nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2022‒06‒27
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Does Hotter Temperature Increase Poverty? Global Evidence from Subnational Data Analysis By Dang, Hai-Anh; Trinh, Trong-Anh
  2. The Short- And Longer-Term Effects of a Child Labor Ban By Piza, Caio; Souza, André Portela; Emerson, Patrick M.; Amorim, Vivian
  3. Teacher Subject Knowledge, Didactic Skills, and Student Learning in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa By Jan Bietenbeck; Natalie Irmert; Mohammad Sepahvand
  4. Risk Management for Smallholder Farmers: An Empirical Study on the Adoption of Weather-Index Crop Insurance in Rural Kenya By Keiko Fukumori; Ayumi Arai; Tomoya Matsumoto
  5. Tubers and its Role in Historic Political Fragmentation in Africa By Obikili, Nonso
  6. Unintended bottleneck and essential nonlinearity: Understanding the effects of public primary school expansion on intergenerational educational mobility By Ahsan, Md Nazmul; Shilpi, Forhad; Emran, Shahe
  7. Terrorism and Child Mortality: Evidence from Africa By Meierrieks, Daniel; Schaub, Max
  8. Heterogeneous Returns of Informality: Evidence From Brazil By Andrea Otero-Cortés
  9. Marital life courses in sub-Saharan Africa: all cause union dissolution, its timing, and time spent outside marriage By Benson John; Natalie Nitsche

  1. By: Dang, Hai-Anh (World Bank); Trinh, Trong-Anh (University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: Despite a vast literature documenting the negative effects of climate change on various socio-economic outcomes, little, if any, evidence exists on the global impacts of hotter temperature on poverty. Analyzing a new global dataset of subnational poverty in 166 countries, we find higher temperature to increase poverty. This finding is robust to various model specifications, data samples, and measures of temperature. Our preferred specification shows that a 1˚C increase leads to a 2.1 percent increase in the headcount poverty rate, using the US$ 1.90 daily poverty threshold. Regional heterogeneity exists, with Sub-Saharan African countries being most vulnerable to higher temperature. We find suggestive evidence that reduction in crop yields could be a key channel that explains the effects of rising temperature. Further simulation indicate that global warming can significantly increase poverty, with more pronounced effects occurring in poorer regions and under scenarios of higher greenhouse gas emissions without mitigation policies.
    Keywords: climate change, global warming, poverty, agriculture
    JEL: Q54 I32 O1
    Date: 2022–05
  2. By: Piza, Caio (World Bank); Souza, André Portela (Fundação Getúlio Vargas); Emerson, Patrick M. (Oregon State University); Amorim, Vivian (World Bank)
    Abstract: Are bans effective at lowering child labor and increasing school attendance and, if so, do these effects lead to positive outcomes later in life? This paper seeks to answer these questions by examining the effect of a 1998 Brazilian law that increased the minimum employment age from 14 to 16. To examine this question we use two different regression discontinuity designs to analyze Brazilian household data. We find that the ban had no overall impact across affected children in Brazil, but that it led to a significant decrease in the labor market participation of urban boys, whose paid labor dropped 35 percent, driven mainly by a decrease in informal work. We also find a concomitant 10 percent increase in the share of urban boys only attending school. Interestingly, we find that by age 18 this cohort was still almost 20 percent less likely to have a paid job and was less likely to be economically active even when they were legally allowed to work. However, we find no evidence that the impact of the ban lasted over time as reflected in measures of educational attainment, employment rates, and wages. Our results suggest that when enforced, bans on child labor can have significant immediate impacts amongst affected populations, leading to a decrease in work and an increase in school attendance. It remains unclear if these impacts translate to improved adult outcomes.
    Keywords: child labor, education, labor laws
    JEL: C21 J08 J22 J24 K31
    Date: 2022–05
  3. By: Jan Bietenbeck; Natalie Irmert; Mohammad Sepahvand
    Abstract: We study the effects of two dimensions of teacher quality, subject knowledge and didactic skills, on student learning in francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. We use data from an international large-scale assessment in 14 countries that include individual-level information on student achievement and country-level measures of teacher subject knowledge and didactic skills in reading and math. Exploiting variation between subjects in a student fixed-effects model, we find that teacher subject knowledge has a large positive effect on student achievement, whereas the effect of didactic skills is comparatively small and not statistically signifiant at conventional levels. Together, the two dimensions of teacher quality account for 36 percent of the variation in average student achievement across countries.
    Keywords: international learning gaps, teacher quality, Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2022–05
  4. By: Keiko Fukumori; Ayumi Arai; Tomoya Matsumoto
    Abstract: This study examines the determinants of smallholder farmers’ adoption of weather-index crop insurance, which is considered to be a promising means of mitigating the negative welfare impacts of crop loss caused by drought or excess rainfall. The study utilizes household survey data covering 495 smallholder farmers in rural Kenya. It finds that a better understanding of insurance, together with a significant positive effect of years of education, considerably increases insurance uptake. The evidence suggests that it is important to provide educational programs on new financial products when introducing such products to smallholder farmers. However, it also shows the limitations of this study by revealing how important proper study design is to draw reliable methodological impact evaluations.
    Keywords: agriculture, weather risk, weather-index insurance, rural households, Kenya, JEL (O12, O13, O33, G22)
    Date: 2022–04
  5. By: Obikili, Nonso
    Abstract: This paper examines the link between historical political fragmentation and surplus agricultural production, and the impact of natural endowments with regards to crop suitability. I show that in sub-Saharan Africa, groups that cultivated tubers, specifically yams, were more likely to have higher levels of local political fragmentation. I show that both tubers and most cereals were positively correlated with historic population density and that there was no historic discrimination in the capacity of crops to produce surpluses and support large populations. I however show that unlike cereal cultivators who were more likely to be centralized, tuber cultivators were likely to have more local political fragmentation. I use crop suitability and the proximity to the area of the domestication of yams to show that cultivating yams did lead to more local political fragmentation. I argue that this is likely due to the biological properties of yams which make them more difficult to expropriate and implies that surpluses stay local. I argue that the experience of keeping surpluses local is associated with contemporary social norms that are against autocracy and unitary accumulation of power. These social norms are an example of the mechanism through which these historical institutional structures transmit to contemporary times.
    Keywords: Political Fragmentation; Agriculture; Social Norms; Africa
    JEL: D72 N47 N57 O10
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Ahsan, Md Nazmul; Shilpi, Forhad; Emran, Shahe
    Abstract: We study the effects of 61,000 public primary schools on intergenerational educational mobility in Indonesia using full-count census data, a credible identification strategy, and theory-based nonlinearity in the mobility equation. We find that the mobility curve is concave in most of the cases, and school expansion reduced the degree of concavity. Evidence from a DiD strategy (Duflo (2001)) on primary completion suggests substantial improvements in relative mobility of the children of low educated fathers irrespective of gender. But relative mobility in the college educated households worsened, strengthening the advantages of the better educated households across generations. This highlights the pitfalls of a linear model which incorrectly suggests a weakening of the advantages of the children of educated fathers. For completed years of schooling, there are striking gender differences: the strong effects on sons remain largely unchanged, but there are no significant effects on girls. The surprising absence of an effect on girls is due to an unintended bottleneck at the secondary schooling level creating fierce competition among the Inpres primary graduates. The girls lost ground, experiencing an 8.5 percentage points decline in the probability of completing senior secondary schooling, while the boys reaped a 7.7 percentage points gain. The girls suffered crowding out irrespective of the family background, suggesting that social norms rather than parental economic conditions are the mechanisms at work.
    Keywords: Public Schools, Intergenerational Mobility, Education, Theory-based Nonlinearity, Indonesia, Pitfalls of Linearity, Gender Bias, Social Norms, Big Data
    JEL: I24 J16 J62 O20
    Date: 2022–05–09
  7. By: Meierrieks, Daniel; Schaub, Max (WZB Berlin Social Science Center)
    Abstract: How does terrorism affect child mortality? We use geocoded data on terrorism and highly spatially disaggregated data on child mortality to study the relationship between both variables for 52 African countries between 2000 and 2017 at the 0.5x0.5 degree grid-cell level. A two-way fixed-effects approach indicates that higher levels of terrorist activity correlate with higher levels of child mortality risk. Our estimates suggest that moderate increases in the terrorism index are linked to several thousand additional deaths of children under the age of five per year. Employing instrumental-variable and panel event-study approaches, we also provide causal evidence that terrorism increases the risk of death for children under the age of five. Effect sizes associated with these causal estimates are several times larger than those from the more conservative two-way fixed-effects approach. Finally, interrogating our data, we show that the direct effects of terrorism (e.g., in terms of its lethality and destruction of public health infrastructure) tend to be very small. This, in turn, suggests that increases in child mortality primarily emerge through the behavioral response of economic agents (parents, doctors, medical staff, aid workers and policymakers) to terrorism. Indeed, we provide evidence that higher levels of terrorist activity unfavorably correlate with several proximate causes of child mortality.
    Date: 2022–05–18
  8. By: Andrea Otero-Cortés
    Abstract: This paper estimates the marginal treatment effect of informality on wages for Brazil at the individual level using regional data on labor inspectors for identification. The results show that there is significant essential heterogeneity among otherwise identical workers that lead them to self-select into the type of jobs, formal or informal, that better reward their skills. The Average Treatment Effect (ATE) is 22%, but not statistically different from zero. But there are individuals with very low non-observed costs of formality that in fact earn premiums of up to 100% of their wage rate from being formal and workers who would be hurt from switching to formality as they experience very high non-observed costs of being formal. Two policy experiments in which we tighten enforcement of the labor law via hiring more labor inspectors increases the likelihood of workers being formal, but it has, on average, a negative effect on wages for the workers who are induced to switch from informality to formality. **** RESUMEN: Este documento estima para Brasil el efecto marginal de la formalidad laboral en los salarios a nivel individual utilizando una combinación de datos regionales sobre inspecciones laborales y actividad económica. Los resultados muestran que existe una heterogeneidad esencial significativa entre trabajadores que son idénticos en sus características observadas, que los lleva a auto-seleccionarse en el tipo de trabajos, formales o informales, que recompensan mejor sus habilidades. El efecto promedio del tratamiento (ATE) es del 22%, pero no es estadísticamente diferente de cero. Sin embargo, hay individuos con costos de formalidad no observados muy bajos que de hecho ganan primas de hasta el 100% de su salario por ser formales y trabajadores que se verían perjudicados por cambiar a la formalidad ya que experimentan costos no observados muy altos de ser formales. Dos experimentos de políticas en los que imponemos una aplicación más estricta de la ley laboral mediante la contratación de más inspectores laborales aumenta la probabilidad de que los trabajadores sean formales, pero tiene, en promedio, un efecto negativo en los salarios de los trabajadores que son inducidos a pasar de la informalidad a la formalidad.
    Keywords: Labor informality, labor regulation, enforcement, marginal treatment effects, Informalidad laboral, regulación laboral, aplicación, efectos marginales de tratamiento
    JEL: H26 J24 J32 J46 K31
    Date: 2022–06
  9. By: Benson John (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Natalie Nitsche (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Not only whether but also when a union ends and how long individuals remain unpartnered subsequently is consequential for social and demographic outcomes. However, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), information about the timing of union dissolution and the reproductive time ‘lost’ due to union dissolution is unknown. We close this gap by applying novel and standard indirect demographic techniques to Demographic Health Survey data collected in 34 SSA countries to document the level and timing of all-cause union dissolution and the time women spend outside of marriage due to union dissolution. Results revealed that in 28/34 countries, over one-fifth of first unions end within 15 years, and in 14/34 countries, the proportion of first unions ending within 25 years exceeds 40%. The average marital duration at first union dissolution varies between 4.8 and 9.4 years. The pace of remarriage is rapid across all countries, with the average duration between first union dissolution and first remarriage ranging between 0.2 and 2.9 years. The overall reproductive years lost to union dissolution varies between 1.3 and 5.3 years, and it accounts for 4.0% to 16.3% of the total reproductive life expectancy. We discuss the implications of these dynamics for fertility outcomes in SSA.
    Keywords: Africa, cohort fertility, dissolution of marriage
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2022

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