nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2021‒10‒04
sixteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Impacts of Armed Conflict on Child Health: Evidence from 56 Developing Countries By Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
  2. Education-occupation mismatch in the context of informality and development By Mariya Aleksynska; Alexandre Kolev
  3. Landmines: The Local Effects of Demining By Prem, Mounu; Purroy, Miguel E.; Vargas, Juan F.
  4. Does the impact of cash transfers differ across poverty measures? Evidence from Pakistan By Zaira Najam; Susan Olivia
  5. Playing Whac-A-Mole in the Fight against Corruption: Evidence from Random Audits in Brazil By Maximiliano Lauletta; Martín Rossi; Christian Ruzzier
  6. Market access and inecient cropping patterns in Uganda By Bruno Morando
  7. Government Religious Preference and Intrastate Conflict By Eduard van der Merwe; Carolyn Chisadza; Matthew Clance
  8. The welfare effects of financial inclusion in Ghana: An exploration based on a multidimensional measure of financial inclusion By Abdul Malik Iddrisu; Michael Danquah
  9. Leveraging technology to promote women's health: Evidence from a pilot program By Ahmad, Hamna; Hussain, Sadia; Nazif, Muhammad Ahmed
  10. Mind the Gap By Prydz, Espen Beer; Jolliffe, Dean; Serajuddin, Umar
  11. Robots For Economic Development By Calì, Massimiliano; Presidente, Giorgio
  12. Are small farms really more productive than large farms? By Fernando Aragón; Diego Restuccia; Juan Pablo Rud
  13. Effects of internal rural-urban migration on rural non-farm enterprises: Evidence from Thailand and Vietnam By Grabrucker, Katharina
  14. Breadth and sufficiency of Cash Transfer Responses in Ten Latin American Countries during the First 12 Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic By Merike Blofield; Cecilia Giambruno; Jennifer Pribble
  15. Subsistence farming and factor misallocation:Evidence from Ugandan agriculture By Bruno Morando
  16. Crop Prices and Deforestation in the Tropics By Nicolas Berman; Mathieu Couttenier; Antoine Leblois; Raphaël Soubeyran

  1. By: Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
    Abstract: This article evaluates the extent to which armed conflicts influence early childhood health for 56 developing countries over nearly 30 years. Exploiting both spatial and temporal variations in conflict exposure within a difference-in-differences framework, we uncover detrimental ramifications of armed conflicts on the health outcomes of children under five years old. Particularly, children exposed to armed conflicts have lower height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age z-scores by 0.08, 0.05, and 0.10 standard deviations, respectively, compared to the average corresponding z-scores of children unexposed to armed conflicts. Besides, exposure to armed conflicts make children 2.2, 0.8, and 2.6 percentage points more likely to be stunted, wasted, and underweight, respectively. Taking the proportions of stunted, wasted, and underweight children who were unexposed to armed conflicts as the benchmarks, these estimates represent the 7.3%, 7.9%, 10.2% increases in the incidences of stunting, wasting, and underweight, respectively. Our heterogeneity analyses further suggest that children born to low education mothers, children from relatively poor households, and children living in rural areas are especially vulnerable.
    Keywords: Armed Conflicts; Child Heath; Anthropometry; Developing Countries
    JEL: I10 I15 J13 O15
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Mariya Aleksynska; Alexandre Kolev
    Abstract: Using household data from 15 countries in Latin America and Africa, this paper explores linkages between informality and education-occupation matching. The paper applies a unified methodology to measuring education-occupation mismatches and informality, consistently with the international labour and statistical standards in this area. The results suggest that in the majority of low- and middle-income developing countries with available data, workers in informal jobs have higher odds of being undereducated as compared to workers in formal jobs. Workers in formal jobs, in contrast, have higher chances of being overeducated. These results are consistent for dependent as well as for independent workers. They also hold for men and for women according to the gender-disaggregated analysis. Moreover, in the majority of countries considered in this paper, the matching-informality nexus is also related to the extent of informality in a given area: in labour markets with higher informality, informal workers in particular have a higher chance of being undereducated. The paper discusses policy implications of these findings. Ce document de travail analyse les liens entre l’emploi informel et l’inadéquation entre niveaux de formation et emploi à partir des données d’enquêtes de ménages qui couvrent 15 pays d’Amérique latine et d’Afrique. Il s’appuie sur une méthodologie unifiée pour mesurer l'inadéquation formation-emploi et l'informalité, conformément aux normes internationales du travail et des statistiques dans ce domaine. Les résultats suggèrent que dans la majorité des pays en développement à revenu faible et intermédiaire pour lesquels des données sont disponibles, les travailleurs occupant des emplois informels ont une probabilité plus élevée d'être sous-éduqués que les travailleurs occupant des emplois formels. Ceux-ci ont, a contrario, plus de chances d'être sur-éduqués. Ces résultats sont cohérents tant pour les travailleurs salariés que pour les travailleurs indépendants. Selon l’analyse ventilée par sexe, ils sont également valables pour les hommes comme pour les femmes. De plus, dans la majorité des pays considérés dans ce document, le lien entre l’inadéquation formation-emploi et l'informalité est également lié à l'étendue de l'informalité dans une région donnée : sur les marchés du travail où l'informalité est plus élevée, les travailleurs informels en particulier ont plus de probabilités d'être sous-qualifiés. Le document examine les implications de ces résultats pour les politiques publiques.
    Keywords: developing country, informal employment, occupational mismatch, over-qualification, overeducation
    JEL: E24 E26 I21 J24
    Date: 2021–10–04
  3. By: Prem, Mounu; Purroy, Miguel E.; Vargas, Juan F.
    Abstract: Anti-personnel landmines are one of the main causes of civilian victimization in conflict-affected areas and a significant obstacle for post-war reconstruction. Demining campaigns are therefore a promising policy instrument to promote long-term development. We argue that the economic and social effects of demining are not unambiguously positive. Demining may have unintended negative consequences if it takes place while conflicts are ongoing, or if they do not lead to full clearance. Using highly disaggregated data on demining operations in Colombia from 2004 to 2019, and exploiting the staggered fashion of demining activity, we find that post-conflict humanitarian demining generates economic growth (measured with nighttime light density) and increases students’ performance in test scores. In contrast, economic activity does not react to post-conflict demining events carried out during military operations, and it decreases if demining takes place while the conflict is ongoing. Rather, demining events that result from military operations are more likely to exacerbate extractive activities.
    Date: 2021–09–18
  4. By: Zaira Najam (University of Waikato); Susan Olivia (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Cash transfers have been increasingly used in developing countries as key elements of social protection and poverty reduction strategies. Pakistan is no exception. In 2008, Pakistan introduced the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) as an unconditional cash transfer targeted at the poorest of the poor. In this paper, we use five poverty measures, calculated biennially from 2008 to 2014 for 100 districts in Pakistan to assess the effectiveness of the BISP in alleviating poverty. We also examine whether the impact of the cash transfer programs on poverty is sensitive to the choice of poverty measure. Our results show that BISP is associated with poverty reduction using either the conventional money-metric poverty measures or multidimensional poverty measures, however the impact is much larger for the conventional poverty measures, which are distributionally insensitive. The implication is that public policy analysts should be cautious in the conclusions they draw from poverty estimate when evaluating welfare programs.
    Keywords: poverty; cash transfers; multidimensional; social protection; Pakistan
    JEL: I32 I38
    Date: 2021–09–21
  5. By: Maximiliano Lauletta (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley); Martín Rossi (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres); Christian Ruzzier (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: Audits can reduce corruption, but corrupt officials may be able to substitute to alternate forms of corruption when the anticorruption policy controls only certain types of corruption. By exploiting the random assignment of municipalities to a large, successful, audit program in Brazil, we document unintended (and undesirable) consequences of such selective anticorruption monitoring: audited municipalities employ more labor in water provision, and this translates into a more inefficient service. We also provide additional evidence consistent with the idea that local officials may be using their discretion in hiring to substitute between different forms of corruption.
    Keywords: corruption, audits, efficiency, development, employment, water & sanitation
    JEL: D73 D78 H42 K42 L95
    Date: 2021–09
  6. By: Bruno Morando (Department of Economics, Maynooth University.)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of transportation costs on cropping patterns in Uganda. By combining village level data on land use and on crop specific land suitability, I show that agricultural TFP could be increased by one third just by reallocating crops according to the underlying structure of comparative advantage. Interestingly, a decomposition indicates that half of these gains can be achieved just by redistributing crop production within narrowly defined areas serving the same urban markets. The empirical analysis suggests that differences in market access are a good candidate to explain these inefficiencies: in line with the qualitative theoretical model, more iso-lated farmers devote systematically more land to non-perishable food crops and their production is less aligned with the agro-climatic conditions they face.
    Keywords: Crop choice, Land Use, Comparative advantage, Market Access
    JEL: Q14 O40 O13
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Eduard van der Merwe; Carolyn Chisadza; Matthew Clance
    Abstract: Understanding the causes and consequences of conflicts continues to be an important contribution to the economic development literature, particularly the mechanisms that can reduce civilian deaths. We contribute to understanding attacks on civilians and the spillover effects by analysing the impact of government religious preference on civilian deaths. Using panel data analysis for 113 countries for the period 1989 to 2015, we find that a higher government preference towards religion causes more civilian deaths for countries experiencing intrastate conflict. Furthermore, we analyse this effect by the different types of conflict and find that the results are driven by both state-based and non-state-based conflicts. Lastly, a regional analysis shows that the negative impact of a strong preference towards religion from the government is particularly notable for countries in Africa and Asia.
    Keywords: confliict, religion, government religious preference, civilian deaths
    JEL: C33 H56 O10 O55
    Date: 2021–08
  8. By: Abdul Malik Iddrisu; Michael Danquah
    Abstract: Using a nationally representative household survey data set from Ghana, this paper provides empirical evidence regarding the role of financial inclusion or financial exclusion in household welfare. We first compute a multidimensional index of financial inclusion, and then we examine the effect of financial inclusion on household welfare. The study finds that households suffering financial deprivation have lower welfare compared with their financially included counterparts.
    Keywords: Financial inclusion, Household welfare, Ghana, Exclusion, Deprivation
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Ahmad, Hamna; Hussain, Sadia; Nazif, Muhammad Ahmed
    Abstract: We investigate the causal impact of offering telehealth services to female microfinance borrowers on their health and bargaining power in the household. Using a balanced panel of 1218 female borrowers, we observe a positive impact of offering telehealth services on self-reported physical and mental health of treated relative to control women. Treated women seek healthcare more proactively; they are more likely to consult a doctor and they do so sooner, as compared to control women. In addition, treated women report greater inclusion in household decision-making. We also find positive spillover effects of offering telehealth services within the household, where we observe a greater likelihood of the spouse and children (of treated women) to seek health care.
    Keywords: health microinsurance,telehealth,physical health,mental health,Pakistan
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Prydz, Espen Beer; Jolliffe, Dean; Serajuddin, Umar
    Abstract: Estimates of average per capita consumption and income from national accounts differ substantially from corresponding measures of consumption and income from household surveys. Using a new compilation of more than 2,000 household surveys matched to national accounts data, we find that the gaps between the data sources are larger and more robust than previously established. Means of household consumption estimated from surveys are, on average, 20 percent lower than corresponding means from national accounts. The gap with GDP per capita is nearly 50 percent. The gaps have increased in recent decades and are largest in middle-income countries, where annualized growth rates for consumption surveys are systematically lower than national accounts growth rates. We show that the gaps in measures across these two sources have implications for assessments of economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We find that typical survey measures of consumption and income may exaggerate poverty reduction and underestimate inequality.
    Keywords: National Accounts Systems,Household Income and Expenditure Surveys,Poverty,Inequality
    JEL: I3 I32 E31 F01
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Calì, Massimiliano; Presidente, Giorgio
    Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that automation technologies entail a trade-off between productivity gains and employment losses for the economies that adopt them. This paper casts doubts on this trade-off in the context of a developing country. It shows significant productivity and employment gains from automation in Indonesian manufacturing during the years 2008-2015, a period of rapid increase in robot imports. Analysis based on manufacturing plant data provides evidence of two plausible reasons for the absence of this trade-off. First, it documents the presence of diminishing productivity returns to robot adoption. As a result, the benefits from automation could be particularly large for countries at early stages of adoption, such as Indonesia. Second, the analysis finds significant positive employment spillovers from automation in downstream plants. Such effects are likely larger in countries such as Indonesia, where the foreign content of manufacturing production is low. Suggestive evidence indicates such results could apply to developing countries more generally.
    Keywords: Robots,Automation,Development,Employment,Productivity,Spillovers
    JEL: O14 J23 J24 L11 F63
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Fernando Aragón (Simon Fraser University); Diego Restuccia (University of Toronto); Juan Pablo Rud (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: This paper shows that using yields may not be informative of the relationship between farm size and productivity in the context of small-scale farming. This occurs because, in addition to productivity, yields pick up size-dependent market distortions and decreasing returns to scale. As a result, a positive relationship between farm productivity and land size may turn negative when using yields. We illustrate the empirical relevance of this issue with microdata from Uganda and show similar findings for Peru, Tanzania, and Bangladesh. In addition, we show that the dispersion in both measures of productivity across farms of similar size is so large that it renders farm size an ineffective indicator for policy targeting. Our findings stress the need to revisit the empirical evidence on the farm size-productivity relationship and its policy implications.
    Date: 2021–09
  13. By: Grabrucker, Katharina
    Abstract: Migration is a phenomenon of increasing global relevance as year by year a growing number of individuals is leaving their home driven by the pursuit to improve the well-being of their households through additional income. While the drivers of international migration and its effect on the left-behind households have been well researched, less focus has been put on the effects of internal, rural-urban migration (and its concomitant remittances). This paper analyses the net effects of remittances from internal, rural-urban migrants on selfemployment and on investments of the left-behind households by using a rich household level panel data set from Thailand and Vietnam. The findings indicate that individuals from households receiving remittances from internal, rural-urban migrants are less likely to be self-employed - both in Thailand and Vietnam. The channels through which remittances affect the labor supply of the receiving households cannot be determined with certainty, yet one of the potential reasons might be that left-behind household members need to compensate for the lost labor of the migrant who was previously engaged in farm activities. Moreover, the results show for some specifications lower investments of migrant households into farm and non-farm assets, while the expenditure on consumption is higher compared to households without migrants. This might be an indication that non-farm activities are less important for rural left-behind households, while remittances might be directly used to increase the consumption level - which might have been low before the migration.
    Keywords: Internal migration,Remittances,Rural non-farm enterprises,Thailand,Vietnam
    JEL: D22 F24 O15 Q12 R23
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Merike Blofield; Cecilia Giambruno; Jennifer Pribble
    Abstract: Given the devastating health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America, social protection responses have been crucial for safeguarding access to basic needs among vulnerable households. Yet policy design has varied widely across countries. In this working paper, we develop comparative measures to assess the breadth and sufficiency of the cash transfer responses of ten Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay) during the first twelve months of the pandemic, from April 2020 to March 2021. We assess it for two particularly vulnerable groups: children in existing cash transfer programs, and informal workers and households in new emergency programs. Four broad types of responses emerge, detailed in Figures 1-4: the first group -Brazil and Chile- provided benefits with relatively high breadth and sufficiency. The second group -Argentina, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Peru and Bolivia- is more heterogeneous, but shares the characteristics of high breadth of benefits. Sufficiency of benefits varies from medium to low sufficiency, often with differences between programs. The third group - Colombia and Ecuador- is characterized both by low breadth and low sufficiency of benefits. The fourth type of response is a non-response, ie., no national-level pandemic cash transfer response, and comprises Mexico.
    Keywords: COVID-19, social protection, children, informal workers, poverty, Latin America
    JEL: I30 I31 I32 I38 I39
    Date: 2021–09
  15. By: Bruno Morando (Department of Economics, Maynooth University.)
    Abstract: This paper presents a model where misallocation in the agricultural factors of production is the result of frictions in the food market which result in a disproportionately large subsistence sector. The empirical analysis, based on microdata on Ugandan farms, corroborates the theoretical predictions of the qualitative model. Specifically: subsistence farmers operate inefficiently high shares of land and capital and the efficiency losses are more severe in areas where subsistence farming is more widespread, possi-bly due to higher transportation costs. Conversely, I find no relationship between the level of misallocation and credit access and/or land market activity. These findings suggest that market connectivity also plays a key role in determining the efficiency of agricultural input distribution and that land market liberalization is a necessary but not sufficient condition to tackle misallocation.
    Keywords: Misallocation, Productivity, Agriculture, Uganda
    JEL: Q14 O40 O13
    Date: 2021
  16. By: Nicolas Berman (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Mathieu Couttenier (ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Antoine Leblois (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UMR 5211 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Raphaël Soubeyran (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UMR 5211 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Global food demand is rising, pushed by growing world population and dietary changes in developing countries. This encourages farmers to increase crop production which, in turn, increases worldwide demand for agricultural land and the pressure on tropical forests. With a possible doubling of world food demand by 2050, this pressure is not likely to decrease in the next decades. While the impact of food demand on deforestation has been pushed forward in the medias, rigorous evidence using large-N data estimating the causal impact of crop price variations on deforestation remains scarce. Here, we quantify this impact over the twenty first century using high resolution annual forest loss data across the tropics, combined with information about crop-specific agricultural suitability and annual international commodity prices. We find a sizeable impact of price variations on deforestation: crop price variations are estimated to have contributed to 35% of the total predicted deforestation in the tropics over the period 2001-2018. We also highlight that the degree of openness to international trade and level of economic development are first-order local characteristics to explain the magnitude of the impact of crop prices on deforestation.
    Date: 2021–09–23

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