nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒02‒06
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Water Treatment And Child Mortality: A Meta-Analysis And Cost-effectiveness Analysis By Michael Kremer; Stephen P. Luby; Ricardo Maertens; Brandon Tan; Witold Więcek
  2. Visual Nudges: How Deterrence and Equity Shape Tax Compliance Attitudes and Behaviour in Rwanda By Scarpini, Celeste; Santoro, Fabrizio; Mascagni, Giulia
  3. Cash subsidies for the poor: Evaluating Thailand’s welfare card scheme By Wannaphong Durongkaveroj
  4. Poverty Imputation in Contexts without Consumption Data: A Revisit with Further Refinements By Dang, Hai-Anh; Kilic, Talip; Abanokova, Kseniya; Carletto, Calogero
  5. Impacts of Bolsa Familia Program on multidimensional poverty By Ciula, Raffaele
  6. Losing height: measuring the regional loss of human capital from the Republican exile to Mexico By Sanchez Alonso, Blanca; Santiago Caballero, Carlos
  7. Women's Education and Fertility in China By Zhang, Zheyuan; Zhao, Zhong
  8. Does co-residence with parents-in-law reduce women's employment in India? By Rajshri Jayaraman; Bisma Khan
  9. Leveraging Mobile Phone Expansion in LMICs to Improve Parental Practices By Bastien Michel; Samuel Kembou Nzale; Sonali Wayal; Joanna Murray

  1. By: Michael Kremer; Stephen P. Luby; Ricardo Maertens; Brandon Tan; Witold Więcek
    Abstract: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of water treatment are typically powered to detect effects on caregiver-reported diarrhea but not child mortality, as detecting mortality effects requires prohibitively large sample sizes. Consequently, water treatment is seldom included in lists of cost-effective, evidence-backed child health interventions which are prioritized in health funding decisions. To increase statistical power, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. We replicated search and selection criteria from previous meta-analyses of RCTs aimed at improving water quality to prevent diarrhea in low- or middle-income countries which included children under 5 years old. We identified 52 RCTs and then obtained child mortality data from each study for which these data were collected and available, contacting authors of the study where necessary; this resulted in 15 studies.Frequentist and Bayesian methods were used to estimate the effect of water treatment on child mortality among included studies. We estimated a mean cross-study reduction in the odds of all-cause under-5 mortality of about 30% (Peto odds ratio, OR, 0.72; 95% CI 0.55 to 0.92; Bayes OR 0.70; 95% CrI 0.49 to 0.93). The results were qualitatively similar under alternative modeling and data inclusion choices. Taking into account heterogeneity across studies, the expected reduction in a new implementation is 25%. We used the results to examine the cost-effectiveness of investing in water treatment for point-of-collection chlorine dispensers or a large-scale program providing coupons for free chlorine solution. We estimate a cost per expected DALY averted due to water treatment of around USD 40 for both, accounting for delivery costs. This is approximately 45 times lower than the widely used threshold of 1x GDP per capita per DALY averted.
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2023–01
  2. By: Scarpini, Celeste; Santoro, Fabrizio; Mascagni, Giulia
    Abstract: Tax administrations in low-income countries engage in a variety of interventions to improve taxpayer compliance and close their countries’ financing gap. With this aim, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has implemented measures of enforcement, facilitation, and promotion of professionalism and trust in the revenue administration. Despite these efforts, the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio remains slightly below the average for sub-Saharan African countries. Thus, understanding the drivers of compliance and how to leverage them is crucial, especially since Covid-19 has exacerbated revenue needs in LICs. Remote engagement with taxpayers through mass media communication represents a promising solution, as it is a cheap option that budget-constrained revenue administrations could use to improve compliance. Our survey experiment implemented in Rwanda sheds light on the potential impact of videos as a new way to deliver tax messages. We randomly exposed over 2, 000 small and medium firms filing for CIT and PIT to two information videos, and a control group, and surveyed them before and after the viewing. The videos were two-minute-long animated films on tax matters, focusing respectively on deterrence and equity of the tax system1 - which are considered two key factors explaining compliance. Using combined survey and administrative data, we identified the videos’ causal impact on the taxpayers’ perceptions and behaviours. Summary of Working Paper 145 by Celeste Scarpini, Fabrizio Santoro and Giulia Mascagni.
    Keywords: Governance,
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Wannaphong Durongkaveroj
    Abstract: This paper examines the poverty-reducing effect of a large-scale unconditional cash transfer program (“the state welfare card scheme”) launched by the government of Thailand in 2017 that covers over 20 per cent of the country’s population. The program’s impact on monetary poverty, measured by consumption expenditure per capita, is estimated using nationally representative household socio-economic survey data collected in 2019. Using a sharp regression discontinuity design, the study finds that the programme does not reduce monetary poverty, as intended. In addition, the programme causes a significant decline in food expenditure. There is evidence that the underlying reason for the lack of impact is due to poor targeting. The findings point to the need to revamp the programme at both design and implementation stages.
    Keywords: poverty, cash transfer, the state welfare card, Thailand
    JEL: I32 I38
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Dang, Hai-Anh (World Bank); Kilic, Talip (World Bank); Abanokova, Kseniya (World Bank); Carletto, Calogero (World Bank)
    Abstract: Household consumption data are often unavailable, not fully collected, or incomparable over time in poorer countries. Survey-to-survey imputation has been increasingly employed to address these data gaps for poverty measurement, but its effective use requires standardized protocols. We refine existing poverty imputation models using 14 multi-topic household surveys conducted over the past decade in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Vietnam. We find that adding household utility expenditures to a basic imputation model with household-level demographic and employment variables provides accurate estimates, which even fall within one standard error of the true poverty rates in many cases. Further adding geospatial variables improves accuracy, as does including additional community-level predictors (available from data in Vietnam) related to educational achievement, poverty, and asset wealth. Yet, within-country spatial heterogeneity exists, with certain models performing well for either urban areas or rural areas only. These results offer cost-saving inputs into future survey design.
    Keywords: consumption, poverty, survey-to-survey imputation, household surveys, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: C15 I32 O15
    Date: 2023–01
  5. By: Ciula, Raffaele
    Abstract: Usually conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs) are interpreted as passive policies dealing with income maintenance, and needs fulfilment, however, recently some part of the literature has suggested a more active role for them. The aim of this article is to investigate the inclusive role of human rights-based CCTs, using Bolsa Familia (BF) policy as a case study. Specifically, I assess the effect of this program on human development as a proxi of achievements in fundamental capabilities and human rights. I choose this type of development because, compared to economic development, it puts at the centre of the analysis human life quality. In order to infer some causal relation between BF and human development I use the systematic review approach, based on natural, quasi-experimental, counterfactual, and longitudinal analysis. The main findings suggest some positive effect of the BF and human development. Hence, BF can be interpreted as human rights-oriented policy, which is able to create social inclusion in fundamental domains to some extent. The main policy implications deal with integrating BF with the education, and the health system as well as with complementary interventions more tightly, to ameliorate the advancement in human rights level.
    Keywords: Bolsa Familia, Capability, Human Rights, Multidimensional Poverty, Poverty Intensity
    JEL: H53 H55
    Date: 2022–03–15
  6. By: Sanchez Alonso, Blanca; Santiago Caballero, Carlos
    Abstract: Recent studies showed that Spanish republican exiles who travelled to Mexico to escape the effects and aftermath of the Spanish civil war were positively selected. However, the potential existence of regional differences in this positive selection needs to be addressed appropriately. Using a new dataset directly extracted from primary sources, we compare the heights of the republican exiles in Mexico with the estimations of those who stayed behind in their provinces of origin. We also study the existence of potential determinants to explain these differences. In addition to estimating how intense the loss of human capital was at the regional level, we also compare the heights of the republican exiles in Mexico with the heights of the Mexican population. Our results show significant regional differences in the positive selection of republican exiles. This was probably the consequence of the opportunities the local populations had to escape after the war started. We also show that Mexico was a place where Spanish migrants were able to obtain better occupations than their counterparts in Spain, meaning that although Mexico benefited from the arrival of a highly skilled labour force, it also provided republican exiles new opportunities.
    Keywords: Heights; Exile; Gender; War
    JEL: D6 J24 N0 N33 O15
    Date: 2023–01–20
  7. By: Zhang, Zheyuan (Renmin University of China); Zhao, Zhong (Renmin University of China)
    Abstract: Using data from the China Family Panel Studies, this paper exploits the Compulsory Education Law of China implemented in the 1980s to empirically examine the causal impact of women's education on fertility in rural China by difference-in-differences methods. The results show that an additional year of schooling lowered the number of children a woman would have by approximately 0.09 children, postponed the age of first childbirth by 0.7 years, and reduced the probability of having a second child or more children by 0.18 among those mothers whose first child was a girl. In addition to the income effect, these results are also partly explained by more educated women preferring quality to quantity of children, placing a greater value on leisure and no longer perceiving children as the sole focus in their lives.
    Keywords: women's education, fertility, demographic transition, compulsory education law, quality and quantity of children
    JEL: I25 J11 J13
    Date: 2023–01
  8. By: Rajshri Jayaraman; Bisma Khan
    Abstract: We examine the effect of co-residence with fathers- and mothers-in-law on married women’s employment in India. Instrumental variable fixed effects estimates using two different household panel datasets indicate that co-residence with a father-in-law reduces married women’s employment by 11-13%, while co-residence with a mother-in-law has no effect. Difference-in-difference estimates show that married women’s employment increases following the death of a co-residing father-in-law, but not mother-in-law. We investigate three classes of explanations for this: income effects, increased domestic responsibilities, and social norms. Our evidence is consistent with gender- and generational norms intersecting to constrain married women’s employment when parents-in-law co-reside.
    Keywords: female employment, family structure, labour supply, parents-in-lawJ16, J22, J12, O12, Z13
    JEL: J16 J22 J12 O12 Z13
    Date: 2023–01–19
  9. By: Bastien Michel (Nantes Univ - Nantes Université); Samuel Kembou Nzale (UNIL - Université de Lausanne = University of Lausanne); Sonali Wayal (DMI - Development Media International); Joanna Murray (DMI - Development Media International)
    Abstract: We study an easily scalable intervention based on mobile videos promoting simple parental practices that foster early childhood stimulation (ECS). Videos were disseminated via memory cards with the help of volunteer local leaders and health workers. We implemented an RCT to measure the impact of the intervention. We show that it managed to reach a third of the target population and that video exposure improved caregivers' ECS-related knowledge and practices. In particular, it improved those of male caregivers and reduced the prevalence of violent discipline. More generally, our results highlight the public policy potential of mobile phone expansion in LMICs.
    Keywords: Mobile Phone Expansion, Early Childhood Stimulation, Violent Discipline, Videos
    Date: 2022–12–21

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