nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒03‒08
fifteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The New Era of Unconditional Convergence By Dev Patel; Justin Sandefur; Arvind Subramanian
  2. The Economics of Missionary Expansion:Evidence from Africa and Implications for Development By Remi Jedwab; Felix Meier zu Selhausen; Alexander Moradi
  3. How giant discoveries of natural resources impact sovereign debt ratings in developing and emerging countries ? By Regina Seri
  4. Sexual violence as a weapon of war By Maleke Fourati; Victoire Girard; Jeremy Laurent-Lucchetti
  5. Women's Inheritance Rights and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from India By Nayana Bose; Shreyasee Das
  6. Learning from unincentivized and incentivized communication: A randomized controlled trial in India By Alem, Yonas; Dugoua, Eugenie
  7. Do gender wage differences within households influence women's empowerment and welfare?: Evidence from Ghana By Michael Danquah; Abdul Malik Iddrisu; Ernest Owusu Boakye; Solomon Owusu
  8. Offspring Migration and Nutritional Status of Left-behind Older Adults in Rural China By Chang Liu; Tor Eriksson; Fujin Yi
  9. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Household Production: A Comparative Analysis for Sub-Saharan African Countries" By Fernando Rios-Avila; Abena D. Oduro; Luiza Nassif-Pires
  10. Infrastructure aid for resource trade? The crossroads of strategy and sustainable development By Handrik Kruse; Thaís Núñez Rocha; Camélia Turcu
  11. Intergroup contact and its effects on discriminatory attitudes: Evidence from India By Shreya Bhattacharya
  12. Gender Gaps in Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills: Roles of SES and Gender Attitudes By Hervé, Justine; Mani, Subha; Behrman, Jere R.; Nandi, Arindam; Sankhil Lamkang, Anjana; Laxminarayan, Ramanan
  13. Garbage in, garbage out: the impact of e-waste dumping sites on early child health By Stefania Lovo; Samantha Rawlings
  14. Land market distortions and aggregate agricultural productivity: evidence from Guatemala By Braulio Britos; Manuel Alejandro Hernandez; Luis Miguel Robles; Danilo Trupkin
  15. Local crime and early marriage: Evidence from India By Sudipa Sarkar

  1. By: Dev Patel (Harvard University); Justin Sandefur (Centre for Global Development); Arvind Subramanian (Ashoka University)
    Abstract: The central fact that has motivated the empirics of economic growth—namely unconditional divergence—is no longer true and has not been so for decades. Across a range of data sources, poorer countries have in fact been catching up with richer ones, albeit slowly, since the mid-1990s. This new era of convergence does not stem primarily from growth moderation in the rich world but rather from accelerating growth in the developing world, which has simultaneously become remarkably less volatile and more persistent. Debates about a “middle-income trap†also appear anachronistic: middle-income countries have exhibited higher growth rates than all others since the mid-1980s.
    Keywords: JEL codes: F43; N10; O47 Keywords: Unconditional convergence, economic growth, middle-income trap
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University, Department of Economics); Felix Meier zu Selhausen (Wageningen University); Alexander Moradi (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, Faculty of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: How did Christianity expand in Africa to become the continent’s dominant religion? Using annual panel census data on Christian missions from 1751 to 1932 in Ghana, and pre-1924 data on missions for 43 sub-Saharan African countries, we estimate causal effects of malaria, railroads and cash crops on mission location. We find that missions were established in healthier, more accessible, and richer places before expanding to economically less developed places. We argue that the endogeneity of missionary expansion may have been underestimated, thus questioning the link between missions and economic development for Africa. We find the endogeneity problem exacerbated when mission data is sourced from Christian missionary atlases that disproportionately report a selection of prominent missions that were also established early.
    Keywords: Economics of Religion; Religious Diffusion; Human Capital; Economic Persistence; Measurement; Historical Data; Atlases; Missions; Christianity; Africa
    JEL: O10 O40 Z12 I20 N30
    Date: 2021–02
  3. By: Regina Seri (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA [2017-2020] - Université Clermont Auvergne [2017-2020] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This paper sheds light on the effects of giant discoveries of natural resources (oil natural gas, minerals) on sovereign debt ratings in the short and long run. To do so, it employs 28 developing and emerging countries over the period 1990-2014 and applies a random effect ordered Probit model on different sets of samples. It shows evidence of the differentiated effects (positive and negative) of giant discoveries on ratings. These differentiated effects are linked to the behavior of macroeconomic and political indicators resulting from the actions and policies taken in the aftermath of the discoveries. It also finds evidence of the learning effects of giant discoveries in countries with increasing sovereign debt ratings. What seems to matter is not only the resources but also how governments respond to the news of the discovery of those resources. Therefore, taking the right actions and policies will help countries to prevent a deterioration of their financial conditions.
    Keywords: Giant discoveries,Natural resources,Sovereign debt ratings,Developing countries,Random effect ordered response models
    Date: 2021–02
  4. By: Maleke Fourati; Victoire Girard; Jeremy Laurent-Lucchetti
    Abstract: This study highlights that armed groups may use sexual violence against civilians as a strategy to extort economic resources. We combine new and fine-grained data about local economic resources and sexual violence against civilians by armed groups in Africa from 1997 to 2018 at the 0.5 × 0.5 degree resolution. We show that an exogenous rise in the value of artisanal mining increases the incidence of sexual violence. We demonstrate how standard rationales of violence as a taxation strategy explain this finding. Theoretically, if the resource is labor-intensive, the armed group needs civilian labor to produce the resource. Sexual violence, a form of non-lethal violence that allows perpetrators to enforce high taxation while preserving local labor, will become more likely if (i) the price of the resource increases (rapacity effect), and (ii) the resource can be concealed easily (is difficult to tax). Our empirical findings align with our model: an increase of one standard deviation in the value of gold mined in artisanal mining areas – a labor-intensive resource that can easily be concealed – increases sexual violence by two thirds of the sample mean. In contrast, local resources that are either more capital-intensive than artisanal mining, or the production of which is harder to conceal than gold, have no relation to sexual violence. Moreover, we show that the relation between artisanal mining value and sexual violence is mostly driven by the presence of armed actors who are most likely to rely on illegal local taxation (rebel groups).
    Keywords: Conflict, sexual violence, artisanal mines, industrial mines, agriculture
    JEL: D74 J16 O13 Q34
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Nayana Bose (Department of Economics, Scripps College); Shreyasee Das (Department of Economics, Temple University)
    Abstract: We analyze the impact of the Hindu Succession Amendment Act (HSAA) that mandated equal inheritance rights for women, on their fertility choices in the context of son-preference in rural India. We use the NFHS-3 data and exploit the variation in timing of the introduction of the HSAA across states to employ a difference-in-difference strategy. While both reform and non-reform women had similar son preference and desire for children, treated women, on average, had 0.8 additional children than their counterparts. We find evidence that the fertility increase was a result of women being able to use the stopping rule more effectively to achieve son-preference. Women impacted by the reform also had a higher proportion of sons for a given family size, indicating stronger son preference among treated women. Finally, we find the amendment lead to a decrease in domestic violence, improvements in maternal health, and women's decision-making power. This greater empowerment could be the potential mechanism that allowed women to increase fertility to realize their son preference.
    Keywords: Inheritance Rights, Bargaining Power, Fertility, Son-Preference, Stopping Rules, Gender, India
    JEL: O12 J16 J13 P48
    Date: 2021–02
  6. By: Alem, Yonas; Dugoua, Eugenie
    Abstract: Interactions among peers of the same social network play significant roles in facilitating the adoption and diffusion of modern technologies in poor communities. We conduct a large-scale randomized controlled trial in rural India to identify the impact of information from friends on willingness to pay (WTP) for high-quality and multi-purpose solar lanterns. We offered solar lanterns to seed households from 200 non-electrified villages and randomly assigned three of their friends to two communication treatments (unincentivized and incentivized) that led to different exposure to their seed friend. We also introduce a second treatment to investigate whether the seed's gender impacts the magnitude of peer effects. We show that unincentivized communication increases WTP for solar lanterns by 90% and incentivized communication by 145%, but gender doesn't seem to matter. We also show that learning from others is the mechanism that drives the increase in WTP. Our findings have significant implications for policies that aim at promoting the diffusion of new technologies in developing countries.
    Keywords: Technology adoption,peer effects,information flow,solar lantern
    JEL: O33 D83 Q21 Q42
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Michael Danquah; Abdul Malik Iddrisu; Ernest Owusu Boakye; Solomon Owusu
    Abstract: Using household data from the latest wave of the Ghana Living Standards Survey, this paper utilizes machine learning techniques to examine the effect of gender wage differences within households on women's empowerment and welfare in Ghana. The structural parameters of the post-double selection LASSO estimations show that a reduction in household gender wage gap significantly enhances women's empowerment. Also, a decline in household gender wage gap results meaningfully in improving household welfare.
    Keywords: Gender wage gap, Households, Women's empowerment, Welfare, Machine learning, Ghana
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Chang Liu (Nanjing Forestry University); Tor Eriksson (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University); Fujin Yi (Nanjing Agricultural University)
    Abstract: Improvements in nutritional status is a principal pathway to good health. This study examines the effect of migration of adult children on the nutrient intake of left-behind older adults in rural China. We use data from four waves (2004–2011) of the China Health and Nutrition Survey and utilize individual fixed effects methods to panel data. Results show that the migration of offspring is associated with significantly higher nutritional status of their left-behind parents, especially higher intake of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins B1–B3, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, selenium, and copper. The intake of some of these nutrients is below recommended levels. The magnitude of the estimated effects vary between 4% and 24%. Older adults who live with their grandchildren in rural households or have a low income benefit more from having adult child migrants in the household. The improvement of nutrition outcomes of left-behind older adults is mainly due to increased consumption of cereals, meat, eggs, and fish.
    Keywords: Offspring migration, Nutrient intake, Food composition, Left-behind older adults
    JEL: J61 I15 O12
    Date: 2021–03–01
  9. By: Fernando Rios-Avila; Abena D. Oduro; Luiza Nassif-Pires
    Abstract: In this working paper, we analyze factors that may explain gender differences in the allocation of time to household production in sub-Saharan Africa. The study uses time use survey data to analyze the determinants of time spent on household production by husbands and wives in nuclear families in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa. We assume that the time spent by each spouse is a function of personal and household characteristics. A bivariate Tobit model is used to estimate the marginal impact of a set of key variables that figure recurrently in the literature on time allocation. We observe a high degree of variability in the results for the set of countries, which does not allow us to draw hard general conclusions. We do find some weak evidence that supports time availability and gender ideology theory as well as for the hypothesis that bargaining power plays a role in explaining the intrahousehold allocation of household production.
    Keywords: Time Use; Household Production; Economics of the Family; Gender
    JEL: D13 D61 J22 C34
    Date: 2021–02
  10. By: Handrik Kruse (Univ. Orléans, CNRS, LEO and Labex Voltaire, FRE 2014); Thaís Núñez Rocha (Univ. Orléans, CNRS, LEO and Labex Voltaire, FRE 2014); Camélia Turcu (Univ. Orléans, CNRS, LEO and Labex Voltaire, FRE 2014)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the claim that rich countries use development aid to ensure access to natural resources. We provide a theoretical model that suggests that even an altruistic donor may be inclined to allocate a higher share of their aid expenditure on infrastructure and other trade promoting measures if they rely on the recipient’s resource exports for their own production. We use a panel dataset from 2001 to 2011. Our results suggest that bilateral resource trade on average positively affects the number of infrastructure projects and the average size of projects. The effect seems to be driven mostly by fuels and road infrastructure projects. While the effect of resources is weaker for landlocked countries, we find that the transport capacity of the recipient’s fleet of bulk carriers —used in the maritime transport of many resources— reinforces the effect of resources on infrastructure aid. Finally, we find a decreasing influence of resources over time.
    Keywords: Foreign Aid, Resource exports, Political Economy, Trade costs, Infrastructure
    JEL: F
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Shreya Bhattacharya
    Abstract: The contact hypothesis posits that having diverse neighbours may reduce one's intergroup prejudice. This hypothesis is difficult to test as individuals self-select into neighbourhoods. Using a slum relocation programme in India that randomly assigned neighbours, I examine the effects of exposure to other-caste neighbours on trust and attitudes towards members of other castes. Combining administrative data on housing assignment with original survey data on attitudes, I find evidence corroborating the contact hypothesis.
    Keywords: Caste, Slums, India, Trust, Discrimination, Survey data
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Hervé, Justine (Fordham University); Mani, Subha (Fordham University); Behrman, Jere R. (University of Pennsylvania); Nandi, Arindam (CDDEP); Sankhil Lamkang, Anjana (CDDEP); Laxminarayan, Ramanan (CDDEP)
    Abstract: Gender gaps in skills exist around the world but differ remarkably among the high and low-and-middle income countries. This paper uses a unique data set with more than 20,000 adolescents in rural India to examine whether socioeconomic status and gender attitudes predict gender gaps in cognitive and noncognitive skills. We find steep socioeconomic and attitude gradients in both cognitive and noncognitive skills, with bigger effect sizes for the socioeconomic status (SES) gradients. Our results suggest that a sizable improvement in gender attitudes would yield important gains for females, but substantial gains would come only from large improvements in household socioeconomic status. Overall, the household socioeconomic and cultural environment is significantly associated with the gender gaps in both cognitive and noncognitive skills.
    Keywords: cognitive skills, noncognitive skills, gender attitudes, gender, India, children
    JEL: I21 I25 J13 J16 J24
    Date: 2021–02
  13. By: Stefania Lovo (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Samantha Rawlings (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of e-waste dumping sites on early child health. We focus on two major dumping sites in West Africa, in Ghana and Nigeria. We observe children born before and after the creation of these dumps, and estimate a difference-in-difference specification in which we compare outcomes of those born within the vicinity of the dump (within 11km) to those further away, before and after e-waste sites are created. We find that the e-waste sites increase neonatal and infant mortality by 4.5 and 6.5 percentage points, respectively, for children living in the proximity of the site. Event study analysis suggests that the negative effects emerge 2-3 years after the existence of the site, consistent with the gradual and systematic build up on contaminants in the environment. Preliminary analysis considering routes of exposure suggests that water pollution may drive some of the observed effects.
    Keywords: E-waste, Health, Infant Mortality, Dumping Sites
    JEL: I10 Q53 Q56 O10
    Date: 2021–02–22
  14. By: Braulio Britos (University of Minnesota); Manuel Alejandro Hernandez (International Food Policy Research Institute); Luis Miguel Robles (Universidad del Pacífico); Danilo Trupkin (Instituto Interdisciplinario de Economía Política de Buenos Aires - UBA - CONICET)
    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 landallocation and output inefficiency. We measure these distortions for the case of Guatemala using agricultural census microdata. We find thatdue to land market imperfections aggregate output is 19% below its efficient level for both maize and beans and 31% below for coffee, whichare three major crops produced nationwide. The regions with higher distortions show a higher dispersion in land prices and less active rentalmarkets. We also find that the degree of land market distortions across locations co-variate with road accessibility and ethnicity and, in a lowerextent, with education.
    Keywords: Land Market Distortions, Output Inefficiency, Agricultural Productivity, Guatemala
    JEL: O13 Q15 O40
    Date: 2020–09
  15. By: Sudipa Sarkar
    Abstract: This paper analyses whether living in a locality with high crime against women affects the probability of early marriage?that is, marriage before the legal age of marriage of girls. We hypothesize that parents who perceive themselves to live in a high-crime locality would marry their daughters off at an early age to protect the chastity of their daughters from any sexual violence. However, there would be no similar effect of perceived crime in the locality on the marriage of sons.
    Keywords: Crime, early marriage, Gender, India
    Date: 2021

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