nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒04‒27
eighteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. SDG1: The Last Three Percent By Martin Ravallion
  2. Oiling up the field. Forced internal displacement and the expansion of palm oil in Colombia By Jaime Millán-Quijano, Sebastián Pulgarín
  3. The impact of an integrated value chain intervention on household poultry production in Burkina Faso: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial By Leight, Jessica; Awonon, Josue; Pedehombga, Abdoulaye; Ganaba, Rasmané; Martinez, Elena M.; Heckert, Jessica; Gelli, Aulo
  4. Ancestral Norms, Legal Origins, and Female Empowerment By Brodeur, Abel; Mabeu, Marie Christelle; Pongou, Roland
  5. The Effect of Blackouts on Households’ Electrification Status: evidence from Kenya By Raúl Bajo-Buenestado
  6. Impacts of long-lasting civil conflicts on education: Evidence from the 2014 Census of Myanmar By Yamada, Hiroyuki; Matsushima, Midori
  7. Building Resilient Health Systems: Experimental Evidence from Sierra Leone and the 2014 Ebola Outbreak By Darin Christensen; Oeindrila Dube; Johannes Haushofer; Bilal Siddiqi; Maarten Voors
  8. Headship and Poverty in Africa By Caitlin Brown; Dominique van de Walle
  9. Access to The Emergency Contraceptive Pill Improves Women's Health: Evidence from Chile By Clarke, Damian; Salinas, Viviana
  10. Estimating the e ect of racial classifcation on labour market outcomes: A case study from Apartheid South Africa By Miquel Pellicer; Vimal Ranchhod
  11. The children are alright: Revisiting the impact of parental migration in the Philippines By Pajaron, Marjorie; Latinazo, Cara T.; Trinidad, Enrico G.
  12. Breaking down silos - on post-harvest loss interventions in Tanzania By Joachim Vandercasteelen; Luc Christiaensen
  13. Do Compulsory Schooling Laws Always Work? A Study of Youth Crime in Brazilian Municipalities By Nishijima, Marislei; Pal, Sarmistha
  14. Do Public Program Benefits Crowd Out Private Transfers in Developing Countries? An Overview of Evidence from Social Protection Policies By Nikolov, Plamen; Bonci, Matthew
  15. Can Boosting Savings and Skills Support Female Business Owners in Indonesia? Evidence from A Randomized Controlled Trial By Mayra Buvinic; Hillary C. Johnson; Elizaveta Perova; Firman Witoelar
  16. Food policies and obesity in low and middle income countries By Abay, Kibrom A.; Ibrahim, Hosam; Breisinger, Clemens
  17. Strategies to increase the take-up of social benefits. Evidence from a field experiment in a deeply vulnerable population By Alejandro Cid; José María Cabrera; Marianne Bernatzky; María Ramírez-Michelena; Magdalena Blanco
  18. The role of interactive radio programming in advancing women’s empowerment and crop and dietary diversity: Mixed methods evidence from Malawi By Ragasa, Catherine; Mzungu, Diston; Kalagho, Kenan; Kazembe, Cynthia

  1. By: Martin Ravallion (Georgetown University)
    Abstract: There is a little-noticed but important difference between the World Bank’s original goal for poverty reduction and the subsequent UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). While both target the “$1.90 a day†poverty rate, the Bank’s goal was a 3% rate by 2030, while the SDG is to “eradicate†poverty by 2030. A simple linear projection of current progress against extreme poverty in the world does suggest that we are on track to attaining the UN’s goal. However, linear projection is deceptive if development does not reach the poorest as effectively. There are a priori reasons why the last few percent could be harder to reach with current development policies. Consistently with that hypothesis, the paper documents recent signs of a levelling off in progress for the poorest in East Asia—the star performer regionally over the longer term. This is evident in the region’s slower progress recently in both lifting the floor—thus reaching the poorest—and in reducing the poverty rate. This levelling off is also found on average for the 18 developing countries that have reduced their poverty rate from over 10% (around the current global rate) to under 3% during 1981-2017. Similarly to East Asia, progress in reaching the poorest declined once the last 3% had been reached, though some countries did better than others. Overall, the results suggest that “business as usual†(even by the standards of the relatively successful countries) will not suffice to eradicate extreme poverty.
    Keywords: Poverty; inequality; poorest; floor; social assistance
    JEL: I32 I38 O15
    Date: 2020–03–30
  2. By: Jaime Millán-Quijano, Sebastián Pulgarín
    Abstract: The analysis of the relationship between natural resources and violent conflicts has shown how positive shocks in agricultural commodities are usually linked with reductions in violence (opportunity cost effect), while positive shocks to minerals or extractive commodities seem to increase conflict (rapacity effect). In this paper we examine the case of palm oil expansion in Colombia and find that our results differ from previous studies. We use changes in international prices of palm oil to show how positive income shocks increased forced displacement in palm producing municipalities. We found that a 1% increase in the price of palm oil raises the forced internal displacement rate in palm municipalities by 0.42 standard deviations. We also show evidence that the negative effect of palm oil income shock was stronger in areas with paramilitary armies, weak contract institutions and better land distribution. In addition, increases in palm prices increase rural violence but not urban violence. Our results support the hypothesis that the violence linked with the palm expansion was the result of the search for new lands for palm trees in a framework of weak institutions. Therefore, one can argue that in the case of the palm expansion the rapacity effect over new lands was stronger than possible labor market effects.
    Keywords: Income shocks, Conflict, Commodity prices, Natural resources, Forced displacement.
    JEL: D74 F14 O13 O15 Q17
    Date: 2020–01
  3. By: Leight, Jessica; Awonon, Josue; Pedehombga, Abdoulaye; Ganaba, Rasmané; Martinez, Elena M.; Heckert, Jessica; Gelli, Aulo
    Abstract: This article reports on a cluster-randomized controlled trial conducted in 120 villages in rural Burkina Faso evaluating a multifaceted intervention (SELEVER) that seeks to increase poultry production by delivering training in conjunction with the strengthening of village-level institutions providing veterinary and credit services to poultry farmers. The intervention is evaluated in a sample of 1,080 households surveyed following two years of program implementation. Households exposed to the intervention significantly increase their use of poultry inputs (veterinary services, enhanced feeds, and deworming), and report more poultry sold and higher revenue; however, there is no evidence of an increase in profits. This evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that the return to inputs in the poultry market may not be sufficient to counterbalance the market costs of these inputs.
    Keywords: BURKINA FASO; WEST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; poultry; livestock production; empowerment; gender; women; nutrition; child nutrition; value chains; households; intervention; poultry feeding; diet; livestock; poultry production
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Brodeur, Abel (University of Ottawa); Mabeu, Marie Christelle (University of Ottawa); Pongou, Roland (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: A large literature documents persistent impacts of formal historical institutions. However, very little is known about how these institutions interact with ancestral traditions to determine long-term economic and social outcomes. This paper addresses this question by studying the persistent effect of legal origins on female economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa, and how ancestral cultural norms of gender roles may attenuate or exacerbate this effect. Taking advantage of the arbitrary division of ancestral ethnic homelands across countries with different legal origins, we directly compare women among the same ethnic group living in civil law countries and common law countries. We find that, on average, women in common law countries are signicantly more educated, are more likely to work in the professional sector, and are less likely to marry at young age. However, these effects are either absent or significantly lower in settings where ancestral cultural norms do not promote women’s rights and empowerment. In particular, we find little effect in bride price societies, patrilocal societies, and societies where women were not involved in agriculture in the past. Our findings imply that to be optimal, the design of formal institutions should account for ancestral traditions.
    Keywords: legal origins, ancestral norms, women's empowerment, gender roles
    JEL: D03 I25 J16 N37
    Date: 2020–03
  5. By: Raúl Bajo-Buenestado
    Abstract: A number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have recently deployed billions of dollars to improve their electricity infrastructure. However, aggregate data shows that the relative number of households with an electricity connection at home has barely increased. In this paper we study the role of blackouts to partially explain why there have been relatively few additional households with electricity access despite the increase in electrification expenditure. Using geo-localized survey data from Kenya, we find that households that live in neighborhoods in which power outages are relatively more frequent are (at least) about 6%-9% less likely to have electricity at home. We also find that households that have electricity access but which experience frequent power outages are also less likely to purchase electrical appliances.
    Keywords: Energy poverty, Electricity access, Electrification rates, Sub-Saharan Africa.
    JEL: L94 O13 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2020–02
  6. By: Yamada, Hiroyuki; Matsushima, Midori
    Abstract: Geocoded conflict information was combined with the 2014 household census data to study the impact of long-lasting internal conflicts at township level on Myanmar's primary and secondary-level school attendance (i.e., the short-term impact) and years of education (i.e., the long-term impact). The impacts of internal conflicts on school attendance in 2014 were consistently negative. Then, we constructed quasi-panel data for primary-level schooling to find, again, consistently negative impacts of internal conflicts. The results are robust, even if incompleteness of census or migration are taken into account. The estimated magnitudes of the impacts are smaller than those of the findings from other countries: a 10% increase in the number of deaths result in a 0.01% decline in enrollment probability. Finally, we confirmed that exposure to conflicts during age 6-10 years has a negative but insignificant impact on years of education. Gender differences in terms of negative impact are almost negligible. By carefully reviewing previous papers and characteristics of Myanmar’s conflicts up to 2014 with respect to the mechanism of the negative effect of conflict on education, we argue that the small negative impact found in our analysis is due to the long-lasting and low-intensity nature of the conflicts, as well as the fact that schools and social services are provided by military forces. However, it is important to note that our analysis does not include data of the recent violence in Rakhine state.
    Keywords: Civil conflict; Education; Population census; Myanmar
    JEL: I21 I25 O15
    Date: 2020–04–10
  7. By: Darin Christensen (UCLA, Luskin School of Public Affairs); Oeindrila Dube (University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy); Johannes Haushofer (Princeton University); Bilal Siddiqi (University of California, Berkeley); Maarten Voors (Wageningen University)
    Abstract: Developing countries are characterized by high rates of mortality and morbidity. A potential contributing factor is the low utilization of health systems, stemming from the low perceived quality of care delivered by health personnel. This factor may be especially critical during crises, when individuals choose whether to cooperate with response efforts and frontline health personnel. We experimentally examine efforts aimed at improving health worker performance in the context of the 2014–15 West African Ebola crisis. Roughly two years before the outbreak in Sierra Leone, we randomly assigned two social accountability interventions to government-run health clinics—one focused on community monitoring and the other gave status awards to clinic staff. We find that over the medium run, prior to the Ebola crisis, both interventions led to improvements in utilization of clinics and patient satisfaction. In addition, child health outcomes improved substantially in the catchment areas of community monitoring clinics. During the crisis, the interventions also led to higher reported Ebola cases, as well as lower mortality from Ebola—particularly in areas with community monitoring clinics. We explore three potential mechanisms: the interventions (1) increased the likelihood that patients reported Ebola symptoms and sought care; (2) unintentionally increased Ebola incidence; or (3) improved surveillance efforts. We find evidence consistent with the first: by improving the perceived quality of care provided by clinics prior to the outbreak, the interventions likely encouraged patients to report and receive treatment. Our results suggest that social accountability interventions not only have the power to improve health systems during normal times, but can additionally make health systems resilient to crises that may emerge over the longer run.
    Date: 2020–03–25
  8. By: Caitlin Brown (Central European University); Dominique van de Walle (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: With a little more care to take context and the confounding attributes that make female-headed households (FHHs) particularly prone to poverty into account, this paper argues that headship can be useful for identifying poor households in Africa. Standard welfare comparisons between FHHs and male-headed households (MHHs) have largely ignored two confounding factors: marital status (affecting access to markets and services) and heterogeneity in household demographics (with bearing on economies of scale in consumption). Both influence welfare and are correlated with gender of headship. As judged by the usual per capita welfare measures, FHHs, on average, have lower poverty rates than MHHs in Africa. However, even a modest adjustment for economies of scale in consumption changes the poverty comparisons, with FHHs faring significantly worse overall in East, Central, and Southern Africa. Marital status also matters. The households of female heads are poorer than MHHs except when the female head is married. Taking the head’s marital status and the household’s demographics into account is critical to the association between female headship and welfare outcomes.
    Keywords: Female-headed households, gender, poverty, economies of scale, Africa, marital status
    JEL: I31 I32 J12 J16
    Date: 2020–04–14
  9. By: Clarke, Damian (Universidad de Santiago de Chile); Salinas, Viviana (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)
    Abstract: We examine the sharp expansion in availability of the emergency contraceptive pill in Chile following legalized access through municipal public health-care centres. Combining a number of administrative datasets on health outcomes and pharmaceutical use, and using difference-in-difference and event study methods, we document that this expansion improved women's reproductive health outcomes, particularly reducing rates of haemorrhage early in pregnancy. These improvements are most notable in areas of the country in which the rollout of the pill was largest. We also document some evidence that refusal to grant the pill upon a women's request is linked with a worsening in reproductive health outcomes.
    Keywords: emergency contraceptives, maternal morbidity, haemorrhage, abortion, event studies, difference-in-differences
    JEL: I18 J13 H75
    Date: 2020–04
  10. By: Miquel Pellicer (Maynooth University and SALDRU, University of Cape Town); Vimal Ranchhod (School of Economics and SALDRU, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Most empirical studies on discrimination focus on the differential treatment in the labour market of people of equal productivity. However, if discrimina-tion over the life-cycle affects productivity, then these estimates do not capture the full impact of discrimination on labour market outcomes. We study the cu-mulative effect of discrimination for the (extreme) case of South Africa during apartheid. South Africa's apartheid government implemented a comprehensive system of discrimination against "non-Whites" that covered every major facet of life and was designed to create productivity differentials across race groups. We quantify the cumulative effect of all of these forms of discrimination by esti-mating the causal effect of being classified as White on education, employment and income. Our identification strategy is based on a policy change that privileged ancestry over appearance in the process of racial classification for those born after the 1951 Census. We use census data from 1980, 1991, and 1996, and restrict our sample to Whites and "Coloureds". The data exhibits a discontinuity as well as a change in the trend of racial shares for cohorts born after 1951. Combined, these imply a 6 percentage point lower likelihood of being classified as White for people born 10 years after 1951. Our preferred estimates indicate that being classified as White instead of "Coloured" resulted in a more than threefold increase in income for men. This corresponds to approximately 65% of the difference in mean incomes between the two population groups. Our findings for women are inconclusive.
    Keywords: Discrimination, South Africa, Education, Income
    JEL: E24 J15 J7 N37
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Pajaron, Marjorie; Latinazo, Cara T.; Trinidad, Enrico G.
    Abstract: The Philippine government has focused most of its migration policy initiatives to encouraging international labour migration and protecting the rights of Filipino migrant workers. However, government interventions and aids to left-behind families and children left much to be desired. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the impact of parental migration on the welfare of left-behind children in the Philippines so that policies can be devised to support them. This study’s analytical methods (instrumental variable analysis and propensity score matching) enable it to address several issues in migration research including endogeneity, migrant selectivity and community (regional) context, using previously unexamined nationally representative data from the Philippines. Our results suggest an overall positive impact on education, work, and temper of left-behind children. However, they tend to be more physically sickly. This warrants government attention to preclude any long-term negative health effects.
    Keywords: Parental Migration,Children’s Welfare,Instrumental Variable,PSM
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Joachim Vandercasteelen; Luc Christiaensen
    Abstract: Post-Harvest Losses (PHL) are considered to pose important economic losses for farmers in developing countries. This paper examines the effects of an intervention in Tanzania, aimed at reducing PHL of maize growing farmers during maize storage. Farmers were invited to attend a training on best practices in postharvest maize management, and a randomized subset of trainees received the opportunity to buy an improved storage facility (silos) at a substantially discounted price. Data collected at 30 days and 90 days after harvest, however, do not point to significant impacts of the treatments offered to the farmers. Receiving training on best practices improved stated knowledge, but training nor the opportunity to purchase an improved storage had a significant effect on maize storage and sales behavior, physical PHL during storage, or the quality of the stored maize. The paper explores potential explanations, and provides some policy recommendations for future learning and decision-making on how to address PHL issues in developing countries.
    Date: 2020–04
  13. By: Nishijima, Marislei (University of Sao Paulo); Pal, Sarmistha (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: We examine if compulsory schooling laws (CSL) necessarily lower crimes. We focus on violent youth crime (homicides by assault and guns) among 15-19 years age group in all Brazilian municipalities over 2000-13, taking advantage of the 2009 Brazilian Constitutional Amendment that required introduction of compulsory high schooling of 15-17-year-olds by 2016. Only about 53% municipalities adopted the Amendment by 2013. Difference-in-difference estimates with municipality fixed effects to account for the endogenous adoption of the Amendment by municipalities show small treatment effects for homicides, but insignificant effects for homicide rates in the full sample. In the absence of any significant increase in income/employment among this age group, we attribute this to the incapacitation effect of CSL, which was, however, weakened by overcrowding in day and night schools in treated municipalities after 2009. In contrast, poorer treated municipalities witnessed increased class size, worse school performance and increased crime too. The crime reduction effects of CSL thus crucially depend on whether/how it affects class size and school quality especially in less promising jurisdictions.
    Keywords: violent youth crime, compulsory schooling law, Constitutional Amendment 59, school quality, difference in differences model, endogenous adoption, Brazil
    JEL: H41 I21 K30 O15
    Date: 2020–03
  14. By: Nikolov, Plamen (State University of New York); Bonci, Matthew (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Precipitated by rapid globalization, rising inequality, population growth, and longevity gains, social protection programs have been on the rise in developing countries in the last three decades. However, the introduction of public benefits could displace informal mechanisms for risk-protection, which are especially prevalent in developing countries. In this paper, we critically survey the recent empirical literature on crowd-out effects in response to public policies, specifically in the context of developing countries. We review and synthesize patterns from the behavioral response to various types of social protection programs. Furthermore, we specifically examine for heterogeneous treatment effects by important socioeconomic characteristics. We conclude by drawing on lessons from our synthesis of studies.
    Keywords: life cycle, social protection, pension, inter vivos transfers, middle-income and low-income countries, developing countries, crowd-out effect
    JEL: D64 H31 H55 J14 J22 J26 O15 O16 R2
    Date: 2020–04
  15. By: Mayra Buvinic (Center for Global Development); Hillary C. Johnson (World Bank); Elizaveta Perova (World Bank); Firman Witoelar (Australian National University)
    Abstract: There is broad evidence of gender gaps in the productivity of microenterprises, which are in part linked to financial and human capital constraints. Existing literature suggests that interventions simultaneously addressing skills and capital constraints can be effective, but there is little evidence to date exploring the combination of skills and savings interventions. This study tests the relative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of providing supply-side incentives to promote agent banking savings accounts, business and financial literacy training for female entrepreneurs, and the combination of the two on women’s businesses and agency in Indonesia. The study took place in 401 villages in East Java in which agent banking products were recently introduced. Although the trial found only small positive effects on the take-up of branchless banking services, both interventions had significant positive impacts on women’s profits. The impacts of the training and mentoring intervention seem to come in part from improved business practices, greater savings, increased business assets, and increased decision-making power. Because the high incentives treatment impacted women’s profits but not any intermediate outcomes the mechanisms are less clear—potentially coming either from a more woman-friendly business environment or through using their husbands’ savings or their existing savings to support their businesses. Although the high agent incentives are more cost-effective than the training and mentoring, policy makers may still prefer the demand-side intervention, as it has more positive implications for women’s overall empowerment and stronger impacts for the poorest quintile of female entrepreneurs.
    JEL: D14 M2 O16
    Date: 2020–04–10
  16. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; Ibrahim, Hosam; Breisinger, Clemens
    Abstract: Understanding the public health implication of fiscal policies is crucial to combat recently increasing overweight and obesity rates in many low-and-middle income countries (LMICs). This study examines the implication of food policies, mainly tariff rates on “unhealthy†foods, including sugar and confectionery products as well as fats and oils, and governments’ subsidies on individuals’ body weight outcomes. We compile several macro- and micro-level datasets that provide for several LMICs macro-level information on food policies and micro-level anthropometric data. We exploit temporal dynamics in tariff rates on “unhealthy†foods and governments’ spending on subsidies to estimate fixed effects models characterizing the evolution of body weight outcomes. We find that temporal dynamics in tariff rates on unhealthy and energy-dense foods are significantly and negatively associated with body weight. Conditional on several observable and time-invariant unobservable factors, a decrease in tariff rates on sugar and confectionary foods or fats and oils is associated with an increase in overweight and obesity rates. On the other hand, an increase in subsidy rates, as a share of government expenditure, is significantly associated with higher overweight and obesity rates. Interestingly, we find that the implications of these food policies are more pronounced among poorer individuals. This is intuitive because relatively poorer households are more likely to spend a larger share of their income on food consumption or unhealthy foods, and these types of households are beneficiaries of government subsidies in many LMICs. These findings have important implications for informing public health policies in LMICs, which are experiencing an unprecedented rise in overweight and obesity rates.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, YEMEN, SOUTHWESTERN ASIA, ASIA, food policies, obesity, developing countries, nutrition, trade, policies, public health, fiscal policies, trade policies, subsidies, body mass index, overweight, health, health foods, low and middle income countries, nutrition transition
    Date: 2020
  17. By: Alejandro Cid; José María Cabrera; Marianne Bernatzky; María Ramírez-Michelena; Magdalena Blanco
    Abstract: This is the first paper to identify, using a field experiment, the effects of intense one-on-one assistance by a professional social worker on the take-up of social benefits within a population of deeply disadvantaged informal workers. A municipal program exists that entails providing these disadvantaged informal workers with a formal permit to work on the streets and make contributions to the retirement pension system. We randomly assign one-on-one assistance to these informal workers, and within this treatment group, we randomly assign money to cover the cost of the documents required by the municipality. We find that a worker who receives one-on-one assistance is three times more likely to receive the municipal permit than a worker in the control group. We also find that a worker who receives both one-on-one assistance and cost coverage is four times more likely to obtain the municipal permit. Providing information alone does not have an impact. The program has no spillover effect on the take-up of other national support programs that are not targeted by the one-on-one assistance intervention. These findings identify possible strategies to remove barriers to increase the take-up of social benefits within deeply vulnerable populations
    Keywords: behavioral barriers; welfare take-up; social benefits; personal assistance; information; field experiment; labor regulation.
    JEL: C93 D04 J46 J62 I30 I38
    Date: 2019
  18. By: Ragasa, Catherine; Mzungu, Diston; Kalagho, Kenan; Kazembe, Cynthia
    Abstract: The study assesses the effect of interactive radio programming on women’s empowerment and agricultural development, employing nationally representative household panel data and qualitative interviews in Malawi. Four major findings can be highlighted. First, radio programming is the preferred source of agricultural and nutrition advice among many subpopulations: younger women and men used radio more than other sources for their agricultural information needs, while younger and older men used radio more than other sources for nutrition education. Second, results show a positive impact of radio programming on technology awareness but a limited impact on actual adoption of most agricultural practices being promoted, except crop residue incorporation. Third, results show positive impacts on dietary diversity and adoption of other nutrition practices among the rural population. Fourth, results show a strong association between access to interactive radio programming and women’s and men’s empowerment scores. The association is greater for women’s empowerment and younger men’s empowerment, the latter being the most disempowered group in the sample.
    Keywords: MALAWI; SOUTHERN AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; empowerment; gender; women; radio; telecommunications; diet; crops; Information and Communication Technologies (icts); technology; agricultural extension; diversification; mixed model method; technology adoption; dietary diversity; mixed methods
    Date: 2020

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