as well as in the south of Lake Victoria.
    Keywords: Reproductive Health,Early Child and Children's Health,Health Care Services Industry,Hydrology,Inequality,Nutrition
    Date: 2019–01–03
  8. By: Saumya Verma (Lady Shri Ram College,University of Delhi); Shreekant Gupta (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics); Partha Sen (Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics & CESifo)
    Abstract: THow would climate change affect India’s agriculture which accounts for sixty percent of employment? We study the impact of climate change on the level and variability of yields of rice (India’s major food crop) and two key millet crops (sorghum and pearl millet), using an all India district level panel dataset from 1966-2011. A stochastic production function is estimated with exogenous climate anomalies. We find that climate change adversely affects both the level and variability of crop yields - rice yields are reduced by rainfall extremes whereas extremely high temperatures make yields of all three crops highly variable with the biggest impact on millets.
    JEL: Q54 O13 D24
    Date: 2020–02
  9. By: Sebastian Gallegos (Inter-American Development Bank); Pablo Celhay
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of skill advantages at age six on different types of parental investments, and long-run outcomes up to age 27. We exploit exogenous variation in skills due to school entry rules, combining 20 years of Chilean administrative records with a regression discontinuity design. Our results show higher in-school performance and college entrance scores, and sizable effects on college attendance and enrollment at selective institutions, particularly for low-income children. We find that parental time investments are neutral to early skills gaps, while monetary investments are reinforcing and likely to be mediating the long-run effects.
    Keywords: early life shocks, long-run outcomes, skills, parental investments, college attendance, test scores, low income, developing countries
    JEL: I21 I26 I28 J24 J31
    Date: 2020–03
  10. By: Vincenzo Di Maro; Stefan Leeffers; Danila Serra; Pedro C. Vicente
    Abstract: In this paper we test ways to mobilize parents for education. We implemented a field experiment in 126 Angolan primary schools, including three treatments: an information campaign at home, simple parents’ meetings at school, and the combination of both. Our measures of parental mobilization include beneficial practices at home, contacts with teachers, and participation in school institutions. We find that the information increased parents’ involvement at home but had no impact on engagement at school, while the meetings had the opposite effects. After mobilizing parents, the combined treatment improved management practices and facilities in schools, teachers’ attitudes, and parents’ satisfaction.
    Keywords: Parental involvement, information, coordination, field experiment, Angola
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Galdo, Virgilio (World Bank); Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys (World Bank); Rama, Martin (World Bank)
    Abstract: Despite informality being the norm in conflict-affected countries, most estimates of the impact of conflict on economic activity rely on formal sector data. Using high-frequency data from Afghanistan, this paper assesses how surges in conflict intensity affect not only the formal sector, but also informal and illicit activities. Nighttime light provides a proxy for aggregate economic activity, mobile phone traffic by registered firms captures fluctuations in formal sector output, and the land surface devoted to poppy cultivation gives a measure of illicit production. The unit of observation is the district and the period of reference is 2012–16. The same dynamic specification and controls are used for the estimation in the three cases, making the results comparable across sectors. Controls include the presence of combat troops and the level of foreign aid at the local level, which both influence local living standards in Afghanistan. The results show that an increase in conflict-related casualties has a strong negative impact on formal economic activity in the following quarter and a positive effect on illicit activity after two quarters. The impact on aggregate economic activity is negative, but more muted.
    Keywords: Afghanistan, conflict, economic activity
    JEL: D74 E21 F35 I32 O17
    Date: 2020–03
  12. By: Selod,Harris; Soumahoro,Souleymane
    Abstract: This paper combines local election results and geo-referenced road construction data over 1993-2012 to investigate political bias in road infrastructure investment in a democratic setting, focusing on the case of Mexico. Using a regression discontinuity design, the paper finds strong evidence of partisan allocation of federally-funded highways to municipalities that voted for the president's party in legislative races, nearly doubling the stock of highways compared to opposition municipalities. The extent of political favoritism in highway provision is stronger under divided government when the president has no majority in the legislature, suggesting political efforts to control the Congress.
    Keywords: Roads and Highways Performance,Roads&Highways,Inter-Urban Roads and Passenger Transport,Transport Services,Flood Control,Tertiary Education
    Date: 2019–01–17
  13. By: Raymond Boadi Frempong; David Stadelmann
    Abstract: The literature suggests that the household invests in the human capital of a child member not only for altruistic reasons but also as insurance against future income shocks. Hence, the allocation of the child’s time between school and work is a function of the risk preference of the household head. This paper estimates the effect of parental risk preference on child labour decisions in the household using recall information on child labour and a risk elicitation question. We address endogeneity issues by applying an instrumental variable estimation technique. We find that risk-averse households are more likely to send their children to work. Further analyses suggest that such outcomes are driven by the need to maximise the household’s expected income from the child. Evidence from instrumental variable regressions indicates that the relationship between risk aversion and child labour is causal and that risk aversion induces higher probabilities of children working.
    Keywords: altruism; child labour; household welfare; human capital; risk preference; uncertainties
    JEL: D13 D64
    Date: 2020–03
  14. By: Raghunathan, Kalyani; Headey, Derek D.; Herforth, Anna
    Abstract: Malnutrition is endemic in India. In 2015-16 some 38% of preschool children were stunted and 21% were wasted, while more than half of Indian mothers and children were anemic. There are many posited explanations for the high rates of malnutrition in India, but surprisingly few discuss the role of Indian diets, particularly the affordability of nutritious diets given low wages and the significant structural problems facing India’s agricultural sector. This study was undertaken to address knowledge gaps around the affordability of nutritious diets in rural India. To do so we used nationally representative rural price and wage data to estimate the least cost means of satisfying India-specific dietary recommendations, referred to as the Cost of a Recommended Diet (CoRD), and assess the affordability of this diet relative to male and female wages for unskilled laborers. Although we find that dietary costs increased substantially over 2001-2011 for both men and women, rural wage rates increased more rapidly, implying that nutritious diets became substantially more affordable over time. However, in absolute terms nutritious diets in 2011 were still expensive relative to unskilled wages, constituting approximately 50-60% of male and about 70-80% of female daily wages, and were often even higher relative to minimum wages earned from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Since many poor households have significant numbers of dependents and substantial non-food expenditure requirements, it follows that nutritious diets are often highly unaffordable for the rural poor; we estimate that 45-64% of the rural poor cannot afford a nutritious diet that meets India’s national food-based dietary guidelines. Our results point to the need to more closely monitor food prices through a nutritional lens, and to shift India’s existing food policies away from their heavy bias towards cereals. Achieving nutritional security in India requires a much more holistic focus on improving the affordability of the full range of nutritious food groups and ensuring that economic growth results in sustained income growth for the poor.
    Keywords: INDIA; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; nutrition; diet; rural areas; food prices; malnutrition; children; income; cost of diet; affordability
    Date: 2020

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