nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒03‒29
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. From Fees to Free: User Fee Removal, Maternal Health Care Utilization and Child Health in Zambia By Yohan Renard
  2. Enhancing Human Capital at Scale By Francesco Agostinelli; Ciro Avitable; Matteo Bobba
  3. Closing the gender profit gap By Catia Batista; Sandra Sequeira; Pedro C. Vicente
  4. Female Genital Cutting and the Slave Trade. By Lucia Corno; Eliana La Ferrara; Alessandra Voena
  5. Left behind, but not alone: Changes in living arrangements and the effects of migration and remittances in Mexico By Simone Bertoli; Elsa Gautrain; Elie Murard
  6. The Distributional Effects of Climate Change:Evidence from Iran By Naser Amanzadeh; Toshi H. Arimura; Mohammad Vesal; Seyed Farshad Fatemi Ardestani
  7. Linkages between dietary diversity and indicators of agricultural biodiversity in Burkina Faso By A. Lourme-Ruiz; S. Dury; Y. Martin-Prével
  8. Learning about Farming: Innovation and Social Networks in a Resettled Community in Brazil By Margherita Comola; Carla Inguaggiato; Mariapia Mendola
  9. Conditional Cash Transfer, Loss Framing, and SMS Nudges: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Bangladesh By Tomoki Fujii; Christine Ho; Rohan Ray; Abu S. Shonchoy
  10. Corruption and distortion of public expenditures: Evidence from Africa By Harouna Sedgo; Luc-Désiré Omgba
  11. How does information on minimum and maximum food prices affect measured monetary poverty ? Evidence from Niger By Nouréini Sayouti; Christophe Muller
  12. Financial inclusion and its heterogeneous effect on household income By Rodríguez, D.; Gallego, J; Jaramillo, F.
  13. Corruption and Health Insurance for the Informal Sector in Sierra Leone By Jofre-Bonet, M.; Kamara, J.; Mesnard, A.
  14. Inequality and Locational Determinants of the Distribution of Living Standards in India By Sriram Balasubramanian; Rishabh Kumar; Prakash Loungani

  1. By: Yohan Renard (Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University, CNRS, IRD, LEDa, DIAL)
    Abstract: Despite recent progress, about 295,000 women in the World still die each year from pregnancy-related causes, and about 4.1 million children die before reaching the age of one. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. In 2006 the Zambian government removed user fees in public and mission health facilities in 54 out of 72 districts, and then extended this policy to rural parts of unaffected districts in 2007. I exploit the staggered implementation of the policy to assess its impact on maternal health care utilization and child health outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy, I find a 43% increase in the probability to give birth in a medical facility following the removal and a 36% increase in the probability of being assisted by a skilled birth attendant during childbirth. These positive effects decrease with household’s distance from the nearest health facility. In terms of child health, chronic malnutrition decreased by 8% and the abolition of user fees reduced newborn mortality risk only for those living close to a health facility providing essential emergency obstetric care and child health services.
    Keywords: Free health care, Childbirth conditions, Child health, User fees, Zambia, Difference-in-differences
    JEL: I12 I18 J13 O12 O15
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Francesco Agostinelli (University of Pennsylvania); Ciro Avitable (World Bank); Matteo Bobba (University of Toulouse Capitole)
    Abstract: A two-year randomized evaluation shows that the effectiveness of mobile mentors on schooling outcomes crucially depends on their training. While a standard training modality in highly marginalized communities in Mexico generates null results, enhanced training yields sizable treatment effects on primary school children's cognitive, behavioral, and educational achievements. This difference cannot be explained by remedial educational activities or pedagogical support, but it can be reconciled with higher parental aspirations and investments. Evidence gathered on the subsequent national roll out of the intervention with enhanced training substantiates the scalability of the experimental design.
    Keywords: educational investments, family investments, remedial education, pedagogical practices, scaling-up effects
    JEL: H43 I10 I20 I38
    Date: 2021–03
  3. By: Catia Batista; Sandra Sequeira; Pedro C. Vicente
    Abstract: We examine the complementarity between access to mobile savings accounts and improved financial management skills on the performance of female-led micro-enterprises in Mozambique. This combined support is associated with a large increase in both short and long-term firm profits and in financial security, when compared to the independent effect of each of these interventions. This support allowed female-headed micro-enterprises to close the gender gap in performance and financial literacy relative to their male counterparts. The main drivers of improved business performance are increased financial management practices (bookkeeping), an increase in accessible savings and reduced transfers to friends and relatives.
    Keywords: Microenterprise development, management, gender, mobile money, financial literacy, economic development
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Lucia Corno (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Eliana La Ferrara; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: We investigate the historical origins of female genital cutting (FGC), a harmful practice widespread across Africa. We test the hypothesis .substantiated by historical sources.that FGC was connected to the Red Sea slave trade route, where women were sold as concubines in the Middle East and in.bulation was used to ensure chastity. We hypothesize that differential exposure of ethnic groups to the Red Sea route determined di¤erential adoption of the practice. Combining individual level data from 28 African countries with novel historical data on slaves.shipments by country, ethnic group and trade routes from 1400 to 1900. We find that women belonging to ethnic groups whose ancestors were exposed to the Red Sea route are more likely to be infibulated or circumcised today and are more in favor of continuing the practice. The estimated effects are very similar when slave exports are instrumented by distance to the North-Eastern African coast. Finally, the effect is smaller for ethnic groups that historicaly freely permitted premarital sex - a proxy for low demand for chastity.
    Keywords: Female Genital Cutting, Slave Trade.
    Date: 2021–02
  5. By: Simone Bertoli (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Elsa Gautrain (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Elie Murard
    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: Migration,Remittances,Household Structure,Living arrangements,Extended family,Schooling
    Date: 2021–01–21
  6. By: Naser Amanzadeh (Tehran Institute for Advanced Studies, 17 East Daneshvar St.North Shirazi St., Mollasadra Blvd., Tehran, Iran.); Toshi H. Arimura (Faculty of Political Science and Economics & Research Institute for Environmental Economics and Management (RIEEM), Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-8050, Japan.); Mohammad Vesal (Assistant professor of Economics,Sharif University of Technology, Azadi Ave, Tehran, Iran.); Seyed Farshad Fatemi Ardestani (Assistant professor of Economics,Sharif University of Technology, Azadi Ave, Tehran, Iran.)
    Abstract: Climate change has a heterogeneous effect across poor and rich households due to differences in vulnerabilities and exposure. Yet, there are very few papers that provide estimates on the magnitude of climate impact across the income distribution. In this paper, we combine 21 rounds of household expenditure and income survey from 1998 to 2018 in Iran to construct a large sample of rural and urban households. Using within district variations in temperature, we show that a one Celsius degree increase in annual temperature respectively leads to an 8.1 and 4.7 percent decrease in rural and urban per capita expenditure. We find that the impact is twice the average effect for the poorest decile. Furthermore, we provide evidence that available household resources that determine vulnerabilities play a more important role than the difference in exposure to climate change. Our findings suggest that compensatory policies should target the poorest households as poverty is a stronger determinant of impact compared to being an agricultural earner or residing in already hot areas.
    Keywords: Climate Change, Expenditure distribution, Vulnerability, Poverty
    JEL: Q51 Q54 Q12 I32 D31
    Date: 2021–03
  7. By: A. Lourme-Ruiz (MoISA, Univ Montpellier, Cirad, Ciheam-IAMM, Inrae, Institut Agro, IRD, Montpellier, France); S. Dury (UMR MoISA - Montpellier Interdisciplinary center on Sustainable Agri-food systems (Social and nutritional sciences) - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - CIHEAM-IAMM - Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier - CIHEAM - Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, MoISA, Univ Montpellier, Cirad, Ciheam-IAMM, Inrae, Institut Agro, IRD, Montpellier, France); Y. Martin-Prével (MoISA, Univ Montpellier, Cirad, Ciheam-IAMM, Inrae, Institut Agro, IRD, Montpellier, France)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the relationships between women's dietary diversity and various indicators of agricultural biodiversity in farms of the Hauts-Bassins, a cotton-growing region in rural western Burkina Faso. A sample of 579 farms representative of the region was surveyed at three different periods of the year. Using a qualitative 24-hour dietary recall, we computed a women's dietary diversity score (WDDS-10) based on ten food groups. We used four crop diversity indicators: crop count (CC), Simpson's index (SI), nutritional functional diversity (NFD) and production diversity score (PDS) based on the same food groups as in the WDDS-10. We also counted the number of agroforestry tree species that provide food and the number of animal species raised. Mean WDDS-10 was low (3.4 ± 1.5 food groups) and did not vary between seasons, whereas the food groups consumed changed according to harvests. Farm production is based on cereals and cotton with low diversity (on average 2.2 +/-1.0 food groups were cultivated on each farm). Results of mixed models Agricultural biodiversity indicators and dietary diversity 2 showed that WDDS-10 is positively associated with PDS and the number of agroforestry trees species. In this area, dietary diversity of women in farming households depends on the on-farm production of nutritionally diverse crops, partly because when a crop is produced some of it is usually consumed by the members of the farm household. In addition, WDDS-10 was found to be negatively associated with cotton production when managed by male farm heads, but positively when managed by women. Our results show that assessing the relationships between WDDS-10 and agricultural biodiversity depends on how the latter is assessed. In Burkina Faso, enhancing agricultural biodiversity, especially nutrient-dense crops and agroforestry trees, could be an appropriate way to improve dietary diversity.
    Keywords: Cotton,Crop diversity,Agricultural biodiversity,Dietary diversity,Seasonality
    Date: 2021–01–30
  8. By: Margherita Comola (University Paris-Saclay and Paris School of Economics); Carla Inguaggiato (University of Bern, Centre for Development and Environment); Mariapia Mendola (University of Milano{Bicocca and IZA)
    Abstract: We study the role of social learning in the diffusion of cash crops in a resettled village economy in northeastern Brazil. We combine detailed geo-coded data on farming plots with dyadic data on social ties among settlers, and we leverage natural exogenous variation in network formation induced by the land occupation movement and the agrarian reform. By using longitudinal data on farming decisions over 15 years we find consistent evidence of significant peer effects in the decision to farm new cash fruits (pineapple and passion fruit). Our results suggest that social diffusion is heterogeneous along observed plot and crop characteristics, i.e. farmers growing water-sensitive crop are more likely to respond to the actions of peers with similar water access conditions.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption, Agrarian Reform, Social Networks, Peer Effects, Brazil
    JEL: C45 D85 J15 O33 Q15
    Date: 2021–02–09
  9. By: Tomoki Fujii (Singapore Management University); Christine Ho (Singapore Management University); Rohan Ray (Singapore Management University); Abu S. Shonchoy (Department of Economics, Florida International University)
    Abstract: Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) have become one of the most common policy interventions to increase school attendance, but the cost-effectiveness of such interventions has not attracted the attention it deserves. Hence, in addition to a standard CCT implementation, our rich unique dataset on daily attendance allows us to experimentally study two potential ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of school attendance interventions: (i) SMS information nudges and (ii) loss framing in CCTs. The former provides school attendance information to parents and the latter exploits the endowment effect. Consistent with the existing literature, CCT intervention significantly increases school attendance. Though the difference between gain and loss framing is not statistically significant, the point estimate of the Loss treatment is consistently higher than that of the Gain treatment.The SMS treatment has a modest impact on school attendance but the overall cost of treatment is low. We also find diminishing marginal impact of cash transfer amount on attendance, indicating that the intensive margin matters. Thus, both loss framing and SMS nudges can be considered as alternative cost-effective approaches to promote attendance in schools in developing and less developed economies where resources are typically limited.
    Keywords: conditional cash transfers, loss aversion, peer effect, information treatment, Bangladesh
    JEL: D91 H75 I21 I28 O22
    Date: 2021–03
  10. By: Harouna Sedgo; Luc-Désiré Omgba
    Abstract: This study investigates the effect of corruption on the trade-off between capital and current expenditures in a panel of 48 African countries over the period 2000-2016.Based on statistical yearbooks, we compile disaggregated data on public finances for African countries and find that a high prevalence of corruption distorts the composition of public expenditures at the expense of the share of capital expenditure. Specifically, an increase in corruption by one standard deviation is associated with a decrease in the proportion of capital expenditure from 29\% to 16\%. The results are robust to various specifications and estimation methods, including the fixed effects and instrumental variables approach. The supportive argument demonstrates that it seems more beneficial for corrupted bureaucrats to manipulate public spending in favor of current rather than capital expenditures. The latter relies on formal and traceable procedures, whereas current expenditure is known to be more open to the use of discretionary allocation.
    Keywords: Corruption; capital expenditure; current expenditure; public expenditure; Africa
    JEL: D73 E62 H5 O55
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Nouréini Sayouti (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Christophe Muller (IRD Marseille - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) Marseille)
    Abstract: Do households facing an interval of prices rather than a simple price alter the results of poverty analyses? To address this question, we exploit a unique dataset from Niger in which agropastoral households provide the minimum and maximum prices they paid for each consumed product in each season. We estimate poverty measures based on this price information using several absolute poverty line methodologies. Prices are used for valuing household consumption bundles, estimating household-specific price indices, valuing minimal calorie requirements, and extrapolating the link between food poverty and consumption. The results for Niger show statistically significant differences in the estimated chronic and dynamic poverties for these approaches, especially for international poverty comparisons and seasonal transient poverty monitoring. Specifically, using minimum and maximum prices generates gaps in the estimated poverty rates for Nigerien agropastoral households that exceed regional poverty disparities, which implies that regional targeting priorities in poverty alleviation policies would be reversed if these alternative prices are utilized. This result suggests that typically estimated poverty statistics, which assume that each household, or even cluster, faces a unique price for each product in a given period, may be less accurate for policy monitoring than generally believed.
    Keywords: Poverty,Prices,Niger,Social policies
    Date: 2021–01–21
  12. By: Rodríguez, D.; Gallego, J; Jaramillo, F.
    Abstract: This paper examines how, in the main Colombian cities, the effect of financial inclusion (FI) on income changes along the distribution of household income considering labor informality. We construct a multidimensional FI indicator based on the World Bank definition and on the data. Using a quantile regression technique, we estimate the effect of FI on income at each quantile for informal and formal households. The findings indicate that FI has a positive impact throughout the income distribution but is greater in low-income and informal households. The results suggest that FI can have potential effects in alleviating poverty and closing the income gap.
    Keywords: Financial inclusion; household income; labor informality
    JEL: D30
    Date: 2020–11–03
  13. By: Jofre-Bonet, M.; Kamara, J.; Mesnard, A.
    Abstract: Most governments cannot provide the necessary health services required for their citizens either as a result of scarcity of resources or corruption (Mostert et al., 2012). Lack of credibility and trust in fund managers has been highlighted as one of the reasons why people do not join health insurance schemes in developing countries, especially in Africa (Escobar et al., 2010). This work investigates the impact of corruption on household’s willingness to participate and pay for health insurance in the presence of corruption. To do so, we use (1) a binary logit model to study the relationship between household characteristics and experienced corruption; (2) an ordered probit model to explore how household characteristics are associated to the intensity of corruption perceived; and (3) a Mixed Logit model to estimate the association of corruption and participation and willingness to pay for a health insurance scheme. We find that corruption decreases the willingness to participate and pay for a public Health Insurance Scheme (HIS). Comparing experienced and perceived corruption, we observe that experienced corruption affects less WTP for a HIS than perceived corruption. Households experiencing corruption, are willing to pay more for a public HIS than those that perceive high levels of corruption. The implications of our findings are in line with the literature and stress the perverse spillover effects of corruption. Not only corruption hinders the effectiveness of health care systems and thus health outcomes, but it also undermines the willingness to pay for them and thus imperils the sustainability of health care systems in the countries that are most in need of them.
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Sriram Balasubramanian; Rishabh Kumar; Prakash Loungani
    Abstract: Using 2011-12 consumption micro-data, we find that nearly one-third of the variation in living standards in India can be explained by location alone. Consumption levels and locational inequality are positively related. In effect, from an individual’s perspective, living standards are higher in richer, but more unequal, locations in India. The central factor behind these findings is the large difference in average consumption levels between rural and urban India and continued divergence in per-capita incomes between rich and poor states. Our results provide a possible explanation for the persistence of economic migration from rural to urban areas within a fast-growing emerging economy. While individuals cannot easily alter specific characteristics like their caste or religion, they have some freedom to change their location to enjoy better living standards.
    Date: 2021–02–26

This nep-dev issue is ©2021 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.