nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒04‒26
twenty-six papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Changing Spatial Inequality of Opportunity in West Africa By Luke Milsom
  2. Take the highway? Paved roads and well-being in Africa By Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'Ambrosio; Elodie Djemaï
  3. What Factors Drive transport and Logistics Costs in Africa ? By Patrick Plane
  4. By Choice or by Force? Exploring the Nature of Informal Employment in Urban Mexico By Duval Hernández, Robert
  5. Experimental Evidence on Adoption and Impact of the System of rice Intensification By Barrett, Christopher B.; Islam, Asad; Pakrashi, Debayan; Ruthbah, Ummul
  6. Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Mexico By Nancy A. Daza Báez
  7. Closing the gender profit gap By Catia Batista; Sandra Sequeira; Pedro C. Vicente
  8. Socioeconomic Gradients in Child Development: Evidence from a Chilean Longitudinal Study 2010 – 2017 By Alejandra Abufhele; Dante Contreras; Esteban Puentes; Amanda Telias; Natalia Valdebenito
  9. Customized Credit Transfer and Women Empowerment: Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials in Bangladesh By Jinnat Ara; Dipanwita Sarkar
  10. Like mother like daughter? Occupational mobility among children under asset transfer program in Bangladesh By Jinnat Ara; Dipanwita Sarkar; Jayanta Sarkar
  11. Commodity Price Shocks and the Seasonality of Conflict By Ubilava, David; Atalay, Kadir
  12. Does social health insurance spillover to student performance? Evidence from an RDD in Peru By Miguel Ángel Carpio; Lucero Gómez; Pablo Lavado
  13. Ethnicity is not public service destiny: The political logic of service distribution in South Africa By John Porten; Inbok Rhee; Clark Gibson
  14. The effect of labour demand on women’s intra-household decision power: Evidence from Indonesia By Sarah Xue Dong
  15. Do temperature shocks affect non-agriculture wages in Brazil? Evidence from individual-level panel data By Jaqueline Oliveira; Bruno Palialol, Paula Pereda
  16. A Machine Learning Approach to Analyze and Support Anti-Corruption Policy By Elliott Ash; Sergio Galletta; Tommaso Giommoni
  17. Beyond Ostrom: Randomized Experiment of the Impact of Individualized Tree Rights on Forest Management in Ethiopia By Ryo Takahashi; Keijiro Otsuka
  18. Smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change and its potential contribution to UN’s sustainable development goals of zero hunger and no poverty By Khanal, Uttam; Wilson, Clevo; Rahman, Sanzidur; Lee, Boon; Hoang, Vincent
  19. Gender effect on microfinance social efficiency: A robust nonparametric approach By Fall, François Seck; Tchuigoua, Hubert Tchakoute; Vanhems, Anne; Simar, Léopold
  20. "Good Politicians'': Experimental Evidence on Motivations for Political Candidacy and Government Performance By Gulzar, Saad; Khan, Muhammad Yasir
  21. Out of the shadow: Encouraging online registration of micro and small businesses through a randomized controlled trial By Sarah Xue Dong; Dewi Meisari; Banu Rinaldi
  22. Micro-Estimates of Wealth for all Low- and Middle-Income Countries By Guanghua Chi; Han Fang; Sourav Chatterjee; Joshua E. Blumenstock
  23. How Krugman forgot agriculture and misread the sources of Asia’s growth By Peter Warr
  24. NGOs and the effectiveness of interventions By Usmani, Faraz; Jeuland, Marc; Pattanayak, Subhrendu
  25. Do voluntary sustainability standards increase countries' access to cocoa export markets? By Grassnick, Nina; Brümmer, Bernhard
  26. Does Household Electrification Supercharge Economic Development? By Lee, Kenneth; Miguel, Edward; Wolfram, Catherine

  1. By: Luke Milsom
    Abstract: This paper maps the changing landscape of opportunity in Benin, Cameroon, and Mali, using a movers design to isolate the causal effect of place on primary education completion. On average, I find that 70% of the observed spatial variation in primary education completion can be attributed to causal place effects. I then estimate and map locality-year specific causal place effects, providing the first step in developing place-based policies to improve child opportunities. I find that the impact of place is: stronger for females, unequal across space, persistent over time, and correlated with locality level observables.
    Date: 2021–03–23
  2. By: Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'Ambrosio; Elodie Djemaï
    Abstract: Public Goods aim to improve individual welfare. We investigate the causal consequences of roads on well-being in 24 African countries, instrumenting paved roads by 19th Century hypothetical lines between major ports and cities. We have data on over 32000 individuals, and consider both their objective and subjective well-being. Roads reduce material deprivation, in terms of access to basic needs, but at the same time there is no relation between roads and subjective living conditions. The benefit of roads in providing basic needs then seems to be offset by worse outcomes in non basic-needs domains.
    Keywords: roads, subjective well-being, basic needs, material deprivation, Africa
    JEL: D63 I32 O18
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Patrick Plane (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UCA [2017-2020] - Université Clermont Auvergne [2017-2020] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International)
    Abstract: We analyze the domestic transport and logistics costs of importing a 20-foot container into Africa. We run regressions on a panel of 50 African countries for the period 2006-2014 using the RE-2SLS estimator. Distance from port of arrival to the point of delivery is an important explanatory factor of cost. Time-varying variables yield additional and valuable information. For the 2010-2014 sub-period, the simulations suggest that reducing processing times and adjusting real exchange rates to PPP equilibrium levels would save 12% of the cost to import for North Africa and 37% for Central Africa.
    Keywords: Cost of transport and logistics,Africa,Physical geography,Real exchange rate,Transaction costs,Rent seeking,Processing time
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Duval Hernández, Robert (University of Cyprus)
    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. The estimation of 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. Women with greater responsibilities at home are less likely to want formal employment, and they also face a lower probability of being hired in such jobs. The findings indicate the segmentation of Mexican labour markets and the rationing of formal jobs, together with the existence of workers who voluntarily participate in informal employment. However, the estimated fraction of involuntary informal workers is quite high.
    Keywords: informal employment, labour markets, segmentation, rationing
    JEL: O17
    Date: 2021–04
  5. By: Barrett, Christopher B.; Islam, Asad; Pakrashi, Debayan; Ruthbah, Ummul
    Abstract: We report the results of a large-scale, multi-year experimental evaluation of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), an innovation that first emerged in Madagascar in the 1980s and has now diffused to more than 50 countries. Using a randomized training saturation design, we find that greater cross-sectional or intertemporal intensity of direct or indirect training exposure to SRI has a sizable, positive effect on Bangladeshi farmers’ propensity to adopt (and not to disadopt) SRI. We find large, positive and significant impacts of SRI training on rice yields and profits, as well as multiple household well-being indicators, for both trained and untrained farmers in training villages. Despite the significant farm-level impacts on rice productivity and labor costs, we find no evidence of significant general equilibrium effects on rice prices or wage rates. We also find high rates of disadoption, and clear indications of non-random selection into technology adoption conditional on randomized exposure to training, such that adopters and non-adopters within the same treatment arm experience similar outcomes. Rice yields, profits and household well-being outcomes do not, however, vary at the intensive margin with intensity of training exposure, a finding consistent with multi-object learning models.
    Keywords: Agricultural Finance
    Date: 2021–01–20
  6. By: Nancy A. Daza Báez (University College London, Social Research Institute)
    Abstract: Intergenerational mobility is a growing concern among academics and policymakers. However, due to the absence of information on earnings for successive generations, little evidence is available for developing countries. This paper adds to this scarce body of evidence by studying intergenerational mobility of earnings for Mexico. I rely on the Two-Sample Two-Stage Least Squares approach to estimate the intergenerational elasticity of earnings and the rank-rank coefficient at the national, urban and regional levels, considering the attenuation and life-cycle biases suffered by the estimators. The key results show less mobility than previously suggested. On average, 70.9% of the relative difference in father's earnings is transmitted to their children. Moreover, a 10 percentile point increase in the father's earnings rank is associated with a 3.15 percentile point increase in the son's earnings rank. At the regional level, strong intergenerational persistence is found in the South; whilst the North presents the highest intergenerational earnings mobility.
    Keywords: Inequality, Intergenerational earnings mobility, Rank-rank coefficient, Two-Sample Two-Stage Least Squares, Mexico
    JEL: D31 D64 J62 C20
    Date: 2021–04–01
  7. 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
  8. By: Alejandra Abufhele; Dante Contreras; Esteban Puentes; Amanda Telias; Natalia Valdebenito
    Abstract: Empirical evidence shows that lack of resources during infancy and the process of accumulating disadvantages throughout childhood have important consequences in cognitive and socio-emotional development. This paper examines socioeconomic gradients across cognitive and socio-emotional measures. Using longitudinal data from a 7 year - 3 wave panel data, we study the patterns of socioeconomic status and child development in Chile and estimate how much of the wealth gap can be explained by different mediators like maternal educational and skills, child attendance to preschool and school, possession of books, or violence indicators at home. We show strong associations between household wealth and child development, and as the child grows, the gap between the most extreme quintiles of the distribution, both in cognitive and socio-emotional skills remains, but decreases in magnitude. Taking advantage of the longitudinal nature of the data, we calculate a permanent skill for each child and each skill dimension in this 7-year period. The analysis for the permanent component shows that wealth gaps are important to determine cognitive ability but not socioemotional skills. While mediators account for some of the associations, there is still a large socioeconomic gap that persists in cognitive skills among children. By understanding the dynamism of social and cognitive vulnerability experienced during childhood and employing longitudinal data and methods, this study contributes to and extends the existing literature on socioeconomic gaps and child development in the context of Latin American.
    Date: 2020–12
  9. By: Jinnat Ara; Dipanwita Sarkar
    Abstract: This study focuses on a randomized experiment conducted by BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra poor (TUP) program in rural Bangladesh and examines the effect of an intervention that combines the availability of credit with supports offered through transfer programs on women empowerment. Using two years panel data, this study investigates if the credit program had an effect on women’s ability to influence in intra-household decision-making, communal cohesion, boosting consciousness for their rights inside and outside the household, competitiveness and self-confidence– a behavioural trait that women in rural Bangladesh are severely lacking in, and which is likely to be correlated with empowerment. Despite randomization, we estimate the effects of the intervention using difference-in-difference after controlling for respondent’s socio-demographic characteristics. Our empirical results show positively significant effects on enhancing sole and joint decision-making capabilities, social inclusion, and awareness about social and legal issues while domestic violence against women is likely to decrease after the intervention.
    Date: 2021–02–06
  10. By: Jinnat Ara; Dipanwita Sarkar; Jayanta Sarkar
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data from Randomized Controlled Trials, this study estimates the effect of BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra-Poor program on the nature of work among the children of the program beneficiaries. Since the program provides assets to the main female of the household, this transfer is expected to alter their children’s study time, market and non-market activities. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we find that the likelihood of a child adopting self-employment increases significantly across all waves as a result of asset transfer. However, there is significant temporal and gender differences in the effects on their study time: the effect is negative in the short run but positive in the long run for the boys, but not significantly so for the girls. Our findings corroborate the Beckerian model of time allocation: in the short run asset transfer expands the earning opportunities inducing substitution of study time for work, especially among the boys. Eventually as income rises over time, demand for education rises study time. Our results also show that the asset transfer program is likely to reduce gender gap in skilled employment as girls become less likely to undertake unskilled work both relative to the boys in her household and all children in the non-participating households. The children of program participant households who were involved in unskilled work at the start of the program are likely to spend significantly more time on agricultural self-employment and less time on unskilled work uniformly across time.
    Keywords: Bangladesh, Child labor, Gender, Working hours, Asset transfer
    Date: 2021–02–09
  11. By: Ubilava, David; Atalay, Kadir
    Abstract: Commodity price shocks can exacerbate conflict in low income countries with weak institutions. In these countries, agriculture usually is a key source of employment and income. A unique feature of agricultural income is its seasonality, which manifests in harvest-time windfalls. Conflict, therefore, can be seasonal as well. We combine temporal variation in international cereal prices at monthly frequency with spatial variation in cereal crop production and harvest seasons at the one-degree grid cell level to investigate the effect of year–on–year growth in cereal prices on conflict across Africa. We find that in the cropland, conflict is more likely during the first three months after a harvest, when the expected value of spoils to be appropriated is highest. During this period, a one–standard–deviation increase in prices can result in a more than three–percent increase in conflict incidents. We also find that among potential perpetrators, political militias are the most likely culprits behind seasonal conflict in the cropland of Africa. This study offers an important nuance to the growing literature aimed at investigating the economic causes of conflict in fragile states with weak institutions.
    Keywords: Africa; Cereals; Conflict; Prices; Seasonality
    Date: 2021–03
  12. By: Miguel Ángel Carpio (Universidad de Piura); Lucero Gómez (Universidad del Pacífico); Pablo Lavado (Universidad del Pacífico)
    Abstract: The literature on the effects of Social Health Insurance focuses on its stated goals, namely health status and financial protection; but little work exists on its effect on education. In this paper, we examine the effect of the Peruvian program on student performance by means of a sharp regression discontinuity design. We use a unique individual-level database built from the merger of detailed data from a household survey and standardized test scores from a national census. We find large effects of health insurance on mathematics and reading scores. Moreover, we analyze the main potential mechanisms: health of child, health of family members, and status of household finances. The clearest channel is a lower incidence of anemia among children and mothers, probably due to better nutrition. Finally, we explore whether the effect of health insurance on test scores is heterogeneous by sex to the extent that the data allow. We find it is mostly driven by girls who are better off across the entire score distribution.
    Keywords: social health insurance, test scores, anemia, Peru.
    JEL: D04 I18 I21 I38
    Date: 2021–01
  13. By: John Porten; Inbok Rhee; Clark Gibson
    Abstract: Millions of South Africans in thousands of demonstrations have protested the unequal allocation of public services. Despite the African National Congress's promise to reduce the disparities generated by apartheid, the level of public services remains highly uneven across the country. Most studies of service provision in Africa assume that politicians will target their co-ethnics; other 'diversity deficit' literature hypothesizes that a high level of ethnic diversity undermines service provision from the start.
    Keywords: Public service delivery, Ethnicity, Africa, Distribution, Development policy, South Africa, Public goods
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Sarah Xue Dong
    Abstract: This study contributes to the literature on household decisions and women’s empowerment by looking at the relationship between labour market opportunities and women’s intra-household decision power in Indonesia. Using Bartik labour demand measures, I estimate the effect of change in local labour demand for women in large and medium manufacturing on women’s intra-household decision power. Household decision power is calculated using direct information on who makes decisions in the household. I find that increase in labour demand for women in large and medium manufacturing increases women’s intra-household decision power by a large magnitude. Increase in labour demand for men decreases women’s household decision power. Consistent with intra-household bargaining theories, increase in labour demand for women increases women’s decision power even for women who do not work. Based on new literature discussing the validity of Bartik instruments, I discuss the validity of my identification strategy and conduct robustness tests.
    Keywords: intra-household decisions, women’s empowerment, labour demand; large and medium manufacturing; shift-share (Bartik) instrument
    JEL: D10 J23 O14
    Date: 2021
  15. By: Jaqueline Oliveira; Bruno Palialol, Paula Pereda
    Abstract: The relationship between temperature and agriculture outcomes in Brazil has been widely explored, overlooking that most of the country's labor force is employed in nonagriculture sectors. We use monthly individual-level panel data spanning January 2015 to December 2016 to ask whether temperature shocks impact non-agriculture wages in formal labor markets. Our results show that a 1oC shock increases wages where climate are colder, but reduces wages where climate are hotter. We calculate that wages fall 0.42% on average, an income loss equivalent to 0.06% of GDP annually. Assuming future temperatures rise uniformly by 2oC, and that no adaptation occurs, we expect annual income losses five times larger. The heterogeneous effects we find also suggest that weather vulnerability may deepen existing income inequalities.
    Keywords: temperature shocks; labor productivity; nominal wage exibility; non-agriculture sector; formal labor markets
    JEL: C23 J24 Q54
    Date: 2021–04–14
  16. By: Elliott Ash; Sergio Galletta; Tommaso Giommoni
    Abstract: Can machine learning support better governance? In the context of Brazilian municipalities, 2001-2012, we have access to detailed accounts of local budgets and audit data on the associated fiscal corruption. Using the budget variables as predictors, we train a tree-based gradient-boosted classifier to predict the presence of corruption in held-out test data. The trained model, when applied to new data, provides a prediction-based measure of corruption that can be used for new empirical analysis or to support policy responses. We validate the empirical usefulness of this measure by replicating and extending some previous empirical evidence on corruption issues in Brazil. We then explore how the predictions can be used to support policies toward corruption. Our policy simulations show that, relative to the status quo policy of random audits, a targeted policy guided by the machine predictions could detect almost twice as many corrupt municipalities for the same audit rate. Similar gains can be achieved for a politically neutral targeting policy that equalizes audit rates across political parties.
    Keywords: algorithmic decision-making, corruption policy, local public finance
    JEL: D73 E62 K14 K42
    Date: 2021
  17. By: Ryo Takahashi (Graduate School of Economics, Waseda University); Keijiro Otsuka (Kobe University)
    Abstract: Although community forest management has become a principal approach for the management of forest resources in developing countries, empirical evidence on its effectiveness is mixed. We argue in this study that while community management is effective in protection or regulated use of forest resources as argued by Ostrom, it may fail to provide proper incentives to take care of such resources because of collective sharing of benefits of forest management. This study proposes a mixed private and community management system as a desirable arrangement for timber forest management in developing countries, which is characterized by communal protection of community-owned forest area and individual management of individually owned trees. We conducted a randomized experiment on community forests in Ethiopia in which individualized tree rights have been granted to member of randomly selected communities with the permission of the local authority. We found that the mixed management system significantly stimulated intensive forest management activities, including pruning, guarding, and watering. Furthermore, individual members of the mixed management system extracted more timber trees and forest products, which are byproducts of tree management, such as thinned trees and pruned branches. As may be expected, the extracted volumes of nontimber forest products unrelated to tree management (i.e., fodder and honey) did not change by the intervention.
    Keywords: property regimes, individual rights, commons, community forest management, RCT
    JEL: O13 Q23 Q24 P48
  18. By: Khanal, Uttam; Wilson, Clevo; Rahman, Sanzidur; Lee, Boon; Hoang, Vincent
    Abstract: Climate change is likely to worsen poverty, and agriculture-dependent groups and poorest countries are at the greatest risk. Farmers’ have begun developing and implementing climate change adaptations. This study investigates the extent to which climate change adaptations by smallholder farmers have the potential to contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals of no poverty (SDG 1) and zero hunger (SDG 2). To this end, the study measures the impact of such adaptations on food production using farm-level survey data from Nepal. We utilize a matching technique and stochastic production frontier model to examine the productivity and efficiency of farmers. Results reveal that the group of farmers adopting adaptations exhibit higher levels of productivity and technical efficiency in food production as compared to the non-adopters. It is evident from the results that policy makers should encourage farming households in climate change adaptations, which have the potential to enhance farmers’ productivity and efficiency in agriculture thereby contributing to two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating hunger and poverty (SDG’s target indicators 2.3).
    Keywords: Adaptation; food security; production frontier; selection bias; sustainable development goals; Nepal.
    JEL: O13 Q15 Q54
    Date: 2020–06–08
  19. By: Fall, François Seck; Tchuigoua, Hubert Tchakoute; Vanhems, Anne; Simar, Léopold (Université catholique de Louvain, LIDAM/ISBA, Belgium)
    Abstract: The main objective of this study is to assess the impact of gender on microfinance social efficiency. Our methodology is based on nonparametric techniques to estimate the gender effect. We use a conditional directional free disposal hull (FDH) approach as well as its robust version of order-; we study the effect of the heterogeneity factor on the difference of conditional and non conditional inefficiencies as well as on the inefficiency level using a local linear regression and we test the significance of its effect using a wild double bootstrap procedure. Using a cross-country sample of 680 microfinance institutes (MFIs) in 2011 from six main regions of the world, our findings suggest that gender diversity has globally a positive impact on the microfinance social efficiency. However, the nature of the effect depends on the considered heterogeneity factor and we find that the boardroom gender diversity effect is linear, whereas the effect of the percentage of women loan officers is non linear (U-shaped on the difference of inefficiencies and inverted U-shaped on the inefficiency levels). We assess the robustness of our findings on various subsamples (global or regional scale, and also depending on the considered profit oriented status). Our findings reinforce the importance of the role played by women in MFI social efficiency.
    Keywords: OR in developing countries ; Microfinance ; Gender ; Social Efficiency ; Heterogeneity ; Nonparametric Robust frontier models
    Date: 2020–08–27
  20. By: Gulzar, Saad; Khan, Muhammad Yasir
    Abstract: How can we motivate `good' politicians -- those that will carry out policy that is responsive to citizens' preferences -- to enter politics? In a field experiment in Pakistan, we vary how political office is portrayed to ordinary citizens. We find that emphasizing pro-social motives for holding political office instead of personal returns -- such as the ability to help others versus enhancing one's own respect and status -- raises the likelihood that individuals run for office and that voters elect them. It also better aligns subsequent policies with citizens' preferences. The candidacy decisions are explained by social influence, and not information salience -- we find that social versus personal messaging matters only when randomly delivered in a public setting but not in private. Results also show that changes in political supply, not citizen preferences or behavior, explain policy alignment. Taken together, the results demonstrate that non-financial motivations for political entry shape how politicians perform in office.
    Date: 2021–04–15
  21. By: Sarah Xue Dong; Dewi Meisari; Banu Rinaldi
    Abstract: This paper presents the findings of a large scale randomized controlled field trial that informs micro and small businesses about a free and easy to use online registration portal for business registration. We find that in the context of Indonesia, a country with a large informal sector and complicated business registration process, simple online registration can be attractive to micro and small businesses. Sending three rounds of short WhatsApp or text messages resulted in 3.4% of recipients clicking the registration link in the messages. Only 0.1% of recipients registered through the portal, however, indicating that the registration portal is not easy enough to use. Different phrasing of messages results in different click rate, different registration rate, and different rates the sender’s number is blocked. Neutral message performs the best, followed by message that emphasize that registration is easy. Message that appeals to people’s patriotic feelings or message that emphasize the registration is free performs the last, depending on the outcome.
    Keywords: business registration; micro and small enterprises; informal sector; randomized controlled trial; behavioural insights;
    JEL: C93 O17 O29
    Date: 2021
  22. By: Guanghua Chi; Han Fang; Sourav Chatterjee; Joshua E. Blumenstock
    Abstract: Many critical policy decisions, from strategic investments to the allocation of humanitarian aid, rely on data about the geographic distribution of wealth and poverty. Yet many poverty maps are out of date or exist only at very coarse levels of granularity. Here we develop the first micro-estimates of wealth and poverty that cover the populated surface of all 135 low and middle-income countries (LMICs) at 2.4km resolution. The estimates are built by applying machine learning algorithms to vast and heterogeneous data from satellites, mobile phone networks, topographic maps, as well as aggregated and de-identified connectivity data from Facebook. We train and calibrate the estimates using nationally-representative household survey data from 56 LMICs, then validate their accuracy using four independent sources of household survey data from 18 countries. We also provide confidence intervals for each micro-estimate to facilitate responsible downstream use. These estimates are provided free for public use in the hope that they enable targeted policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, provide the foundation for new insights into the causes and consequences of economic development and growth, and promote responsible policymaking in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
    Date: 2021–04
  23. By: Peter Warr
    Abstract: In his famous 1994 essay ‘The Myth of Asia’s Miracle’, Paul Krugman argued that the growth of output per person in Asia was due almost entirely to increasing primary factor inputs per head of population – raising labour force participation and adding capital to labour. He called this ‘perspiration’, which he distinguished from ‘inspiration’ – productivity growth derived from technical change. According to Krugman’s sources, the latter contributed very little. The article rightly discounted the ‘miracle’ rhetoric that had been applied to Asia’s rapid economic growth over the preceding two decades, but it missed a key point. By focusing on the economic record of enclave, city-based economies like Singapore and Hong Kong, which lack traditional agriculture, Krugman overlooked the role of agriculture and the process of structural transformation. This is the mechanism through which workers relocate from low-productivity employment in agriculture to higher-productivity employment in industry and, more especially, services, raising overall labour productivity. The present paper demonstrates the importance of this matter, using data for Thailand and Indonesia. It shows that structural transformation contributed 47 per cent of long-term growth of labour productivity in Thailand and 28 per cent in Indonesia.
    Keywords: Asia’s miracle; structural transformation; productivity growth; agriculture; Thailand; Indonesia
    JEL: O13 O47 O53
    Date: 2021
  24. By: Usmani, Faraz; Jeuland, Marc; Pattanayak, Subhrendu
    Abstract: Interventions led by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are often more effective than comparable efforts by other actors, yet relatively little is known about how implementer identity drives final outcomes. Combining a stratified field experiment in India with a triple-differences estimation strategy, we show that a local development NGO's prior engagement with target communities increases the effectiveness of a technology-promotion intervention implemented by it by at least 30 percent. This "NGO effect" has implications for the generalizability and scalability of evidence from experimental research conducted with local implementation partners.
    Keywords: NGOs,field experiments,external validity
    JEL: L31 C93 O12 O17
    Date: 2021
  25. By: Grassnick, Nina; Brümmer, Bernhard
    Abstract: Large chocolate manufacturers have committed themselves to only using certified cocoa beans and some governments want to increase the share of certified cocoa products consumed in their countries. Thus, Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSSs) become quasi-mandatory for cocoa producers and grinders to ensure access to these markets. Yet, their trade effects are unclear. We study the effect of a VSS on raw and processed cocoa exports. We use a unique dataset that contains the UTZ Certified cocoa production quantity of cocoa-producing countries from 2010 to 2016. This allows us to estimate a gravity model of trade and analyse the effect of the share of UTZ Certified cocoa production quantity in a country on the trade value of raw cocoa beans, cocoa powder, cocoa paste and cocoa butter. Our results show that UTZ certification only enhances bilateral exports of cocoa beans and paste, while it reduces exports of cocoa butter and has mixed effects on cocoa powder exports.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, International Development, International Relations/Trade
    Date: 2021–04
  26. By: Lee, Kenneth; Miguel, Edward; Wolfram, Catherine
    Abstract: In recent years, electrification has re-emerged as a key priority in low-income countries, with a particular focus on electrifying households. Yet the microeconomic literature examining the impacts of electrifying households on economic development has produced a set of conflicting results. Does household electrification lead to measurable gains in living standards or not? Focusing on grid electrification, we discuss how the divergent conclusions across the literature can be explained by differences in methods, interventions, potential for spillovers, and populations. We then use experimental data from Lee, Miguel, and Wolfram (2019) — a field experiment that connected randomly-selected households to the grid in rural Kenya— to show that impacts can vary even across individuals in neighboring villages. Specifically, we show that households that were willing to pay more for a grid electrification may gain more from electrification compared to households that would only connect for free. We conclude that access to household electrification alone is not enough to drive meaningful gains in development outcomes. Instead, future initiatives may work better if paired with complementary inputs that allow people to do more with power.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences
    Date: 2019–12–12

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