nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2022‒01‒10
thirteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Is There Job Polarization in Developing Economies? A Review and Outlook By Antonio Martins-Neto; Nanditha Mathew; Pierre Mohnen; Tania Treibich
  2. Can Public Servant Performance Be Increased? Experimental Evidence on Efforts to Improve Teaching in India By de Barros, Andreas; Fajardo-Gonzalez, Johanna; Glewwe, Paul; Sankar, Ashwini
  3. Why Programs Fail: Lessons for Improving Public Service Quality from a Mixed-Methods Evaluation of an Unsuccessful Teacher Training Program in Nepal By Schaffner, Julie; Glewwe, Paul; Sharma, Uttam
  4. Pre-colonial centralization and tax compliance norms in contemporary Uganda By Merima Ali; Odd-Helge Fjeldstad
  5. Donors for tax morale: Evidence from 34 African countries By Alessandro Belmonte; Vincenzo Bove; Jessica Di Salvatore
  6. Remittances and firm performance in sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from firm-level data By Kabinet Kaba; Mahamat Moustapha
  7. Sharing Risk to Avoid Tragedy: Informal Insurance and Irrigation in Village Economies By Karol Mazur
  8. Changing Patterns of Son Preference and Fertility in Pakistan By Javed, Rashid; Mughal, Mazhar
  9. Religion and Abortion: The Role of Politician Identity By Bhalotra, Sonia; Clots-Figueras, Irma; Iyer, Lakshmi
  10. State Failure, Violence, and Trade: Dangerous Trade Routes in Colombia By Paul H. Jung; Jean-Claude Thill; Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte
  11. The Right to Health and the Health Effects of Denials By Bhalotra, Sonia; Fernandez, Manuel
  12. Asset-based microfinance for Microenterprises: Evidence from Pakistan By Faisal Bari; Kashif Malik; Muhammad Meki; Simon Quinn
  13. Is the Price Right? Returns to Input Adoption in Uganda By Ruth Hill; Carolina Mejia-Mantilla; Kathryn Vasilaky

  1. By: Antonio Martins-Neto; Nanditha Mathew; Pierre Mohnen; Tania Treibich
    Abstract: This paper analyses the evidence of job polarization in developing countries. We carry out an extensive review of the existing empirical literature and examine the primary data sources and measures of routine intensity. The synthesis of results suggests that job polarization in emerging economies is only incipient compared to other advanced economies. We then examine the possible moderating aspects preventing job polarization, discussing the main theoretical channels and the existing empirical literature. Overall, the literature relates the lack of polarization as a natural consequence of limited technology adoption and the offshoring of routine, middle-earning jobs to some host developing economies. In turn, the limited technology adoption results from suboptimal capabilities in those economies, including the insufficient supply of educated workers. Finally, we present the main gaps in the literature in developing economies and point to the need for more micro-level studies focusing on the impacts of technology adoption on workers’ careers and studies exploring the adoption and use of technologies at the firm level.
    Keywords: job polarization, routine intensity, skills, developing countries
    JEL: J24 J63 O33 E24
    Date: 2021
  2. By: de Barros, Andreas; Fajardo-Gonzalez, Johanna; Glewwe, Paul; Sankar, Ashwini
    Abstract: In a cluster-randomized trial, two treatment arms promoted activity-based instruction by providing teaching materials and teacher training. One of these arms also promoted community engagement through community-led student contests. A third arm remained untreated. After 13 months, the version without contests improved teaching quality and learning among girls. Both versions improved student attitudes towards math. Yet, the addition of contests—which are intended to put pressure on teachers to increase their students’ performance—worsened instructional quality (especially classroom culture), and we can rule out that the contests added even small improvements in learning.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession
    Date: 2021–09
  3. By: Schaffner, Julie; Glewwe, Paul; Sharma, Uttam
    Abstract: Using a randomized control trial embedded within a mixed-methods evaluation, we find that an at-scale government teacher training program, of a common but seldom-evaluated form, has little or no impact on student learning. We then document five challenges that the policy’s design failed to address, related to: oversight of training sessions, school-level difficulties in releasing teachers for training (lack of substitute teachers), deficits in teachers’ subject knowledge, deficits in teachers’ post-training accountability and support, and students’ needs for differentiated instruction. We discuss implications for the literatures on teacher training program design and on good governance for public service provision.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Public Economics, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession
    Date: 2021–11
  4. By: Merima Ali; Odd-Helge Fjeldstad
    Abstract: The paper examines the legacy of pre-colonial centralization on tax compliance norms of citizens in contemporary Uganda. By combining geo-referenced anthropological data on pre-colonial ethnic homelands with survey data from several rounds of the Afrobarometer Survey, respondents from the historically centralized homelands are found to exhibit a higher willingness to pay tax compared to respondents from non-centralized areas.
    Keywords: Tax compliance, Uganda
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Alessandro Belmonte; Vincenzo Bove; Jessica Di Salvatore
    Abstract: Do aid projects affect citizens' motivation to pay taxes? We address this question by combining fine-grained data on aid projects from AidData and survey data from the Afrobarometer for 34 African countries. We first employ a subnational analysis, where the treatment varies by administrative unit, and then move to an individual-level analysis, which exploits the occurrence of a project during the Afrobarometer fieldwork.
    Keywords: Foreign aid, Tax morale, State capacity, Public goods, Africa
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Kabinet Kaba (CERDI, University Clermont Auvergne); Mahamat Moustapha (Paris Dauphine University-PSL)
    Abstract: Sub-Saharan African firms face enormous obstacles to their development. The main constraints to business performance identified are poor access to finance and a weak domestic market. In this paper, we examine how international remittances affect firms’ performance. Specifically, we investigate the role of remittances on capital accumulation, sales, and employment in 34,010 f irms operating in 42 Sub-Saharan African countries between 2006 and 2020. Using a fixed-effect instrumental variable approach to control for the endogeneity of remittances, we find that international remittances positively affect the share of capital held by nationals in manufacturing firms. Moreover, international remittances positively affect sales in non-manufacturing firms, while a negative effect on the sales of manufacturing firms is observed. Regarding the effect of remittances on employment, we find a positive impact on both manufacturing and non-manufacturing f irms. Heterogeneity tests suggest that the effect of remittances on firms’ performance is larger in less financially developed and non-resource-rich countries. As for the negative impact of remittances on sales in manufacturing firms, the results show that it is entirely due to small firms. Finally, using remittances per capita instead of remittances relative to GDP, similar result are found.
    Keywords: Remittances, Firm Performance, Entrepreneurship, Saving and Capital Investment, Firm Employment, Africa
    JEL: F24 L25 L26 M51 O16 O55
    Date: 2021–12
  7. By: Karol Mazur
    Abstract: I present a model of joint co-operation over irrigation and risk sharing in presence of limited commitment constraints. I estimate the model to the setting of three village economies in rural India. The implied dynamics are validated by non-targeted empirical evidence and show that if access to irrigation can be regulated by villagers, the two institutions reinforce each other. However, if ir¬rigation is non-excludable (as is the case with provision by central authorities), such investments harm local co-operation. Counterfactual experiments quan¬tify mutual reinforcement between the two institutions and gains attainable by replacing the government-owned irrigation.
    Keywords: Risk Sharing; Limited Commitment; Informal Institutions
    JEL: E20 O12 O11 O13 Q15
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Javed, Rashid; Mughal, Mazhar
    Abstract: Using data from two representative Demographic and Health Surveys, we examine the change in son preference over the past three decades and its effects on Pakistani women’s fertility. We analyse a number of indicators and employ different empirical methods to come up with strong and persistent evidence for both the revealed and stated preference for sons. This disproportionate preference for boys is visible in increasing desired sex ratio and worsening sex ratio at last birth. Reliance over differential birth-stopping has significantly increased over time as couples are more likely to stop childbearing once the desired number of boys is achieved.
    Keywords: Son preference,Fertility,parity progression,Pakistan
    JEL: D13 J13 O15 C13 Z13
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Bhalotra, Sonia (University of Warwick); Clots-Figueras, Irma (University of Kent); Iyer, Lakshmi (University of Notre Dame)
    Abstract: Debates around abortion typically invoke religion and politics but there is no causal evidence of the impact of politician religion on abortion. Leveraging quasi-random variation in politician religion generated by close elections in India and controlling for the party affiliation of politicians, we find lower rates of sex-selective abortion in districts won by Muslim state legislators, consistent with a higher reported aversion to abortion among Muslims compared to Hindus. The competing hypothesis that this reflects weaker son preference among Muslims is undermined by stated preference data and by demonstrating that fertility and girl-biased infant mortality increase in Muslim-won districts.
    Keywords: religion, politician identity, abortion, sex-selection, India, gender JEL Classification: I15, J13, O15, P16
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Paul H. Jung; Jean-Claude Thill; Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of domestic armed violence brought about by political instability on the geography of distance frictions in freight mobility and the resulting differential access of regions to global markets. The Colombian transportation system has been found to be impeded by deficiencies in landside transport infrastructure and institutions, and by fragmented political environments. The micro-level analysis of U.S.-bounded export shipping records corroborates that export freight shipping from inland regions is re-routed to avoid exposures to domestic armed violence despite greatly extended landside and maritime shipping distances. We exploit the trajectories of freight shipping from Colombian regions and spatial patterns of violent armed conflicts to see how unstable geopolitical environments are detrimental to freight shipping mobility and market openness. The discrete choice model shows that the shipping flow is greatly curbed by the extended re-routing due to domestic armed violence and that inland regions have restricted access to the global market. The perception of risk and re-routing behavior is found heterogeneous across shipments and conditional to shipment characteristics, such as commodity type, freight value and shipper sizes. The results highlight that political stability must be accommodated for improved freight mobility and export-oriented economic development in the global South. **** RESUMEN: En este documento se investiga el efecto de la violencia armada doméstica provocada por la inestabilidad política sobre las fricciones de la distancia en la movilidad de carga. Además, el efecto de esas fricciones sobre el acceso diferencial de las regiones a los mercados globales. Se concluye que el sistema de transporte colombiano se ve obstaculizado por deficiencias en la infraestructura e instituciones de transporte terrestre y por entornos políticos fragmentados. El análisis a nivel micro de los registros de exportaciones hacia Estados Unidos corrobora que el envío de carga de exportación desde las regiones del interior se redirige para evitar exposiciones a la violencia armada doméstica a pesar de las amplias distancias de envío marítimo y terrestre existentes. Aprovechamos las trayectorias del transporte de carga desde las regiones colombianas y los patrones espaciales de los conflictos armados violentos para ver cómo los entornos geopolíticos inestables son perjudiciales para la movilidad del transporte de carga y la apertura del mercado. A través de un modelo de elección discreta se muestra que el flujo de envío se ve frenado por el desvío debido a la violencia armada doméstica y que las regiones del interior tienen acceso restringido al mercado global. La percepción de riesgo y comportamiento de redireccionamiento se considera heterogénea entre los envíos y está condicionada a las características del envío, como el tipo de mercancía, el tamaño y el valor del flete. Los resultados resaltan que el conseguir la estabilidad política puede ayudar a mejorar la movilidad de carga y el desarrollo económico orientado a la exportación en el Sur global.
    Keywords: violence, trade, discrete choice model, Colombia, violencia, comercio internacional, modelos de elección discreta, Colombia
    JEL: F14 R10 C25
    Date: 2021–12–28
  11. By: Bhalotra, Sonia (University of Warwick, CEPR, IZA, IEA, CAGE); Fernandez, Manuel (Universidad de los Andes and IZA)
    Abstract: We investigate supply-side barriers to medical care in Colombia, where citizens have a constitutional right to health, but insurance companies impose restrictions. We use administrative data on judicial claims for health as a proxy for unmet demand. We validate this using the health services utilization register, showing that judicial claims map into large, pervasive decreases in medical consultations, procedures, hospitalizations and emergency care. This manifests in population health outcomes. We identify increases in mortality pervasive across cause, age and sex, with larger increases for cancer, individuals over the age of fifty, women and the poor.
    Keywords: Health care, health insurance, mortality, right-to-health, litigation, universalhealth-coverage, Colombia JEL Classification: G22, I11, I13, I18, K38, K42
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Faisal Bari; Kashif Malik; Muhammad Meki; Simon Quinn
    Abstract: We conduct a field experiment offering graduated microcredit clients the opportu-nity to finance a business asset worth four times their previous borrowing limit. We implement this using a hire-purchase contract; our control group is offered a zero-interest loan. We find large, significant and persistent effects from asset finance con¬tracts: treated microenterprise owners run larger businesses and enjoy higher profits; consequently, household consumption increases, particularly on food and children’s education. A dynamic structural model with non-convex capital adjustment costs ra¬tionalises our results; this highlights the potential for welfare improvements through large capital injections that are financially sustainable for microfinance institutions.
    Date: 2021
  13. By: Ruth Hill (Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank Group); Carolina Mejia-Mantilla (Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank Group); Kathryn Vasilaky (Department of Economics, California Polytechnic State University)
    Abstract: We estimate the profitability of fertilizer and hybrid seed use in Uganda, inputs widely promoted to enhance smallholder farmers’ productivity, but that have low rates of adoption. Past studies that evaluate the returns to agronomic inputs generally assume a fixed output price and do not account for the high output price volatility that farmers face. Using unique historical output price data, we show that adoption of fertilizer is more profitable than hybrid seed, and that price volatility alone cannot explain the low levels of adoption. When we consider input quality and poor weather conditions returns can become negative even at median prices. Risk aversion further exacerbates low adoption in some markets.
    Keywords: input adoption, price volatility, yields, returns, Uganda
    JEL: Q12 Q16 D13
    Date: 2021

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