nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒12‒21
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Global Land Inequality By Luis Bauluz; Yajna Govind; Filip Novokmet
  2. Formalization and productivity: Firm-level evidence from Viet Nam By Jann Lay; Tevin Tafese
  3. Left Behind, but Not Alone: Changes in Living Arrangements and the Effects of Migration and Remittances in Mexico By Bertoli, Simone; Gautrain, Elsa; Murard, Elie
  4. Corruption and mental health: Evidence from Vietnam By Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
  5. Do preschools add ‘value’? Evidence on achievement gaps from rural India By Sweta Gupta
  6. How Education Empowers Women in Developing Countries By Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
  7. Improving housing conditions: Labelled loans in Kenya and Uganda By Choda, Amreen; Schoofs, Annekathrin; Verrinder, Noel
  8. Trade Liberalization and Gender: Income and Multidimensional Deprivation Gaps in Brazil By Louisiana Teixeira
  9. Inequality of Opportunity in Accessing Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Services: Evidence from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey By Cinzia Di Novi; Harshita Thakare
  10. The Duration of Compulsory Education and the Transition to Secondary Education: Panel Data Evidence from Low-Income Countries By Diaz-Serrano, Luis

  1. By: Luis Bauluz (University of Bonn, WIL - World Inequality Lab); Yajna Govind (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, University of Bonn); Filip Novokmet (WIL - World Inequality Lab , University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Agricultural land is vital for three out of four of the poorest billion individuals in the world yet little is known about the distribution of agricultural land. Existing crosscountry estimates of land inequality, based on agriculture census data, measure the size distribution of agricultural holdings. These neither reflect land ownership inequality nor value inequality and often do not account for the landless population. In this paper, we tackle these issues and provide novel and consistent estimates of land inequality across countries, based on household surveys. We show that i) land-value inequality can di er signi cantly from land-area inequality, ii) di erences in the proportion of landless across countries vary substantially, a ecting markedly inequality estimates and, iii) regional patterns in inequality according to our benchmark metric (landvalue inequality including the landless) contradict existing estimates from agricultural censuses. Overall, South Asia and Latin America exhibit the highest inequality with top 10% landowners capturing up to 75% of agricultural land, followed by Africa and `Communist' Asia (China and Vietnam) at levels around 55-60%. .
    Keywords: inequality,capital gains,income shifting,top shares,Land Ownership,Inequality,Distribution
    Date: 2020–06
  2. By: Jann Lay; Tevin Tafese
    Abstract: Using a firm-level panel dataset on private small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Viet Nam's manufacturing sector, this paper examines productivity dynamics of formal and informal firms. We decompose productivity changes into changes within and between formal and informal firms. We assess the contributions of firm entry and exit as well as informal-formal transitions. Our results show that productivity is considerably lower and misallocation more prevalent in the informal than in the formal sector.
    Keywords: formalization, Productivity, Firm productivity, Viet Nam, Misallocation
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Bertoli, Simone (CERDI, Université Clermont Auvergne); Gautrain, Elsa (CERDI, Université Clermont Auvergne); Murard, Elie (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We provide evidence that the occurrence of an international migration episode is associated with a variation in the living arrangements of the household members left behind. The migration of a married Mexican man typically induces his spouse and children to join the household of the wife's parents, a pattern that is at odds with the prevailing patrilocal norm. This change in living arrangements, which involves the extended family of the migrant, has two relevant implications for the analysis of the effects of paternal migration and remittances on the children left behind. First, it can give rise to an important heterogeneity in the effects of interest, which has not been explored in the migration literature. Second, it leads to attrition in longitudinal household surveys that is non-random with respect to potential outcomes.
    Keywords: extended family, living arrangements, household structure, remittances, migration, schooling
    JEL: D10 F22 C83
    Date: 2020–12
  4. By: Smriti Sharma (Newcastle University); Saurabh Singhal (Lancaster University & IZA); Finn Tarp (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: While there is substantial corruption in developing countries, the costs imposed by corruption on individuals and households are little understood. This study examines the relationship between exposure to local corruption and mental health, as measured by depressive symptoms. We use two large data sets – one cross-sectional and one panel – collected across rural Vietnam. After controlling for individual and regional characteristics, we find strong and consistent evidence that day-to-day petty corruption is positively associated with psychological distress. Our results are robust to a variety of specification checks. Further, we find that the relationship between corruption and mental health is stronger for women, and that there are no heterogeneous effects by poverty status. An examination of the underlying mechanisms shows that reductions in income and trust associated with higher corruption may play a role. Finally, using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, we also provide suggestive evidence that a recent high profile anti-corruption campaign had significant positive effects on mental health. Overall, our findings indicate that there may be substantial psychosocial and mental health benefits from efforts to reduce corruption and improve rural governance structures.
    Keywords: corruption, anti-corruption, mental health, depression, Vietnam
    JEL: I3 I15 O12 D73 P3
    Date: 2020–11–12
  5. By: Sweta Gupta (University of Sussex)
    Abstract: Despite a long-standing preschool policy and investment in preschool infrastructure in India, dating back to 1975, a rigorous evaluation of preschools in India remains virtually absent. Using data from three geographically and economically distinct states in India, the paper studies the immediate (1 year) impact of attending a preschool before starting primary school on cognitive, early language and numeracy skills. It additionally studies the heterogeneity in value-added of preschools by their management type. I find that there is a positive and significant premium of attending a preschool before starting primary school. However, the entire effect is driven by children who attend private preschools. There is considerable regional heterogeneity in the private-public gap in learning levels with Telangana exhibiting the highest private preschool premium. A descriptive study of the preschool quality by management type showed that private preschools have lower student-teacher ratios, longer hours of operation and a focus on formal instructional style of teaching. On the other hand, public preschools conduct more play-based activities. The results of this paper are particularly relevant in the backdrop of the new National Education Policy (Government of India, 2020), which stresses the need to improve foundational literacy and numeracy skills as early as in the preschool years. Given the findings of this paper, public preschools would need considerable overhaul to be able to deliver on closing the learning gaps. Moreover, the varying levels at which children start primary school based on their preschool experience highlight the need for educators to develop innovative pedagogical tools to effectively address learning heterogeneity within the classroom.
    Keywords: Early Childhood, Education, Preschools, Value Added Models, Private
    JEL: I21 I28 O15
    Date: 2020–12
  6. By: Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impacts of education on women’s relational empowerment, within a context of 70 developing countries across the world. Exploiting the variation in educational attainment between biological sisters, we find that education is positively associated with women’s intra-household decision making authority in both financial and non-financial domains. Moreover, education reduces relational friction, especially women’s exposure to psychological abuse. Our mechanism analyses provide suggestive evidence that these improvements could be attributed to increased access to information, assortative matching, and better labor market outcome.
    Keywords: Education, women’s empowerment, developing countries
    JEL: I2 J1 O1
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Choda, Amreen; Schoofs, Annekathrin; Verrinder, Noel
    Abstract: We evaluate a non-governmental housing microfinance intervention that attempts to improve housing conditions for low income populations by simultaneously offering them a labelled loan and non-financial technical support. Using household survey data from Kenya and Uganda, we first show evidence for the successful targeting of our labelled loans because 95% of clients used the loan for the intended housing improvement. Second, our results suggest that access to small, short-term loans enables households to invest in housing upgrades that can significantly improve both the characteristics of their dwelling and their satisfaction with their dwelling. These effects are robust to four different estimation approaches (difference-in-differences, inverse probability weighting, matching, and ordinary least squares with postdouble selection Lasso).
    Keywords: Housing conditions,microfinance,health,Uganda,Kenya
    JEL: I15 I31 O18
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Louisiana Teixeira (Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, LEDA-DIAL - Développement, Institutions et Modialisation - LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to treat the Brazilian trade opening in the 1990s and its impacts on gender inequalities before and after the Stabilization Plan, Plano Real *. Using the difference in differences method and a panel from 1987-1997, the obtained evidence suggests that before the Real Plan, trade liberalization reduced the existent gender income and deprivation gap. Nonetheless, these apparent improvements seemed to be related to men's greater losses within formal activities and to a female labor's expansion through informality. After the Stabilization Plan, trade would increase gender disparities by bringing greater income gains and deeper deprivation decrease to men. The opening policies in the 1990s perpetuated the international and the gendered division of labor and was unable of permitting structural changes capable of creating comparative advantages. Thus, it guaranteed the maintenance of gender distortions, where changes continued to occur unevenly.
    Keywords: Trade Liberalization,Labor,Gender,Income,Multidimensional Poverty
    Date: 2020–11–10
  9. By: Cinzia Di Novi (University of Pavia); Harshita Thakare (University of Pavia)
    Abstract: Though there has been a significant reduction in the number of under-five deaths globally over the years, it is still a major public health problem in developing countries. Under-five mortality is known to be the result of a wide variety of inputs, among which the availability of maternal and child health services. However, their coverage and distribution, in low- and middle-income countries, continue to remain inadequate and characterized by significant inequalities. The main aim of this study is to investigate the causes of inequality in accessing the basic maternal and newborn healthcare services in Bangladesh. To this end, we use nationally representative cross-sectional data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), 2014. Our study builds on the Human Opportunity Index (HOI), developed at the World Bank (2006), which measures the total contribution of individual socioeconomic and demographic circumstances to inequality of opportunity in accessing basic services. We use the Shapley decomposition method to further analyze the marginal contributions of circumstances to the inequality. Our findings reveal that a mother’s education, wealth index and place of residence, are closely associated with access to basic maternal and newborn healthcare services.
    Keywords: Inequality, healthcare access, opportunities, circumstances, Human Opportunity Index.
    JEL: I14 J13
    Date: 2020–11
  10. By: Diaz-Serrano, Luis (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)
    Abstract: A straightforward way of keeping children in school is increasing the duration of compulsory education. Evidence of the impact of this type of policy in Western countries is abundant. However, its effectiveness has been rarely tested in low-income countries. Using panel data of low-income and lower-middle-income countries covering the period 1996-2017, this paper analyzes the impact of lengthening the duration of compulsory education on the progression of children from primary to secondary education. The empirical results show that in those countries where this policy is implemented, there is a significant increase in the share of children progressing from primary to secondary education but only in those countries where after the reform the duration of compulsory education becomes longer than the duration of primary education.
    Keywords: compulsory education, educational achievement, educational transitions, low-income countries, panel data, education policy
    JEL: I21 I25 I28
    Date: 2020–12

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