nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒04‒24
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ömer Özak
  2. Digital divides among microsized firms: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Damien GIROLLET
  3. Measuring maternal autonomy and its effect on child nutrition in rural India By Arulampalam, Wiji; Bhaskar, Anjor; Srivastava, Nisha
  4. Territorial Patterns of Open E-Government: Evidence from Chilean Municipalities By González-Bustamante, Bastián; Aguilar, Diego
  5. Child malnutrition in Nepal: Women’s empowerment or promotion of their socioeconomic status? By Elodie ROSSI
  6. Trade Liberalization and Local Development in India: Evidence from Nighttime Lights By Priyaranjan Jha; Karan Talathi
  7. Impacts of Trade Facilitation and Logistics Performance on Trade Flows: The Case of Landlocked African OIC Countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Uganda) By Bagci, Kenan; Bakimli, Esat; Diallo, Abdouramane
  8. Trade Shocks, Population Growth, and Migration By Sofía Fernández Guerrico
  9. The impacts of studying abroad: Evidence from a government-sponsored scholarship program in Brazil By Otavio Conceiçaõ; Rodrigo Oliveira; André Portela Souza
  10. Decentralization, Ethnic Fractionalization, and Public Services: Evidence from Kenyan Healthcare By Hémet, Camille; Wren-Lewis, Liam; Mahoney, Jessica
  11. Limited Commitment, Social Control and Risk-Sharing Coalitions in Village Economies By Daniel J. Hernandez; Fernando Jaramillo; Hubert Kempf; Fabien Moizeau; Thomas Vendryes

  1. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile); Ömer Özak (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary conflict in Africa. We document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are higher close to historical ethnic borders. Exploiting variations across artificial regions within an ethnicity’s historical homeland and a theory-based instrumental variable approach, we find that regions crossed by historical ethnic borders have 27 percentage points higher probability of conflict and 7.9 percentage points higher probability of being the initial location of a conflict. We uncover several key underlying mechanisms: competition for agricultural land, population pressure, cultural similarity, and weak property rights.
    Keywords: Borders, Conflict, Intra-State Conflict, Ethnic Borders, Non-Civil Conflict, Ethnic Conflict, Territory, Property Rights, Landownership, Population Pressure, Migration, Historical Homelands, Development, Africa, Economic Development, Economic Growth, Voronoi Diagram, Voronoi Tesselation, Thiessen Tesselation
    JEL: D74 N57 O13 O17 O43 P48 Q15 Q34
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Damien GIROLLET
    Abstract: TThis paper explores digital inequalities in access and usage among 3, 300 firms and entrepreneurs from eight sub-Saharan African countries. To account for informal firms’ heterogeneity, we identify three segments: an upper tier of top performers, a lower tier of survivalists, and an intermediate segment composed of constrained gazelles. Although digital technologies are already used by most of the informal entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, our findings suggest that the diffusion of these new technologies is uneven across informal firms, digital inequalities being rooted in the already existing socioeconomic inequalities. Indeed, digital inequalities align with the hierarchy of informal sectors in each country and are associated with entrepreneurs’ and firms’ characteristics. Using multivariate analysis, we find that gender and rural/urban digital divides persist in the productive sphere. At the same time, firms with a high level of informality, low profits, precarious operating conditions, and no access to financial services are less likely to use digital technologies.
    Keywords: Digital technology, ICT, digital divide, informality, Africa.
    JEL: D22 O17 O33 O55
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Arulampalam, Wiji (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Bhaskar, Anjor (Azim Premji University, Bangalore); Srivastava, Nisha (nstitute for Human Development, Delhi)
    Abstract: We examine the link between a mother’s autonomy - the freedom and ability to think, express, make decisions, and act, independently - and the nutritional status of her children. We design a novel statistical framework that accounts for the cultural and traditional environment to create a measure of maternal autonomy treating this as a latent characteristic that is fixed in the short term. Using data from India, we deal with two econometric challenges : (i) creation and measurement of the ‘autonomy’ index, and (ii) endogeneity caused by selection due to son preference. We find : (i) one standard deviation (SD) higher autonomy score is associated with a 0.16 SD higher Height-for-Age Z-scores (HAZ) ; and an (ii)10% lower prevalence of stunting (HAZ
    Keywords: Child Nutrition ; Latent Factor Models ; Maternal Autonomy ; Endogenous selection ; Son preference JEL codes: I15 ; I14 ; C38
    Date: 2023
  4. By: González-Bustamante, Bastián (Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH)); Aguilar, Diego
    Abstract: This article analyses the development of open e-government between 2019 and 2021 in Chile’s 345 municipalities. We aggregated an e-government index (EGi) to measure the provision of local digital services for citizens. We then combined this with indicators of transparency and access to public information to create an open e-government index (OEGi). Our empirical strategy is based on geospatial econometric analysis in two stages: first, we describe and georeference our index, estimating the level of spatial autocorrelation and then fit different econometric models to measure the impact of the degree of Internet use, socioeconomic dynamism and management capacity on the municipalities’ development of open e-government. Our main findings indicate that monetary poverty has a negative effect on the index, while the municipal government’s budget has a positive effect.
    Date: 2023–03–19
  5. By: Elodie ROSSI
    Abstract: After unsuccessful poverty alleviation policies to tackle the "Asian enigma, " women's empowerment (WE) is now promoted as another strategy. However, the concept is still debated between pioneers defending more power for women and international institutions promoting it through improvements in their socio-economic status (SES). This paper proposes to advance this way by examining the impact of WE in terms of power on children’s nutrition, also testing its interactive effects with the mothers’ SES. Using the 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, we account for two measures of children’s nutrition: height-for-age and dietary diversity scores. We use the multidimensional exploratory analysis to construct composite measures of WE and SES and tackle endogeneity issues through an instrumental variable approach. Our results demonstrate that the impact of WE is underestimated if endogeneity is not considered with a more positive effect on the fight against child malnutrition than women’s SES promotion. Interactive effects between WE and SES also suggest that the positive impact of WE exists regardless of mothers’ SES, mitigating the adverse effect of low maternal SES on children’s nutrition. Besides, we highlight that if women’s SES is a determinant in rural areas, promoting women’s education is desirable, while women's participation in the labor market has mixed consequences on maternal and child health. Finally, promoting WE appears crucial in breaking gender inequalities in child malnutrition locally.
    Keywords: Child undernutrition, Women's empowerment, Nepal, Socio-economic status, Multiple correspondence analysis, Instrumental variables.
    JEL: I14 I15
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Priyaranjan Jha; Karan Talathi
    Abstract: We study the impact of the Indian trade liberalization of 1991 on development at the district level using satellite nighttime lights per capita as a proxy for development. We find that on average trade liberalization increased nighttime lights per capita but there was considerable heterogeneity in the effect. In particular, districts in states with flexible labor laws, districts with better road networks, proximity to the coast, or higher female labor force participation rate seem to have benefited more than other districts.
    Keywords: trade liberalization, nighttime lights, per capita income, tariffs, labor laws
    JEL: F13 F14 O11 O24
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Bagci, Kenan; Bakimli, Esat; Diallo, Abdouramane
    Abstract: This study investigates the impacts of alternative trade facilitation measures on trade flows with a special focus on five landlocked African OIC countries, namely Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Uganda. By employing a diverse set of data and methodology, it is found that there are significant gains from trade facilitation and improved logistics infrastructure. This benefit is significantly higher in the case of African countries. While infrastructure investments in logistics generate the largest gains, landlocked countries can attain additional gains from efficiency improvements in trade facilitation measures. Nevertheless, the aggregate impact of logistics performance remains significantly higher than the impacts of soft trade facilitation measures in both landlocked and coastal countries. This study also presents the potential gains for the five landlocked African OIC countries in case of a simulated improvement in their trade facilitation performance.
    Keywords: International Relations/Trade, Public Economics
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Sofía Fernández Guerrico
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of trade-induced changes in Mexican labor demand on population growth and migration responses at the local level. It exploits cross-municipality variation in exposure to a change in trade policy between the United States and China that eliminated potential tariff increases on Chinese imports, negatively affecting Mexican manufacturing exports to the United States. Municipalities more exposed to the policy change, via their industry structure, experienced greater employment loss. In the five years following the change in trade policy, more exposed municipalities experience increased population growth, driven by declines in out-migration. Conversely, 6 to 10 years after the change in trade policy, exposure to increased trade competition is associated with decreased population growth, driven by declines in in-migration and return migration rates, and increased out-migration. The sluggish regional adjustment is consistent with high moving costs and transitions across sectors in the short term.
    Keywords: Trade competition; Job displacement; Population growth
    JEL: F16 J23 O12 R12 R23
    Date: 2023–02–27
  9. By: Otavio Conceiçaõ; Rodrigo Oliveira; André Portela Souza
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of the Science without Borders ( Ciência sem Fronteiras - CSF) programme on participants' post-graduation enrolment, employment, and entrepreneurship. The programme was launched in 2011 to increase students' human capital and interest in science and postgraduate education studies through a substantial increase in scholarships for Brazilians to carry out part of their undergraduate studies abroad.
    Keywords: Education, Brazil
    Date: 2023
  10. By: Hémet, Camille; Wren-Lewis, Liam; Mahoney, Jessica
    Abstract: This paper examines how use of public services changed following a major constitutional reform in Kenya. Following an important period of inter-ethnic conflict, responsibility for local health services was decentralized to 47 newly created county governments. Using an event-study design, we find that use of public clinics for births increased significantly after the reform, but only in counties that were relatively ethnically homogeneous. We also find a significant increase in the correlation between county ethnic fractionalization and a range of other measures of public health service use. Results suggest that services in these counties are less likely to require payments after devolution. Additionally, using within-county variation, we find an increase in public service use among individuals that are of the same ethnicity as the members of the county government executive.
    Date: 2023–03–22
  11. By: Daniel J. Hernandez (Université Paris Saclay, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay, CEPS); Fernando Jaramillo (Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia); Hubert Kempf (Université Paris Saclay, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay, CEPS); Fabien Moizeau (Université de Rennes, CNRS, CREM-UMR6211, F-35000 Rennes, France); Thomas Vendryes (Université Paris Saclay, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay, CEPS)
    Abstract: The need to insure against idiosyncratic income risk leads to the formation of risksharing groups in village economies where formal financial markets are absent. We develop a theoretical model to address the impact of limited commitment and social control on the extent of informal risk sharing when agents are induced to form such risk-sharing coalitions. Social control increases the prospect of future punishment of present defectors and thus mitigates the absence of commitment. A defection-proof core-partition exists, is unique and homophilic. Riskier societies may not be more segmented and may not pay a higher cost for insurance. A higher social control leads to a less segmented society but does not necessarily lead to a lower price for sharing risk. We provide evidence, based on data on Thai villages, that consumption smoothing conforms with our theoretical result of homophily-based coalitions and that social control contributes to a lesser segmentation of a society.
    Keywords: Risk Sharing, Informal Insurance, Group Formation, Social Control, Risk Heterogeneity, Homophily, Dyadic Models, Thailand
    JEL: C71 D81 O12 O17
    Date: 2023–03

This nep-dev issue is ©2023 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.