nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2022‒11‒28
twelve papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Intergenerational Mobility in the Land of Inequality By Diogo G. C. Britto; Alexandre Fonseca; Paolo Pinotti; Breno Sampaio; Lucas Warwar
  2. Infrastructure and Girls’ Education: Bicycles, Roads, and the Gender Education Gap in India By Moritz Seebacher
  3. Aid and child health Local effects of aid on stunting in Malawi By Durevall, Dick; Isaksson, Ann-Sofie
  4. Is land consolidation policy a solution for rice production and agricultural transformation in Vietnam? By Manh Hung Do; Trung Thanh Nguyen; Ulrike Grote
  5. Numeracy skills learning of children in Africa: - Are disabled children lagging behind? By Zhang, Huafeng; Holden, Stein T.
  6. Rainy days and learning outcomes: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Yasmine Bekkouche; Kenneth Houngbedji; Oswald Koussihouede
  7. Farmers' Knowledge and Farm Productivity in Rural Thailand and Vietnam By Jaretzky, Huong; Liebenehm, Sabine; Waibel, Hermann
  8. The Role of Social Identity and Perceived Discrimination in Human Capital Formation: Evidence from India By Gupta, Isha
  9. Can fungibility of development aid lead to more effective achievement of the SDGs?: An analysis of the aggregate welfare effect of aid fungibility By Zunera Rana; Dirk-Jan Koch
  10. Shades of social mobility: Colorism, ethnic origin and intergenerational social mobility By Monroy-Gómez-Franco, Luis Angel
  11. Digging Deep: Resource Exploitation and Higher Education By Lenin H. Balza; Camilo De Los Rios; Nathaly Rivera
  12. Shaping inequality? Property rights, landed elites and public lands in Colombia By Juan David Torres

  1. By: Diogo G. C. Britto; Alexandre Fonseca; Paolo Pinotti; Breno Sampaio; Lucas Warwar
    Abstract: We provide the first estimates of intergenerational income mobility for a developing country, namely Brazil. We measure formal income from tax and employment registries, and we train machine learning models on census and survey data to predict informal income. The data reveal a much higher degree of persistence than previous estimates available for developed economies: a 10 percentile increase in parental income rank is associated with a 5.5 percentile increase in child income rank, and persistence is even higher in the top 5%. Children born to parents in the first income quintile face a 46% chance of remaining at the bottom when adults. We validate these estimates using two novel mobility measures that rank children and parents without the need to impute informal income. We document substantial heterogeneity in mobility across individual characteristics - notably gender and race - and across Brazilian regions. Leveraging children who migrate at different ages, we estimate that causal place effects explain 57% of the large spatial variation in mobility. Finally, assortative mating plays a strong role in household income persistence, and parental income is also strongly associated with several key long-term outcomes such as education, teenage pregnancy, occupation, mortality, and victimization.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, inequality, Brazil, migration, place effects
    JEL: J62 D31 I31 R23
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Moritz Seebacher
    Abstract: How can infrastructure help to reduce the gender education gap in developing countries? In this paper, I analyze the complementarity of all-weather roads and a bicycle program in Bihar, India, which aimed to increase girls’ secondary school enrollment rate. Using Indian household survey data combined with a quadrupledifference estimation strategy, I find that the program’s main beneficiaries are girls living at least 3km away from secondary schools whose villages are connected with all-weather roads. Their net secondary school enrollment rate increased by over 87 percent, reducing the respective gender education gap by around 45 percent. I find no effect for girls living in villages without an all-weather road, suggesting that allweather roads are not just complementary to the bicycle program but a precondition for its success. The findings highlight the importance of well-functioning infrastructure for the accessibility of secondary schools and the empowering of girls in India.
    Keywords: Roads, bicycles, infrastructure, girls’ education, gender education gap, India
    JEL: I21 I28 H42 J16
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Durevall, Dick (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Isaksson, Ann-Sofie (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: Motivated by a recent setback in the fight against child malnutrition, this study explores whether aid projects help to reduce stunting, or impaired growth, among children in the local area. Focusing on Malawi, a country with very high stunting prevalence and for which we have access to geo-referenced data on aid projects from a broad range of donors, we geographically match spatial data on 778 aid project sites of 22 different donors with anthropometric and background data on 26,604 children under the age of 5. To identify the effect of aid, we rely on spatial and temporal variation in aid project coverage and survey rollout, coupled with variation in childbirth years in relation to project start. The empirical results consistently indicate a positive impact of early life aid exposure on child growth. The positive treatment effect materializes already for children born in the early project implementation phase and lasts for children born up to 3 years after project start and is seemingly driven primarily by multilateral aid and projects focusing on rural development, vulnerability, infrastructure, and education.
    Keywords: Aid; stunting; malnutrition; child health; Malawi; Africa
    JEL: F35 I15 O12 O15
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Manh Hung Do; Trung Thanh Nguyen; Ulrike Grote
    Abstract: Since the global food price crisis between 2007 and 2008, governments in developing countries such as Vietnam have paid more attention to food security issues. The government of Vietnam has issued policies to sustain rice land and imposed restrictions upon the transformation of rice land to ensure food security. Land consolidation is important to increase the economies of scale in farming, and understanding its determinants and effects is useful for policy-makers to support agricultural transformation. In this study, we investigate factors affecting the voluntary participation of rice growers in land consolidation and examine the impacts of this participation on crop production costs, poverty, and rural transformation. Our results show that land consolidation is driven by farming efficiency. It significantly decreases land preparation and harvest costs, increases farm income, and reduces poverty. We conclude that land consolidation should be promoted to facilitate the redistribution of farm land from farmers who want to leave agriculture to those who continue to work in agriculture. The redistribution of farmland promotes agricultural transformation by reallocating labor from farm to non-farm sectors.
    Keywords: Rural transformation, Land fragmentation, Non-farm income, Poverty reduction, Simultaneous regression
    JEL: D01 O12 Q12
    Date: 2022–11
  5. By: Zhang, Huafeng (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Holden, Stein T. (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
    Abstract: Significant progress has been achieved in universal basic education in African countries since the late 1990s. This study provides empirical evidence on the within- and across-country variation in numeracy skills performance among children based on nationally representative data from eight African countries (DR Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe). We assess whether and to what extent children with disabilities lag in numeracy skills and how much it depends on their type of disabilities. More specifically, we explore whether disabled children benefit equally from better school system quality. The assessment is analysed as a natural experiment using the performance of non-disabled children as a benchmark and considering the different types of disabilities as random treatments. We first evaluate the variation in average numeracy skills in the eight African countries. They can roughly be divided into low- and high-numeracy countries. We apply Instrumental Variable (IV) methods to control the endogeneity of completed school years when assessing subjects’ school performance and heterogeneous disability effects. Children with vision and hearing disabilities are not especially challenged in numeracy skills performance. The low numeracy skills among physically and intellectually disabled children are mainly attributable to their limited school attendance. Children with multiple disabilities are constrained both by low school attendance and by poor numeracy skills return to schooling. The average differences in school performance across the high- versus low-numeracy skill country groups are larger than the within-group average differences for disabled versus non-disabled kids. This indicates that school enrolment and quality are crucial for children’s learning of numeracy skills, and that disabled children benefit equally from better school quality across these African countries.
    Keywords: Numeracy skills learning; across-country comparison; children with disabilities; disability types; disability effects; school enrolment; SDG; Africa
    JEL: I24
    Date: 2022–11–10
  6. By: Yasmine Bekkouche (Université Libre de Bruxelles); Kenneth Houngbedji (LEDa-DIAL (IRD, CNRS, Universite Paris-Dauphine, Universite PSL)); Oswald Koussihouede (UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning)
    Abstract: : We combined information on daily rainfall at school locations and standardized test scores to study how learning outcomes at primary schools are affected by precipitation during school days in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results suggest that student test scores are lower in schools that are exposed to more rainy days during the academic year. Students in locations that had more rainy school days are also more likely to experience grade repetition. We tested the mechanisms through which rainfall affects learning outcomes in our study area and found that teachers are more likely to be absent in locations with more rainy school days. We discuss the implications of these results and draw attention to policy options to mitigate learning loss during rainy school days.
    Keywords: Education, Children, Climate
    JEL: I21 Q54
    Date: 2022–11
  7. By: Jaretzky, Huong; Liebenehm, Sabine; Waibel, Hermann
    Abstract: With the increasing complexity of farming in the developing countries in Asia and the growing challenge arising from climate change, management, technical knowledge, and skills become more and more important for smallholder farmers. So far, little is known about how knowledge, skills, and cognitive abilities of farm decision-makers affect agricultural productivity. Most empirical studies lack the necessary parameters to adequately measure knowledge and skills and often rely on simple parameters like educational attainment and years of formal schooling. However, to generate a better understanding of how knowledge and skills enable farmers to meet the challenges of increasingly obstacle farming environments, more direct measures of education are needed. This paper investigates the impact of farmers’ knowledge on agricultural productivity by making use of specific agricultural knowledge questions and management tests conducted with 1,290 small-scale farmers in two provinces in Thailand and Vietnam, carried out in 2014. Applying OLS and 2SLS approaches and combining the knowledge and skills test results with productivity data of later waves allows for identifying the effect of agricultural knowledge and skills on agricultural productivity. Results show that farmers’ specific agriculture knowledge is significantly and positively associated with profits but significantly negative with yields and total input costs. Hence, better farmers may strive for optimal instead of maximum yields, are more judicious in the use of inputs, and as a result, make more money in rice production.
    Keywords: Education; Knowledge; Skills; Human Capital; Agricultural Productivity
    JEL: D83 O15 I25
    Date: 2022–11
  8. By: Gupta, Isha
    Abstract: This study examines the role of historically defined social identity in human capital development over time by focusing on a region from India where social identities are defined along the lines of castes and religious groups. It investigates the evolution of gaps across social groups in children's cognitive outcomes and parental investment in children's education from ages 5 to 15. Significant gaps in test scores and parental investment are found between children from lower and upper Hindu castes. These gaps, which originate early in childhood and persist throughout the 10 years of the study period, cannot be completely explained by the differences in socioeconomic status across social groups. Moreover, the perception of social discrimination is also found to be a significant contributor to the gaps in cognitive outcomes and parental investment across social groups. While parents' perceived social discrimination is associated with lower parental investment throughout childhood, it is negatively associated with children's cognitive outcomes only at later ages.
    Keywords: child development,parental investment,human capital formation,social identity,caste,perceived social discrimination,India
    JEL: I24 J15 J24
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Zunera Rana; Dirk-Jan Koch
    Abstract: In this paper, we explore the relationship between foreign aid fungibility and aggregate welfare. Using panel data from 35 low-income and lower-middle-income countries, we first check the presence of sectoral aid fungibility in our sample and find evidence for it. We then use econometric methods to empirically analyse the impact of this fungibility on aggregate welfare as measured through the Human Development Index. Our findings suggest that in some cases sectoral aid fungibility can lead to an improvement in aggregate welfare.
    Keywords: Foreign aid, Econometrics, Aggregate welfare, Fungibility, SDGs
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Monroy-Gómez-Franco, Luis Angel (The City College of New York)
    Abstract: In this paper, I study the difference in intergenerational mobility patterns between the indigenous and non-indigenous Mexican populations, analyzing the role played by the variability in skin tones inside both groups. I employ a composite sample based on two recent surveys with the same sampling frame and questionnaire design. I obtained three main results based on rank-rank regressions and transition matrices for both the economic and educational dimensions. First, the indigenous population faces a higher degree of intergenerational persistence and remains concentrated at the bottom of the distribution of economic resources. Secondly, there is a skin tone gradient for the indigenous and non-indigenous populations, where lighter skin tones tend to remain at a higher rank in the distribution of economic resources than darker skin tones. Thirdly, the association between ethnic origin, skin tone and economic mobility persist even after controlling for the intergenerational educational mobility experienced by the person. (Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality Working Paper)
    Date: 2022–11–03
  11. By: Lenin H. Balza; Camilo De Los Rios; Nathaly Rivera
    Abstract: Do resource-extraction booms crowd out postsecondary education? We explore this question by examining the higher education-related decisions of Chilean high school graduates during the 2000s commodities boom. We find mineral extraction increases a person's likelihood of enrolling in postsecondary technical education while reducing the likelihood of completing a four-year professional degree program. Importantly, effects are heterogeneous across economic backgrounds. The impact on college dropouts is primarily present among students that graduated from public high schools, which generally cater to low-income groups. Our findings show that natural resources may affect human capital accumulation differently across income groups in resource-rich economies.
    Date: 2022–11
  12. By: Juan David Torres
    Abstract: How does the enforcement of property rights affects land accumulation by landed elites? Using a unique classification of the local agricultural workforce and a differencein- difference framework I show how landed elites, relative to landless peasants, benefited from Colombian land reform during the late 1930s through the appropriation of large land allocations. This is explained by a feature of the reform: lower enforcement of property rights, which reduced the costs of further accumulation. I provide evidence on the elite investments in de facto political power that drive this empowerment: competition for resources in local elections and collective action embodied in landowner associations. This, in a context of tension between good-intended progressive policies and a general process of collective action pushed forward by landowners toward the defense of property, in which commitments for targeted democratization of land were hardly accomplished. My findings shed light on a possible equilibrium between democracy and high inequality in which economic elites exploit institutional features empowering themselves to preserve certainty regarding their own property rights.
    Keywords: Land reform, property rights, public land allocations, landed elites, collective action
    JEL: P48 N56 D72
    Date: 2022–10–26

This nep-dev issue is ©2022 by Jacob A. Jordaan. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.