nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒03‒15
twenty-two papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Global food prices, local weather and migration in Sub-Saharan Africa By Lars Ludolph; Barbora Šedová
  2. Economic Consequences of Global Agricultural Price Shifts By Jasmien De Winne; Gert Peersman
  3. Women's Employment and Natural Shocks By Eugenia Canessa; Gianna Claudia Giannelli
  4. Natural Disaster and Risk-Sharing Behavior: Evidence from Rural Bangladesh* By Asadul Islam; Minhaj Mahmud; Paul A. Raschky
  5. Can Conditional Cash Transfer Defer Child Marriage? Impact of Kanyashree Prakalpa in West Bengal, India By Dey, Subhasish; Ghosal, Tanisha
  6. Migration, Specialization, and Trade: Evidence from the Brazilian March to the West By Heitor S. Pellegrina; Sebastian Sotelo
  7. Leveraging social protection to advance climate-smart agriculture: evidence from Malawi By Ignaciuk, Ada; Scognamillo, Antonio; Sitko, Nick
  8. The Impact of Caste: A Missing Link in the Literature on Stunting in India By Ramachandran, Rajesh; Deshpande, Ashwini
  9. Mobile phones and HIV testing: Multi-country evidence from sub-Saharan Africa By Iacoella, Francesco; Tirivayi, Nyasha
  10. Multigenerational mobility in India By Anustup Kundu; Kunal Sen
  11. Welfare and the depth of informality: Evidence from five African countries By Eva-Maria Egger; Cecilia Poggi; Héctor Rufrancos
  12. Precarization or protection? The impact of trade and labour policies on informality By Rita K. Almeida; Lourenço S. Paz; Jennifer P. Poole
  13. Heterogeneous impact of internet availability on female labour market outcomes in an emerging economy: Evidence from Indonesia By Niken Kusumawardhani; Rezanti Pramana; Nurmala Saputri; Daniel Suryadarma
  14. Heterogeneous informality in Costa Rica and Nicaragua By Enrique Alaniz; T. H. Gindling; Catherine Mata; Diego Rojas
  15. Estimating poverty transitions in Mozambique using synthetic panels: A validation exercise and an application to cross-sectional survey data By Vincenzo Salvucci; Finn Tarp
  16. Husband, sons and fertility gap: Evidence from India By Ankita Mishra; Jaai Parasnis
  17. Trade, value chain technology and prices: evidence from dairy in East Africa By Liz Ignowski; Bart Minten; Jo Swinnen; Bjorn Van Campenhout; Senne Vandevelde
  18. Gender Bias in Intra-Household Allocation of Education in India: Has it fallen over time? By Sandip Datta; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon
  19. Do institutions and ideology matter for economic growth in Latin America in the first two decades of the 21st century? By Navarrete Gallo, Pamela L.; Ritzen, Jo
  20. Access to microfinance and female labour force participation By M Niaz Asadullah; Nudrat Faria Shreya; Zaki Wahhaj
  21. Attitudes towards inequality in Brazil: An analysis of a highly unequal country By Granja, Cintia Denise; Carneiro, Ana Maria
  22. Class size and learning: Has India spent too much on reducing class size? By Sandip Datta; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon

  1. By: Lars Ludolph (London School of Economics and Political Science); Barbora Šedová (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, University of Potsdam)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the effect of exogenous global crop price changes on migration from agricultural and non-agricultural households in Sub-Saharan Africa. We show that, similar to the effect of positive local weather shocks, the effect of a locally-relevant global crop price increase on household out-migration depends on the initial household wealth. Higher international producer prices relax the budget constraint of poor agricultural households and facilitate migration. The order of magnitude of a standardized price effect is approx. one third of the standardized effect of a local weather shock. Unlike positive weather shocks, which mostly facilitate internal rural-urban migration, positive income shocks through rising producer prices only increase migration to neighboring African countries, likely due to the simultaneous decrease in real income in nearby urban areas. Finally, we show that while higher producer prices induce conflict, conflict does not play a role for the household decision to send a member as a labor migrant.
    Keywords: labour migration, food prices, climate, Africa
    JEL: O15 O55 Q56 Q54
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Jasmien De Winne; Gert Peersman (-)
    Abstract: Extreme weather events are known to be detrimental for local economic activity, but could also affect countries that are not directly exposed to the extreme weather conditions through global agricultural production shortfalls and price surges induced by such events. For a panel of 75 countries, we show that increases in global agricultural commodity prices that are caused by harvest disruptions or unfavourable weather conditions in other regions of the world significantly curtail economic activity. The impact is considerably stronger in advanced countries, despite the lower shares of food in household expenditures these countries have compared to low-income countries. Furthermore, we find weaker effects in countries that are net exporters of agricultural products, have large domestic agricultural sectors and/or are less integrated in global markets for non-agricultural trade. Once we control for these characteristics, the effects on economic activity become smaller when the country’s income per capita is higher. Overall, these findings suggest that the consequences of climate change on advanced countries may be larger than previously thought.
    Keywords: Agricultural commodity prices, economic activity, harvest disruptions, weather shocks, climate change
    JEL: E32 F44 O13 Q54
    Date: 2021–03
  3. By: Eugenia Canessa; Gianna Claudia Giannelli
    Abstract: We employ georeferenced data and longitudinal household panel survey data to investigate the impact of the dramatic flooding that hit Bangladesh from August-September 2014 on women's employment and empowerment. Development economics models suggest an increase in household members' labour supply as a shock-coping strategy. Our difference-in-differences estimates confirm this assumption: women's employment probability increases by approximately 13 percentage points. Correcting for selection bias due to the initial employment status of women, we also find significant increases in the probability of non-employed women entering employment, in the average monthly income of employed women and in the probability of women engaging in autonomous wage-earning activities. Finally, we show that the greater earning capacity of employed women - instrumented by the intensity of flooding in the villages where women live - contributes to raising their bargaining power within the household as measured by the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index and by economic decision-making indicators.
    Keywords: Bangladesh; Flood; Shock-coping strategy; Women's employment; Intrahousehold bargaining
    JEL: F66 J16 Q12 Q54
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Asadul Islam; Minhaj Mahmud; Paul A. Raschky
    Abstract: This paper investigates how exposure to a natural disaster affects risk-sharing behavior us-ing a unique field experiment in rural Bangladesh. We conducted a risk-sharing experiment that randomly assigned different levels of exogenous commitments to households in disasterexposed and unexposed villages and asked them to form risk-sharing groups. Our results show that disaster-affected individuals are less likely to defect from risk-sharing commit-ments, regardless of the level of ex-ante commitment. Interestingly, this group chose more risky bets and realized higher average returns compared to the non-disaster-affected group. Our results have important implications for the design of financial risk-transfer mechanisms in developing countries.
    Keywords: Risk preference; risk sharing, intrinsic motivation; asymmetric information; natural disaster; field experiment
    JEL: C90 C93 D03 D71 D81 O12 Q54
    Date: 2019–06
  5. By: Dey, Subhasish (University of Warwick); Ghosal, Tanisha (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of a conditional cash transfer program called Kanyashree Prakalpa (KP) in the Indian state of West Bengal that aimed to improve the status and well-being of girls by reducing incidence of child marriage and increasing the secondary or higher education of girls till at least 18 years of age. Using the data from multiple rounds of National Family Health Survey (NFHS), difference-in-differences and triple-difference are employed considering the younger cohort (exposed to the program) as the treated group, the older cohort (not exposed to the program) as the control group, and the neighbouring state of Jharkhand as a comparison state. The analysis suggests that the KP program has reduced the probability of child marriage by 6.7 percent and increased the probability of secondary or higher educational attainment by 6 percent. The study contributes to the scarce literature of the significant long-term impact of the KP program towards women’s well-being and empowerment.
    Keywords: Kanyashree Prakalpa ; West Bengal ; Impact ; Education ; Child Marriage JEL Classification: I38 ; J12 Creation date: 2021
  6. By: Heitor S. Pellegrina (NYU Abu Dhabi); Sebastian Sotelo (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: Exploiting a large migration of farmers to the West of Brazil between 1950 and 2010, we study how migration shapes aggregate and regional comparative advantage. We document that farmers emigrating from regions with high employment in an activity are more likely to work in that activity and have higher income than other migrants doing so. We incorporate this heterogeneity into a quantitative model and find that, by reshaping comparative advantage, declines in migration costs contributed substantially to Brazil's rise as a leading commodity exporter. Opportunities to migrate, moreover, account for a substantial share of the gains from trade.
    Keywords: International Trade, Migration, Comparative Advantage
    JEL: F11 F22
    Date: 2021–01
  7. By: Ignaciuk, Ada; Scognamillo, Antonio; Sitko, Nick
    Abstract: In many developing countries the adoption of climate sustainable practices is hindered by resource and risk barriers. This paper assesses the interactions between participation in Malawi’s largest public works programme, the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF), and three widely promoted climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices. The underlying hypotheses to be tested are: (a) that participation in the MASAF programme reduce both the budget and the risk constraints to the adoption of sustainable management practices; and (b) the joint treatment effect of MASAF and CSA increases household farms’ productivity and welfare. Drawing on three waves of national panel household survey data, we find that participation in MASAF significantly increases the probability that farm households adopt all the CSA practices considered for this study.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Community/Rural/Urban Development
    Date: 2021–03–11
  8. By: Ramachandran, Rajesh (Heidelberg University); Deshpande, Ashwini (Ashoka University)
    Abstract: India is home to some 120 million children under the age of 5, 36 percent of whom are chronically malnourished. The associated high prevalence of stunting has generated a stream of research explaining why chronic malnourishment in India is higher than in poorer countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Surprisingly, this body of research has overlooked a crucial feature of chronic malnourishment in India – that is, the difference in stunting incidence across caste and religious groups. A comparison by social categories reveals that not only are the height gaps between social groups in India two to three times larger than the India–Africa gap, but that children from the socio-economically dominant group, the upper caste Hindus, are even taller than their African counterparts. We find significant caste gaps in child height in samples that are balanced on an extensive set of covariates. We also show that height gaps are higher in areas where discrimination is more prevalent. Our results suggest that incorporating considerations of caste is essential to understanding the problem of chronic malnourishment in India today.
    Keywords: early childhood development, stunting, malnourishment, caste, India
    JEL: I1 J13 J24
    Date: 2021–03
  9. By: Iacoella, Francesco (UNU-MERIT); Tirivayi, Nyasha (UNU-MERIT, and UNICEF Innocenti RC)
    Abstract: This study investigates the role of mobile phone connectivity on HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa. We make use of the novel and comprehensive OpencellID cell tower database, and DHS geocoded information for over 400,000 women in 28 Sub-Saharan African countries. We examine whether women's community distance from the closest cell-tower influences knowledge about HIV testing facilities and the likelihood of ever been tested for HIV. After finding a negative and significant impact of distance on our main outcomes, we investigate the mechanisms through which such effects might occur. Our analysis shows that proximity to a cell tower increases HIV-related knowledge as well as reproductive health knowledge. Similar results are observed when the analysis is performed at community level. Results suggest that the effect of mobile phone connectivity is channelled through increased knowledge of HIV, STIs, and modern contraceptive methods. Further analysis shows that cell phone ownership has an even larger impact on HIV testing and knowledge. This paper adds to recent literature on the impact of mobile-based HIV prevention schemes by showing through large-scale analysis that better mobile network access is a powerful tool to spread reproductive health knowledge and increase HIV awareness.
    Keywords: Technological change, mobile technology, public health, HIV, reproductive health
    JEL: O33 D83 I15 I18
    Date: 2021–03–09
  10. By: Anustup Kundu; Kunal Sen
    Abstract: Most studies of intergenerational mobility focus on adjacent generations, and there is limited knowledge about multigenerational mobility?that is, status transmission across three generations. We examine multigenerational educational and occupational mobility in India, using a nationally representative data set, the Indian Human Development Survey, which contains information about education and occupation for three generations. We find that mobility has increased over generations for education, but not for occupation.
    Keywords: multigenerational mobility, Occupational mobility, Educational mobility, India, Mobility, Intergenerational Mobility
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Eva-Maria Egger; Cecilia Poggi; Héctor Rufrancos
    Abstract: This study explores the relationship between household poverty and depth of informality by proposing a new measure of informality at the household level. It is defined as the share of activities (hours worked or income earned) without social insurance for wage workers in the household. We apply cross-sectional regressions to five urban sub-Saharan African countries, showing that a household head informality dummy obscures a non-linear relationship between the depth of household informality and welfare outcomes.
    Keywords: Informality, Measurement, Poverty, Social protection, Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Rita K. Almeida; Lourenço S. Paz; Jennifer P. Poole
    Abstract: Several episodes of market-oriented reforms in developing countries have been accompanied by a significant rise in work outside of the formal economy. This paper investigates whether the impact of increased exposure to trade on formal employment is mediated by the strength of labour regulations. We rely on data from the Brazilian Census which provides information on workers' demographics and employment, including job formality status.
    Keywords: Brazil, Informality, Trade, Regulation, Instrumental variable, Labour
    Date: 2021
  13. By: Niken Kusumawardhani; Rezanti Pramana; Nurmala Saputri; Daniel Suryadarma
    Abstract: Greater female labour market participation has important positive implications not only for women's empowerment and the well-being of their families but also for the economy they live in. In this paper, we examine the various effects of internet availability on women's labour market outcomes in Indonesia. As each worker subgroup tends to respond differently to changes in technology, examining the heterogeneity in the impact of internet availability on female labour market outcomes is central to our research.
    Keywords: Internet, Labour market, Indonesia, Female labour force participation
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Enrique Alaniz; T. H. Gindling; Catherine Mata; Diego Rojas
    Abstract: Informal work is often considered a place of employment for marginalized and vulnerable workers who have been rationed out of preferred formal work. However, informality can also be seen as a dynamic sector that budding entrepreneurs and those looking for flexible working conditions enter voluntarily. We use the methodology developed in Günther and Launov (2012) to test for the voluntary and involuntary nature of informal work in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, without making ad hoc assumptions about labour market segmentation and self-selection.
    Keywords: Informality, Developing countries, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Informal work, Labour market segmentation, Self-selection
    Date: 2021
  15. By: Vincenzo Salvucci; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: In this paper we first validate the use of the synthetic panels technique in the context of the 2014/15 intra-year panel survey data for Mozambique, and then apply the same technique to the 1996/97, 2002/03, 2008/09, and 2014/15 cross-sectional household budget surveys for the same country. We find that in most analyses poverty rates and poverty transitions estimated using synthetic panels provide results that are close to the true values obtained using the 2014/15 panel data.
    Keywords: Poverty Dynamics, poverty transitions, Mozambique, Synthetic panel, Poverty analysis, Poverty
    Date: 2021
  16. By: Ankita Mishra; Jaai Parasnis
    Abstract: Fertility gap—the difference between a woman’s ideal number of children and her actual number of children—is prevalent in both directions. We investigate the distribution of fertility gap in India and factors that lead to women exceeding or underachieving their ideal number of children. We find that son preference has a significant effect, contributing to negative as well as positive fertility gap. Further, we find that a husband’s preferences, in terms of his ideal family size and preference for a son, significantly shape the fertility gap. Our results point to the need for accounting for gender norms and household perspective in fertility analysis and policy settings.
    Keywords: fertility, India, fertility gap, son preference, household bargaining
    JEL: D10 J13 J16
    Date: 2019–06
  17. By: Liz Ignowski; Bart Minten; Jo Swinnen; Bjorn Van Campenhout; Senne Vandevelde
    Abstract: Agricultural value chains, particularly in the developing world, have been going through drastic changes over the past decades. Differences in world market participation and access to value chain technologies might however have resulted in uneven experiences across countries. In this paper, we explore their impact on prices in the value chain, using the example of two East African countries, Ethiopia and Uganda. We develop a conceptual framework and then validate the model using unique primary price data collected at several levels in the dairy value chains in both countries. We find that prices are overall significantly lower in Uganda than Ethiopia, reflecting their respective net exporting and importing status. Moreover, despite shorter value chains, we find much more significant effects of distances from the capital (the major end destination) on milk prices in Ethiopia than in Uganda. This is seemingly linked to the widespread presence of milk chilling centers in Uganda. While it has been shown that such technology is important for milk quality, we find here that they also have the added benefit to reduce the impact of farmer’s remoteness on prices and therefore allow for more geographically extended value chains.
    Date: 2021–02–24
  18. By: Sandip Datta (Delhi School of Economics); Geeta Gandhi Kingdon (UCL Institute of Education, London and City Montessori School, Lucknow)
    Abstract: This paper employs a hurdle model approach to ask whether the extent of gender bias in education expenditure within rural households in India changed over time from 1995 to 2014. Our most striking finding is that there has been a change over time in the way that gender bias is practiced within the household. In 1995, gender bias occurred through a significantly higher probability of school-enrolment of boys than girls, but by 2014, gender bias was practiced via significantly higher conditional education expenditure on boys than girls, and this was largely achieved via pro-male private school enrolment decisions. Households practicing gender equality in school enrolment by 2014 is a positive trend. However, girls’ significant disadvantage vis a vis boys in terms of lower education expenditure, achieved via their lower private school enrolment rate by 2014, is problematic if lower expenditure is associated with lower levels of cognitive skills (literacy, numeracy, etc.) since both individual economic returns and national economic growth accrue to cognitive skills and not independently to completing a given number of years in school. Household fixed effects analysis shows that the observed gender biases are a within-household phenomenon rather than an artefact of differences in unobservables across households.
    Keywords: Gender bias, Education expenditure; Education and Gender; India
    JEL: I24 I24
    Date: 2021–03–01
  19. By: Navarrete Gallo, Pamela L. (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, and Ministry of Education, Government of Peru); Ritzen, Jo (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Institutions have a positive, strong and significant impact on GDP growth; in 20 Latin American countries between 2002 and 2018. Government size has a negative impact on GDP growth itself but, in interaction with strong institutions, the effect of government size on growth turns to positive and significant, while political ideology has no significant effect on economic growth.
    Keywords: Economic growth, Institutions, Government Size, Political ideology, Latin America
    JEL: F43 N26 O11
    Date: 2021–03–09
  20. By: M Niaz Asadullah; Nudrat Faria Shreya; Zaki Wahhaj
    Abstract: Although microfinance started as a movement to improve women's economic well-being through increased female entrepreneurship in particular, its impact on women's attitudes toward and participation in the labour market is not fully understood. We fill this gap by combining data on branch locations of the major microfinance institutions in Bangladesh with household survey data and implement a spatial regression discontinuity design.
    Keywords: Microfinance, female entrepreneurship, Wellbeing, Gender norms, Regression discontinuity, Bangladesh
    Date: 2021
  21. By: Granja, Cintia Denise (UNU-MERIT, and University of Campinas); Carneiro, Ana Maria (University of Campinas)
    Abstract: Understanding public views on what is (un)fair is fundamental, as it has several policymaking implications. In this paper, we conduct a cross-sectional analysis of the determinants of attitudes towards inequality and provide an in-depth analysis of inequality perceptions in Brazil, one of the world's most unequal countries. To achieve this goal, the paper is divided as follows. Firstly, it summarises the main determinants of attitudes towards inequality, categorising each factor into one of the following categories: 1) macroeconomic factors; 2) individual economic factors; 3) social factors. Secondly, it presents Brazil's case study, using data from a study conducted in 2019 by Oxfam/Datafolha. The Brazilian data is analysed through Ordered Logistic Regressions. The results show that social factors related to skin colour/race, education and meritocracy beliefs are important to determine Brazilians attitudes towards inequality. For the economic factors, inequality perception was found to be also an essential determinant of attitudes.
    Keywords: Equality of income, Redistribution, Role of the government
    JEL: D31 D63 H23 I24
    Date: 2021–03–09
  22. By: Sandip Datta (Delhi School of Economics); Geeta Gandhi Kingdon (UCL Institute of Education, London and City Montessori School, Lucknow)
    Abstract: This paper examines the efficacy of class-size reductions as a strategy to improve pupils’ learning outcomes in India. It uses a credible identification strategy to address the endogeneity of class-size, by relating the difference in a student’s achievement score across subjects to the difference in his/her class size across subjects. Pupil fixed effects estimation shows a relationship between class size and student achievement which is roughly flat or non-decreasing for a large range of class sizes from 27 to 51, with a negative effect on learning outcomes occurring only after class size increases beyond 51 pupils. The class-size effect varies by gender and by subject-stream. The fact that up to a class-size of roughly 40 in science subjects and roughly 50 in non-science subjects, there is no reduction in pupil learning as class size increases, implies that there is no learning gain from reducing class size below 40 in science and below 50 in non-science. This has important policy implications for pupil teacher ratios (PTRs) and thus for teacher appointments in India, based on considerations of cost-effectiveness. When generalised, our findings suggest that India experienced a value-subtraction from spending on reducing class-sizes, and that the US$3.6 billion it spent in 2017-18 on the salaries of 0.4 million new teachers appointed between 2010 and 2017 was wasteful spending rather than an investment in improving learning. We show that India could save US$ 19.4 billion (Rupees 1,45,000 crore in Indian currency) per annum by increasing PTR from its current 22.8 to 40, without any reduction in pupil learning.
    Keywords: Class size, student achievement, India
    JEL: I20 I21
    Date: 2021–03–01

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