nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2022‒09‒26
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Childhood Vaccinations and Demographic Transition: Long-Term Evidence from India By Nandi, Arindam; Summan, Amit; Ngô, D. Thoai; Bloom, David E.
  2. Social protection and foundational cognitive skills during adolescence: evidence from a large Public Works Programme By Richard Freund; Marta Favara; Catherine Porter; Jere Behrman
  3. The Governance of Non-Profits and their Social Impact: Evidence from a Randomized Program in Healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo By Anicet Fangwa; Caroline Flammer; Marieke Huysentruyt; Bertrand Quelin
  4. What Makes a Program Good? Evidence from Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Five Developing Countries By Lelys I. Dinarte Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Sergio S. Urzúa; Marina Bassi
  5. Foetal Exposure to Air Pollution and Students Cognitive Performance : Evidence from Agricultural Fires in Brazil By Carneiro, Juliana; Cole, Matthew A.; Strobl, Eric
  6. Income shocks, bride price and child marriage in Turkey By Chort, Isabelle; Hotte, Rozenn; Marazyan, Karine
  7. Immigration, wages, and employment under informal labor markets By Delgado Prieto, Lukas Andres
  8. The Effect of Health Insurance on Child Nutritional Outcomes. Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design in Peru By Noelia Bernal; Joan Costa-i-Font; Patricia Ritter
  9. Impact of the right to education on school enrolment of children with disabilities: Evidence from India By Vinitha Varghese
  10. Culture, Intra-household Distribution and Individual Poverty By Ulugbek Aminjonov; Olivier Bargain; Maira Colacce; Luca Tiberti
  11. Export Commodity Dependence and Vulnerability to Poverty By Tseday J. Mekasha; Kenneth Mdadila; Jehovaness Aikaeli; Finn Tarp
  12. Productivity growth effects of structural reforms: Evidence from developing countries By Kwamivi Gomado
  13. Temperatures, Firm Size and Exports in Developing Countries By Clément Nedoncelle; Julien Wolfersberger
  14. Policy support for sustainable agricultural intensification in SubSaharan Africa: Where are we 20 years on? By Melkani, Aakanksha; Liverpool-Tasie, Lenis. S.O.; Snapp, Sieglinde

  1. By: Nandi, Arindam (The Population Council); Summan, Amit (One Health Trust); Ngô, D. Thoai (The Population Council); Bloom, David E. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Childhood vaccines can increase population growth in the short term by improving the survival rates of young children. Over the long run, reductions in child mortality rates are associated with lower demand for children and fertility rates (known as "demographic transition"). Vaccines can potentially aid demographic transition by lowering child mortality and improving future health, schooling, and labor market outcomes of vaccinated mothers, but these long-term demographic benefits remain untested. In this study, we examine the demographic effects of India's national childhood vaccination program (the Universal Immunization Programme or UIP). We combine data on the district-wise rollout of UIP during 1985–1990 with fertility preference data of 625,000 adult women from the National Family Health Survey of India 2015–2016. We include women who were born five years before and after the rollout period (1980–1995) and were cohabiting with a partner at the time of the survey. We divide these 20-36-year-old women into two groups: those who were exposed to UIP at birth (treatment group) and those who were born before the program (control group). After controlling for individual- and household-level factors and age and district fixed effects, treatment group women are 2% less likely to have at least one child and want 2% fewer children in their lifetime as compared with the control group. The negative effect on at least one childbirth is larger for more educated and richer women, while the effect on the desired number of children is larger for uneducated and poorer women.
    Keywords: India, UIP, demographic transition, demand for fertility
    JEL: I15 J13 J18 I10
    Date: 2022–08
  2. By: Richard Freund (University of Oxford); Marta Favara (University of Oxford); Catherine Porter (Lancaster University, University of Oxford); Jere Behrman (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Many low- and middle-income countries have introduced Public Works Programmes (PWPs) to fight poverty. PWPs provide temporary cash-for-work opportunities to boost poor households’ incomes and to provide better infrastructure to local communities. While PWPs do not target children directly, the increased demand for adult labour may affect children’s development through increasing households’ incomes and changing household members’ time uses. This paper expands on a multidimensional literature showing the relationship between early life circumstances and learning outcomes and provides the first evidence that children from families who benefit from PWPs show increased foundational cognitive skills (FCS). We focus on four child FCS: inhibitory control, working memory, long-term memory, and implicit learning. Our results, based on unique tablet-based data collected as part of a 20-year longitudinal survey, show positive associations of family participation in the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in Ethiopia during childhood on long-term memory and implicit learning, with weaker evidence for working memory. These associations appear to be strongest for children whose households were still PSNP participants in the year of data collection. We find suggestive evidence that, the association with implicit learning may be operating through children’s time reallocation away from unpaid labour responsibilities, while the association with long-term memory may be due to the programme’s success in remediating nutritional deficits caused by early life rainfall shocks. Our results suggest that policy interventions such as PWPs may be able to mitigate the effects of early poverty on cognitive skills formation and thereby improve children’s potential future outcomes.
    Keywords: foundational cognitive skills; Ethiopia; public works programmes; PSNP; skills development
    JEL: J24 I2 I1
    Date: 2022–09–09
  3. By: Anicet Fangwa; Caroline Flammer; Marieke Huysentruyt; Bertrand Quelin
    Abstract: How can non-profit organizations improve their governance to increase their social impact? This study examines the effectiveness of a bundle of governance mechanisms – consisting of social performance-based incentives combined with auditing and feedback – in the context of a randomized governance program conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo's healthcare sector. Within the program, a set of health centers were randomly assigned to a governance treatment while others were not. We find that the governance treatment leads to i) higher operating efficiency and ii) improvements in health outcomes (measured by a reduction in stillbirths and neonatal deaths). Furthermore, we find that funding is not a substitute for governance – health centers that only receive funding increase their scale, but do not show improvements in operating efficiency nor health outcomes. Overall, our results suggest that governance plays an important role in achieving the non-profits' objectives and increasing the social impact of the funds invested.
    JEL: I0 I1 I2 O1
    Date: 2022–08
  4. By: Lelys I. Dinarte Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Sergio S. Urzúa; Marina Bassi
    Abstract: Short-cycle higher education programs (SCPs) can play a central role in skill development and higher education expansion, yet their quality varies greatly within and among countries. In this paper we explore the relationship between programs’ practices and inputs (quality determinants) and student academic and labor market outcomes. We design and conduct a novel survey to collect program-level information on quality determinants and average outcomes for Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. Categories of quality determinants include training and curriculum, infrastructure, faculty, link with productive sector, costs and funding, and other practices on student admission and institutional governance. We also collect administrative, student-level data on higher education and formal employment for SCP students in Brazil and Ecuador and match it to survey data. Using machine learning methods, we select the quality determinants that predict outcomes at the program and student levels. Estimates indicate that some quality determinants may favor academic and labor market outcomes while others may hinder them. Two practices predict improvements in all labor market outcomes in Brazil and Ecuador—teaching numerical competencies and providing job market information—and one practice—teaching numerical competencies—additionally predicts improvements in labor market outcomes for all survey countries. Since quality determinants account for 20-40 percent of the explained variation in student-level outcomes, estimates indicate a role for quality determinants to shrink the quality gap among programs. These findings have implications for the design and replication of high-quality SCPs, their regulation, and the development of information systems.
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2022–08
  5. By: Carneiro, Juliana (University of Warwick,); Cole, Matthew A. (University of Birmingham,); Strobl, Eric (University of Bern)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of foetal exposure to air pollution from agricultural fires on Brazilian students cognitive performance later in life. We rely on comparisons across children who were upwind and downwind of the fires while in utero to address concerns around sorting and temporary income shocks. Our findings show that agricultural fires increase P M2.5, resulting in significant negative effects on pupils’ scores in Portuguese and Maths in the 5th grade through prenatal exposure. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that a 1% reduction in P M2.5 from agricultural burning has the potential to increase later life wages by 2.6%.
    Keywords: Agricultural fires ; air pollution ; foetal exposure ; cognitive performance
  6. By: Chort, Isabelle; Hotte, Rozenn; Marazyan, Karine
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of income shocks and bride price on early marriage in Turkey. The practice of bride-price, still vivid in many regions of the country, may provide incentives for parents to marry their daughter earlier, when faced with a negative income shock. In addition, marriages precipitated by negative income shocks may present specific features (endogamy, age and education difference between spouses). Weather shocks provide an exogenous source of variation of household income through agricultural production. Data on weather shocks are merged with individual and household level data from the Turkish Demographic and Health Surveys 1998 to 2013. To study the role of payments to the bride's parents, we interact our measure of shocks with a province-level indicator of a high prevalence of bride-price. We find that girls living in provinces with a high practice of bride-price and exposed to a negative income shocks when aged 12-14 have a 28% higher probability to be married before the age of 15 than girls not exposed to shocks. This effect is specific to provinces with a high prevalence of bride price. Compared to women who experienced the same shock but lived in a province where bride price is infrequent, such women are also more likely to give birth to their first child before 18 and for those who married religiously first, the civil ceremony is delayed by 2 months on average. Our results suggest that girl marriage still participates to household strategies aimed at mitigating negative income shocks in contemporary Turkey.
    Keywords: Cultural norms,Child marriage,Bride price,Weather shocks,Turkey
    JEL: J1 J12 J13 O15
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Delgado Prieto, Lukas Andres
    Abstract: This paper studies the labor market impacts of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia. Exploiting spatial variation in exposure, I find a negative effect on native wages driven by the informal sector (where immigrants are concentrated) and a reduction in native employment in the formal sector (where the minimum wage binds for many workers). To explain this asymmetry, I build a model in which firms substitute formal for informal labor in response to lower informal wages. Consistent with the model's predictions, I document that the increase in informality is driven by small firms that use both labor types in production.
    Keywords: Immigration; Event Study; Labor Market; Informality
    JEL: F22 O15 O17 R23
    Date: 2022–09–09
  8. By: Noelia Bernal; Joan Costa-i-Font; Patricia Ritter
    Abstract: Although a significant number of middle and low-income countries have expanded access to subsidized health insurance, it still is unclear whether these insurance expansions improve children’s health. This paper exploits quasi-random variation from an insurance expansion targeted at poor households in Peru to investigate its effects on nutrition related children’s health. We find that access to insurance reduces childhood obesity and exerts positive and economically significant effects on some preventive health care utilization and behaviours. That is, we show that insurance eligibility improves children’s regular growth check-ups and deworming treatments, consistent with an increased awareness of children’s weight and height and improvements on preventive health behaviours: namely, an increase in the duration of breastfeeding, and a substitution of the provision of food rich in carbohydrates for food rich in proteins. In contrast, we do not find any significant effect on other outcomes that are found to be sensitive to other interventions.
    Keywords: children’s health, obesity, overweight, public health insurance, health behaviors, nutrition, breast-feeding
    JEL: I18 J13
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Vinitha Varghese
    Abstract: I evaluate the impact of the right to education from the passing of the Right to Education Act in India in 2009. This Act guaranteed free education to children aged 6-14 years, including children with disabilities. Given that the school participation deficit associated with disability is large, I provide results that are a relief to policy-makers. I use an event study estimation and an interrupted time series research design and find that the Right to Education Act led to a 60 per cent increase in schooling among children with disabilities within three years.
    Keywords: People with disabilities, Children, Education, Enrolment, Schooling
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Ulugbek Aminjonov; Olivier Bargain; Maira Colacce; Luca Tiberti
    Abstract: Traditional family structures often have persistent effects on household decisions. We question whether kinship ancestries of post-marital residence -- i.e. living with the parents of the groom (patrilocality) or the bride (matrilocality) -- still affect household consumption sharing and individual poverty. We focus on Ghana and Malawi, two countries in which patrilocal and matrilocal traditions coexist in the present-day ethnic distribution. We estimate a model of resource allocation using household expenditure surveys and information on prevalent ethnic norms. Estimations show that ancestral patrilocality, relative to matrilocality, corresponds to a 10 percent lower share of resources accruing to women on average and a substantially higher prevalence of poverty for women at most household consumption levels. Women's resource shares tend to increase with age, a pattern more pronounced for matrilocal groups. These results indicate how a combination of cultural and demographic factors can be used to improve policies targeted at poor individuals (rather than poor households).
    Keywords: Cultural norms, Collective Model, Sharing rule, Individual poverty, Intra-household inequality
    JEL: D13 I15 J12 J16 Z13
    Date: 2022
  11. By: Tseday J. Mekasha (University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics); Kenneth Mdadila (University of Dar es Salaam, School of Economics); Jehovaness Aikaeli (University of Dar es Salaam, School of Economics); Finn Tarp (University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the link between commodity dependence and vulnerability to poverty in rural Tanzania with a particular focus on coffee-growing households. Even if the vulnerability rate is quite high in rural Tanzania, our results show, on average, that coffee growers have a lower probability of being poor and vulnerable compared to non-growers. However, when coffee growers are disaggregated into small and large, we see that the result is mainly driven by large coffee growers. For small coffee growers, on the other hand, we do not find evidence to suggest that they are different from non-growers in terms of both poverty and vulnerability. When we disaggregate vulnerability into its components, poverty-induced vs risk-induced vulnerability, we find co ee growers to have a relatively higher probability of facing risk-induced vulnerability compared to non-growers. There are, however, heterogeneities in terms of the size of coffee growers. In particular, relative to non-growers, small coffee growers have a relatively higher probability of facing risk-induced vulnerability. On the other hand, conditional on being vulnerable, large coffee growers do not appear to have a statistically significant difference in their probability of facing a riskinduced vulnerability compared to non-coffee growers. These results indicate not only the need for vulnerability-reducing policies but also the importance of identifying the source of vulnerability as the choice of the right type of policy intervention depends on understanding the causes of vulnerability.
    Keywords: Commodity dependence, Poverty; Vulnerability; Tanzania
    JEL: I32 D31
    Date: 2022–04–22
  12. By: Kwamivi Gomado
    Abstract: Which structural reforms affect labour productivity growth in developing countries? This paper answers this question by combining the local projections method and the inverse probability weighted regression adjustment (LP-IPWRA) method. We find that financial reforms, trade reforms, and product market reforms boost labour productivity growth. By documenting the main channels, our results reveal that the reforms studied stimulate labour productivity growth by inducing dynamic efficiency, productive efficiency, and allocative efficiency.
    Keywords: Labour productivity, Reforms, Business cycles, Developing countries, Credit cycles
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Clément Nedoncelle (UMR PSAE - Paris-Saclay Applied Economics - AgroParisTech - Université Paris-Saclay - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Julien Wolfersberger (UMR PSAE - Paris-Saclay Applied Economics - AgroParisTech - Université Paris-Saclay - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, Climate Economics Chair - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres)
    Abstract: We study how temperature shocks affect exports in developing countries both at the firm-and aggregate-level. We find that while the average effect of temperature rise on exports is negative, small firms are disproportionately harmed compared with others. This feature is robust across subsamples, specifications and confounding factors. We show that this heterogeneity across firms has aggregate implications. In particular, we find that the overall trade deterring effect of temperatures would be significantly larger in absence of the largest exporters. We also show that firm structure matters for exports under future climate change scenarios, with large firms reducing the costs of predicted temperature rise. We conclude that the existing firm distribution in developing countries may increase the cost of climate change.
    Abstract: Nous étudions comment les chocs de température affectent les exportations dans les pays en développement à la fois au niveau des entreprises et au niveau global. Nous constatons que si l'effet moyen de la hausse des températures sur les exportations est négatif, les petites entreprises sont touchées de manière disproportionnée par rapport aux autres. Cette caractéristique est robuste à travers les sous-échantillons, les spécifications et les facteurs confondants. Nous montrons que cette hétérogénéité entre les entreprises a des implications globales. En particulier, nous constatons que l'effet dissuasif global des températures sur le commerce serait nettement plus important en l'absence des plus grands exportateurs. Nous montrons également que la structure des entreprises a une importance pour les exportations dans les scénarios de changement climatique futurs, les grandes entreprises réduisant les coûts de l'augmentation prévue des températures. Nous concluons que la distribution actuelle des entreprises dans les pays en développement peut augmenter le coût du changement climatique.
    Keywords: Climate change,Economic development,International trade,Firms Structure
    Date: 2022
  14. By: Melkani, Aakanksha; Liverpool-Tasie, Lenis. S.O.; Snapp, Sieglinde
    Abstract: This study critically reviewed policy documents and associated budgets of six sub-Saharan African countries (accounting for about 40% of Africa’s population and (gross domestic product) GDP and almost 60% of inorganic fertilizer use in the region) to gauge government’s commitment to agricultural intensification (AI) and sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) during the last two decades. This is this is the first systematic assessment of African ag policy documents in relation to Sustainable Intensification and three key findings emerge. First, we find that all study countries have consistently prioritized AI as a key policy objective over the last two decades. This commitment to AI is supported by significant resource allocation to AI programs and interventions. Second, we find that policy focus on SAI is a more recent phenomenon and resource allocation to SAI is generally low. Though all study countries demonstrate interest in some aspect of SAI by 2010, this enthusiasm is not proportionately reflected in the resources allocated to SAI. Third, we find that all countries emphasize the need for investment in agricultural research and extension, but the resource allocation varies substantially and is not always proportionate to the expressed interest in the sector. Together these findings indicate that the focus of agricultural investments in Africa remains agricultural intensification in the main with only modest sustainable agricultural intensification and that only in recent years.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy
    Date: 2022–03–01

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