nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒07‒12
nineteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Impact of Free Secondary Education: Experimental Evidence from Ghana By Esther Duflo; Pascaline Dupas; Michael Kremer
  2. Did the Cold War Produce Development Clusters in Africa? By Castaneda Dower, Paul; Gokmen, Gunes; Le Breton, Michel; Weber, Shlomo
  3. Keeping refugee children in school and out of work: Evidence from the world’s largest humanitarian cash transfer program By Aysun Hiziroglu Aygun; Murat Guray Kirdar; Murat Koyuncu; Quentin Stoeffler
  4. The Effects of COVID-19 on Employment, Labour Markets and Gender Equality in Central America By Webster, Allan; Khorana, Sangeeta; Pastore, Francesco
  5. Borderline Disorder: (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ömer Özak
  6. Entitled to Property: Inheritance Laws, Female Bargaining Power, and Child Health in India By Hossain, Md Shahadath; Nikolov, Plamen
  7. Multiple shocks and threats to food security among households in Sub-Saharan Africa. Evidence from Malawi. By McLaughlin, Shannon
  8. Improving coffee productivity in Ethiopia: The impact of a coffee tree rejuvenation training program on stumping By Abate, Gashaw Tadesse; Bernard, Tanguy; Regassa, Mekdim D.; Minten, Bart
  9. Short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihood of smallholder rice farmers in developing countries By Arouna, Aminou; Aboudou, Rachidi; Tyack, Nicholas
  10. Large-scale school meal programs and student health: Evidence from rural China By Wang, Jingxi; Hernandez, Manuel A.; Deng, Guoying
  11. Liquidity or Capital? The Impacts of Easing Credit Constraints in Rural Mexico By Aparicio, Gabriela; Bobic, Vida; De Olloqui, Fernando; Carmen, María; Diez, Fernández; Gerardino, Maria Paula; Mitnik, Oscar A.; Macedo, Sebastian Vargas
  12. The importance of nutrition education in achieving food security and adequate nutrition of the poor: Experimental evidence from rural Bangladesh By Tauseef, Salauddin
  13. In-kind transfers, marketization costs and household specialization: Evidence from Indian farmers By Nicholas Li
  14. Resilience to food insecurity and households' head gender: insides from food assistance in Malawi By Lascano Galarza, Monserrath Ximena
  15. The socioeconomic impact of coal mining in Mozambique By Eva-Maria Egger; Michael Keller; Jorge Mouco
  16. Does market inclusion empower women? Evidence from Bangladesh By Raghunathan, Kalyani; Ramani, Gayathri; Rubin, Deborah; Pereira, Audrey; Ahmed, Akhter; Malapit, Hazel J.; Quisumbing, Agnes R.
  17. Agricultural Productivity and Income Divergence: Evidence from the Green Revolution By Huang, Kaixing
  18. Pesticide Handling and Human Health: Conventional and Organic Cotton Farming in Benin By Ghislain B. D. Aïhounton; Arne Henningsen; Neda Trifkovic
  19. Bragging, shirking, and hiding: Spousal disagreement among Ugandan maize farmers By Van Campenhout, Bjorn; Lecoutere, Els; Spielman, David J.

  1. By: Esther Duflo; Pascaline Dupas; Michael Kremer
    Abstract: Following the widespread adoption of free primary education, African policymakers are now considering making secondary school free, but little is known about the private and social benefits of free secondary education. We exploit randomized assignment to secondary school scholarships among 2,064 youths in Ghana, combined with 12 years of data, to establish that scholarships increase educational attainment, knowledge, skills, and preventative health behaviors, while reducing female fertility. Eleven years after receipt of the scholarship, only female winners show private labor market gains, but those come primarily in the form of better access to jobs with rents (in particular rationed jobs in the public sector). We develop a simple model to interpret the labor market results and help think through the welfare impact of free secondary education.
    JEL: H52 I26 O12
    Date: 2021–06
  2. By: Castaneda Dower, Paul (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Gokmen, Gunes (Department of Economics, Lund University); Le Breton, Michel (Toulouse School of Economics); Weber, Shlomo (New Economic School, Moscow)
    Abstract: This paper examines the lasting impact of the alignment of African countries during the Cold War on their modern economic development. We find that the division of the continent into two blocs (East/West) led to two clusters of development outcomes that reflect the Cold War’s ideological divide. To determine alignment, we introduce a non-cooperative game of social interactions where each country chooses one of the two existing blocs based on its predetermined bilateral similarities with other members of the bloc. We show the existence of a strong Nash equilibrium in our game and apply the celebrated MaxCut method to identify such a partition. The alignment predicts UN General Assembly voting patterns during the Cold War but not after. Our approach, linking global political interdependence to distinct development paths in Africa, relies on history to extract a micro-founded treatment assignment, while allowing for an endogenous, process-oriented view of historical events.
    Keywords: Cold War; Political Alliances; Africa; Blocs; Development Clusters; Strong Nash Equilibrium; Landscape Theory
    JEL: C62 C72 F54 F55 N47 N47 O19 O57 Y10
    Date: 2021–06–22
  3. By: Aysun Hiziroglu Aygun (Department of Economics, Istanbul Technical University); Murat Guray Kirdar (Department of Economics, Boğaziçi University); Murat Koyuncu (Department of Economics, Boğaziçi University); Quentin Stoeffler (Department of Economics, Istanbul Technical University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether unconditional cash transfers can keep refugee children in school and out of work. We raise this question in the unique context of Turkey, which hosts the world’s largest refugee population (including 3.6 million Syrians). Refugees in Turkey are supported by the world’s largest cash transfer program for refugees, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN). We exploit a program eligibility criterion to identify the causal impacts of the ESSN program using a regression discontinuity design. The results show a large effect on child labor and school enrollment among both male and female refugee children. Being a beneficiary household reduces the fraction of children working from 14.0 percent to 1.6 percent (a decrease of 88 percent) and the fraction of children aged 6–17 not in school from 36.2 to 13.7 percent (a reduction of 62 percent). By unpacking the mechanisms at play, we show that ESSN cash transfers become a significant part of a household’s income, substantially alleviate extreme poverty, and reduce a family’s need to resort to harmful coping strategies. Investigating the reasons for children not attending school, we find that the beneficiary households become more likely to send children to school because the cash transfer addresses both the opportunity cost and direct cost of schooling— although the former is more important. The findings have important implications for the design of policies aimed at supporting refugee children at scale.
    Keywords: refugees; cash transfers; education; child labor; regression discontinuity design; program evaluation; Turkey.
    JEL: F22 I21 I28 I38 J21 O15 O22
    Date: 2021–06
  4. By: Webster, Allan (Bournemouth University); Khorana, Sangeeta (Bournemouth University); Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli)
    Abstract: This study considers the economic impact of Covid-19 on enterprises in four Central American countries – El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. At the time of the analysis neither the pandemic nor its economic consequences had fully run their course. It is not, therefore, a definitive analysis but it is important to try to draw important lessons as soon as possible. The main focus of the study was the initial impact on labour markets. The analysis was based on World Bank enterprise surveys undertaken before the outbreak of Covid-19 and follow-up surveys on the effects of the pandemic, also undertaken by the World Bank. These were combined with data on government containment measures and on morbidity and mortality rates. The use of enterprise data to analyse labour market issues has some limitations but also many strengths. The data is useful for analysing the consequences for gender equality in employment. Since the demand for labour is a derived demand firm level data provides a clear link to labour market effects. The pandemic has caused a significant loss in sales for many firms, This creates a loss of liquidity which, in turn, has caused some firms to reduce employment, working hours and wages. Government containment measures necessary to save lives such as temporary workplace closures have added to the burden for both firms and employees. The study starts by using the surveys to identify the important stylised facts. Although some issues are already well documented anecdotally through media reports this provides a more evidence based approach. It also helps identify several issues, such as the impact on gender equality which have received less journalistic attention. The study is further supported by a regression analysis (OLS and SURE) of several key outcomes (changes in sales, employment, the share of females in employment and firm expectations of survival). A limitation of such analysis with any enterprise level is heterogeneity and, in consequence, a risk of sample selection bias. To provide robustness checks we use a matching approach. The results suggest that a significant proportion of surviving firms are vulnerable to permanent closure. The ability of firms to retain labour depends on sales which are affected by both the pandemic itself and the government containment measures. Only a small proportion of firms have received government support and there is evidence that it could help both firm survival and the retention of labour. There is some doubt whether the four countries have the institutional capacity to provide effective support. If such doubts prove well founded then support may need to be externally driven.
    Keywords: labor demand, temporary closures, furloughs, firm-level data, COVID-19, emergency
    JEL: I18 J23 J28 J65
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ömer Özak
    Abstract: We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary conflict in Africa. We document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are higher close to historical ethnic borders. Exploiting variations across artificial regions within an ethnicity’s historical homeland and a theory-based instrumental variable approach, we find that regions crossed by historical ethnic borders have 27 percentage points higher probability of conflict and 7.9 percentage points higher probability of being the initial location of a conflict. We uncover several key underlying mechanisms: competition for agricultural land, population pressure, cultural similarity and weak property rights.
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Hossain, Md Shahadath (State University of New York); Nikolov, Plamen (State University of New York)
    Abstract: Child height is a significant predictor of human capital and economic status throughout adulthood. Moreover, non-unitary household models of family behavior posit that an increase in women's bargaining power can influence child health. We study the effects of an inheritance law change, the Hindu Succession Act Amendment (HSAA), which conferred enhanced inheritance rights to unmarried women in India, on child height. We find robust evidence that the HSAA improved the height and weight of children. In addition, we find evidence consistent with a channel that the policy improved the women's intrahousehold bargaining power within the household, leading to improved parental investments for children. These study findings are also compatible with the notion that children do better when their mothers control a more significant fraction of the family resources. Therefore, policies that empower women can have additional positive spillovers for children's human capital.
    Keywords: human capital, height, bargaining, parental investments, developing countries, India
    JEL: D13 I12 I13 J13 J16 J18 K13 O12 O15 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2021–06
  7. By: McLaughlin, Shannon
    Abstract: Households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) face multiple threats that undermine their resilience, economic development, and food security. In this article, we use a comprehensive panel dataset of 1889 Malawian households for the years 2010-2017 to study the causal effects of multiple and diverse shocks on household nutrition security metrics. Among other shocks and changes that negatively affect household income we capture the effects of a changing climate. A panel data fixed effect model has been used to ascertain the effect of shocks throughout time on household welfare, controlling for household characteristics, such as gender, total income, crop income and rurality. Results show certain household types, i.e., wealthier households, those owning large livestock, borrowing on credit enable households to foster greater resilience to shocks. Conversely, households involved in agricultural activities and female headed households have greatest vulnerability when exposed to shocks. However, effects differ by shock type. Welfare outcomes have been evaluated using multiple measures of food security; per capita calorie consumption, the food consumption score (FCS) and food expenditures per capita. By determining welfare outcomes using a range of indicators, we attempt to build more precise metrics of food security than those used in previous economic studies.
    Keywords: Food Security and Poverty, Consumer/Household Economics
    Date: 2021–03
  8. By: Abate, Gashaw Tadesse; Bernard, Tanguy; Regassa, Mekdim D.; Minten, Bart
    Abstract: Coffee is Ethiopia’s most important export commodity, cultivated by over 6 million smallholder farmers in the country, and accounting for about one-third of the country’s commodity exports. While coffee production has increased over the last decade, coffee yields are low and several constraints to improved productivity remain. With two-three decades old and low-yielding coffee trees in particular, the sector cannot attain its full potential. In this paper, we assess the short-term impact of a coffee tree rejuvenation training program in Sidama on adoption rate and intensity of stumping – currently the best practice to revitalize ageing coffee trees and substantially improve their productivity. Using baseline and follow-up data and a difference-in-difference approach, we find that the adoption rate and intensity of stumping has increased by about threefold during the first year of the rejuvenation training intervention.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; coffee; agricultural productivity; coffee industry; commodities; plant rejuvenation; stumping; coffee farm college
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Arouna, Aminou; Aboudou, Rachidi; Tyack, Nicholas
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a major international health crisis which has resulted in simultaneous economic, social and food security crises. This study aimed to provide a snapshot of the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on smallholder rice farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. Using three survey types (village-level, farmer association level, and household level), a total of 585 rice farmers were interviewed nine months after the starting of the pandemic in Cote d’Ivoire. Multivariate probit and Poisson regression models were used to analyze the determinants of the impact of the pandemic on farmers and the intensity of the impact, respectively. Results showed that all rice farmers were aware of coronavirus disease, and television and radio were the main sources of knowledge of the pandemic. After one growing season, the pandemic had negative impact on access to inputs, access to hired labor, yield, income and food security. Around 43% of farmers experienced at least one negative impact of the pandemic. About 30% of farmers perceived that the rice yield and income decreased due to the pandemic. Access to inputs and hired labor became more difficult and expensive for about 28% of farmers. Surprisingly, farmers in more remote villages were also affected by the pandemic as well. The main factors that influenced significantly and positively the intensity of the pandemic impact were the household size, being married, being producer of foundation seed, access to credit in the past, facing drought or flood as constraints. The facilitation of credit access for smallholder farmers could be one strategy to avoid food shortages and deficits among value chain actors.
    Keywords: Farm Management, Crop Production/Industries
    Date: 2021–03
  10. By: Wang, Jingxi; Hernandez, Manuel A.; Deng, Guoying
    Abstract: Reducing urban-rural gaps in child health and nutrition is one of the most difficult challenges faced by many countries. This paper evaluates the impact of the Nutrition Improvement Program (NIP), a large-scale school meal program in rural China, on the health and nutritional status of compulsory education students aged 6-16. We use data from multiple rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey between 2004-2015 and implement a quasi-experimental approach exploiting cross-county variations in program implementation. We find that NIP participation is, on average, associated with a higher height-for-age z-score in the order of 0.22-0.42 standard deviations. The impacts are larger among students in a better health condition but small or not significant among the most disadvantaged. We do not observe heterogeneous effects across several individual and household characteristics. We also do not find significant effects on Body Mass Index-for-age and weight-for-age z scores. The results suggest that NIP partially improved students’ health over the first years of implementation, but more support is needed to achieve broader impacts that effectively reach all vulnerable students. Several robustness checks support our findings.
    Keywords: CHINA; EAST ASIA; ASIA; health; school feeding; children; child nutrition; nutrition; rural areas; school meals; school meal program; student health; program evaluation
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Aparicio, Gabriela (IDB Invest); Bobic, Vida (George Washington University); De Olloqui, Fernando (Inter-American Development Bank); Carmen, María (Inter-American Development Bank); Diez, Fernández (Inter-American Development Bank); Gerardino, Maria Paula (Inter-American Development Bank); Mitnik, Oscar A. (Inter-American Development Bank); Macedo, Sebastian Vargas (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effectiveness of easing credit constraints for rural producers in Mexico through loans provided by a national public development finance institution (DFI). In contrast to most of the existing literature, the study focuses on the effect of medium-sized loans over a two- to four-year time horizon. This paper looks at the effects of such loans on production and investment decisions, input use, and yields. Using a multiple treatment methodology, it explores the differential impacts of providing liquidity for working capital versus providing credit for investments in fixed assets. It finds that loans increased the likelihood that producers grow and sell certain key annual crops, in particular among recipients of working capital loans. It also finds significant effects on production value and sales (per hectare), with similar impacts for recipients of both types of loans, with gains in yields driven by changes in labor quality and more intensive use of key inputs. There is no evidence of significant effects on the purchase of large machinery, but there are impacts on the acquisition of cattle. Overall, the results reported in this paper suggest that lack of liquidity is at least as important as lack of funding for new investment in capital for rural producers in Mexico. Producers benefit from easing their credit constraints, regardless of the type of loan used for that purpose.
    Keywords: agricultural finance, credit constraints, development finance institutions, investment capital, working capital
    JEL: G21 O13 O16 Q14
    Date: 2021–06
  12. By: Tauseef, Salauddin
    Abstract: Nutrition-sensitive social protection that enhances household resources and nutrition knowledge can be an important avenue of addressing food security and nutrition concerns of the poor. This paper studies a cluster randomized intervention of cash and food transfers, with or without nutrition behavioral change communication (BCC), on food security and nutrition outcomes in rural Bangladesh. We find that addition of the BCC to transfers led to the greatest impact on the quantity and quality of food consumed by household members, especially women and children. Addition of BCC also had the greatest impact in reducing the incidence and intensity of deprivations measured using a nutrition-sensitive multidimensional poverty index. Evidence suggests this occurs through the BCC inducing increased consumption of flesh food, egg, dairy, fruits, and vegetables and through investments in housing, sanitation, and assets.
    Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Consumer/Household Economics
    Date: 2021–03
  13. By: Nicholas Li
    Abstract: I examine the effect of in-kind staple transfers on agricultural production in a setting where transactions with markets are costly for households and result in interlinked consumption and production decisions. I leverage the expansion of India’s Public Distribution system between 1993-2009 as a natural experiment generating variation in the quantity and value of staple grains transferred to households and districts. I find that larger PDS quantities are associated with modest decreases in staple production and farming and modest increases in market/ comparative advantage oriented specialization. The effects are larger for households and districts with higher market transaction costs or less market-oriented agriculture.
    Keywords: agriculture; production; India; food; Public Distribution System; in-kind transfers
    JEL: O20 Q18
    Date: 2021–06–25
  14. By: Lascano Galarza, Monserrath Ximena
    Abstract: This research aims at investigating the impact of food assistance programmes on the resilience to food insecurity levels of rural agricultural households headed by females that are beneficiaries of the project “The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative” of the World Food Programme and Oxfam America’s, implemented during the period 2015-2016. During the empirical analysis, first, resilience and food security levels are estimated using the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis II methodology of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Second, a reflective and reflexive method are used for a descriptive performance assessment of female vs male-headed households, before and after the project implementation. Finally, matching and difference-in-difference techniques, with an emphasis on gender, are used for impact evaluation. The performance analysis shows positive and significant effects of the project participation on male and female-headed households, being these effects on male-headed larger than in their counterparts. The impact evaluation shows a negative and significant relationship between female headed households’ programme participation and the variation of the outcome variables, but a positive and significant relationship between program participation and the levels of resilience and food security of female-headed households.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty
    Date: 2021–03
  15. By: Eva-Maria Egger; Michael Keller; Jorge Mouco
    Abstract: This study assesses the impact of four coal mines in Mozambique on the socioeconomic outcomes of the local population. We combine four waves of household surveys with coal mine locations data and employ a difference-in-difference model. The timing of the surveys allows us to control for pre-trends and to differentiate between the effects during the investment and production periods. The mines led to an increase in consumption and a decline in poverty, because of workers moving out of agriculture into higher-paid jobs in the mining and service sectors.
    Keywords: Mining, Difference-in-differences, Poverty, Mozambique
    Date: 2021
  16. By: Raghunathan, Kalyani; Ramani, Gayathri; Rubin, Deborah; Pereira, Audrey; Ahmed, Akhter; Malapit, Hazel J.; Quisumbing, Agnes R.
    Abstract: Increased market inclusion through participation in agricultural value chains may increase employment and household incomes, but evidence on its empowerment impacts is mixed. In societies with restrictive social norms, greater market inclusion can enhance existing income and empowerment inequalities by relegating marginalized groups, including women, to low value chains or lower value nodes within those chains. We use primary data from rural Bangladesh to investigate the associations between households’ primary economic activity – agricultural wage-earning, production, or entrepreneurship – and absolute and relative levels of men’s and women’s empowerment. Women in producer households, on average, fare better on empowerment outcomes than women in wage-earner or entrepreneur households; the opposite is true for men. The gap between men’s and women’s empowerment scores is also lowest in producer households. A decomposition of these results into composite indicators yields insights into potential trade-offs, while accompanying qualitative work highlights the importance of social and cultural norms in shaping the economic roles women can adopt. With a push towards diversification of agriculture into higher value market-oriented crops, more careful programming is needed to ensure that market inclusion translates into an increase in women’s empowerment.
    Keywords: BANGLADESH; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; empowerment; gender; women; women's empowerment; agriculture; livelihoods; mixed model method; value chains; rural areas; households; market inclusion
    Date: 2021
  17. By: Huang, Kaixing
    Abstract: Developing countries sharing nearly identical growth trends for centuries dramatically diverged in terms of income per capita over the last half-century. Using data from 78 developing countries, this study shows that the Green Revolution (GR) since the 1960s can explain most of the income divergence. Beyond the understanding that agriculture growth promotes economic growth, the study shows that developing countries less suitable for cultivating GR crops were substantially damaged by GR-induced grain imports, which increased fertility and retarded human and physical capital formation. A counterfactual analysis removing GR’s effect showed parallel growth trends similar to that prior to the GR.
    Keywords: The Green Revolution, international trade, income divergence
    JEL: E0 Q1
    Date: 2020–05–17
  18. By: Ghislain B. D. Aïhounton (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen; Laboratory of Analysis and Research on Economic and Social Dynamics, University of Parakou, Benin); Arne Henningsen (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen); Neda Trifkovic (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Synthetic pesticides can be detrimental to the health of humans, particularly when handled inappropriately, which is often the case in developing countries. We investigate to what extent using personal protective equipment (PPE) during pesticide application can mitigate the detrimental health effects of pesticides. Our empirical analysis is based on data from smallholder cotton farmers in Benin and includes both conventional cotton farmers who extensively use synthetic pesticides and organic cotton farmers who are only allowed to use bio-pesticides. Using per-capita health expenditure as proxy for the health of the farmers, our results show that conventional cotton farmers generally have significantly poorer health than organic cotton farmers because most conventional farmers wear insufficient PPE when spraying pesticides. While PPE use vastly improves the health of conventional farmers, we do not find a statistically significant effect on the health of organic cotton farmers, which could indicate that bio-pesticides have much smaller detrimental health effects than synthetic pesticides. However, conventional farmers have a similar state of health as organic farmers when they use four or more PPE items. Hence, measures that encourage conventional cotton farmers to use more PPE during pesticide spraying or to adopt organic farming would substantially improve these farmers’ health.
    Keywords: pesticides, protective equipment, health, organic farming, smallholder farmers, cotton, Africa
    JEL: I12 I15 J28 O13 Q12 Q56
    Date: 2021–06
  19. By: Van Campenhout, Bjorn; Lecoutere, Els; Spielman, David J.
    Abstract: To gain a better understanding of intrahousehold bargaining processes, surveys increasingly collect data from co-heads individually. Answers provided by spouses on the same set of questions often differ substantially, alternately attributed to measurement error, poor framing within the cultural context that leads to systematic biases, or other common challenges associated with surveys. However, recent studies suggest that differences in responses from co-heads may also be caused by spouses strategically hiding information from each other. Using detailed data on a large sample of monogamous smallholder maize-farming households in eastern Uganda, we document response patterns from household co-heads related to decision-making, labor time, and sales of farm output. We ask each spouse questions about themselves, but also about their spouse, and compare responses. We also implement two interventions to test if such spousal disagreement in reporting can be reduced by increasing cooperation between spouses and reducing information asymmetries.
    Keywords: UGANDA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; farmers; maize; households; gender; women; men; decision making; intervention; surveys; capacity development; income; spousal disagreement; income hiding; shirking
    Date: 2021

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