nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒06‒29
fourteen 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; Ornaghi, Arianna; Sumarto, Sudarno
  2. Electrification and Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women in India By Sedai, A K.; Nepal, R.; Jamasb, T.
  3. Evaluation of Anti-poverty Programs' Impact on Joint Disadvantages: Insights from the Philippine Experience By Suman Seth, Melba V. Tutor
  4. Impact of the SADA-Northern Ghana Millennium Village Project on Multidimensional Poverty: A Comparison of Dashboard and Index Approaches By Edoardo Masset; Jorge García Hombrados
  5. Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India By Dincecco, Mark; Fenske, James; Menon, Anil; Mukherjee, Shivaji
  6. Bias and Careers: Evidence from the Aid Effectiveness Literature By Doucouliagos, Chris; Hinz, Thomas; Zigova, Katarina
  7. Here Comes the Rain Again: Productivity Shocks, Educational Investments and Child Work By Christophe Jalil Nordman; Smriti Sharma; Naveen Sunder
  8. Measuring Monetary Poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: Data Gaps and Different Options to Address Them By Atamanov, Aziz; Tandon, Sharad; Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys; Vergara Bahena, Mexico Alberto
  9. The Welfare Effects of India's Rural Employment Guarantee By Stefan Klonner, Christian Oldiges
  10. Costs and Benefits of Rural-Urban Migration : Evidence from India By Imbert, Clément; Papp, John
  11. Audits and the Quality of Government By Maximiliano Lauletta; Martín Rossi; Christian Ruzzier
  12. The Effects of Mobile Phone Technology, Knowledge Creation and Diffusion on Inclusive Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa By Simplice A. Asongu
  13. Cooking Fuel Choice, Indoor Air Quality and Child Mortality in India By Basu, Arnab K.; Byambasuren, Tsenguunjav; Chau, Nancy H.; Khanna, Neha
  14. The groundnuts Fairtrade arrangement and its spillover effects on agricultural commercialization and household welfare outcomes: Empirical evidence from central Malawi By Kaiyatsa, Stevier; Matita, Mirriam; Chirwa, Ephraim; Mazalale, Jacob

  1. By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT); Finkelstein, Amy (MIT); Hanna, Rema (Harvard University); Olken, Benjamin (MIT); Ornaghi, Arianna (University of Warwick); Sumarto, Sudarno (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: Sedai, A K.; Nepal, R.; Jamasb, T.
    Abstract: This study examines the effect of quality of electrification on empowerment of women in terms of economic autonomy, agency, mobility, decision-making abilities, and time allocation in fuel collection in India. It moves beyond the consensus of counting electried households as a measure of progress in gender parity, and analyzes how the quality of electrification affects women's intra-household bargaining power, labor supply decision and fuel collection time. We develop a set of indices using principal component analysis from a large cross-section of gender-disaggregated survey. We use two stage least squares instrumental variables regression to assess the causal effect of access and hours of electricity on women's empowerment using geographic instrumental variables along with district and caste fixed effects. The results show that quality of electrication has significant positive effects on all empowerment indices. However, the effect differs at the margin of defficiency, location, living standards and education. The study recommends revisiting the paradigm of access to electrification and women empowerment by focusing on the quality of not only extensive but also intensive electrification to enhance life and economic opportunities for women and their households.
    Keywords: Electrification and Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women in India
    JEL: D13 D63 H42 Q43
    Date: 2020–05–15
  3. By: Suman Seth, Melba V. Tutor
    Abstract: Anti-poverty programs increasingly target disadvantages in multiple outcomes to address current and future poverty. Conventional evaluation exercises, however, mostly estimate programs' impacts separately. We present a framework, drawing from the counting approach, that captures the joint distribution of disadvantages and allows the evaluation of programs’ impacts on multiple disadvantages. We apply the framework to scrutinise the Philippine conditional cash transfer program using an embedded randomised control trial survey. Examining the program’s impact on the distribution of multiple disadvantages, we observe that the program successfully reduced multiple disadvantages overall, but did not necessarily benefit the families experiencing a higher number of disadvantages simultaneously. Our results exemplify the valuable contribution of considering the joint distribution of disadvantages in evaluating anti-poverty programs' impacts.
    Date: 2019–11
  4. By: Edoardo Masset; Jorge García Hombrados
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of the SADA-Northern Ghana Millennium Village Project (MVP) on multidimensional poverty using dashboard and index approaches. Using a unique, large dataset that spans five years and contains data on multiple welfare indicators, we estimate the impact of MVP on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and on the global multidimensional poverty index (global MPI). We find that the project had a limited impact on the MDGs and yet a positive impact on the global MPI. We assess the robustness of the impact of MVP on the global MPI, and we conclude that it was largely driven by the sensitivity of the index to changes in a few MDG indicators. We conclude that the MVP had a limited impact on welfare and that the global MPI should be used with caution in the evaluation of development programmes.
    Date: 2019–10
  5. By: Dincecco, Mark (University of Michigan); Fenske, James (University of Warwick); Menon, Anil (University of Michigan); Mukherjee, Shivaji (University of Toronto)
    Abstract: We analyze the relationship between pre-colonial warfare and long-run development patterns in India. We construct a new geocoded database of historical interstate conflicts on the Indian subcontinent, from which we compute measures of local exposure to pre-colonial warfare. We document a positive and significant relationship between pre-colonial conflict exposure and local economic development across India today. This result is robust to numerous checks, including controls for geographic endowments, initial state capacity, colonial-era institutions, ethnic and religious fractionalization, and colonial and post-colonial conflict, and an instrumental variables strategy that exploits variation in pre-colonial conflict exposure driven by cost distance to the Khyber Pass. Drawing on rich archival and secondary data, we show that districts that were more exposed to pre-colonial conflict experienced greater local pre-colonial and colonial-era state-making, and less political violence and higher infrastructre investments in the long term. We argue that reductions in local levels of violence and greater investments in physical capital were at least in part a function of more powerful local government institutions.
    Keywords: Warfare ; Economic Development ; State Capacity ; Public Goods ; India ; History JEL codes: N45 ; O11 ; P48 ; H11
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Doucouliagos, Chris (Deakin University); Hinz, Thomas (University of Konstanz); Zigova, Katarina (University of Konstanz)
    Abstract: We investigate whether estimates of the effect of aid on growth are influenced by authors' careers. We collect data on the careers of 190 authors and apply meta-regression analysis to investigate the impact of authors' age and tenure status on the reported magnitude of aid effectiveness, and on the degree of selectivity in which results are reported. On average, authors without tenure report much larger effects and they also exhibit substantial publication selection bias. These findings are consistent with differences in publication incentives between tenured and non-tenured authors. Older non-tenured researchers report the most biased findings in this literature. One explanation for this latter result is these authors' links with aid agencies.
    Keywords: aid, tenure, incentives to publish, meta-regression analysis
    JEL: A11 C18 F35 I23
    Date: 2020–05
  7. By: Christophe Jalil Nordman (IRD, UMR LEDa, DIAL, PSL, Université Paris Dauphine, IFP (Pondicherry, India)); Smriti Sharma (Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle Upon Tyne); Naveen Sunder (Bentley University, Waltham, MA (USA))
    Abstract: In predominantly agrarian economies with limited irrigation, rainfall plays a critical role in shaping households’ incomes and subsequently their spending decisions. This study uses household-level panel data from a nationally representative survey in India to estimate the effect of agricultural productivity shocks – as proxied by exogenous annual rainfall deviations from long-term average – on education expenditures and children’s work status in rural Indian households. Our results show that a transitory increase in rainfall significantly reduces education expenditures and increases the likelihood of child labor across a range of work activities. Additionally, we show that productivity-enhancing inputs such as land ownership and credit access do not mitigate these countercyclical effects of rainfall variations, indicating the importance of market imperfections (in labor and land markets). We also find that the effects of productivity shocks are reinforced for historically marginalized castes, and moderated for more educated households. These highlight that the average effects mask considerable heterogeneity based on household and regional characteristics.
    Keywords: Rainfall shocks, education expenditures, child work, market imperfections, India
    JEL: D13 I21 J16 O12
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Atamanov, Aziz (World Bank); Tandon, Sharad (World Bank); Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys (World Bank); Vergara Bahena, Mexico Alberto (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper identifies gaps in availability, access, and quality of household budget surveys in the Middle East and North Africa region used to measure monetary poverty and evaluates ways to fill these information gaps. Despite improving public access to household budget surveys, the availability and timeliness of welfare data in the Middle East and North Africa region is poor compared to the rest of the world. Closing the data gap requires collection of more HBS data in more countries and improving access to data where it exists. However, when collection of consumption data is not possible, a variety of other second-best strategies can be employed. Using imputation methods can help to measure monetary poverty. Constructing non-monetary poverty and asset indexes from less robust surveys, using non-traditional surveys such as phone surveys, and "big data"—administrative records, social networks and communications data, and geospatial data—can help substitute for, or complement data from existing traditional survey data.
    Keywords: Middle East and North Africa, poverty, household budget surveys
    JEL: C81 I32 O10
    Date: 2020–06
  9. By: Stefan Klonner, Christian Oldiges
    Abstract: We examine the welfare effects of India's workfare program NREGA using a novel, almost sharp regression discontinuity design. We find large seasonal consumption increases in states implementing the program intensely, which are a multiple of the direct income gains. We also find increases in adolescents' school attendance. Our results imply substantial general equilibrium effects. We conclude that, when properly implemented, the public employment program holds significant potential for reducing poverty and insuring households against various adverse implications of seasonal income shortfalls.
    Date: 2019–10
  10. By: Imbert, Clément (University of Warwick); Papp, John (R.I.C.E)
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on rural-urban migration decisions in developing countries. Using original survey data from rural India, we show that seasonal migrants prefer to earn 35 percent less on local public works rather than incur the cost of migrating. Structural estimates suggest that the fixed cost of migration is small, and can be entirely explained by travel costs and income risk. In contrast, the flow cost of migration is very high. We argue that higher living costs in the city explain only a small part of the flow cost of migration, and that most of it is non-monetary.
    Keywords: Internal Migration ; Workfare Programs ; India ; Urban ; Rural JEL Classification: H53 ; J22 ; J61 ; O15 ; R23
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Maximiliano Lauletta (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley); Martín Rossi (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres); Christian Ruzzier (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: We exploit the well-documented random assignment of Brazilian municipalities to an audit program to explore the link between audits and the quality of government. We find that audited municipalities employ less labor to provide a given level of public services, and change the way in which they screen their employees—relying less on discretion and more on merit. These improvements in bureaucratic efficiency and professionalization imply an increase in the quality of municipal governments.
    Keywords: bureaucracy, corruption, audits, efficiency, public sector employment
    JEL: D73 D78 H11 H70 J45 O12
    Date: 2020–06
  12. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaounde, Cameroon)
    Abstract: This paper examines the joint effects of mobile phone technology, knowledge creation and diffusion on inclusive human development in 49 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The empirical evidence is based on Tobit regressions for the period 2000-2012. The net effects of interactions between the mobile phone, knowledge creation and diffusion variables are positive indicating that the combined effects of these variables improve inclusive human development in SSA countries. Further analysis dividing the dataset into a number of fundamental characteristics based on economic, legal, religion and political stability associated with African economies show that mobile phone penetration and associated innovation in SSA improve inclusive human development irrespective of the country’s level of income, legal origins, religious orientation and the state of the nation. The pupil-teacher ratio exerts a negative influence on the outcome variable which is favourable for inclusive human development because higher ratios denote lower education quality since more pupils are accommodated by fewer teachers. The study contributes to innovation diffusion theory and economic development literature.
    Keywords: Mobile phones; Innovation, Knowledge diffusion; Inclusive human development; Africa
    JEL: G20 I10 I32 O40 O55
    Date: 2020–01
  13. By: Basu, Arnab K.; Byambasuren, Tsenguunjav; Chau, Nancy H.; Khanna, Neha
    Abstract: Indoor air pollution (IAP)–predominantly from the use of solid fuel for cooking– is a global health threat, particularly for women and young children, and one of the leading causes of infant deaths worldwide in developing countries. We estimate the causal effect of cooking fuel choice on infant mortality in India, focusing on children under five years of age using pooled cross-sectional data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) over the period 1992–2016. To address the potential endogeneity in the relationship between fuel choice and mortality, we instrument for cooking fuel choice using a speed of change in forest cover and ownership status of agricultural land, which induce significant variations in fuel type. We find that cooking fuel choice has a statistically significant impact on under-five and neonatal mortality, raising the mortality risk by 4.9 percent. We also find that the past literature has overestimated the association between under-five mortality and polluting fuel use by about 0.6 percentage points or equivalently, 152,000 deaths per year nationally. Our result is robust to a set of alternative specifications with the inclusion of various controls and different estimation strategies.
    Keywords: cooking fuel,indoor air pollution,infant mortality,India
    JEL: I18 N35 Q53
    Date: 2020
  14. By: Kaiyatsa, Stevier; Matita, Mirriam; Chirwa, Ephraim; Mazalale, Jacob
    Abstract: We use a unique panel dataset of smallholder farmers that were collected in central rural Malawi in 2006/07 and 2017/18 agricultural seasons to test whether there are spillover effects of groundnut Fairtrade arrangement on small-scale agricultural commercialization and household welfare for smallholder farmers that did not participate in the arrangement. Our findings reveal that implementation of groundnuts the Fairtrade arrangement in Mchinji district has 29% spillover effect on commercialisation intensity for smallholder farmers that did not participate in the arrangement. However, the arrangement did not contribute to the improvement of agricultural income and asset value of non-participants. Based on our results, we recommend government’s support to smallholder farmers to allow them continue commercialising farming, and improve their welfare.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Farm Management, International Relations/Trade
    Date: 2020–04

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