nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2022‒02‒14
24 papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Sanitation and marriage markets in India: evidence from the total sanitation campaign By Britta Augsburg; Juan P. Baquero; Sanghmitra Gautam; Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes
  2. Agricultural mechanisation and child labour in developing countries By Vos, Rob; Takeshima, Hiroyuki
  3. Labelled loans and human capital investments By Britta Augsburg; Bet Caeyers; Sara Giunti; Bansi Malde; Susanna Smets
  4. Changing Patterns of Son Preference and Fertility in Pakistan By Rashid Javed; Mazhar Mughal
  5. Impact of Microcredit on Labour Migration Decisions: Evidence from a Cambodian Household Survey By Chan Mono Oum; Gazi M. Hassan; Mark J. Holmes
  6. Determinants of Participation in Rural Off-Farm Activities and Its Effects on Food Shortage, Relative Deprivation and Diet Diversity By Getahun, Tigabu; Fetene, Gebeyehu
  7. Are the drivers of production and sales of maize, groundnut, and soyabean by farming households in Malawi changing? Analysis of recent household surveys By Jolex, Aubrey; Benson, Todd
  8. The Gendered Impact of Rural Road Improvement on Schooling Decisions and Youth Employment in Morocco By Yasuharu Shimamura; Satoshi Shimizutani; Eiji Yamada; Hiroyuki Yamada
  9. Mobile money adoption and entrepreneurs’ access to trade credit in the informal sector By Tetteh, Godsway Korku; Goedhuys, Micheline; Konte, Maty; Mohnen, Pierre
  10. Social networks and agricultural performance: A multiplex analysis of interactions among Indian rice farmers By Konda, Bruhan; González‐Sauri, Mario; Cowan, Robin; Yashodha, Yashodha; Chellattan Veettil, Prakashan
  11. Strangers and Foreigners: Trust and Attitudes toward Citizenship By Graziella Bertocchi; Angelo Dimico; Gian Luca Tedeschi
  12. “Made in Heaven, Matched by Parents”: Does Arranged Marriage Restrict Labour Market Autonomy and Participation of Women? Theory and Evidence from India By Sugata Bag; Anirban Kar
  13. When nature calls back: sustaining behavioural change in rural Pakistan By Britta Augsburg; Antonella Bancalari; Zara Durrani; Madhav Vaidyanathan; Zach White
  14. Can white elephants kill? Unintended consequences of infrastructure development in Peru By Antonella Bancalari
  15. Do Remittances Increase Household Indebtedness: Evidence from a Cambodian Household Survey By Chan Mono Oum; Gazi M. Hassan; Mark J. Holmes
  16. Malaria and Economic Development in the Short-term: Plasmodium falciparum vs Plasmodium vivax By Michaela Kecskésová; Štěpán Mikula
  17. Assessing heterogeneity in the health effects of social pensions among the poor elderly: evidence from Peru By Noelia Bernal; Javier Olivera; Marc Suhrcke
  18. The Impact Evaluation of Vietnam’s Escuela Nueva (New School) Program on Students’ Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills By Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Glewwe, Paul; Lee, Jongwook; Vu, Khoa
  19. Video-based behavioral change communication to change consumption patterns: Experimental evidence from urban Ethiopia By Abate, Gashaw Tadesse; Baye, Kaleab; de Brauw, Alan; Hirvonen, Kalle; Wolle, Abdulazize
  20. Economic development, weather shocks and child marriage in South Asia: A machine learning approach By Dietrich, Stephan; Meysonnat, Aline; Rosales, Francisco; Cebotari, Victor; Gassmann, Franziska
  21. The impact of child work on cognitive development: results from four low to middle income countries By Michael P Keane; Sonya Krutikova; Timothy Neal
  22. Assessing misallocation in agriculture: plots versus farms By Fernando Aragon; Diego Restuccia; Juan Pablo Rud
  23. How childhood stunting reduced in Tamil Nadu: An analysis of change between 1992 and 2016 By Avula, Rasmi; Menon, Purnima; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Constantinides, Shilpa; Kohli, Neha
  24. Labor (mis?)measurement in agriculture By Ambler, Kate; Herskowitz, Sylvan; Maredia, Mywish K.

  1. By: Britta Augsburg (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Juan P. Baquero (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Sanghmitra Gautam (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We analyse the marriage decisions of men and women in rural India, focusing on the added attractiveness of sanitation within the marital living arrangement. We demonstrate that the Government’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) changed marriage market outcomes for both men and women. To decompose the overall policy impact on the marriage market equilibrium, we develop a simple matching model. The model is identified and estimated using data from the Indian Human Development household survey (IHDS) and quasi-random variation from the TSC. Decompositions reveal that (i) cohorts within TSC exposed markets experienced a shift in marital gains both across matches and within a given match, which is characterised by a marked gender asymmetry, and that (ii) TSC exposure led to a decline in women’s effective control over resources, reflected in the surplus division.
    Date: 2021–12–03
  2. By: Vos, Rob; Takeshima, Hiroyuki
    Abstract: Child labour in agriculture remains a global concern. Agriculture is the sector where most child labour is found. Employment of children mostly relates to farm household poverty in developing countries. This raises the question of the extent to which the modernisation of agriculture prevents the use of child labour while also leading to higher productivity. One of the central questions in this context is whether agricultural mechanisation helps limit children’s employment. Available studies have put forward opposing hypotheses, but rigorous empirical evidence is scant. The present study aims to fill some of this void by studying the evidence from comparable farm household survey data in seven developing countries, including three in Asia (India, Nepal, and Vietnam) and four in sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania). Various key findings emerge. First, many children are found to engage in productive activities in studied countries. The prevalence is particularly high in African countries, such as in Ethiopia where more than one third of children aged 5-14 years engage in farm or off-farm work. Second, while the prevalence of child labour in agriculture (i.e., when productive engagement is detrimental to schooling and child growth) is much lower (at 10% or less in seven countries), they are still sizable in absolute terms; at least 6 million children in these countries partake in agricultural work at the expense of opportunities in adulthood. Third, agricultural mechanization, reflected in farm household’s use of machinery such as tractors, significantly reduces the likelihood of use of children’s labour and increases school attendance. Fourth, the measured impacts of mechanization are only modest, however, and likely indirect, that is, dependent on the extent to which mechanization helps improve household income and on local conditions (such as quality of rural infrastructure and accessibility of education and other social services). Overall, promotion of agricultural mechanization can help prevent use of child labour. To be truly impactful, however, related support measures should be embedded in broader strategies to enable agricultural productivity growth and improve livelihoods of poor rural households.
    Keywords: INDIA; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; NEPAL; VIET NAM; VIETNAM; SOUTH EAST ASIA; ETHIOPIA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; GHANA; WEST AFRICA; NIGERIA; TANZANIA; employment; children; labour; agriculture; child labour; agricultural mechanization; developing countries; farms; households
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Britta Augsburg (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Bet Caeyers (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Sara Giunti (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Bansi Malde (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Kent); Susanna Smets (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: Imperfect capital markets and commitment problems impede lumpy human capital investments. Labelled loans can alleviate both constraints, but little is known about their effectiveness in practice. We draw on a cluster randomized controlled trial in rural India to provide the first evidence that labelled microcredit is effective in increasing take-up of a lumpy human capital investment, a safe toilet. Testing predictions from a theoretical model provides novel evidence that loan labels influence household borrowing and investment decisions. Not all loans are used for sanitation investments, suggesting that loan labels offer a soft commitment incentive.
    Date: 2021–04–27
  4. By: Rashid Javed (Université de Pau); Mazhar Mughal (Pau Business School)
    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 D13
    Date: 2021–12–25
  5. By: Chan Mono Oum (University of Waikato); Gazi M. Hassan (University of Waikato); Mark J. Holmes (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: The new economics of labour migration (NELM) suggests that migration substitutes for inaccessible credit markets. However, in a paradigm shift towards profit orientation, microfinance organizations in developing countries offer greater access to credit to potential migrants. That casts doubt on the prior understanding of the link between access to microcredit and migration. Exploiting survey data from 422 households in the northern part of Cambodia, this study examines the relationship between microcredit borrowing and migration decisions through the NELM theory in the South-South Migration (SSM) perspective. We employ the Endogenous Switching Probit model (ESP) to control for selection bias in borrowing decisions and the structural differences between borrowing and non-borrowing decisions that influence migration decisions. After instrumenting, the findings suggest that households with access to credit are more likely to have migrated family members than their non-borrowing counterparts, refuting the notion of migration as a substitute for credit. Household with borrowings from financial institution increase the likelihood of migrating by 5.6 percent while households with informal borrowing have a propensity to migrate about 3.2 percent. Our results have a number of policy implications, including guiding policymakers in rethinking the role of microcredit provision and redesigning microfinance programmes to maximise the return on labour migration.
    Keywords: formal credit; informal credit; microcredit; migration decisions; Cambodia
    JEL: F22 G51 R23
    Date: 2022–01–11
  6. By: Getahun, Tigabu; Fetene, Gebeyehu
    Abstract: This study investigates the determinants of smallholders’ participation in rural off-farm activities, which includes rural non-farm own business and wage employment, and its effect on food shortage, relative deprivation and dietary diversity. To address these objectives, we use a three-wave panel dataset of 7,110 smallholder farm households in Ethiopia. The estimation result suggests that the gender composition of households, age, education, natural shocks, participation in community meetings, exposure to media, access to credit, farmland, agricultural markets and rural infrastructure such as electricity are the key determinants of smallholders’ participation in rural off-farm activities. The estimation results also suggest that smallholders’ participation in rural wage employment aggravates relative deprivation, while participation in rural non-farm own business activities reduce relative deprivation and food shortage. On the other hand, our estimation results indicate that participation in both nonfarm own business activities and wage employment improve the dietary diversity of smallholder farmers. Hence, well-designed policy interventions aimed at enhancing smallholder farmers’ rural wage employment and non-farm own business participation could help to enhance dietary diversity and reduce food shortages and relative deprivation.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Public Economics
    Date: 2022–01–31
  7. By: Jolex, Aubrey; Benson, Todd
    Abstract: By directing increasing shares of their farm production to the market and, thereby, realizing greater incomes, farming households can accelerate local rural economic development. In this study, we examine household and spatial factors that may drive smallholder farming households in Malawi to produce and sell maize, groundnut, and soyabean. Two cross-sectional analyses are done using household level data from rounds of the Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS). First, using data for farming households from the fifth IHS (2019/20) in a series of weighted logistical models, we examine which of a set of household and spatial level factors are associated with a household producing each of the three crops. For maize and groundnut, we extend the analysis by similarly identifying the factors associated with whether a producing household sells any of their maize or groundnut, and if, they do, whether they sell more than half of their harvest. The second analysis consists of replicating the logistical models for production and sales using household data from the fourth IHS (2016/17) and comparing those results to the results obtained from the fifth IHS. This is done to identify whether any drivers of the production and sale of the three crops are changing over time. Overall, only a few factors are consistently associated with a farming household choosing to produce a particular crop or to sell part of their production of the crop. We also see limited changes between 2016/17 and 2019/20 in the drivers of the production and sale of these crops. However, the strength of the positive associations between landholding size and the commercial production of the three crops intensified between the two surveys. This suggests that as landholdings become smaller with continuing population growth, commercial production will increasingly be limited to those households with the largest landholdings. Government and other stakeholders in rural economic development can consider the evidence from these analyses in developing strategies to foster greater diversity in employment in rural economies across Malawi away from agriculture, while nonetheless promoting increased production by those smallholders in a position to participate profitably in the value chains for these crops.
    Keywords: MALAWI; SOUTHERN AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; agricultural production; maize; groundnuts; soybeans; farmers; households; agricultural development; rural economics; commercialization
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Yasuharu Shimamura (Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University); Satoshi Shimizutani (JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development); Eiji Yamada (JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development); Hiroyuki Yamada (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of a rural road improvement project on schooling decisions and youth employment in Morocco. Paved rural roads are expected to reduce travel time and costs, allowing additional school choices and increasing the motivation for youth to enter higher education in response to higher returns. On the other hand, immediate earnings opportunities created by new connections may encourage youth to seek paid employment. Thus, the impact of rural road improvement on schooling and youth employment warrants empirical investigation. We employ a difference-indifferences estimation using a household-level dataset with a five-year interval collected under a quasi-experimental setting. First, we do not observe any positive effect on primary school completion for either sex, but we find a positive and significant effect on secondary school attainment or above only for females. Moreover, the higher educational attainment of females is associated with a lower proportion of early marriage. Second, we do not observe any significant effects on self-employment for either sex, but we find a positive and significant effect on wage employment only for males, which is pronounced among the better educated. Our findings reveal sharp gendered differences in the impact of the rural road improvement project, with increased motivation toward better education for females and paid work for males.
    Keywords: rural road improvement, schooling outcomes, youth employment, market integration, Morocco, gender.
    JEL: I25 O18 J24
    Date: 2022–01–04
  9. By: Tetteh, Godsway Korku (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Goedhuys, Micheline (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Konte, Maty (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, and Barnard College, Columbia University); Mohnen, Pierre (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Despite the contribution of previous studies to unravel the implications of mobile money in the developing world, the effect of this innovation on an important source of external finance, trade credit, has not been properly accounted for particularly in the informal sector. Using the 2016 FinAccess Household Survey, we investigate the relationship between mobile money adoption and the probability to receive goods and services on credit from suppliers based on a sample of entrepreneurs who operate informal businesses. We further explore the effect of mobile money adoption on the likelihood to offer goods and services on credit to customers. Our estimations suggest that entrepreneurs with mobile money are more likely to receive goods and sesrvices on credit from suppliers. We also find a positive and significant relationship between mobile money adoption and the likelihood to offer goods and services on credit to customers. The evidence supports the promotion of mobile money adoption among entrepreneurs in the informal sector to facilitate access to credit.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Financial Innovation, Mobile Money, Trade Credit
    JEL: D14 G21 L26 O16 O33
    Date: 2021–11–17
  10. By: Konda, Bruhan (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); González‐Sauri, Mario (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Cowan, Robin (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Yashodha, Yashodha (International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), India); Chellattan Veettil, Prakashan (International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), India)
    Abstract: Most network studies in agriculture examine uni-dimensional connections between individuals to understand the effect of social networks on outcomes. However, in most real-world scenarios, network members' exchanges happen through multiple relationships and not accounting for such multi-dimensional interconnections may lead to biased estimate of social network effects. This study aims to unravel the consequences of not accounting such multidimensional networks by investigating the individual and joint effects of multiple connections (relationships) that exist among households on agricultural output. We use census data from three villages of Odisha, India that enables us to account for three types of relationships viz. information networks (knowledge sharing), credit networks (resource sharing) and friendship (social bonding) between households. We estimate the social network effect by combining both econometric (IV regression) and network (directed networks) techniques to address the problems of endogeneity. The joint effect of multiple networks is estimated using the multiplex network framework. We find that information flows are crucial to improve agricultural output when networks are accounted individually. However, the joint effect of all three networks using multiplex shows a significantly positive influence, indicating complementarity across relationships. In addition, we found evidence for the mediating role of interpersonal relationships (friendship network) in enhancing gains from the information flow.
    Keywords: Agriculture production, Social network, Multiplex networks, knowledge sharing, Resource sharing, Friendship
    JEL: C26 D83 O13 Q12
    Date: 2021–07–21
  11. By: Graziella Bertocchi; Angelo Dimico; Gian Luca Tedeschi
    Abstract: We analyze the relationship between natives' attitudes towards citizenship acqui- sition for foreigners and trust. Our hypothesis is that, in sub-Saharan Africa, the slave trade represents the deep factor behind contemporary attitudes toward citi- zenship, with more intense exposure to historical slave exports for an individual's ethnic group being associated with contemporary distrust for strangers, and in turn opposition to citizenship laws that favor the inclusion of foreigners. Wefind that individuals who are more trusting do show more positive attitudes towards the ac- quisition of citizenship at birth for children of foreigners, that these attitudes are also negatively related to the intensity of the slave trade, and that the underlying link between trust and the slave trade is cofirmed. Alternative factors- conflict, kinship, and witchcraft beliefs|that, through trust, may ffect attitudes toward citizenship, are not generating the same distinctive pattern of linkages emerging from the slave trade.
    Keywords: Citizenship, Trust, Slave Trade, Migration, Ethnicity, Conflict, Kinship, Witchcraft.
    JEL: J15 K37 N57 O15 Z13
    Date: 2022–01
  12. By: Sugata Bag (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics); Anirban Kar (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics)
    Abstract: Female labour force participation in India has stagnated despite gains in other aspects. Do Indian women prefer to stay out of labour market voluntarily or do social norms prevent their participation? We identify parental involvement in partner choice during marriage as an important bottleneck. We first find that women who had some degree of involvement in partner choice enjoy significantly more autonomy in post-marriage labour market choices than those whose marriages were arranged solely by parents. We use a marriage tradition instrument to estimate causal effects. Since autonomy and participation affect each other, next, we estimate simultaneous equations for autonomy and participation for only rural women. We use parental involvement in marriage and district-level share of drought-affected villages as two exogenous variables - the former for autonomy and the latter for participation. We find that autonomy significantly increases participation. We further explain the mechanism through a theoretical model. To distinguish between autonomy and participation; we introduce a new household delegation game. The main message of the theoretical model is that parental involvement in partner choice reduces women’s ability to screen partners leading to relatively more mismatches, i.e., women who are inclined to work mismatched with men who prefer otherwise. Key Words: Parental involvement, Partner selection, Female autonomy, Female labour market participation, Delegation game JEL Codes: J12, J16, D82
    Date: 2022–01
  13. By: Britta Augsburg (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Antonella Bancalari (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of St. Andrews); Zara Durrani (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Madhav Vaidyanathan (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Zach White (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We implement a mixed method approach that combines a randomized controlled trial and qualitative data collection to assess whether, and if so how, behavioural change can be sustained. We do so in the context of Pakistan’s national sanitation strategy to combat open defecation, Community-Led Total Sanitation. Our findings demonstrate that continued follow-up activities, that build on the original intervention, reduced reversal to unsafe sanitation, but only where initial conditions are unfavourable —i.e. poor public infrastructure and low-quality sanitation facilities. Promotion efforts are hence best targeted towards those that face larger difficulties in constructing and maintaining high quality sanitation.
    Date: 2021–12–03
  14. By: Antonella Bancalari (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of St. Andrews)
    Abstract: It is widely accepted that investing in public infrastructure promotes economic development. However, there is little awareness of the prevalence of unfinished infrastructure projects and their consequences. In this paper, I study the effect of unfinished sewerage infrastructure on early-life mortality in Peru. I compile several sources of administrative panel data for 1,400 districts spanning 2005–2015, and I rely on the budgetary plans and timing of expenditure for 6,000 projects to measure unfinished projects and those completed in a given district. I document that mid-construction abandonment and delays are highly prevalent. I exploit geographical features and partisan alignment to instrument for project implementation. Surprisingly, I find that unfinished sewerage projects increased early-life mortality, driven by lack of water availability, water-borne diseases and accidents. I also show that while unfinished projects pose hazards to the population, completed sewerage projects decrease early-life mortality, in line with public health studies in advanced economies during the previous centuries.
    Date: 2020–09–28
  15. By: Chan Mono Oum (University of Waikato); Gazi M. Hassan (University of Waikato); Mark J. Holmes (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: This paper examines the direct impact of remittances on household debt performance and levels of indebtedness using survey data from 422 households in the northern part of Cambodia. We employ the Two-Step Heckman selection model to alleviate concerns regarding the endogeneity issues derived from self-selection bias, reverse causation, and omitted variable bias. The Tobit model is then employed to estimate household debt performance and the indebtedness impact of remittances. We first show that remittances are viewed as transitory incomes tending to decay as a migrant's length of stay outside the household increases. In the second stage of estimation, remittances positively affect household debt performance, particularly in low debt performance households. Remittances are also found to reduce household indebtedness in the recipient households. Because remittances contribute to reducing household indebtedness, which is a critical component in the financial system, policy responses should be targeted toward lowering the actual cost of sending remittances and thereby enabling migrant workers, and their left-behind household the ability to access formal and digitalized platforms in order to sending and receiving remittances.
    Keywords: remittances; household indebtedness; debt performance; Cambodia
    JEL: F24 R23 G51 D15
    Date: 2022–01–12
  16. By: Michaela Kecskésová (Department of Economics, Masaryk University); Štěpán Mikula (Department of Economics, Masaryk University)
    Abstract: Malaria – a disease caused by parasitic microorganisms of the Plasmodium genus – has been shown to impede economic growth and socioeconomic development in the long-term. In this paper we use annual regional data from India to show that malaria outbreaks are associated with an immediate decline in economic development approximated by night light intensity. We find the association to be significant for outbreaks of both the globally most prevalent Plasmodium species: Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The estimated associations are quite sizeable. Severe outbreaks correlate with night light reductions of 5% of the standard deviation for P. falciparum and 4% for P. vivax.
    Keywords: Malaria, Economic development, India, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Night light intensity
    JEL: I15 R11 R12 N55
    Date: 2022–02
  17. By: Noelia Bernal; Javier Olivera; Marc Suhrcke
    Abstract: This paper exploits the discontinuity around a welfare index of eligibility to assess the heterogeneous health impacts of Peru’s social pension program Pension 65, which focuses on elderly poor individuals. The heterogeneity is analysed with regards to the treatment exposure (short vs long run), the accessibility to health care infrastructure (near vs distant facilities), and gender. Overall, we find improvements in anaemia, mortality risk markers, cognitive functioning, mental health, and self-reported health among eligible individuals; yet there is an increase in the risk of obesity among women, as well as an increase in reported chronic diseases. The program improves the quality of nutrition and health care access, but reduces the frequency or intensity of physical activities. About half of the effects on the analysed outcomes persist in the longer run and living in a district with good access to facilities stands out as the most relevant characteristic enhancing the beneficial program effects. Overall thus, the resulting health benefits in areas of under-nutrition are at most modestly compensated by deterioration in over-nutrition related conditions. As the program evolves further, policymakers need to confront the challenge of continuing to ensure the health benefits in terms of reducing nutritional deficits and the lack of health infrastructure while avoiding potential undesirable side effects in terms of over-nutrition in a geographically diverse country like Peru.
    Keywords: social pensions; Peru; nutrition; health; poverty; ageing
    JEL: H55 I12 I31
    Date: 2022–01
  18. By: Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Glewwe, Paul; Lee, Jongwook; Vu, Khoa
    Abstract: This paper evaluates how Vietnam's Escuela Nueva (VNEN) program, an educational reform for primary schools supported by the World Bank, affected the cognitive (mathematics and Vietnamese) and non-cognitive (socioemotional) skills of students in that country. We use propensity score matching to estimate both short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (5-7 years) average treatment effects on the treated (ATT). We find that the impacts of VNEN on students' cognitive skills are relatively small in the short-term, and that they are larger for boys, ethnic minorities, and students in Northern Vietnam. The VNEN program modestly increased primary school students' non-cognitive skills in the short-term; these impacts on non-cognitive skills are sizable and significant for ethnic minority students, although there seems to be little gender difference. The long-term impacts are less precisely estimated, but they appear to fade away, showing little or no impact of the VNEN program on cognitive skills. There is little variation of long-term impacts by gender or geographical region, although the imprecision of the estimates for ethnic minority students does not allow us to rule out large long-term impacts on cognitive skills for those students. The program's impacts on non-cognitive skills also seem to have dissipated in the long-term.
    Date: 2022
  19. By: Abate, Gashaw Tadesse; Baye, Kaleab; de Brauw, Alan; Hirvonen, Kalle; Wolle, Abdulazize
    Abstract: Poor diet quality has been widely identified as a primary reason for malnutrition and the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries. Low consumption of fruits and vegetables contributes to poor diet quality, and one factor leading to low fruit and vegetable consumption is limited consumer awareness of the health and nutrition benefits of consumption. In this study, we experimentally assess a method of increasing consumer awareness, specifically, through showing households two different versions of a video embedded with messages about increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. The first video included just the basic recommended consumption behavior messages, while the second video also explained why and how fruit and vegetable consumption could improve health and nutrition outcomes. Even four months after viewing the video, average household consumption of fruits and vegetables increased by about 10 percent in both treatment groups relative to the control group, both in kilocalorie and consumption expenditure terms. The videos were developed to eventually show on national TV, suggesting that embedding dietary BCC messages in popular media can have positive impacts on diet quality at scale.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; diet; fruit; vegetables; urban areas; malnutrition; consumer education; nutrition education; videos; behavior change communication; diet quality
    Date: 2021
  20. By: Dietrich, Stephan (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Meysonnat, Aline (University of Washington, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance); Rosales, Francisco (ESAN Graduate School of Business, Lima); Cebotari, Victor (University of Luxembourg); Gassmann, Franziska (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Globally, 21 percent of young women are married before their 18th birthday. Despite some progress in addressing child marriage, it remains a widespread practice, in particular in South Asia. While household predictors of child marriage have been studied extensively in the literature, the evidence base on macro-economic factors contributing to child marriage and models that predict where child marriage cases are most likely to occur remains limited. In this paper we aim to fill this gap and explore region-level indicators to predict the persistence of child marriage in four countries in South Asia, namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. We apply machine learning techniques to child marriage data and develop a prediction model that relies largely on regional and local inputs such as droughts, floods, population growth and nightlight data to model the incidence of child marriages. We find that our gradient boosting model is able to identify a large proportion of the true child marriage cases and correctly classifies 78% of the true marriage cases, with a higher accuracy in Bangladesh (90% of the cases) and a lower accuracy in Nepal (71% of cases). In addition, all countries contain in their top 10 variables for classification nighttime light growth, a shock index of drought over the previous and the last two years and the regional level of education, suggesting that income shocks, the regional economic activity and regional education levels play a significant role in predicting child marriage. Given the accuracy of the model to predict child marriage, our model is a valuable tool to support policy design in countries where household-level data remains limited.
    Keywords: child marriage, income shocks, machine learning, South Asia
    JEL: J1 J12 O15 Q54 R11
    Date: 2021–09–10
  21. By: Michael P Keane (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of New South Wales (UNSW)); Sonya Krutikova (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Timothy Neal (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We study the impact of child work on cognitive development in four Low- and Middle-Income Countries. We advance the literature by using cognitive test scores collected regardless of school attendance. We also address a key gap in the literature by controlling for children’s complete time allocation budget. This allows us to estimate effects of different types of work, like chores and market/farm work, relative to specific alternative time-uses, like school or study or play/leisure. Our results show child work is more detrimental to child development to the extent that it crowds out school/study time rather than leisure. We also show the adverse effect of time spent on domestic chores is similar to time spent on market and farm work, provided they both crowd out school/study time. Thus, policies to enhance child development should target a shift from all forms of work toward educational activities.
    Date: 2020–10–20
  22. By: Fernando Aragon; Diego Restuccia; Juan Pablo Rud
    Abstract: We assess the extent and cost of misallocation in agriculture in less-developed countries comparing the analysis at the plot and farm levels. Using detailed data from Uganda, we show that the plot-level analysis leads to extremely large estimates of reallocation gains, even after adjusting for measurement error and unobserved heterogeneity. These results reflect two empirical limitations of the plot as unit of analysis: excess measurement error and near constant returns to scale production estimates. We find limited evidence of substantial measurement error at the farm level.
    Keywords: plot, farm, misallocation, measurement error, agriculture, distortions.
    JEL: O4
    Date: 2022–02–04
  23. By: Avula, Rasmi; Menon, Purnima; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Constantinides, Shilpa; Kohli, Neha
    Abstract: India comprises one-sixth of the world’s population and one-third of the global burden of undernutrition. Between 2006 and 2016, India made progress in reducing stunting among children below five years; the progress, however, has not been uniform across all its states (Menon et al. 2018). There are interstate differences in stunting reduction despite a common national policy framework for nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs. Given the paucity of insights on what factors drive successful change in nutritional outcomes such as stunting at the state level in India, we conducted studies in the four states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu. In this report, we document the story of change in Tamil Nadu, which is one of the exemplary states in India. With a long history of nutrition and health reforms, it stands out as a leader in social development. We aimed to update prior work on Tamil Nadu to assess more recent changes in nutritional outcomes, determinants, and coverage of interventions. Our key goals were to: 1) examine changes in child stunting, known determinants of stunting and key health and nutrition interventions between 1992 and 2016; 2) assess the contribution of diverse determinants and intervention coverage changes to the changes in stunting between 2006 and 2016; and (3) interpret the changes in the context of policies, programs, and other changes in the state.
    Keywords: INDIA, SOUTH ASIA, ASIA, child stunting, children, nutrition, child nutrition
    Date: 2021
  24. By: Ambler, Kate; Herskowitz, Sylvan; Maredia, Mywish K.
    Abstract: Livelihoods are changing rapidly in rural areas. Measuring and categorizing peoples’ labor activities in relation to the agricultural sector is important for understanding income earning opportunities and designing effective policy. Conventional data collection methods ask about individuals’ main work activities over the past year. Descriptions are recorded in the field, postcoded, and eventually categorized. This approach is costly to collect, fatiguing for respondents, and may create distortions. We show that a more direct approach, asking respondents to categorize their major work activities themselves, provides similar resulting data despite some caveats and lessons for best enumeration practices. We compare these main activities to a series of yes/no questions about participation in a set of specific work tasks. We find a 12% incidence of “missing†work, whereby individuals who reported participation in at least one but did not have any recorded major activities. Looking by sector of work, women and youth are disproportionately more likely to have agricultural contributions “missed,†while we find no corresponding bias in undercounting of non-agricultural work. Finally, we test the effect of randomly positioning the task-based questions before the listing of major activities but do not find significant effects on the number or type of activities reported.
    Keywords: GHANA; WEST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; labour; agriculture; surveys; measurement; survey design; women; youth employment; employment; youth; households; rural areas; off farm; on farm
    Date: 2021

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