nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒08‒17
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Income Poverty has been Halved in the Developing World, even when Accounting for Relative Poverty By Benoit Decerf; Mery Ferrando
  2. The Impact of Community Based Health Insurance Schemes on Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending: Evidence from Rwanda By Andinet Woldemichael; Daniel Gurara; Abebe Shimeles
  3. Effects of Conflict on Child Health: Evidence from the 1990–1994 Northern Mali Conflict By Takahiro Tsujimoto; Yoko Kijima
  4. Effects of the Fertilizer Subsidy Program on Fertilizer Use, Farm Productivity and Crop Sales in Mali By Melinda Smale; Amidou Assima; Véronique Thériault; Yénizié Kone
  5. Mama Knows (and Does) Best : Maternal Schooling Opportunities and Child Development in Indonesia By Hasan,Amer; Nakajima,Nozomi; Rangel,Marcos A.
  6. Armed Conflict and Birth Weight By Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
  7. Mobilization Effects of Multilateral Development Banks By Chiara Broccolini; Giulia Lotti; Alessandro Maffioli; Andrea F Presbitero; Rodolfo Stucchi
  8. Public goods and ethnic diversity: evidence from deforestation in Indonesia By Alesina, Alberto; Gennaioli, Caterina; Lovo, Stefania
  9. A Governance Dividend for Sub-Saharan Africa? By Amine Hammadi; Marshall Mills; Nelson Sobrinho; Vimal V Thakoor; Ricardo Velloso
  10. Randomizing religion: the impact of Protestant evangelism on economic outcomes By Bryan, Gharad; Choi, James J; Karlan, Dean
  11. Predicting uptake of a malignant catarrhal fever vaccine by pastoralists in northern Tanzania: opportunities for improving livelihoods and ecosystem health By Catherine Decker; Nick Hanley; Mikołaj Czajkowski; Thomas A. Morrison; Julius Keyyu; Linus Munishi; Felix Lankester; Sarah Cleaveland
  12. Child Labor and Schooling Decisions among Self-Help Groups Members in Rural India By Jean-Marie Baland; Timothée Demont; Rohini Somanathan
  13. Crop Yield Convergence across Districts in India's Poorest State By Sinha,Rishabh
  14. Political Reservation and Female Labor Force Participation in Rural India By Deininger,Klaus W.; Jin,Songqing; Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan; Singh,Sudhir K.

  1. By: Benoit Decerf (University of Namur); Mery Ferrando (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: The first Millennium Development Goal was to halve extreme absolute poverty over the period 1990-2015. This goal has been met by a large margin, but the simultaneous increase in within-country inequality has led to an increase in relative poverty. As absolute and relative poverty evolved in opposite directions, whether or not overall poverty – which combines both absolute and relative poverty – has been reduced typically depends on the arbitrary priority assigned to absolutely poor individuals. We develop a new method for overall income poverty evaluation thatcan potentially provide judgments that do not depend on that priority parameter. We show that, if we assume that an individual who is absolutely poor is poorer than an individual who is only relatively poor, overall poverty in the developing world has been (at least) halved over the period, regardless of the value chosen for the priority parameter. This result is robust to alternative specifications of the poverty lines and to the exclusion of China or India. Alternative approaches find much less overall poverty reduction because they violate our normative assumption.
    Keywords: Income Poverty, Relative Poverty, Absolute Poverty, Developing World.
    JEL: D63 I32
    Date: 2020–07
  2. By: Andinet Woldemichael; Daniel Gurara; Abebe Shimeles
    Abstract: Achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection and access to quality essential health-care services, is one of the main Sustainable Development Goals. In low-income countries, innovative and affordable health financing systems are key to realize these goals. This paper assesses the impacts of Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme in Rwanda on health-related financial risks using a nationally representative household survey data collected over a ten-year period. We find that the scheme significantly reduce annual per capita out-of-pocket spending by about 3,600 Rwandan Franc (about US$12) or about 83 percent of average per capita healthcare expenditure compared to the baseline level in 2000.The impacts however favor the rich as compared to the poor. The program also reduces the incidence of catastrophic healthcare spending significantly.
    Keywords: Consumer price indexes;Demographic indicators;Health insurance;Poverty;Health care;Healthcare spending,low-income,Rwanda,out-of-pocket,treatment effect,endogeneity,quartile,healthcare service
    Date: 2019–02–22
  3. By: Takahiro Tsujimoto (Postdoctoral Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, Japan); Yoko Kijima (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Japan)
    Abstract: This study evaluates the impact of the 1990–1994 conflict in northern Mali on child health at different timings of exposure (in utero and after birth). Two anthropometric variables (height-for-age and weight-for-height Z-scores) are used as indicators of child health. The empirical strategy relies on the difference-in-difference approach based on birth cohort, GIS residence information, and conflict intensity. The intensity of conflict exposure is measured by the number of deaths resulting from a conflict that broke out within a 10-km radius of each community. The estimation results show that the more severe the exposure to children and their mothers, the greater is the negative impact on the height, but not on the weight, of children. Additionally, the timing of conflict exposure plays a critical role in the outcome of a child’s health: exposure to conflict in utero, rather than after birth, negatively affects health. Placebo test as well as tests of selective migration, fertility, and mortality are conducted and confirmed the robustness of the main results. The differential effects of the timing of exposure in utero suggest that the heightened maternal stress is the main mechanism.
    Keywords: Child health; Conflict; Early-life shock; Mali
    Date: 2020–07
  4. By: Melinda Smale; Amidou Assima; Véronique Thériault; Yénizié Kone
    Abstract: Mali’s most recent phase of fertilizer subsidies began during the global food crisis of 2008/09, but there is little evidence-based information concerning its effects. To generate information of potential use to policymakers in Mali, we implemented a survey to a random sample of 2400 extended farm family households in two major agroecological zones of Mali—the Delta du Niger and the Plateau de Koutiala. In this paper, we test the effects of the fertilizer subsidy on total fertilizer applied, yield, target cropincome and quantity of all crops sold. We find that subsidized fertilizer accounts for most of thetotal fertilizer applied by farmers, suggesting that in some instances it is displacing demand forcommercial fertilizer. Average fertilizer use rates in kgs appear to be below the recommended quantities for all target crops, despite subsidy receipts. In future research, we intend to verify these findings converting units to nitrogen nutrient kgs, which standardizes across fertilizer types and permits a more exact comparison. We compare regression results across several econometric approaches to improve their reliability. Each econometric approach provides evidence that considering all crops combined, the fertilizer subsidy has a positive effect on total fertilizer applied per ha, yields, and crop revenues of target crop, as well as on quantities of all crops sold. However, important differences are observable among crops. On average, subsidy effects on millet and sorghum outcome variable were weak or not statistically significant. Average subsidy effects on all outcome variables were strong for rice. Average subsidy effects were strong on maize yields, but not revenues or sales of other crops. For cotton, the subsidy only allowed an increase in the mean quantities of fertilizers used without improving productivity or other outcomes. The dose-response estimation suggests efficiency intervals in which the fertilizer subsidy has a positive marginal effect on fertilizer use, productivity and crop sales. These also vary from one crop to another, but are estimated only for rice, maize and cotton given that mean effects are not significant for sorghum and millet. We find no positive marginal effect of subsidized fertilizer on yields below 65 kg/ha for rice and 87 kg/ha for maize. The graphs also show peaks at high levels of subsidized fertilizer for both crops, with declining marginal returns after that point. For rice, marginal effects on rice revenues have a similar shape to that of the yield effect, and effects on quantities of all crops sold are strong through much of the range of subsidized fertilizer applied in the data. This last result is observable also for maize at higher levels of the subsidy, suggesting some spillovers from rice and maize to non-target crops. No positive effect on cotton yields, cotton revenues or quantities of all crops sold is discernible regardless of the level of subsidization. The fertilizer subsidy in Mali is currently designed to target particular crops and enhance their productivity. We conclude that the design could be made more efficient by either reconsidering target crops or targeting the subsidy according to different criteria. We consider that applying the subsidy to cotton represents a deadweight loss—that is, a public expenditure that leads to no discernible supply shift. This last finding could be season dependent, or result from factors we could not measure in this analysis—such as cottonseed quality.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty
    Date: 2020–05–31
  5. By: Hasan,Amer; Nakajima,Nozomi; Rangel,Marcos A.
    Abstract: This paper leverages quasi-experimental variation in increased access to basic formal education, introduced by a large-scale school construction program in Indonesia in the 1970s, to quantify the benefits to the children of women targeted by the program. Novel and rich data allow the analysis of a range of health, cognitive and socio-emotional development outcomes for children ages 6 to 8 in 2013. The paper finds that increased maternal access to schooling has positive and multidimensional effects on children. The effects are particularly salient at the bottom of the distributions of outcomes. Drawing on insights from economics, psychology, and sociology, the paper examines pathways for these impacts. Evidence suggests that mothers who were exposed to more schooling opportunities during childhood demonstrate less hostility toward their children when parenting and also invest more in their children's preschool education.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Health Care Services Industry,Early Childhood Development,Nutrition,Early Child and Children's Health,Reproductive Health,Children and Youth,Social Protections&Assistance
    Date: 2020–08–11
  6. By: Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
    Abstract: This paper investigates the hidden yet persistent cost of conflict to birth weight outcomes for 53 developing countries experiencing conflict in the past three decades (1990-2018). Exploiting the variation across districts and conception months-years, we find that intrauterine exposure to armed conflict in the first trimester of pregnancy reduces child’s weight at birth by 2.8% and raises the incidence of low birth weight by 3.2 percentage points. Infants born to poor and low educated mothers are especially vulnerable to the adverse repercussions of armed conflict. Given the long-lasting consequences of poor infant health over the life cycle, our findings call for global efforts in the prevention and mitigation of conflict. Extra attention should be directed to children and women from disadvantaged backgrounds.
    Keywords: Armed Conflict, Birth Weight, Intergenerational Effects, Developing Countries
    JEL: I15 J13 O15
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Chiara Broccolini; Giulia Lotti; Alessandro Maffioli; Andrea F Presbitero; Rodolfo Stucchi
    Abstract: We use loan-level data on syndicated lending to a large sample of developing countries between 1993 and 2017 to estimate the mobilization effects of multilateral development banks (MDBs), controlling for a large set of fixed effects. We find evidence of positive and significant direct and indirect mobilization effects of multilateral lending on the number of deals and on the total size of bank inflows. The number of lending banks and the average maturity of syndicated loans also increase after MDB lending. These effects are present not only on impact, but they last up to three years and are not offset by a decline in bond financing. There is no evidence of anticipation effects and the results are not driven by confounding factors, such as the presence of large global banks, Chinese lending and aid flows. Finally, the economic effects are sizable, suggesting that MBDs can play a vital role to mobilize private sector financing to achieve the goals of the 2030 Development Agenda.
    Keywords: Official development assistance;International bond markets;Sovereign credit ratings;International financial markets;Poverty reduction and development;Multilateral Development Banks,Private Capital Flows,Mobilization Effects,Catalytic Finance,Syndicated loans,syndicated loan,MDB,outcome variable,mobilization,bond issuance
    Date: 2019–02–15
  8. By: Alesina, Alberto; Gennaioli, Caterina; Lovo, Stefania
    Abstract: This paper shows that the level of deforestation in Indonesia is positively related to the degree of ethnic fractionalization. To identify a causal relation we exploit the exogenous timing of variation in the level of ethnic heterogeneity due to the creation of new jurisdictions. We provide evidence consistent with a lower control of politicians, through electoral punishment, in more ethnically fragmented districts. Our results are consistent with the literature on (under) provision of public goods in ethnically diverse societies.
    Keywords: deforestation; ethnic diversity; corruption; Indonesia
    JEL: D73 L73 O10
    Date: 2019–01
  9. By: Amine Hammadi; Marshall Mills; Nelson Sobrinho; Vimal V Thakoor; Ricardo Velloso
    Abstract: Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) tend to lag those in most other regions in terms of governance and perceptions of corruption. Weak governance undermines economic performance through various channels, including deficiencies in government functions and distortions to economic incentives. It thus stands to reason that SSA countries could strengthen their economic performance by improving governance and reducing corruption. This paper estimates that strengthening governance and mitigating corruption in the region could be associated with large growth dividends in the long run. While the process would take considerable time and effort, moving the average SSA country governance level to the global average could increase the region’s GDP per capita growth by about 1-2 percentage points.
    Keywords: Corruption;Governance;Economic growth;Sub-Saharan Africa;Gross capital formation;Central bank independence;Tax evasion;Civil society;Public services;Institutions,Institutions and Growth,weak governance,SSA,WGI,per_capita growth,endogeneity
    Date: 2019–01–11
  10. By: Bryan, Gharad; Choi, James J; Karlan, Dean
    Abstract: We study the causal impact of religiosity through a randomized evaluation of an evangelical Protestant Christian values and theology education program delivered to thousands of ultrapoor Filipino households. Six months after the program ended, treated households have higher religiosity and income; no statistically significant differences in total labor supply, consumption, food security, or life satisfaction; and lower perceived relative economic status. Exploratory analysis suggests that the income treatment effect may operate through increasing grit. Thirty months after the program ended, significant differences in the intensity of religiosity disappear, but those in the treatment group are less likely to be Catholic and more likely to be Protestant, and there is some mixed evidence that their consumption and perceived relative economic status are higher. We conclude that this church-based program may represent a method of increasing non-cognitive skills and reducing poverty among adults in developing countries.
    Keywords: P01AG005842
    JEL: D12 I30 O12
    Date: 2020–06–10
  11. By: Catherine Decker (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow; Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology); Nick Hanley (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow); Mikołaj Czajkowski (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Thomas A. Morrison (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow); Julius Keyyu (Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute); Linus Munishi (Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology); Felix Lankester (Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Global Animal Health Tanzania); Sarah Cleaveland (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow)
    Abstract: Malignant Catarhal Fever (MCF), transmitted from wildebeest to cattle, threatens livestock-based livelihoods and food security in many areas of Africa. Many herd owners reduce transmission risks by moving cattle away from infection hot-spots, but this imposes considerable economic burdens on their households. The advent of a partially-protective vaccine for cattle opens up new options for disease prevention. In a study of pastoral households in northern Tanzania, we use stated preference choice modelling to investigate how pastoralists would likely respond to the availability of such a vaccine. We show a high probability of likely vaccine uptake by herd owners, declining at higher vaccine costs. Acceptance increases with more efficaceous vaccines, in situations where vaccinated cattle are ear-tagged, and where vaccine is delivered through private vets. Through analysis Normalized Density Vegetation Index (NDVI) data, we show that the reported MCF incidence over 5 years is highest in areas with greatest NDVI variability and in smaller herds. Trends towards greater rainfall variability suggest that MCF avoidance through traditional movement of cattle away from wildebeest will become more challenging and that demand for an MCF vaccine will likely increase.
    Keywords: vaccine, cattle, Malignant Catarhal Fever, Tanzania, stated preference, choice modelling, wilingness to pay
    JEL: Q12 Q51 D12 H57 I19
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Jean-Marie Baland (CRED, DEFIPP, University of Namur); Timothée Demont (Aix-Marseille Univ., CNRS, EHESS, Centrale Marseille, AMSE); Rohini Somanathan (Delhi School of Economics University of Delhi)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the consequences of the participation in informal microfinance groups, known as Self-Help Groups (SHGs), on children’s education and work in rural India. We analyze first-hand data collected from a panel of households in areas where new groups were formed in 2002. We observe these households three times over a five year period, which allows us to examine medium-term effects of SHG participation. We find a robust and strong increase in treated children’s secondary school enrollment rate over time, by about 20 percentage points, to be compared with a baseline rate of 45%. This effect stems from a quicker grade progression, leading to lower drop-out rates between primary and secondary school. We find no decrease in overall child labor (but a reorientation towards part-time domestic work), indicating that there is no clear substitution between labor and education for children of secondary-school age in rural India. Contrary to what is usually believed, we show that credit does not play any direct role in the increased schooling. However, we find evidence that it partly follows from social interactions within SHGs, under the form of peer effects. Our findings indicate that microfinance groups can have large effects on the human capital of participants and their families, though such effects can take time to materialize and happen through unintended channels.
    Keywords: microfinance, self-help groups, education, child labor, peer effects, India
    JEL: O15 G21 C33 R2
    Date: 2020–05
  13. By: Sinha,Rishabh
    Abstract: Bihar, India's poorest state, witnessed impressive yield growth in each of its three principal crops over 2005-17. This paper examines whether a convergence in district yields accompanied the improvement in yields at the state level, thereby reducing regional inequalities in land productivity. The convergence test allows the idiosyncratic element of productivity to be time-varying, thus allowing yields to diverge in some interim phases. Rice yields across districts appear to be converging to a common level, while maize yields have diverged over the same period. However, the sub-period analysis shows a trend of divergence for both crops going forward. In contrast, wheat yields seem to be converging to a common level recently, although the convergence for the entire period is weak. The analysis also identifies district clubs, which are converging to similar steady states. The club classification transcends agro-climatic boundaries, indicating a need for policy action to aid yield growth in lagging districts. Finally, there is no evidence that the divergence in yields was driven by a divergence in credit allocation, highlighting the limitations of a macro credit-driven policy. Credit supply might not be enough when there are structural snags in the availability of direct agricultural inputs.
    Keywords: Climate Change and Agriculture,Crops and Crop Management Systems,Agricultural Economics,Food Security,Fertilizers,Financial Sector Policy
    Date: 2020–07–27
  14. By: Deininger,Klaus W.; Jin,Songqing; Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan; Singh,Sudhir K.
    Abstract: Despite income growth, fertility decline, and educational expansion, women's labor force participation in rural India dropped precipitously over the last decade. This paper uses nationwide, individual-level data allow to explore whether random reservation of village leadership for women affected their access to suitable job opportunities, demand for participation in the labor force, and income as well as intrahousehold bargaining in the short and medium term. Political empowerment through reservation affected women's but not men's participation in public works, but also women's participation in labor markets, income, and participation in key household decisions, with a lag.
    Keywords: Labor Markets,Gender and Development,Rural Labor Markets,Educational Sciences
    Date: 2020–08–05

This nep-dev issue is ©2020 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.