nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2022‒04‒11
twenty papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Conditional cash transfers and high school attainment: Evidence from a large-scale program in the Dominican Republic By Hernandez, Manuel A.; Pellerano, Jose A.; Sanchez, Gonzalo E.
  2. Intra-household Resource Shares under Poverty Transfers: Evidence from Ecuador By José L. Casco
  3. Pro-birth policies, missions and fertility : historical evidence from Congo By Catherine Guirkinger; Paola Villar
  4. Agricultural productivity and land inequality. Evidence from the Philippines By Ludovic Bequet
  5. Informal Loans in Thailand: Stylized Facts and Empirical Analysis By Pim Pinitjitsamut; Wisarut Suwanprasert
  6. Agricultural Windfalls and the Seasonality of Political Violence in Africa By David Ubilava; Justin V. Hastings; Kadir Atalay
  7. The Inequality (or the Growth) We Measure: Data Gaps and the Distribution of Incomes By Alvaredo, Facundo; De Rosa, Mauricio; Flores, Ignacio; Morgan, Marc
  8. No pain, no gain? Mining pollution and morbidity. By Syed Hasan; Odmaa Narantungalag,; Martin Berka
  9. Harvesting trees to harvest cash crops: The role of internal migrants in forest land conversion in Uganda By Ignaciuk, Ada; Kwon, Jihae; Maggio, Giuseppe; Mastrorillo, Marina; Sitko, Nicholas J.
  10. Effects of land tenure rights formalization on household investments – The case of PRODEP in Nicaragua By De la O Campos, Ana Paula; Edouard, Fabrice; Ruiz Salvago, Marta
  11. Proximity to health care centres and service intake: The case of Community Clinics in Bangladesh. By Syed Hasan; Tasnima Akter; Musharrat Jahan; Ashraf Dewan
  12. The global inequality boomerang By Ravi Kanbur; Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez; Andy Sumner
  13. Determinants of health insurance enrollment and health expenditure in Ghana: An empirical analysis By Adjei-Mantey, Kwame; Yuji Horioka, Charles
  14. You reap what (you think) you sow? Evidence on farmers’behavioral adjustments in the case of correct crop varietal identification By Paola Mallia
  15. Impact of teacher content knowledge on student achievement in a low-income country By Anna Holvio
  16. The intended and unintended consequences of large electricity subsidies: evidence from Mongolia. By Syed Hasan; Odmaa Narantungalag,; Martin Berka
  17. International Migration, Cross-Border Labor Mobility, and Regional Economic Integration in Asia and the Pacific By Aiko Kikkawa; Raymond Gaspar; Cyn-Young Park
  18. Why has economic shrinking receded in Latin America? A social capability approach By Andersson, Martin; Palacio, Andrés; von Borries, Alvaro
  19. Infrastructure and Firm Performance in CAREC Countries: Cross-Sectional Evidence at the Firm Level By Azhgaliyeva, Dina; Mishra, Ranjeeta; Yoshino, Naoyuki; Karymshakov, Kamalbek
  20. New historical estimates of the human development index By Luis Bertola; Laura Gatti

  1. By: Hernandez, Manuel A.; Pellerano, Jose A.; Sanchez, Gonzalo E.
    Abstract: Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs are widely implemented in developing countries but evidence of their medium- and long-term effects on educational achievements is still relatively scarce. This paper examines the impact of a large-scale CCT program on high school attainment in the Dominican Republic. We implement a quasi-experimental approach combining extensive educational, administrative, and household records from program participants across the country and exploiting variations in the scheme (amount) of school transfers received among program participants. We find that receiving additional transfers specific for high school education is, on average, associated with an 11.7-13.2 percentage points higher probability of completing high school relative to not receiving these transfers. We do not find major differences across urban and rural areas nor between female and male students. The transfers seem to play an important role during the last high school year of targeted students. The estimated impacts point to non-negligible effects on employment, salaries, and delayed parenthood. Several robustness checks support our findings.
    Keywords: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC; CARIBBEAN; LATIN AMERICA; AMERICAS; cash transfers; secondary education; models; cost benefit analysis; education; programmes; gender; urban areas; rural areas; social protection; educational attainment; large-scale programs; conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs; female students; male students
    Date: 2022
  2. By: José L. Casco
    Abstract: This paper estimates a structural model of household behavior in the presence of cash transfers to recover the amount of resources allocated to men, women, and children. Using data from Ecuador, I find that there are important intra-household inequalities, but the transfer induces a redistribution of resources among household members. I further explore the potential implications of this reallocation of resources in several domains and find that transfers increase the women's control of resources and increase household welfare by reducing poverty, especially for women and children. I also show that when the mother controls the majority of the household resources, it affects the patterns of consumption of the household and how households react to unexpected shocks. These results contribute to understanding better the redistributive effects of income support programs.
    JEL: D13 I38 J22 O12
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: Catherine Guirkinger (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur); Paola Villar
    Abstract: Did colonial powers shape fertility patterns in their colonies? We investigate this question in the context of the Belgian Congo. Starting in the late 1920s, several colonial powers in Africa feared depopulation of their colonies and designed pro-birth policies. The Belgian state heavily relied on Catholic nuns to implement these policies in the Congo. Using a demographic survey conducted in the 1970s in seven major cities, we recovered the individual birth calendars of 30,000 women born between 1900 and 1948, under colonial rule. In addition we digitized high-quality territory level information on fertility by cohort in the 1950s. We rely on unique historical and archival material to reconstruct temporal and geographic heterogeneity in exposure to missionary presence and the type of activities performed at the station level. We find a positive effect of Catholic nuns on fertility. In contrast, Catholic male missionaries have no detectable impact on fertility and Protestant missionaries have a clear negative impact. In terms of mechanisms, we argue that progress in general health are unlikely to explain, alone, the rise in fertility. Another likely channel was the promotion of an ideal of domesticity where women are confined to their role of mother and wife. Finally, using Demographic and Health Survey data, we find some trace of colonial mission’s influence on fertility patterns today.
    Date: 2022–03
  4. By: Ludovic Bequet (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: This paper presents the first detailed empirical evaluation of the effect of agricultural productivity on land inequality using the context of genetically modified (GM) corn seeds introduction in the Philippines. Using three waves of census data covering 21 years and 17 million plots, I identify the effect by exploiting exogenous variations in soil and weather, leading to differences in potential gain from GM corn cultivation. Results show that municipalities that benefited more from the technology experienced an increase in landholding inequality, measured by the area farmed by top decile and by the Gini index. This effect is partly driven by a relative increase in agricultural land and more precisely by a lower contraction in more affected areas. While increased land inequality is associated with a higher level of terrorist activity, it does not seem to have any adverse effect on poverty, household income or expenditure.
    Date: 2022–02
  5. By: Pim Pinitjitsamut; Wisarut Suwanprasert
    Abstract: This paper examines informal loans in Thailand using household survey data covering 4,800 individuals in 12 provinces across Thailand’s six regions. We proceed in three steps. First, we establish stylized facts about informal loans. Second, we estimate the effects of household characteristics on the decision to take out an informal loan and the amount of informal loan. We find that age, the number of household members, their savings, and the amount of existing formal loans are the main factors that drive the decision to take out an informal loan. The main determinations of the amount of informal loan are the interest rate, savings, the amount of existing formal loans, the number of household members, and personal income. Third, we train three machine learning models, namely K–Nearest Neighbors, Random Forest, and Gradient Boosting, to predict whether an individual will take out an informal loan and the amount an individual has borrowed through informal loans. We find that the Gradient Boosting technique with the top 15 most important features has the highest prediction rate of 76.46 percent, making it the best model for data classification. Generally, Random Forest outperforms the other two algorithms in both classifying data and predicting the amount of informal loans.
    Keywords: Informal Loans; Machine Learning; Shadow Economy; Thailand; Loan Sharks
    JEL: E26 G51 O16 O17
    Date: 2022–02
  6. By: David Ubilava; Justin V. Hastings; Kadir Atalay
    Abstract: We study the seasonality of violence against civilians in the cropland of Africa. We combine monthly international cereal prices with grid-cell level cropland area fraction and harvest seasons to investigate the relationship between agricultural income shocks and violent attacks by different violent actors. We find that violence in the cropland is associated with the price increase, and the effect is apparent during the early post-harvest season when the value of spoils to be appropriated is highest. Among considered perpetrators, we find political militias as the most likely force behind the seasonal political violence in Africa.
    Date: 2022–02
  7. By: Alvaredo, Facundo; De Rosa, Mauricio; Flores, Ignacio; Morgan, Marc
    Abstract: There is a large gap between income estimates used in inequality studies and macroeconomic statistics. This makes it hard to assess how economic growth is distributed across the population, and to what extent mainstream distributional statistics are an accurate representation of income flows. We take stock of these discrepancies by confronting estimates of the income distribution from surveys, administrative records and aggregates from the system of national accounts, thoroughly documenting them over the past two decades for ten Latin American countries. We find that surveys only account for around half of the macroeconomic income in the region. Measurement gaps account for just over half of the overall gap on average, while the rest is due to conceptual differences across data sets. Measurement gaps have been growing fast for many countries, the bulk being due to non-covered capital income. We also compare the top tails in administrative data and surveys, finding diverging averages—especially for non-wage incomes—and different shapes. We discuss the degree to which inequality levels and trends could be affected. (Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality Working Paper)
    Date: 2022–03–23
  8. By: Syed Hasan (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North); Odmaa Narantungalag, (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North); Martin Berka (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of mining pollution on the likelihood of reporting illness by linking geocoded soil pollution information with five rounds of Mongolian Household Socio-Economic Survey data. Using perceived property rent as an instrument, our probit regression results indicate that doubling the distance between a person’s residence and nearest mine reduces their probability of feeling unwell by around 7.4 percentage points on average. Individuals also increase their medical expenditure as a result of increased illness. We observe mining pollution to disproportionately hurt younger children. Artisanal and small-scale mines have stronger effects on human health than medium and large-scale mines. Gold mines were observed to be worst, compared to the mines extracting other types of minerals. Our findings suggest that environmental regulations to control/mitigate mining pollution can reduce short- to long-term health risks of the people living near mines.
    Keywords: Mining pollution, Health, Development, Mongolia
    JEL: I15 O13 Q53 Q56
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Ignaciuk, Ada; Kwon, Jihae; Maggio, Giuseppe; Mastrorillo, Marina; Sitko, Nicholas J.
    Abstract: This working paper merges socio-economic data with data on deforestation to explore the interrelationship between rural migration, the development of the commercial agricultural sector, and forest cover loss. Specifically, we test the role of cash crop producers and inter-district migrants on the tree loss in the parish of residence, while controlling for several other household-level and parish-level contributing factors of deforestation, including population density, proximity to markets and protected areas. Also, we investigate the agricultural channel, specifically producing cash crops, as one major channel through which inter-district migration affects deforestation. Our analysis aims to support the identification of policy strategies to reduce the adverse impacts of agricultural commercialization initiatives on Uganda’s critical natural resources; and identify policy options that maximize migrant’s benefits on recipient areas while minimizing downside risks of migration related to over-exploitation of resources and deforestation.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries
  10. By: De la O Campos, Ana Paula; Edouard, Fabrice; Ruiz Salvago, Marta
    Abstract: This study analyses the impacts of titling on tenure security, property value, access to credit, and household investments in the departments of Nueva Segovia, Jinotega y Chinandega, which are covered by Nicaragua’s Land Administration Programme (PRODEP). The programme has been in operation for over two decades, prioritized and sustained by the national government, International Financial Institutions, and other donors, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable households. Using quasi-experimental econometric techniques, namely propensity score techniques, and instrumental variables, we find that titling obtained through PRODEP, either individually or jointly, has significantly contributed to an increase in beneficiaries’ perception of both land tenure security and increased land value. We also find that the perception of an increase in owners’ land value was higher for women covered by the later phase of the program. While the overall findings are encouraging, we suggest that potential investments in land and housing by landowners be further enhanced through strengthening synergies with complementary programmes for local economic development, housing, and poverty reduction.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty
  11. By: Syed Hasan (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North); Tasnima Akter (Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Australia); Musharrat Jahan (UNICEF, Bangladesh); Ashraf Dewan (School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Curtin University, Australia)
    Abstract: We investigate how distance from heath centres affects service intake for women and children. Relying on five rounds of recent nationally representative demographic and health survey data from Bangladesh, our logistic regression analyses reveal that proximity to health centres barely affects the intake of health care services for women and children, even in the country’s rural areas. Interestingly, this indicates that the newly established Community Clinics have not significantly contributed to the country’s intake of health care services. The low service intake may result from their poor standard at the local health centres indicating that improving the service quality can help Bangladesh in raising the intake of health care services. Other ways to encourage people, like mandating ANC and PNC visits and vaccination and the introduction of referral services, can also improve the health service intake rate.
    Keywords: Health service delivery, Community Clinics, Health centre’s proximity, Bangladesh
    JEL: I12 I18 H51
    Date: 2022
  12. By: Ravi Kanbur; Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez; Andy Sumner
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the past and potential future evolution of income (or consumption) inequality in the world over the period 1981-2040. Inequality in the world has fallen by most common definitions since the late 1980s, and this is largely due to a decline in the between-country component of inequality. We argue that the decline in global inequality over the last decades has spurred a 'sunshine' narrative of falling global inequality that has been rather oversold, in the sense, we argue, it is likely to be temporary .
    Keywords: Global inequality, COVID-19, Pandemic
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Adjei-Mantey, Kwame; Yuji Horioka, Charles
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of health insurance enrollment and health expenditure in Ghana using micro data from wave 7 of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS 7) with emphasis on the role of risk preferences and the availability of health facilities in one’s own community, neither of which has been emphasized in the previous literature on this topic. It is possible to analyze the determinants of health insurance enrollment in Ghana because its public health insurance system (the National Health Insurance Scheme or NHIS) is, in theory, mandatory, but is, in actual practice, voluntary, with only about 40% of the population enrolled in the scheme. Our empirical findings show that risk preferences have a significant impact on health insurance enrollment, with risk averse individuals being significantly more likely than other households to enroll in health insurance, as one would expect. Moreover, our findings also show that very poor households are significantly more likely to enroll in health insurance than other households, perhaps because they are exempt from paying premiums for health insurance. This finding suggests that NHIS is achieving its intended objective of increasing the poor’s access to health care. Finally, our findings also show that the availability of health facilities in one’s own community significantly decreases expenditures on health care, which underscores the importance of ensuring an equitable spatial distribution of health facilities throughout the country.
    Keywords: Ghana, health expenditure, health facilities, health insurance, medical insurance, risk preferences, D11, D12, D81, I12, I13
    Date: 2022–02
  14. By: Paola Mallia (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Adoption of improved seed varieties has the potential to lead to substantial pro ductivity increases in agriculture. However, only 36 percent of the farmers that grow an improved maize variety report doing so in Ethiopia. This paper provides the first causal evidence of the impact of misperception in improved maize varieties on farm ers' production decisions, productivity and profitability. We employ an Instrumental Variable approach that takes advantage of the roll-out of a governmental program that increases transparency in the seed sector. We find that farmers who correctly classify the improved maize variety grown experience large increases in inputs usage (urea, NPS, labor) and yields, but no statistically significant changes in other agricul tural practices or profits. Using machine learning techniques, we develop a model of interpolation to predict objectively measured varietal identification from farmers' self reported data which provides proof-of-concept towards scalable approaches to obtain reliable measures of crop varieties and allows us to extend the analysis to the nationally representative sample.
    Date: 2022–03
  15. By: Anna Holvio
    Abstract: This paper estimates the causal impact of teacher content knowledge on student achievement in Mozambique, a low-income country where a large share of fourth-graders fail to meet the minimum requirements of literacy and numeracy. I use nationally representative data from the Service Delivery Indicator survey, and exploit within-student across-subject variation in a sample of students taught by the same teacher in maths and Portuguese, thus circumventing bias caused by unobserved student and teacher heterogeneity.
    Keywords: Education quality, Mozambique, Education
    Date: 2022
  16. By: Syed Hasan (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North); Odmaa Narantungalag, (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North); Martin Berka (School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, Palmerston North)
    Abstract: We investigate the effectiveness of large electricity subsidies to reduce the consumption of dirty energy and improve ambient air quality. We exploit a policy change in Mongolia that provides 50-100 percent subsidy to households in some regions, allowing us to use difference-in-differences models. Using five rounds of the Mongolia Household Socio-Economic Survey, we find that the subsidy reduces the likelihood of reporting illness. We further find that households receiving the electricity subsidy increase their (total of subsidised and un-subsidised) electricity expenditure by at least 17 percent more than those who have not received any such benefit. This is an important positive outcome, indicating that households changed their behavior of daytime and non-winter season electricity consumption, when they do not receive any subsidy. Policymakers, therefore, need to internalize the unintended benefit of the subsidy when comparing with the cost of the programme.
    Keywords: Electricity demand, Inequality of electricity access, Health, Development, Mongolia
    JEL: D12 O13 Q41 Q53 Q56 L94
    Date: 2022
  17. By: Aiko Kikkawa (Asian Development Bank (ADB)); Raymond Gaspar (Asian Development Bank (ADB)); Cyn-Young Park (Asian Development Bank (ADB))
    Abstract: International migration is considered an essential element of economic integration. Yet, the intraregional movement of people and labor in Asia and the Pacific has stagnated in recent years in contrast to the steadily rising flow of goods, services, and investment. This paper examines the key factors driving the movement of people from and within the region using bilateral international migrant stock data and evaluates whether some key indicators of economic integration between origin and destination economies have additive effects on this movement/these movements. Our analysis shows that commonly known determinants such as income differences; population size; and political, geographical, and cultural proximities between the migrant origin and destination countries are associated with greater movement, along with the growing share of older population in destination economies and the similarities in the level of educational attainment. The paper also finds that cross-border migration is affected, in varied directions, by the degree of economic integration between the origin and destination economies, especially through bilateral trade and value chain links. The offshoring of production—and hence jobs and other economic opportunities—to migrant origin countries suppresses outmigration, but the expected rise in the origin country income will eventually promote migration by relaxing financial constraints.
    Keywords: international migration, labor mobility, regional economic integration
    JEL: F22 O15
    Date: 2021–12
  18. By: Andersson, Martin (Department of Economic History, Lund University); Palacio, Andrés (Department of Economic History, Lund University); von Borries, Alvaro (Department of Human Geography, Lund University)
    Abstract: Episodes of economic shrinking have declined since the 1980s in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). This paper asks why. We propose that the reduction in the frequency and rate of shrinking reveals the dynamic transition from being natural states towards becoming open access societies. To provide empirical support to the argument, we rest on the notion of social capabilities. Hence, societies that invest in their social capabilities are more likely to reduce the frequency of shrinking and become better off in the long run. Using survival models, we test three capabilities (transformative, distributive and regulative) that, we argue, reflect an increase in the resilience to economic shrinking. The results suggest that the transformative capability has not lowered the risk of shrinking in the region. Neither has the distributive capability despite the increases in productive employment during the 2000s. In contrast, regulative capability seems to reduce the risk of shrinking. We conclude that the institutional transformations in LAC are part of the explanation of why economic shrinking has receded. Compared to previous decades, this is an essential step towards open access societies. However, the persistent dependence on a few natural resources seems to hinder progressive transformation and remains a menace to sustainable catching up of the countries in the region.
    Keywords: economic shrinking; income convergence; natural states; social capabilities
    JEL: O47 O57
    Date: 2022–02–11
  19. By: Azhgaliyeva, Dina (Asian Development Bank Institute); Mishra, Ranjeeta (Asian Development Bank Institute); Yoshino, Naoyuki (Asian Development Bank Institute); Karymshakov, Kamalbek (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: This study aims to examine the impact of infrastructure on firm performance in nine CAREC countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Empirical analysis is based on the enterprise survey for 2009, 2013, and 2019. Infrastructure is measured by the duration of power outages, electricity expenses as the share of total sales, access to broadband internet and efficiency of customs. Firm performance was measured by total sales, share of utilized capacity, dummy variable if firm exports, and the share of export sales. Results indicate that firm performance measured through sales and capacity utilization is negatively affected by the duration of power outages and electricity expenses. Moreover, access to broadband internet significantly increases the total sales and export sales of small firms, while efficiency of customs increases the exporting activities of medium and large firms. These findings underline that for the development of private sector and international trade in CAREC countries, sustainable access to, and quality of, electricity, telecommunications, and customs efficiency are important objectives for government policy.
    Keywords: Central Asia; electricity; telecommunications; infrastructure
    JEL: D24 H54 O18 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2021–05
  20. By: Luis Bertola (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Laura Gatti (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: This paper discusses different alternatives to construct the conventional Historical Human Development Index that considers three dimensions: income, health,and education. We discuss the outcome of different models in terms of aggregated improvements in human development, the rankings of performance, relative growth, the contributions to performance of the different dimensions, and the tradeoffs between the three dimensions. The purpose of the paper is to propose an index that we consider better fits historical development and that provides the less possible gaps in the tradeoffs between the different components of the index. Such an index can be considered the best proxy on which to base policy recommendations. The paper works with a sample of 18 countries of seven regions for 1900-2010.
    Keywords: human development, tradeoffs, convergence, income, education, health
    JEL: E01 I15 I25 I31 N10
    Date: 2021–07

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