nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒12‒14
seventeen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Christian missions and anti-gay attitudes in Africa By Maxim Ananyev; Michael Poyker
  2. Trade disruption, industrialisation, and the setting sun of British colonial rule in India By Roberto Bonfatti; Bjoern Brey
  3. Social Identity and Aspiration - Double Jeopardy or Intersectionality? Evidence from Rural India By Sarkar, Sudipa; Chakravorty, Bhaskar; Lyonette, Clare
  4. Mining and Gender Gaps in India By Guimbeau, Amanda; Ji, James; Menon, Nidhiya; van der Meulen Rodgers, Yana
  5. By choice or by force?: Uncovering the nature of informal employment in urban Mexico By Robert Duval Hernández
  6. Dynamic Properties of Poverty Targeting By Hillebrecht, Michael; Klonner, Stefan; Pacere, Noraogo A.
  7. Access to Toilets and Violence Against Women By Kanika Mahajan; Sheetal Sekhri
  8. Inequality and Social Policy in Latin America By Nora Lustig
  9. Violent Conflict Exposure in Nigeria and Labor Supply of Farm Households By Chiwuzulum Odozi, John; Oyelere, Ruth Uwaifo
  10. Land market distortions and aggregate agricultural productivity: Evidence from Guatemala By Britos, Braulio; Hernandez, Manuel A.; Robles, Miguel; Trupkin, Danilo R.
  11. Research-policy linkages: Empirical evidence from agroeconomic research in India By Balaji, S. J.; Babu, Suresh Chandra; Pal, Suresh
  12. Start What You Finish! Ex ante risk and schooling investments in the presence of dynamic complementarities By Andrew D. Foster; Esther Gehrke
  13. Absorption capacity and Natural Resource Curse By Arsham Reisinezhad
  14. Subgroup Analysis of Investment Constraints: Evidence from Ugandan Microenterprises By Helke Seitz
  15. Inequality in Public Good Provision and Attitude Towards Taxation: Sub-national Evidence from Africa By Lisa CHAUVET; Siyavash ESLAMI; Marin FERRY; Laure PASQUIER-DOUMER
  16. Menstrual Restrictions and Women's Health in Nepal By Rahul Kumar; Bipasha Maity
  17. The Gender of Debt and Credit: Insights from Rural Tamil Nadu By Guérin, Isabelle; Nordman, Christophe Jalil; Reboul, Elena

  1. By: Maxim Ananyev; Michael Poyker
    Abstract: We argue that colonial Christian missions had a long-term impact on anti-gay attitudes in Africa. We use a geo-coded representative survey of African countries and the location of historical Christian missions to estimate a significant and economically meaningful association between proximity to historical missions and anti-gay sentiments today. Using anthropological data on pre-colonial acceptance of homosexual practices among indigenous groups, we show that the establishment of missions, while nonrandom, was exogenous to pre-existing same-sex patterns among indigenous population. The estimated effect is driven by persons of Christian faith and statistically indistinguishable from zero on samples of Muslims, nonbelievers, and followers of traditional indigenous religions. Thus, we argue that our results are indicative of a causal effect of missionary religious conversion to Christianity.
    Keywords: Missions, Africa, Tolerance, Homosexuals, Religion
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Roberto Bonfatti; Bjoern Brey
    Abstract: Colonial trade encouraged colonies specialization in primary products. Did this prevent industrialisation in colonies? And did the absence of industrialisation help to keep colonies under control? To answer these questions, we examine the impact of the temporary trade collapse between Britain and India due to World War I, on industrialisation and anti-imperial feelings in India. Exploiting cross-district variation in exposure to the trade shock, we find that districts more exposed to the trade shock experienced substantially faster industrial growth in 1911-21, placing them on a higher level of industrialisation which persisted up to today. Using the WWI trade shock as an instrument for industrialisation levels, we also find that more industrialised districts were more likely to express anti-imperial feelings in 1922, and to vote for the Indian National Congress in the landmark election of 1937.
    Keywords: Colonial trade, India, Infant-industry argument, Decolonisation.
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Sarkar, Sudipa; Chakravorty, Bhaskar; Lyonette, Clare
    Abstract: This study investigates the relationship between individuals' social identity and their future aspirations in a developing country. We analyse primary survey data from participants of a large-scale skill-training programme that targets rural poor youths in India, focusing on two dimensions of individuals' identity: caste and gender. Our empirical findings suggest that training participants from the most socially disadvantaged groups - Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) - have significantly lower income aspiration when compared to Other Backward Class (OBC) and Other Caste (OC) participants. Female participants also have significantly lower aspiration than their male counterparts. The aspiration gaps exist even after controlling for various background characteristics, including participants' pre-training personality traits and soft skills. Individual-level and household-level factors mediate some of the aspiration gaps based on caste and gender. We find evidence that for SC/ST female participants, the disadvantages on both caste and gender dimensions add up; this is reflected in their lower income aspiration levels, in comparison with all other groups. Thus, our results support the hypothesis of "double jeopardy" instead of "intersectionality" in this context.
    Keywords: Social identity,Aspiration,Intersectionality,Gender,Caste,India
    JEL: J15 J16 O12 Z13
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Guimbeau, Amanda (Brandeis University); Ji, James (Brandeis University); Menon, Nidhiya (Brandeis University); van der Meulen Rodgers, Yana (Rutgers University)
    Abstract: This study on the economics of gender differences examines whether the mining industry acts as a blessing or curse for women's well-being and economic status. The analysis focuses on the impact of proximity to mineral deposits and active mines on various measures of women's agency and health in India. Identification leverages the plausibly exogenous spatial variation in the occurrence of mineral deposits across districts. Results indicate that women's outcomes improve in the vicinity of mines with improvements in shared decision-making, reductions in barriers to accessing medical care, and reduced tolerance of physical violence. These benefits are pronounced among younger women, and in the proximity of mines that employ relatively high shares of women. The underlying mechanisms include employment gains for women and improvements in women's health near mines. Their children also experience gains in nutritional status. Men's likelihood of making decisions jointly with partners increases, and men are less likely to justify domestic violence. A key explanation for these results is the sharing of mining royalties with local groups that support investments in women and children. Findings imply that mineral mining can bring substantial benefits to women's well-being, which is critical for sustainable development.
    Keywords: minerals, mining, women, agency, education, health, profit sharing, India
    JEL: O13 Q32 J16 J12
    Date: 2020–11
  5. By: Robert Duval Hernández
    Abstract: Using a special module of the 2015 Mexican Labour Force Survey with information on workers' preferences for jobs with social security coverage, I estimate that 80 per cent of informal workers in large urban areas would prefer to work in a job that provides them with such coverage. A discrete choice econometric model which distinguishes between wanting a formal job and the probability of getting one shows that schooling increases the chances of being hired in formal employment and of having higher earnings in it.
    Keywords: informal work, Labour market, Labour market segmentation, rationing, Informality
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Hillebrecht, Michael; Klonner, Stefan; Pacere, Noraogo A.
    Abstract: A body of recent studies has compared the ability of proxy-means testing (PMT), a data-driven poverty targeting procedure, and community-based targeting (CBT), a participatory method,to identify consumption-poor households. Motivated by the facts that targeted benefits typically reach beneficiaries with a substantial time lag and that transitions into and out of poverty are frequent, we are first to assess PMT’s and CBT’s performance one and two years subsequent to the targeting exercise. With data from Burkina Faso, we replicate the finding that PMT targets more accurately than CBT with respect to poverty at baseline, by 14 percent. We find that this pattern is reversed for households’ poverty status twelve months later, while both methods perform identically with respect to poverty data collected 30 months after the baseline. We investigate how communities process different kinds of information and identify three properties of CBT that make it forward-looking: implicit weights put on PMT variables that predict future rather than current consumption, accounting for additional household characteristics not included in typical PMTs and processing of additional information unobserved by the researcher.
    Keywords: poverty targeting; targeting performance; proxy-means tests; community-based targeting
    Date: 2020–11–27
  7. By: Kanika Mahajan (Ashoka University); Sheetal Sekhri (University of Virginia)
    Abstract: This paper examines if in-home access to toilets reduces the risk of violent crimes against women. We use the roll out of the Swachh Bharat Mission, a flagship toilet construction program in India, to ascertain if assault and rape of women reduce when women have access to in-home toilets relative to open defecation. We bolster our findings by using political alignment of locally elected representatives in close elections with the national government's political party, post the launch of the program, as an instrument in an instrumental variable strategy. Our IV estimation is robust to conditioning on average luminosity as a proxy for growth though we do not observe any correlation between our instrument and local economic growth measures in this time period. We find that construction of toilets reduces sexual assault of women, but we do not discern consistent changes in rape. Our findings are robust to a variety of controls, specifications, and identification approaches. We address reporting changes as a plausible alternative explanation.
    Keywords: Toilets, Violence Against Women, Open-Defecation
    Date: 2020–11
  8. By: Nora Lustig (Tulane University and Commitment to Equity Institute)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution and determinants of inequality between 1990 and 2017 in Latin America. Throughout the period, inequality in the region has demonstrated three trends: it increased during the 1990s; decreased between 2002 and 2013; and, since 2014, it has remained constant or even increased depending on the country. The reduction of inequality in the second period corresponded to two main changes in social policy: (I) the expansion in access to education in the previous period, which led to a decrease in the salary gap; and (II) the expansion and progresivity of monetary transfers. However, despite improvements in income distribution, in recent years, there has been a wave of protests in various countries. This paper proposes possible explanations of this apparently paradoxical phenomenon. Finally, this paper analyzes the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty using comparative data from fiscal incidence analysis. Although in all countries the combination of taxes, social spending, and consumption subsidies reduces inequality, it does not always reduce poverty.
    Keywords: Fiscal incidence; Inequality; Poverty; Taxes; Social spending; Latin America.
    JEL: H22 D63 D31 D74
    Date: 2020–11
  9. By: Chiwuzulum Odozi, John; Oyelere, Ruth Uwaifo
    Abstract: Nigeria has experienced bouts of violent conflict in different regions over the last few decades leading to significant loss of life. In this paper, we explore the potential short and accumulated long term effects of such conflict on labor supply of agricultural households. Using a nationally representative panel dataset for Nigeria in combination with armed conflict data, we estimate the effect of violent conflict on a farm household members labor supply. Our findings suggest that exposure to violent conflict significantly reduces the total number of hours the farm household head works and also deceases total family labor supply for agricultural households.
    Keywords: Violence,Nigeria,Conflict,Boko Haram,Farm Households,Labor Supply
    JEL: Q10 Q12 O1 D74
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Britos, Braulio; Hernandez, Manuel A.; Robles, Miguel; Trupkin, Danilo R.
    Abstract: Farm size and land allocation are important factors in explaining lagging agricultural productivity in developing countries. This paper examines the effect of land market imperfections on land allocation across farmers and aggregate agricultural productivity. We develop a theoretical framework to model the optimal size distribution of farms and assess to what extent market imperfections can explain non-optimal land allocation and output in-efficiency. We measure these distortions for the case of Guatemala using agricultural census microdata. We find that due to land market imperfections aggregate output is 19% below its efficient level for both maize and beans and 31% below for coffee, which are three major crops produced nationwide. The regions with higher distortions show a higher dispersion in land prices and less active rental markets. We also find that the degree of land market distortions across locations co-variate with road accessibility and ethnicity and, in a lower extent, with education.
    Keywords: GUATEMALA; LATIN AMERICA; CENTRAL AMERICA; NORTH AMERICA; land markets; agricultural productivity; maize; beans; Coffea; coffee; crop production; land market distortions; output inefficiency
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Balaji, S. J.; Babu, Suresh Chandra; Pal, Suresh
    Abstract: Policy-making processes in developing countries often continue to operate devoid of evidence. In this study, we explore the research-policy linkages between the agroeconomic research system (AERS) and the agricultural policy system (APS) in India. Specifically, we examine questions directed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in the two houses of the national parliament—the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and the Council of States (Rajya Sabha)—and filter them for key issues that confront the APS. In addition, using the list of research articles published in two major national agricultural economics journals, we examine the alignment of the AERS toward addressing pressing policy issues. We use 6,465 questions raised by elected representatives in the parliamentary houses and 377 research articles, both during the period 2014–2018. We use machine learning techniques for information retrieval because the required information is hidden as non-numerical text. Using tag clouds (lists of words by frequency), we identify key divergences between the concerns of the APS and the research focus of the AERS, and explore their linkages. To broaden our understanding, we employ latent Dirichlet allocation, a natural language processing technique that identifies crucial issues and automates their classification under appropriate clusters, to examine synergies between the research and policy systems. Results show remarkable alignment between the AERS and the APS, invalidating the two-communities hypothesis. We identify persistent issues in the policy domain that require the support of the research system, as well as potential areas for research system realignment.
    Keywords: INDIA; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; agricultural economics; machine learning; agricultural research; agricultural policies; policies; farmers; research-policy linkages; latent Dirichlet allocation; policy systems; agroeconomic research
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Andrew D. Foster; Esther Gehrke
    Abstract: We study the relationship between risk and schooling investment in a low income setting, with a particular focus on possible ex ante effects. We first present a model that shows that such effects can arise if the human capital production function exhibits dynamic complementarity and parental preferences for human capital are not too concave. We then estimate the key parameters of the model using multiple rounds of panel data from rural India that contain, in each round, three seasons of time allocation for each sampled child. These estimates suggest an elasticity of schooling investments with respect to risk of -0.09 in this context. We then use cross-round differences in village-level irrigation interacted with rainfall variability to estimate the relationship between income risk and school time. Using this variation, we find an estimated elasticity of study time with respect to risk between -0.05 and -0.04. Finally, we simulate the effects of an implicit social insurance program, modeled after the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Our results suggest that the risk-reducing effect of the NREGS may offset adverse effects on child education that were evident during the NREGS phase-in due to rising wages.
    Date: 2020
  13. By: Arsham Reisinezhad (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of absorption capacity (i.e. the level of non-traded capital goods such as infrastructure and human capital) on the intensity of the natural resource curse. Using panel data for 105 countries over the period 1975-2014, I construct two indexes to proxy absorption capacity among countries. A growth regression model, estimated by IV-2SLS technique, shows that the natural resource curse is more intensive in countries with more absorption capacity constraints. Furthermore, based on the idea that some sorts of capital goods (e.g. infrastructure and human capital) can not be redeployed in major countries and they must be produced domestically (i.e. absorption capacity constraints), I put forward a simple two-sector framework, in line with Vander Ploeg and Venables (2013), to clarify the empirical finding
    Keywords: Resource-dependence,non-traded capital goods,absorption capacity
    Date: 2020–11
  14. By: Helke Seitz
    Abstract: This study examines the effect of a soft commitment device in the form of a savings goal calendar on savings for small business owners in Kampala, Uganda. We run a randomized controlled trial (RCT) under which the treatment group receives a calendar designed to set savings goals and to make a plan to reach this goal. The control group is given a plain calendar. We find no average effect on savings, but show that present-biased individuals save more when given the calendar. Further examinations indicate that present-biased individuals are more likely to use the calendar, suggesting that, in line with theory, present-biased individuals have a demand.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, investment, credit constraints, savings constraints, managerial constraints
    JEL: D22 D25 O12 O16
    Date: 2020
  15. By: Lisa CHAUVET; Siyavash ESLAMI; Marin FERRY; Laure PASQUIER-DOUMER
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between inequality in public good provision and attitude towards taxation in the context of sub-Saharan African countries. Individuals’ attitude towards taxation is measured using the sixth round of the Afrobarometer geo-coded data, and inequality is measured with a Gini index computed using data on night light intensity around individuals. Our identification strategy relies on an IV estimation where the instrument is a Gini index computed on predicted pixels’ light intensity based on the initial distance of each pixel from its closest enlightened pixel. Results suggest that inequality is positively associated with more pro-tax attitude. However, this association depends on the size of the area over which Gini indexes are computed: inequality in the immediate surrounding of individuals (in 20 up to 50km buffer areas) has a positive effect on their attitude towards taxation that we interpret as a higher demand for redistribution in more unequal context. In line with this interpretation, we also find that when facing high inequality, individuals in the bottom of wealth distribution or far away from economic centers have a more favorable attitude towards taxation.
    Keywords: Afrique
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2020–11–27
  16. By: Rahul Kumar (Independent Researcher); Bipasha Maity (Ashoka University)
    Abstract: We study the impacts of the ritual of menstrual restrictions on women's healthcare utilization, acceptability of domestic violence and subjective well-being in Nepal. These restrictions, also practised around the time of childbirth, are based on the assumption that women are ritually impure during menstruation and childbirth. We use the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) for Nepal and apply binary regression and propensity score matching methods as well as investigate the implications of plausible omitted variable bias on our estimated treatment effect of menstrual restrictions. We find that women faced with menstrual restrictions are more likely to give birth at home and receive assistance from untrained individuals during childbirth, which increases the risk of maternal mortality. We also find lower usage of contraception in some specifications. Women subjected to these rituals are also found to have greater acceptability of domestic violence by their husbands. Lastly, we found lower subjective well-being among younger women who have been subjected to these restrictions, but this finding was statistically significant only when women faced the strictest restrictions during menstruation. These results indicate that menstrual restriction related rituals can have persistent negative implications on women's well-being that is not just limited to the time of menstruation. Thus, these practices are important impediments in achieving the sustainable development goals of gender equality and good health and well-being for all.
    Keywords: menstruation; Chhaupadi; health; mortality; women; Nepal
    Date: 2020–11
  17. By: Guérin, Isabelle (IRD); Nordman, Christophe Jalil (IRD, DIAL, Paris-Dauphine); Reboul, Elena (IRD)
    Abstract: The champions of financial inclusion regret women’s lack of access to credit, while critics of financialization, by contrast, claim that women have become overly indebted. But little is actually known about women’s debt/credit in quantitative terms, mostly due to a lack of data. This descriptive paper uses first-hand survey data from southern India disaggregated by sex in order to analyze the gender of debt and its interplay with caste and poverty, based on descriptive statistics and econometric results. We show that women are heavily indebted, first and foremost to informal sources, alongside microcredit. While men are much higher earners, they borrow much less in relative terms. Furthermore, women prominently - and markedly more so than men - borrow in order to make ends meet; productive investment largely remains a male practice. Lastly, women of the poorest and lowest-caste households have the heaviest borrowing responsibilities, managing the highest proportions of household debt. On a theoretical level, these results highlight the gendered earmarking of debt and credit: male and female debts/credits do not have the same meanings and uses. They also confirm the gendered dimension of behavior, in as much as women's behavior is constrained by family affiliation, poverty level and caste, all of which affects men much less. Last, in terms of policy implications, these results put into question the specific targeting of women by microcredit policies, likely to strengthen the association between debt and poverty for women, and in particular to exacerbate female responsibilities for managing scarcity.
    Keywords: gender, debt, poverty, caste, microcredit, India
    JEL: G51 O16 J16 D14
    Date: 2020–11

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