nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒10‒05
23 papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Impact of International Migration on Food Consumption Pattern and Nutrition: Evidence from Bangladesh By Mahbubur Rahman, Mohammad; Connor, Jeff
  2. Protecting Girls from Droughts with Social Safety Nets By Chatterjee, Jagori; Merfeld, Joshua D.
  3. On the Quantity and Quality of Girls : Fertility, Parental Investments, and Mortality By Lnu,Anukriti; Bhalotra,Sonia R.; Tam,Hiu
  4. What Is the Impact of Weather Shocks on Prices? Evidence from Ethiopia By Hill,Ruth; Fuje,Habtamu Neda
  5. Long-Term Effects of Free Primary Education on Educational Achievement : Evidence from Lesotho By Moshoeshoe,Ramaele Elias
  6. Object Recognition for Economic Development from Daytime Satellite Imagery By Klaus Ackermann; Alexey Chernikov; Nandini Anantharama; Miethy Zaman; Paul A Raschky
  7. Gender Bias in Agricultural Child Labor : Evidence from Survey Design Experiments By Galdo,Jose; Dammert,Ana C.; Abebaw,Degnet
  8. Rural Mobility and Climate Vulnerability: Evidence from the 2015 Drought in Ethiopia By Ben Brunckhorst
  9. Farmers’ responses to unexpected weather variability in developing countries: The case of Indonesia By Yaumidin, Umi Karomah
  10. Teacher Performance-Based Incentives and Learning Inequality By Filmer,Deon P.; Habyarimana,James Paul; Sabarwal,Shwetlena
  11. Reassessing the Resource Curse using Causal Machine Learning By Hodler, Roland; Lechner, Michael; Raschky, Paul A.
  12. Education, cooperative conflicts and child malnutrition—a gender-sensitive analysis of the determinants of wasting in Sudan By Lea Smidt
  13. Mining and the Quality of Public Services : The Role of Local Governance and Decentralization By Konte,Maty; Vincent,Rose Camille
  14. Saving Neonatal Lives for a Quarter By Christine Valente; Hans H. Sievertsen; Mahesh C. Puri
  15. Adverse selection into competition: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment in Tanzania By Almås, Ingvild; Berge, Lars Ivar; Bjorvatn, Kjetil; Somville, Vincent; Tungodden, Bertil
  16. Aspirations, Poverty and Education: Evidence from India By Serneels, Pieter; Dercon, Stefan
  17. Maternal cash for better child health? The impacts of India’s IGMSY/PMMVY maternity benefit scheme By von Haaren, Paula; Klonner, Stefan
  18. Small Area Estimation of Non-Monetary Poverty with Geospatial Data By Masaki,Takaaki; Newhouse,David Locke; Silwal,Ani Rudra; Bedada,Adane; Engstrom,Ryan
  19. Informational Shocks and Street-Food Safety: A Field Study in Urban India By Daniele, Gianmarco; Mookerjee, Sulagna; Tommasi, Denni
  20. It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh By Thiede, Brian C.; Chen, Joyce; Mueller, Valerie; Jia, Yuanyuan; Hultquist, Carolynne
  21. Child Stature, Maternal Education, and Early Childhood Development By Skoufias,Emmanuel; Vinha,Katja Pauliina
  22. The Contribution of Residential Segregation to Racial Income Gaps: Evidence from South Africa By Florent Dubois; Christophe Muller
  23. Smallholders, Market Failures, and Agricultural Production: Evidence from India By Merfeld, Joshua D.

  1. By: Mahbubur Rahman, Mohammad; Connor, Jeff
    Abstract: The impact of migration on household wellbeing is a long-standing debate. Many authors find migration has positive impact on the family left behind, while others find negative. A positive channel of impact can be through remittance of income to household remaining in the country, while a negative impact pathway can be through potential labour loss and parental absence. However, household welfare impact can depend on remittance utilizations. Most empirical evaluations find that most of remittance income is used for investment or investment goods. This include education, housing, durable goods, status-oriented consumption goods and a lesser proportion is used for immediate family consumption. However, Quartey (2006) found in Ghana that the poorest migrant households maintain their consumption by remittance. Thus, Migration might affect food consumption pattern and nutrition through increased income (Karamba et. al, 2011). We have checked this hypothesis in a country where, International migration is a common occurrence. Though Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in poverty reduction in recent years, the nutritional status of its populace is still lagging behind (David, 2008). One cause is the inability of households to grow or purchase sufficient food for their needs (UNICEF). Like this, in many developing countries, international migrat remittances can play a vital role in increasing the purchasing power of migrant families including for food and can act as insurance during vulnerable periods. Migration is self-selected, hence there is a possibility of endogeneity in statistical evaluations of migration remittance impacts on household income and nutrition. The issue is that those who migrate may come from households who are better endowed with human and social capital characteristics that lead to better household welfare outcomes than households with no family migration and remittance income. The uniqueness of this study is, to overcome the challenges of self-selection in estimating remittance impact on household nutrition outcomes, this is the first study (to our best knowledge) that examined the impact of international migration on food consumption pattern specifically using the instrumental variable (IV) method. Moreover, this study is an important addition to the findings of existing migration literature on the utilization of remittance money and the relation between migration and nutrition. Using the data from a nationally representative survey of Bangladesh, we estimated determinants of household food expenditure, total calorie intake and mix of diet including proportion of calories as protein (e.g. meat, fish and dairy). Considering the degree of migration in Bangladesh, we hypothesized significant positive relationships between international migration overall household’s food calorie consumption and food consumption patterns that positively influence nutrition. We found that international migration households had significantly higher food expenditure and calorie intake from protein and oils/-spices than other households and we observed a noticeable behavioural shift both with food expenditure and calorie consumption pattern (ie. a shifting from grains to proteins and oils/-spices). However, total calorie consumption was non-significantly affected by international migration. Using IV to correct for self-selection reduced the estimate marginal impact of remittances on improved nutritional outcome compared to models that did not correct for self-selection bias.
    Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety
    Date: 2020–09–16
  2. By: Chatterjee, Jagori (Furman University); Merfeld, Joshua D. (KDI School of Public Policy and Management)
    Abstract: This paper revisits the relationship between agricultural productivity shocks and the infant sex ratio in India and investigates how this relationship changes when households have access to government-provided employment opportunities outside of agriculture. When a household's preference for sons coincides with adverse agricultural productivity shocks, previous research shows that households tend to disproportionately reduce investments (prenatal and postnatal) in their female children. This behavior leads to a relatively more balanced sex ratio in good rainfall years and a more skewed sex ratio (in favor of boys) in inadequate rainfall years. In a deviation from past work, we find evidence of this primarily through prenatal channels in modern India. We then show that a workfare program that decouples both wages and consumption from rainfall attenuates the relationship between rainfall and the infant sex ratio. Using a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we find that the program could have saved at least 0.7 million girls – relative to boys – if the government had implemented it in 2001 to 2005. Additional results on postnatal channels show substantial impacts on the long-term health outcomes of surviving girls, as rainfall no longer differentially affects girls' height-for-age, relative to boys', following the program's implementation.
    Keywords: sex ratio, child health, consumption smoothing, workfare program, India
    JEL: H53 I15 I38 O12
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: Lnu,Anukriti; Bhalotra,Sonia R.; Tam,Hiu
    Abstract: The introduction of prenatal sex-detection technologies in India has led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. This paper examines the impacts of this on girl relative to boy mortality rates after birth, using data from 1973-2005. The analysis finds a narrowing of the gender gap in under-5 mortality rates, in line with surviving girls being more wanted. The estimates show that for every three aborted girls, one additional girl survives to age five. Investigation of the mechanisms finds a narrowing of gender gaps in parental investments in children, moderation of son-biased fertility stopping, and shrinking of the gap between actual and desired fertility. Heterogeneity in fertility responses suggests a shift in the distribution of girls toward lower socioeconomic status families. The findings have implications not only for counts of missing girls, but also for the later life outcomes of girls.
    Keywords: Law and Justice Institutions,Gender and Development,Health Care Services Industry,Inequality,Early Child and Children's Health,Reproductive Health,Nutrition
    Date: 2020–09–09
  4. By: Hill,Ruth; Fuje,Habtamu Neda
    Abstract: The impact of drought on household welfare is the cumulative effect of crop losses and price changes in a local economy that are triggered by these initial losses. This paper combines data on monthly grain prices and wages in 82 retail markets over 17 years with data on district-level weather shocks to quantify the impact of drought on local prices and how this impact varies by month after harvest. The results show that price increases occur immediately after the completion of harvest and then dissipate so that inflationary effects are quite low during the lean season, contrary to commonly held views. The impact of shocks on prices is quite low now in Ethiopia -- 4 percent at its peak post-2005 compared with 12 percent before 2005. In areas of the country where infrastructure investments have been high, there is now almost no inflationary impact of drought on prices. It is not clear whether it is infrastructure investments or something else that has driven that, but it shows that it is possible for rainfall shocks to have no inflationary impacts in low income economies. Inflationary impacts were also reduced more in districts where the Productive Safety Net Program was introduced. Comparing inflationary effects in districts with food versus cash transfers suggests that cash transfers do not have inflationary effects on grain prices during times of drought.
    Keywords: Natural Disasters,Access of Poor to Social Services,Economic Assistance,Services&Transfers to Poor,Disability,Inequality,Crops and Crop Management Systems,Climate Change and Agriculture,Inflation
    Date: 2020–09–09
  5. By: Moshoeshoe,Ramaele Elias
    Abstract: Many Sub-Saharan African countries have instituted free primary education policies, and this has led to a significant increase in the primary school enrollment rate. However, many children who are in school are not learning. It is not clear whether free primary education policies have contributed to the decline in the quality of education and whether these learning effects are long-lasting. This paper addresses the latter question and estimates the long-term effects of free primary education on educational achievement in Lesotho where the program was phased-in on a grade-by-grade basis, beginning with grade one in 2000. The timing of the implementation created changes in program coverage across age (and grade) groups over time. A semiparametric difference-in-differences strategy is employed that exploits these variations to identify the long-term effects of the free primary education policy on educational achievement, using university examinations records data for student cohorts with and without free primary education. The results indicate that the effect of free primary education on academic performance is bounded between 2 and 19 percentage points, implying that the program increased enrollment without hurting education quality.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Primary Education,Gender and Development,Secondary Education
    Date: 2020–09–21
  6. By: Klaus Ackermann; Alexey Chernikov; Nandini Anantharama; Miethy Zaman; Paul A Raschky
    Abstract: Reliable data about the stock of physical capital and infrastructure in developing countries is typically very scarce. This is particular a problem for data at the subnational level where existing data is often outdated, not consistently measured or coverage is incomplete. Traditional data collection methods are time and labor-intensive costly, which often prohibits developing countries from collecting this type of data. This paper proposes a novel method to extract infrastructure features from high-resolution satellite images. We collected high-resolution satellite images for 5 million 1km $\times$ 1km grid cells covering 21 African countries. We contribute to the growing body of literature in this area by training our machine learning algorithm on ground-truth data. We show that our approach strongly improves the predictive accuracy. Our methodology can build the foundation to then predict subnational indicators of economic development for areas where this data is either missing or unreliable.
    Date: 2020–09
  7. By: Galdo,Jose; Dammert,Ana C.; Abebaw,Degnet
    Abstract: Agricultural labor accounts for the largest share of child labor worldwide. Yet, measurement of farm labor statistics is challenging due to its inherent seasonality, variable and irregular work schedules, and the varying saliences of individuals'work activities. The problem is further complicated by the presence of widespread gender stratification of work and social lives. This study reports the findings of three randomized survey design interventions over the agricultural coffee calendar in rural Ethiopia to address whether response by proxy rather than self-report has effects on the measurement of child labor statistics within and across seasons. While the estimates do not report differences for boys across all seasons, the analysis shows sizable self/proxy discrepancies in child labor statistics for girls. Overall, the results highlight concerns on the use of survey proxy respondents in agricultural labor, particularly for girls. The main findings have important implications for policymakers about data collection in rural areas in developing countries.
    Keywords: Child Labor,Labor Markets,Rural Labor Markets,Labor Standards,Child Labor Law,Gender and Development,Crops and Crop Management Systems,Climate Change and Agriculture,Labor&Employment Law
    Date: 2020–09–22
  8. By: Ben Brunckhorst
    Abstract: In 2015, Ethiopia experienced the worst meteorological drought in decades. This paper investigates vulnerability to drought by applying a difference-in-differences strategy to this event, in a natural experiment. I construct a Standardised Precipitation Index using 35 years of satellite rainfall data to exogenously measure local drought intensity, and combine with nationally representative household panel data. Results show thathouseholds experiencing at least a one in 20-year drought have, on average, 12 percent lower annual consumption and 38 percent lower agricultural production than they would otherwise have in a typical year. Results are robust to varying sets of counterfactuals, placebo treatments and identification using the change-in-changes method. Drought has a greater impact on poorer households, female-headed households and larger producers. Production is sensitive to drought severity. In a context of increasing drought frequency and intensity, these findings imply lower expected returns to investment in agriculture, hindering rural development. Results also suggest drought induces positive production spillover effects in nearby areas, which could support resilience. This mechanism may be facilitated by increased factor mobility and market interactions between villages during times of drought. Evidence from rural Ethiopia indicates that transport services, mobile phones and social networks are important for resilience, but the effect of road infrastructure alone is less clear. Public investment in these services may have untapped potential to reduce climate vulnerability.
    Keywords: Drought; Ethiopia; Infastructure; Rural Development
    JEL: Q54 R58
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Yaumidin, Umi Karomah
    Abstract: This paper aims to estimate the causal impact of the unexpected weather variation on the employment level of the farm households by exploiting natural variation of the unexpected weather changes and variation in decision of labour allocation based on gender and occupation in Indonesia. Weather variability is increasing in frequency, duration and intensity. It cannot be predicted with certainty and effectively mitigated in terms of both the time of the event and the impact of the loss (Lei, Liu, et al. 2016). Through its implications for agricultural production, the weather variability together with extreme weather will lead to crop failure, increased production costs, damaged farm infrastructure, reduced farmer incomes, and increased rural poverty (Winsemius et al. 2018). Despite substantial discussion on crop diversification, the farmers’ option to manage their family labour as means of risk avoidance is limited in the literature (Ayenew 2017). It is a crucial question to address how this strategy is effective in response to the negative effect of unexpected weather changes. We exploit the unexpected weather variability that is defined as the deviation between the real-time value of weather condition, proxies by the Standardized Precipitation and Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). Then, we construct our model based on the assumption that farming family hold non-separable between production and consumption decision, as a response to market imperfection. To this end, our outcome variables refer to a household’s allocation of time to work (log household worked hours) of family labour to any of the categories of activities (in agriculture and non-agriculture) and by gender. While, our control variables comprise information on household and community characteristics. Household characteristics variables consist of farm or land size, parents education, household size, non-farm asset, the working-age (15-65 years old) member of the household. Village characteristics measure the availability of infrastructure that are the level of road and electricity, and irrigation. Information on altitude, experience to drought in the last year and majority income of village dwellers are also taking into account in our model. Hence, by utilising a linear household fixed-effect method, our model can be written as: y_ijt= 〖α+φD〗_jt+〖βX〗_ijt+〖ωV〗_jt+〖δ_i+δ_d+δ〗_t+ ε_ijt………(4) Overall, our results found that there were causal inferences between the employment level of farm households and weather-based variables. Unexpected variability of weather exposure reduced the number of working hours of farms employed by 4.7 per cent per standard deviation. In contrast, farm household’s member worked more in non-agricultural job as indicated by the number of working hours increased 3.6 per cent. These results are robust to the inclusion of sub-district and year fixed effect as control, and several confounding factors. Moreover, the panel regression confirmed that all policies variables have a significant positive on households working hours. Agricultural extension, public works project, and credit facilities in the villages are substantial consideration for the policies design to support farmers in overcoming the negative effect of weather variability.
    Keywords: International Development, Farm Management
    Date: 2020–09–16
  10. By: Filmer,Deon P.; Habyarimana,James Paul; Sabarwal,Shwetlena
    Abstract: This study evaluates the impacts of low-cost, performance-based incentives in Tanzanian secondary schools. Results from a two-phase randomized trial show that incentives for teachers led to modest average improvements in student achievement across different subjects. Further, withdrawing incentives did not lead to a"discouragement effect"(once incentives were withdrawn, student performance did not fall below pre-baseline levels). Rather, impacts on learning were sustained beyond the intervention period. However, these incentives may have exacerbated learning inequality within and across schools. Increases in learning were concentrated among initially better-performing schools and students. At the same time, learning outcomes may have decreased for schools and students that were lower performing at baseline. Finally, the study finds that incentivizing students without simultaneously incentivizing teachers did not produce observable learning gains.
    Keywords: Effective Schools and Teachers,Educational Institutions&Facilities,Educational Sciences,Public Sector Administrative&Civil Service Reform,De Facto Governments,Public Sector Administrative and Civil Service Reform,Administrative&Civil Service Reform,Democratic Government
    Date: 2020–09–08
  11. By: Hodler, Roland; Lechner, Michael; Raschky, Paul A.
    Abstract: We reassess the effects of natural resources on economic development and conflict, applying a causal forest estimator and data from 3,800 Sub-Saharan African districts. We find that, on average, mining activities and higher world market prices of locally mined minerals both increase economic development and conflict. Consistent with the previous literature, mining activities have more positive effects on economic development and weaker effects on conflict in places with low ethnic diversity and high institutional quality. In contrast, the effects of changes in mineral prices vary little in ethnic diversity and institutional quality, but are non-linear and largest at relatively high prices.
    Keywords: Resource curse, mining, economic development, conflict, causal machine learning, Africa
    JEL: C21 O13 O55 Q34 R12
    Date: 2020–09
  12. By: Lea Smidt (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "Sudan has one of the highest wasting rates globally, reflecting endemic child malnutrition. Cross-national research has identified gender inequality as a common predictor for such child health deprivations. At household level, studies support this finding by showing that maternal education improves childrens health outcomes. Yet authors disagree on whether education measures a womans economic situation, her capacity or her status. In addition, mothers education is examined irrespective of fathers education; thus, the gender perspective is incomplete. Therefore, this paper investigates how and through which channels parents respective and relative levels of education affect wasting. The central argument is that a mothers level of education reduces her childrens risk of wasting independent of the father and their households economic situation because education improves the mothers nutritional knowledge and bargaining power. Using a two-stage residual inclusion approach, my findings from a sample of nearly 8,000 Sudanese children corroborate my argument: maternal education decreases the likelihood of wasting via the quality of a childs diet and by increasing the mothers bargaining power, after controlling for household wealth and food security. By contrast, paternal education has no effect on a childs diet or nutritional status. Children of fathers with a university diploma are at an even greater risk of wasting. Mothers and fathers relative levels of education do not influence childrens nutritional outcomes. These results suggest that interventions should focus on empowering women through capacity-building and material support and by enhancing their legal and perceived autonomy from their husbands to increase their decision-making power". (...)
    Keywords: child malnutrition, gender, intra-household bargaining, parental education, Sudan.
    Date: 2019–10
  13. By: Konte,Maty; Vincent,Rose Camille
    Abstract: This paper investigates the local effects of mining on the quality of public services and on people's optimism about their future living conditions. It also assesses the mediating role of local institutions and local governments'taxing rights in shaping the proximity-to-mine effects. The empirical framework connects more than 130,000 respondents from the Afrobarometer survey data (2005-2015) to their closest mines based on the geolocation coordinates of the enumeration areas (EA) and data on the mines and their respective status from the SNL Metals&Mining. The geo-referenced data are matched with new indicators on local governments'taxing rights across the African continent. The results suggest that citizens living near an active mine are less likely to approve government performance in key public goods and services -- including health, job creation and improving living standards of the poor. On the mediating role of local governance and local taxing rights, the findings point to a negative effect of local corruption, yet a positive effect of local authorities? discretion over tax and revenues. However, the positive marginal effect of local taxing powers tends to reduce in environments with poor quality of local governance, high incidence of bribe payment and low level of trust in local government officials. Residents of mining communities with low corruption and comparatively high-level of raising revenue ability have the highest rate of positive appraisal compared to the other scenarios.
    Keywords: Mining&Extractive Industry (Non-Energy),Energy and Natural Resources,Coastal and Marine Resources,Local Government,Social Accountability,Regional Governance
    Date: 2020–09–08
  14. By: Christine Valente; Hans H. Sievertsen; Mahesh C. Puri
    Abstract: Over 400,000 children die annually from neonatal sepsis, despite several RCTs finding that this can be prevented by chlorhexidine cord care (CHX) for only US$0.23 per dose. Unresolved heterogeneity in findings and other RCT scalability concerns contribute to slow CHX adoption. Studying the first national CHX roll-out — in Nepal — we find that CHX reduces neonatal mortality by 56 percent for births predicted to take place at home. We find no effect for predicted health facility births, which is consistent with heterogeneity in prior experimental estimates. Conditional on predicted place of delivery, there is little significant treatment effect heterogeneity.
    Date: 2020–09–21
  15. By: Almås, Ingvild (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Berge, Lars Ivar (Dept. of Accounting, Auditing and Law, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Bjorvatn, Kjetil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Somville, Vincent (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tungodden, Bertil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: An influential literature has shown that women are less willing to compete than men, and the gender gap in competition may contribute to explaining gender differences in educational choices and labor market outcomes. This study reports from a large-scale randomized controlled trial of a women empowerment program in Tanzania targeting young women at the end of secondary school. Combining the randomized controlled trial, a lab-in-the-field experiment and survey data, we provide evidence suggesting that the program caused adverse selection into competition: low performing women competed more, while there was no effect on the high performers. We provide a theoretical framework to illustrate an adverse selection mechanism that may contribute to explain why the program only affected the willingness to compete among low performers. Our results emphasize the importance of understanding sorting mechanisms and heterogeneous treatment effects in the design of policies and programs.
    Keywords: Competition; Fairness
    JEL: C19 I24 J16
    Date: 2020–09–18
  16. By: Serneels, Pieter (University of East Anglia); Dercon, Stefan (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether aspirations matter for education, which offers a common route out of poverty. We find that mother aspirations are strongly related to the child's grade achieved at age 18. The relation is nonlinear, suggesting there is a threshold, and depends on caste, household income and the village setting. The coefficients remain large and significant when applying control function estimation, using first born son as instrument. A similar strong relation is observed with learning outcomes, including local language, English and maths test results, and with attending school, but not with attending private education. These results are confirmed for outcomes at age 15. The findings provide direct evidence on the contribution of mother aspirations to children's education outcomes and point to aspirations as a channel of intergenerational mobility. They suggest that education outcomes can be improved more rapidly by taking aspirations into account when targeting education programmes, and through interventions that shape aspirations.
    Keywords: education, aspirations, poverty
    JEL: I25 I21 D03
    Date: 2020–09
  17. By: von Haaren, Paula; Klonner, Stefan
    Abstract: The maternity benefit scheme introduced as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) in 2011 and renamed Pradhan Mantri Matriva Sahyog Yojana (PMMVY) in 2017, which incentivizes pregnant and lactating women to participate in various infant health-promoting activities, is India’s largest conditional cash transfer program thus far. We approach IGMSY’s geographically targeted pilot phase as a natural experiment and use data from a large national health survey to estimate its effects by a matched-pair differences-in-differences approach. Consistent with the program’s objectives we find positive, albeit small effects on infant immunization as well as long-term health care utilization. In addition, intervals between eligible births increase by 15 percent. Our findings suggest that PMMVY is moderately cost-effective, at least regarding immunization, but that it will make only a small contribution to redressing India’s dismal child-health record.
    Keywords: cash incentives; demand-side financing; child health; maternal health; India
    Date: 2020–09–18
  18. By: Masaki,Takaaki; Newhouse,David Locke; Silwal,Ani Rudra; Bedada,Adane; Engstrom,Ryan
    Abstract: This paper uses data from Sri Lanka and Tanzania to evaluate the benefits of combining household surveys with geographically comprehensive geospatial indicators to generate small area estimates of non-monetary poverty. The preferred estimates are generated by utilizing subarea-level geospatial indicators in a household-level empirical best predictor mixed model with a normalized welfare measure. Mean squared errors are estimated using a parametric bootstrap procedure. The resulting estimates are highly correlated with non-monetary poverty calculated from the full census in both countries, and the gain in precision is comparable to increasing the size of the sample by a factor of three in Sri Lanka and five in Tanzania. The empirical best predictor model moderately underestimates uncertainty, but coverage rates are similar to standard survey-based estimates that assume independent outcomes across clusters. A variety of checks, including adding noise to the welfare measure and model-based and design-based simulations, confirm that the main results are robust. The results demonstrate that combining household survey data with subarea-level geospatial indicators can greatly increase the precision of survey estimates of non-monetary poverty at comparatively low cost.
    Keywords: Inequality,Employment and Unemployment,ICT Applications,Labor&Employment Law,Educational Sciences
    Date: 2020–09–08
  19. By: Daniele, Gianmarco (Bocconi University); Mookerjee, Sulagna (Binghamton University, New York); Tommasi, Denni (Monash University)
    Abstract: The street food market is a major source of food in developing countries, but is often characterized by unsafe food conditions. We investigate whether improvements in food safety can be achieved by providing information to vendors in the form of a training. Among randomly assigned groups of street-food vendors in Kolkata, India, we find large improvements in knowledge and awareness, but little change in their observed behavior. We provide two main explanations for these findings. First, information acquisition by itself does not make it significantly easier for vendors to provide customers with safer food options. Second, although consumers in this market have a positive willingness to pay for food that is perceived as more hygienic, they struggle to distinguish between safe and contaminated food. We conclude that information to vendors is not the key constraint in this context, and that policies mitigating supply-side constraints as well as improving food safety awareness among consumers are likely to have more impact.
    Keywords: food safety, public health, street-food, hawkers, trainings, RCT, informal sector
    JEL: O12 O17
    Date: 2020–09
  20. By: Thiede, Brian C. (The Pennsylvania State University); Chen, Joyce; Mueller, Valerie; Jia, Yuanyuan; Hultquist, Carolynne
    Abstract: A growing demographic literature has examined the impacts of climatic variability on human populations. Most of this work has focused on migration, morbidity, and mortality. Much less attention has been given to the effects of climate change on fertility, which represents an important gap given many plausible reasons to expect such effects. We address this issue by examining the relationship between exposure to flooding and fertility in Bangladesh. We link birth records (n=355,532 person-years) from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) with satellite-derived measures of flooding from 2002 through 2014 and estimate statistical models of the relationship between flood exposure and subsequent fertility outcomes. We also conduct secondary analyses of the relationship between flood exposure and four expected causal pathways: women’s marriage, contraceptive use, employment, and health. Results suggest that flood exposure reduces the probability of childbearing, and that this effect operates with a two-year lag. Negative effects are concentrated among women with a primary school education or higher and low-parity women. In contrast, women at high parities (e.g., at or above four) tend to increase their fertility in response to flooding. We find little evidence that observed flooding effects operate through the causal pathways we test, raising questions for future research about the mechanisms that explain our findings.
    Date: 2020–04–12
  21. By: Skoufias,Emmanuel; Vinha,Katja Pauliina
    Abstract: This paper uses Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys data from the Republic of Congo and São Tomé and Príncipe to study the relationships between child stature, mother's years of education, and indicators of early childhood development. The relationships are contrasted between two empirical approaches: the conventional approach whereby control variables are selected in an ad-hoc manner and the double machine-learning approach that employs data-driven methods to select controls from a much wider set of variables. Overall, the findings based on the preferable double machine-learning approach differ across the two countries depending on the measures of early childhood development and child stature (height-for-age Z-score and stunting) used in the analysis. Double machine-learning estimates for the Republic of Congo suggest that height-for-age Z-score and stunting have a direct causal effect on early childhood development. In contrast, for São Tomé and Príncipe, no relationship is found. Thus, country-specific policy advice based on the relationships observed from data in other countries may be quite risky, if not misleading. Double machine-learning provides a practical and feasible approach to reducing threats to internal validity to derive robust inferences based on observational data for evidence-based policy advice.
    Date: 2020–09–14
  22. By: Florent Dubois (EconomiX - UMR 7235, Université Paris Nanterre, France); Christophe Muller (Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, AMSE, Marseille, France.)
    Abstract: In this paper, we contend that local segregation should be an essential component of the analyzes of the determination of socio-ethnic income gaps. For this, we adopt a thorough distribution decomposition approach, as a general preliminary descriptive step to prospective specific structural analyses. Focusing on the contemporary White/African gap in South Africa, we first complete Mincer wage equations with an Isolation index that reflects the level of segregation in the local area where individuals dwell. Second, we decompose the income gap distribution into detailed composition and structure components. Third, we explore the heterogeneity of segregation effects on wage gaps along three theoretical lines: racial preferences, labor market segmentation, and networks links. Segregation is found to be the main contributor of the structure effect, ahead of education and experience, and to make a sizable contribution to the composition effect. Moreover, segregation is harmful at the bottom of the African income distribution, notably in relation to local informal job-search networks, while it is beneficial at the top of the White income distribution. Only minor influences of racial preferences and labor market segmentation are found. Specific subpopulations are identified that suffer and benefit most from segregation, including for the former, little educated workers in agriculture and mining, often female, immersed in their personal networks. Finally, minimum wage policies are found likely to attenuate most segregation’s noxious mechanisms.
    Keywords: post-apartheid South Africa, generalized decompositions, income distribution, residential segregation
    JEL: J15 D31 R23
    Date: 2020–09
  23. By: Merfeld, Joshua D. (KDI School of Public Policy and Management)
    Abstract: Market completeness has important implications for household behavior. I firmly reject complete markets for smallholders but am unable to do so for non-smallholders. This leads to important differences in production behavior: smallholders reallocate labor across activities less in response to intra-seasonal crop price changes than do non-smallholders. A counterfactual exercise indicates smallholders could increase revenue by almost nine percent if they were to reallocate labor similarly to non-smallholders. The overall pattern of results is consistent with small-holders lacking sufficient wage employment opportunities. Since non-smallholders have to hire in for agricultural production, this lack of opportunities does not affect their decisions.
    Keywords: markets, market failures, agriculture, labor
    JEL: J20 J43 O13 Q12 Q13
    Date: 2020–09

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.