nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒05‒10
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Teaching in the Right Context: Textbook Supply Program, Language, and Vocabulary Ability in Vietnam By Fujii, Tomoki; Nakajima, Maki; Xu, Sijia
  2. What Explains Vietnam's Exceptional Performance in Education Relative to Other Countries? Analysis of the 2012 and 2015 Pisa Data By Dang, Hai-Anh; Glewwe, Paul; Vu, Khoa; Lee, Jongwook
  3. Biased Teachers and Gender Gap in Learning Outcomes: Evidence from India By Rakshit, Sonali; Sahoo, Soham
  4. Democracy, Corruption and Unemployment: Empirical Evidence from Developing Countries By OUEGHLISSI, Rim; DERBALI, Ahmed
  5. Electrification and Cooking Fuel Choice in Rural India By Ridhima Gupta; Martino Pelli
  6. Selection and Behavioral Responses of Health Insurance Subsidies in the Long Run: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Ghana By Patrick Opoku Asuming; Hyuncheol Bryant Kim; Armand Sim
  7. Can Appeals For Peace Promote Tolerance and Mitigate Support for Extremism? Evidence from an Experiment with Adolescents in Burkina Faso By Grossman, Allison N.; Nomikos, William George; Siddiqui, Niloufer
  8. Assessing gender gaps in employment and earnings in Africa: the case of Eswatini By Brixiová Schwidrowski, Zuzana; Imai, Susumu; Kangoye, Thierry; Yameogo, Nadege Desiree
  9. Mitigating climate change through sustainable technology adoption: Insights from cookstove interventions By Alem, Yonas

  1. By: Fujii, Tomoki (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Nakajima, Maki (National University of Singapore); Xu, Sijia (East China University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: While past two decades have witnessed a remarkable educational progress in Vietnam, ethnic minority children consistently lagged behind ethnic majority children in academic performance. The government of Vietnam has stepped up efforts to assist ethnic minority students in their learning by lowering the linguistic and cultural barriers they face. Among such efforts is the textbook supply program, and we examine its impact on the learning of children proxied by vocabulary test. We apply difference-in-differences estimation to four rounds of the Young Lives data between 2006 and 2015 in order to investigate how the textbook supply program narrowed the gap between the ethnic minority and majority over time. We show that the textbook supply program became more effective in narrowing the ethnic gap as the education policy in Vietnam became reoriented towards ethnic minority children. We also conduct a causal mediation analysis to explore the relevance of behavioural response through the change in time use. The result of this analysis suggests that increased study time is possibly a moderate mediator through which the textbook supply program helps narrow the ethnic gap in the test score only for the young cohort over and above the direct impact from the textbook program. This paper therefore alludes to the importance of delivering carefully designed materials for the target group to bring about meaningful behavioral changes. It also corroborates the findings from the recent literature on teaching at the right level.
    Keywords: Ethnic minority; mediation; difference in differences; PPVT; Vietnam
    JEL: I24 I25 J15 O12
    Date: 2021–04–13
  2. By: Dang, Hai-Anh (World Bank); Glewwe, Paul (University of Minnesota); Vu, Khoa (University of Minnesota); Lee, Jongwook (Seoul National University)
    Abstract: Despite being the poorest or second poorest participant, Vietnam performed much better than all other developing countries, and even ahead of wealthier countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., on the 2012 and 2015 PISA assessments. We provide a rigorous investigation of Vietnam's strong performance. After making various parametric and non-parametric corrections for potentially non-representative PISA samples, including bias due to Vietnam's large out-of-school population, Vietnam still remains a large positive outlier conditional on its income. Possible higher motivation of, and coaching given to, Vietnamese students only partly explains Vietnam's performance, and this is also the case for various observed household- and school-level variables. Finally, Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions indicate that the gap in average test scores between Vietnam and the other participating countries is due not to differences in students' and schools' observed characteristics, but instead to Vietnam's greater "productivity" of those characteristics.
    Keywords: education, student learning, test scores, enrollment, PISA, Vietnam
    JEL: H0 I2 O1 P3
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Rakshit, Sonali (Arizona State University); Sahoo, Soham (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of stereotypical beliefs of teachers on the learning outcomes of secondary school students in India. We measure teacher’s bias through an index capturing teacher’s subjective beliefs about the role of gender and other characteristics in academic performance. We tackle the potential endogeneity of teacher’s subjective beliefs by controlling for teacher fixed effects in a value-added model that includes lagged test scores of students. We find that a standard deviation increase in the biased attitude of the math teacher increases the female disadvantage in math performance by 0.07 standard deviation over an academic year. The effect is stronger among medium-performing students and in classes where the majority of students are boys. The negative effect of biased teachers is statistically insignificant for female teachers who also reduce gender gap among medium-performing students. Mediation analysis shows that biased teachers negatively affect girls’ attitude towards math as compared to boys.
    Keywords: learning outcomes, value-added model, gender, teachers, stereotypes, India
    JEL: I24 J16 J24
    Date: 2021–04
  4. By: OUEGHLISSI, Rim; DERBALI, Ahmed
    Abstract: The literature on democracy and corruption is inconclusive on the effect of democracy on corruption. We intend to supplement this void by arguing that an interaction between democracy and unemployment may exist in shaping the de facto corruption levels. This paper examines whether such conjuncture exists. We estimate a linear dynamic panel-data model using data from 78 developing countries over the period 1990–2018. We find that democracy reduce corruption. However, the potential beneficial effect of democracy on corruption is eroded by higher unemployment rate. The results are robust and quantitatively similar across different empirical specifications. These results imply that developing countries should focus on decreasing unemployment level so as to take advantage of democratization in their fight against corruption.
    Keywords: Democracy, Corruption, Unemployment, GMM
    JEL: C23 D7 O1
    Date: 2021–04–12
  5. By: Ridhima Gupta; Martino Pelli
    Abstract: This study investigates the causal link between electrification and the adoption of modern (and cleaner) cooking fuels, more specifically Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). In order to correct for the potential endogeneity in the placement of electrical infrastructure, we exploit an instrumental variable approach. Our instrument interacts state-level supply shifts in hydroelectric power availability with the initial level of electrification of each district. The results are consistent with a choice set expansion under a fixed budget constraint. We find that electrification leads to an increase in the probability of adoption of (free) biomass fuels and a decrease in the probability of adoption of (costly) modern cooking fuels. These results are statistically significant only for the poorest households in our sample, while they become statistically insignificant when we move to richer households. The same is true for the share of expenditure in a specific fuel. These results seem to indicate that electrification, by creating an additional strain on households' finances, pushes them back on the energy ladder.
    Keywords: Rural Electrification,Cooking Fuel,Energy Ladder,Fuel Stacking,
    JEL: O12 O13 Q56
    Date: 2021–04–30
  6. By: Patrick Opoku Asuming; Hyuncheol Bryant Kim; Armand Sim
    Abstract: We conduct a randomized experiment that varies one-time health insurance subsidy amounts (partial and full) in Ghana to study the impacts of subsidies on insurance enrollment and health care utilization. We find that both partial and full subsidies promote insurance enrollment in the long run, even after the subsidies expired. Although the long run enrollment rate and selective enrollment do not differ by subsidy level, long run health care utilization increased only for the partial subsidy group. We show that this can plausibly be explained by stronger learning-through-experience behavior in the partial than in the full subsidy group.
    Date: 2021–05
  7. By: Grossman, Allison N.; Nomikos, William George; Siddiqui, Niloufer
    Abstract: Recent efforts to improve attitudes toward outgroups and reduce support for extremists in violent settings report mixed results. Donors and aid organizations have spent millions of dollars to amplify the voices of moderate religious figures to counter violent extremism in West Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Despite this investment, we know little about whether such messaging persuades the primary recruits of violent extremist organizations: at-risk youth in fragile settings. In this paper, we consider whether pro-peace religious messaging can promote social cohesion among school-age respondents in Burkina Faso. Using a survey experiment, we find little evidence that such messages affect reported attitudes or behaviors towards religious extremism and find instead that it can have the unintended effect of increasing intolerance towards ethnic others. Our findings carry lessons about the inadvertent priming of ethnic identities that can result in a backlash effect among certain societal segments.
    Date: 2021–04–29
  8. By: Brixiová Schwidrowski, Zuzana; Imai, Susumu; Kangoye, Thierry; Yameogo, Nadege Desiree
    Abstract: Persistent gender gaps characterize labor markets in many African countries. Utilizing Eswatini's first three labor market surveys (conducted in 2007, 2010, and 2013), this paper provides first systematic evidence on the country's gender gaps in employment and earnings. We find that women have notably lower employment rates and earnings than men, even though the global financial crisis had a less negative impact on women than it had on men. Both unadjusted and unexplained gender earnings gaps are higher in self-employment than in wage employment. Tertiary education and urban location account for a large part of the gender earnings gap and mitigate high female propensity to self-employment. Our findings suggest that policies supporting female higher education and rural-urban mobility could reduce persistent inequalities in Eswatini's labor market outcomes as well as in other middle-income countries in southern Africa.
    Keywords: gender,employment,income,multivariate analysis,policies
    JEL: J16 J21 L26 O12
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Alem, Yonas
    Abstract: Deforestation and burning of forest products to meet cooking needs massively contribute to global warming. In order to reduce the biomass fuel consumption of households in developing countries, various improved cookstove (ICS) interventions were implemented by governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders in the past decades. This paper synthesizes the impact evaluation literature on the adoption and impact of ICS, and their role in improving household welfare, while reducing the pressure on forest resources and mitigating emission of CO2. The paper points out five important knowledge gaps that future research may address. First, more research is needed on the effectiveness of different mechanisms that address liquidity constraints, such as stove-for-work programs, which some research has already shown are effective in relaxing households' liquidity constraints to adopt ICS. Second, in order to improve reliability of estimates of the impact of ICS, studies should be guided by proper impact evaluation protocols, such as determining sample size using statistical power analysis. Third, more research is needed on the effects of ICS beyond fuel and time saving, such as time allocation and wellbeing of women. Fourth, urban households are under-represented in stove studies, but more studies on urban households are needed, because they consume substantial amounts of biomass fuel, most importantly charcoal. Finally, and most importantly, all existing stove studies exclusively focus on households. Micro, small and medium-scale enterprises in African consume nearly half of the biomass fuel consumed in the continent. Experimental work on firm energy use behavior and transition to cleaner sources is urgently needed. Otherwise, reduction in biomass fuel use by households may be compensated by increased biomass use by firms.
    Keywords: Biomass fuel,improved cookstoves,RCTs,Causal Impact
    JEL: C21 C93 D13 H23 O13 O33 Q23
    Date: 2021

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.