nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒05‒03
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. March 2021 PovcalNet Update: What's New By Tanida Arayavechkit; Aziz Atamanov; Karen Y. Barreto Herrera; Nadia Belhaj Hassine Belghith; R. Andres Castaneda Aguilar; Tony H. M. J. Fujs; Reno Dewina; Carolina Diaz-Bonilla; Ifeanyi N. Edochie; Dean M. Jolliffe; Christoph Lakner; Daniel Gerszon Mahler; Jose Montes; Laura Liliana Moreno Herrera; Rose Mungai; David Locke Newhouse; Minh C. Nguyen; Diana M. Sanchez Castro; Marta Schoch; Dhiraj Sharma; Kenneth Simler; Rob Swinkel; Shinya Takamatsu; Ikuko Uochi; Martha C. Viveros Mendoza; Nishant Yonzan; Nobuo Yoshida; Haoyu Wu
  2. Impact of Colonial Institutions on Economic Growth and Development in India: Evidence from Night Lights Data By Priyaranjan Jha; Karan Talathi
  3. Estimating Poverty for Refugees in Data-scarce Contexts: An Application of Cross-Survey Imputation By Hai-Anh Dang; Paolo Verme
  4. The Long Shadow of Infrastructure Development: Long Run Effects of Railway Construction in Colonial India By Pushkar Maitra; William Yu
  5. Is Mobile Money Changing Rural Africa? Evidence from a Field Experiment By Catia Batista; Pedro C. Vicente
  6. The Graduation Program Effects on Armed-Conflict Victims: Results Evaluation from Colombia By Viviana León-Jurado; Jorge Higinio Maldonado
  7. Credit constraints and demand for remedial education: Evidence from Tanzania By Burchardi, Konrad; de Quidt, Jonathan; Gulesci, Selim; Sulaiman, Munshi
  8. Timing Matters: Prenatal Climate Shocks, Sex Ratio, and Human Capital By Landry Kuate; Roland Pongou; Nicholas Rivers
  9. The Forging of a Rebel By Gauthier Marchais; Christian M. Mugaruka; Raúl Sanchez de la Sierra; David Qihang Wu
  10. Forgone Investment: Civil Conflict and Agricultural Credit in Colombia By Nicolás de Roux; Luis Roberto Martínez
  11. Financial Access and Labor Market Outcomes: evidence from credit lotteries By Bernardus Van Doornik; Armando Gomes; David Schoenherr; Janis Skrastins
  12. Climate Adaptation Policies and Infant Health: Evidence from a Water Policy in Brazil By Da Mata, Daniel; Emanuel, Lucas; Pereira, Vitor; Sampaio, Breno
  13. Whats the worth of a promise? Evaluating the indirect effects of a program to reduce early marriage in India By Shreya Biswas; Upasak Das
  14. The Impact of Brazil on Global Grain Dynamics: A Study on Cross-Market Volatility Spillovers By Felipe Avileis; Mindy Mallory

  1. By: Tanida Arayavechkit; Aziz Atamanov; Karen Y. Barreto Herrera; Nadia Belhaj Hassine Belghith; R. Andres Castaneda Aguilar; Tony H. M. J. Fujs; Reno Dewina; Carolina Diaz-Bonilla; Ifeanyi N. Edochie; Dean M. Jolliffe; Christoph Lakner; Daniel Gerszon Mahler; Jose Montes; Laura Liliana Moreno Herrera; Rose Mungai; David Locke Newhouse; Minh C. Nguyen; Diana M. Sanchez Castro; Marta Schoch; Dhiraj Sharma; Kenneth Simler; Rob Swinkel; Shinya Takamatsu; Ikuko Uochi; Martha C. Viveros Mendoza; Nishant Yonzan; Nobuo Yoshida; Haoyu Wu
    Abstract: The March 2021 update to PovcalNet involves several changes to the data underlying the global poverty estimates. Some welfare aggregates have been changed for improved harmonization, and the CPI, national accounts, and population input data have been updated. This document explains these changes in detail and the reasoning behind them. In addition to the changes listed here, a large number of new country-years have been added, resulting in a total number of surveys of more than 1,900. Moreover, this update includes important revisions to the historical survey data and for the first time, poverty estimates based on imputed consumption data.
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Priyaranjan Jha; Karan Talathi
    Abstract: We study the implications of two historical institutions, direct British rule, and the heterogeneous land tenure institutions implemented by the British, on disparity in present day development using district level data from India. Using nightlights per capita as a proxy for district level per capita income, we find that modern districts that were historically under direct British rule had 39.47% less nightlights per capita in 1993 relative to modern districts that were historically under indirect British rule. The large gap persists even after including other controls such as educational attainment, health, and physical infrastructure. Looking at the growth pattern during 1993 to 2013, directly ruled districts had a 1.84% lower annual growth rate compared to indirectly ruled districts. As well, directly ruled districts were converging at a rate of 2% per year while indirectly ruled districts were converging at a rate of 5.7% per year. Much of the development gap between areas under indirect rule and direct rule can be accounted for by the adverse effect of landlord-based revenue collection system in the directly ruled areas.
    Keywords: institutions, direct British rule, economic growth, nightlights per capita, land tenure system, economic development, human capital
    JEL: O11 O43 P16 P51
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Hai-Anh Dang (World Bank); Paolo Verme (World Bank)
    Abstract: The increasing growth of forced displacement worldwide has brought more attention to measuring poverty among refugee populations. However, refugee data remain scarce, particularly regarding income or consumption. We offer a first attempt to measure poverty among refugees using cross-survey imputation and administrative and survey data collected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Employing a small number of predictors currently available in the UNHCR registration system, the proposed methodology offers out-of-sample predicted poverty rates that are not statistically different from the actual poverty rates. These estimates are robust to different poverty lines, perform well according to targeting indicators, and are more accurate than those based on asset indexes or proxy means tests. They can also be obtained with relatively small samples. We also show that it is feasible to provide poverty estimates for one geographical region based on the existing data from another similar region.
    Keywords: poverty imputation, Syrian refugees, household survey, missing data, Jordan
    JEL: C15 I32 J15 J61 O15
    Date: 2021–04
  4. By: Pushkar Maitra (Monash University, Department of Economics); William Yu (Monash University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the long-term impacts of infrastructural investment. It considers the case of British investment in railway infrastructure in colonial India. Railways had an immediate impact on trade and development in the predominantly agricultural India. In this paper, we show that the positive effects of railways have persisted over more than a century. Districts of the Indian sub-continent that were connected to railways earlier continue to have higher levels of economic prosperity and lower rural poverty rates a century later. Men and women residing districts connected earlier are less likely to be uneducated or malnourished. Districts further away from connected districts are worse o in terms of levels of economic development in 2013. The corresponding IV estimates are larger in magnitude than the OLS estimates indicating that the OLS estimates provide a lower bound to the effect of exposure to railways on long run prosperity. The persistent effects appear to be driven by agglomeration due to early exposure to trade and globalization as a result of connectedness.
    Keywords: Infrastructure, Railways, Long Run Prosperity, Colonial India
    JEL: O11 N75 O18
    Date: 2021–04
  5. By: Catia Batista (Nova School of Business and Economics, CReAM, IZA and NOVAFRICA); Pedro C. Vicente (Nova School of Business and Economics, BREAD, and NOVAFRICA)
    Abstract: Rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa are typically underserved by financial services. We measure the economic impact of introducing mobile money for the first time in rural villages of Mozambique using a randomized control trial. This intervention led to consumption smoothing through increased transfers as a response to both geo-referenced village-level floods and household-level idiosyncratic shocks. Importantly, we find that the availability of mobile money increased migration out of rural areas, where we observe lower agricultural activity and investment. Our work illustrates how financial inclusion can accelerate African urbanization and structural change while improving welfare in rural areas.
    Keywords: mobile money, migration, remittances, technology adoption, insurance, consumption smoothing, investment, savings, Mozambique, Africa.
    JEL: O12 O15 O16 O33 G20 R23
    Date: 2021–04
  6. By: Viviana León-Jurado; Jorge Higinio Maldonado
    Abstract: As part of the Colombian government's strategy to support the armed-conflict victims, a Graduation Program called "Transformando Mi Futuro" (Transforming my future) was implemented. Unlike other graduation programs, this one targets the urban population and has no assets transfers. To evaluate this program, a Results Evaluation (Before/After) approach was performed using the information collected before and after implementing the program. The main results show positive changes in well-being and a reduction in the gap between the actual perception of well-being and the expectations for two and five years, and positive changes in labor income and savings. These results suggest that the program contributed to improving the living conditions of participating households. However, heterogeneity analysis shows that impacts are differentiated according initial status of participants. This exercise is part of the set of evaluations carried out within the Platform for Evaluation and Learning of the Graduation Program in Latin America ( )
    Keywords: Victims, poverty, labor income, savings, informal credit, and well-being.
    JEL: C32 C36 D04 H53 I32 I38
    Date: 2021–04–16
  7. By: Burchardi, Konrad (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, BREAD, CEPR, CESifo, ThReD); de Quidt, Jonathan (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, CAGE, CEPR, CESifo, and ThReD); Gulesci, Selim (Department of Economics, Trinity College, Dublin, BREAD, CEPR, EUDN, J-PAL); Sulaiman, Munshi (BRAC Institute of Governance and Development)
    Abstract: We study how credit constraints affect access to a remedial education program for girls. We gave an unconditional cash transfer to randomly selected households, then measured their Willingness To Pay (WTP) for the program. In the control group average WTP was 3,300 Tanzanian Shillings, seven percent of per-capita monthly expenditures. For those identified at baseline as able to borrow, the cash transfer increases WTP by three percent. For those unable to borrow, the cash transfer increases WTP by 27 percent. We conclude that credit constraints limit access to educational programs, and may increase inequality of outcomes
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Landry Kuate (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa); Roland Pongou (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON); Nicholas Rivers (Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Institute of the Environment, University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: This paper offers new causal evidence on how the timing of prenatal temperature shocks affects fetal health, sex ratio at birth, and early-age human capital. Analyzing data on nearly 2 million live births from sub-Saharan African countries and exploiting exogenous spatial and temporal variation in monthly temperature, we uncover three findings. First, we find that a cold temperature shock decreases the likelihood of a male birth. This effect is non-linear, being larger in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. It is also highly heterogeneous, being larger for older women, higher parity births, and rural areas. Second, combining our empirical estimates with a climate model, we find that the number of fetal deaths caused by climate change will rise from 200 to 400 per 100,000 live births by 2050 throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Third, in contrast to their differential effect on fetal mortality, prenatal temperature shocks increase infant mortality more for females than for males, suggesting that only healthier male fetuses survive to adverse in utero conditions. Our analysis implies that the design of policies to avert the negative impacts of climate change on children should account for stages of fetal development.
    Keywords: Climate Change; Timing of Prenatal Temperature Shocks; Impact Heterogeneity; Fetal Mortality; Sex Ratio; Infant Mortality; Human Capital; Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Gauthier Marchais; Christian M. Mugaruka; Raúl Sanchez de la Sierra; David Qihang Wu
    Abstract: We use variation in exposure to victimization of 1,537 households of eastern Congo for each year of 1990–2013 to examine the formation of preferences to participate in armed groups. In this context, most armed groups are Congolese militia, whose objective is fighting foreign armed groups. We find that foreign armed group attacks on household members are associated with a larger propensity that individuals join a Congolese militia in subsequent years. The results are consistent with the formation of preferences arising from parochial altruism towards the family to fight foreign perpetrators. Specifically, we find that the effect is driven by the most gruesome of those attacks, by those that take place at a young age, and persists for several years. Consistent with parochial altruism, we find that the effect is largest when the victim is a household member or the village chief, smaller when the victim is another household in the village, and insignificant if the victim is in a nearby village. To examine the external validity of our result, we analyze heterogeneous effects by weakness of the state. We find that the response is concentrated in village-year observations in which state forces are absent. Finally, we show that, to undo this effect, the yearly per capita income outside armed groups would have to permanently increase 18.2-fold. These results suggest that intrinsic preferences are important for armed group participation relative to economic incentives, and emphasize their interaction with state weakness.
    JEL: D15 D72 D74 Z13
    Date: 2021–04
  10. By: Nicolás de Roux; Luis Roberto Martínez
    Abstract: Do agricultural producers forgo otherwise profitable investments due to civil conflict? Answering this question is crucial to our understanding of the costs of violence, but requires the ability to measure farmers’ willingness to invest and access to exogenous variation in conflict intensity. We exploit a unique administrative dataset from Colombia’s largest agricultural bank and the 2016 demobilization agreement between the Colombian government and insurgent group FARC to overcome these challenges. A difference-in-difference analysis yields three main findings: First, credit to small producers increases after the agreement in municipalities with high FARC exposure (17% over sample mean). Higher loan applications drive this increase, with no change in supply-side variables. Second, a simple theoretical framework combined with rich information on characteristics of loan applicants and projects (including credit scores and loan outcomes) suggests that changes in project returns, but not in risk, underlie the increase in credit demand. Third, conflict is not the binding constraint on investment in areas with low access to markets. Higher investment, unchanged default rates and additional evidence of increased nighttime luminosity after the end of conflict imply an overall positive economic impact
    Keywords: Conflict, Investment, Credit, Agriculture, FARC
    JEL: D74 G21 O13 O16
    Date: 2021–04–19
  11. By: Bernardus Van Doornik; Armando Gomes; David Schoenherr; Janis Skrastins
    Abstract: We assess the employment and income effects of access to credit dedicated to investment in individual mobility (a motorcycle). For identification, we exploit random time-series variation in access to credit through random lotteries for participants in a group-lending mechanism in Brazil. We find that access to credit for investment in individual mobility permanently increases formal employment rates and salaries, yielding an annual real rate of return of 16.94 percent over a ten-year horizon. Consistent with a geographically broader job search, we find that individuals transition to jobs further away from home and public transportation. Our results suggest that credit constraints prevent individuals from accessing parts of the labor market. As a consequence, extending credit for investment in mobility enables individuals to access geographically distant labor market opportunities, yielding high and persistent returns.
    Date: 2021–04
  12. By: Da Mata, Daniel (São Paulo School of Economics-FGV); Emanuel, Lucas (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco); Pereira, Vitor (National School of Public Administration); Sampaio, Breno (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)
    Abstract: This paper studies how in utero exposure to a large-scale climate adaptation program affects birth outcomes. The program built around one million cisterns in Brazil's poorest and driest region to promote small-scale decentralized rainfall harvesting. Access to cisterns during early pregnancy increased birth weight, particularly for more educated women. Data suggest that more educated women complied more with the program's water disinfection training, highlighting that even simple, low-cost technologies require final users' compliance ("the last mile") to be effective. In the context of growing water scarcity, adaptation policies can foster neonatal health and thus have positive long-run implications.
    Keywords: climate, adaptation, birth outcomes, cisterns, water
    JEL: Q54 Q58 Q25 I15
    Date: 2021–04
  13. By: Shreya Biswas; Upasak Das
    Abstract: One important dimension of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs apart from conditionality is the provision of continuous frequency of payouts. On the contrary, the Apni Beti Apna Dhan program, implemented in the state of Haryana in India from 1994 to 1998 offers a promised amount to female beneficiaries redeemable only after attaining 18 years of age if she remains unmarried. This paper assesses the impact of this long-term financial incentivization on outcomes, not directly associated with the conditionality. Using multiple datasets in a triple difference framework, the findings reveal a significant positive impact on years of education though it does not translate into gains in labor participation. While gauging the potential channels, we did not observe higher educational effects beyond secondary education. Additionally, impact on time allocation for leisure, socialization or self-care, age of marriage beyond 18 years, age at first birth, and post-marital empowerment indicators are found to be limited. These evidence indicate failure of the program in altering the prevailing gender norms despite improvements in educational outcomes. The paper recommends a set of complementary potential policy instruments that include altering gender norms through behavioral interventions skill development and incentives to encourage female work participation.
    Date: 2021–04
  14. By: Felipe Avileis; Mindy Mallory
    Abstract: Brazil rose as a global powerhouse producer of soybeans and corn over the past 15 years has fundamentally changed global markets in these commodities. This is arguably due to the development of varieties of soybean and corn adapted to climates within Brazil, allowing farmers to double-crop corn after soybeans in the same year. Corn and soybean market participants increasingly look to Brazil for fundamental price information, and studies have shown that the two markets have become cointegrated. However little is known about how much volatility from each market spills over to the other. In this article we measure volatility spillover ratios between U.S. and Brazilian first crop corn, second crop corn, and soybeans. We find that linkages between the two countries increased after double cropping corn after soybeans expanded, volatility spillover magnitudes expanded, and the direction of volatility spillovers flipped from U.S. volatility spilling over to Brazil before double cropping, to Brazil spilling over to U.S. after double cropping.
    Date: 2021–04

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