nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒05‒01
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  2. (De Facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Land Tenure in Sub-Saharan Africa By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  3. Social Policies and Adaptation to Extreme Weather: Evidence from South Africa By Suchita Srinivasan
  4. Can Cash Transfers to the Unemployed Support Economic Activity? Evidence from South Africa By Haroon BHORAT; Timothy KÖHLER; David de VILLIERS
  5. Community Electrification and Women’s Autonomy By Rikhia Bhukta; Debayan Pakrashi; Sarani Saha; Ashish Sedai
  6. The effects of Bolsa Familia on human development: systematic review approach By Ciula, Raffaele
  7. Temperature shocks and their effect on the price of agricultural products: panel data evidence from vegetables in Mexico By Arellano Gonzalez Jesus; Juárez-Torres Miriam; Zazueta Borboa Francisco
  8. Input-Trade Liberalization and Formal Employment: Evidence from Mexico By Pamela Bombarda; Maria Bas
  9. Mining the forests: do protected areas hinder mining-driven forest loss in Sub-Saharan Africa? By Jean-Louis Combes; Pascale Combes Motel; Manegdo Ulrich Doamba; Youba Ndiaye

  1. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
    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, Territory, Property Rights, Landownership, Population Pressure, Migration, Historical Homelands, Development, Africa, Voronoi Tessellation, Thiessen Tessellation
    JEL: D74 N57 O13 O17 O43 P48 Q15 Q34
    Date: 2023–03–30
  2. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: We study the role of proximity to historical ethnic borders in determining individual land ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa. Following an instrumental variable strategy, we document that individuals have a lower likelihood of owning land near historical ethnic borders. In particular, the likelihood of owning land decreases by 15 percentage points, i.e., about 1/3 of the mean rate of landownership, for rural migrants who move from 57km (90th percentile) to 2 km (10th percentile) from the border. This result aligns with the view that competition for land is stronger and property rights are weaker close to historical ethnic borders in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: land ownership, borders, property rights, historical homelands, development, Africa, Voronoi Tessellation, Thiessen Tessellation
    JEL: D74 N57 O13 O17 O43 P48 Q15 Q34
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: Suchita Srinivasan (Center of Economic Research, ETH Zurich, Zurichbergstrasse 18, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: Can social policies assist households in coping with the effects of extreme weather events? We evaluate the role of the Indigent Program, an income-based social assistance program in South Africa that provided free electricity and water to poor households, in helping rural households adapt to drought conditions, using household-level panel data. We first analyse the impact of eligibility for the program on the likelihood of acquiring access to electricity and piped water, as well as on expenditure on these amenities, and find that program eligibility did not have a significant impact on these measures. While eligibility for the program was largely ineffective in increasing appliance adoption, electricity use, or welfare, we find that eligible households were more likely to use a borehole as their main water source, a result primarily driven by drought-affected households, suggesting a possible adaptation response facilitated by the program. In general, the benefits offered by the program may have only been marginal in facilitating significant adaptation responses, exacerbated by the fact that households in droughtaffected areas may not have enough assets/wealth to purchase durables, or to make complementary investments. Policy implications relate to the effective design of policies to enable access and use of amenities such as electricity and water, and easing access to credit to facilitate adaptation responses, as climatic conditions intensify.
    Date: 2023–04
  4. By: Haroon BHORAT; Timothy KÖHLER; David de VILLIERS
    Abstract: Persistently high unemployment has plagued South Africa over the last few decades, while concurrently there has been a dearth of state-provided income support to the working-age economically active population. In response to the pandemic the government introduced the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant – the country’s first unconditional cash transfer targeted at the unemployed. At the time of writing, however, no causal evidence of the grant’s effects exist. We adopt a doubly robust, semi-parametric Difference-in-Differences approach on representative panel labour force data to estimate the contemporaneous and cumulative causal effects of the grant on labour market outcomes. We find robust evidence that the grant increased average employment probabilities by approximately 3 percentage points, an effect largely driven by wage and formal sector employment. Employment effects vary by duration of receipt, with larger effects estimated for the short-term which reduce to zero with additional periods of receipt. We additionally find marginally significant effects on the probability of trying to start a business, but no evidence of any effects on job search. These findings suggest that the grant has performed a multi-purpose role in providing income relief while also enabling a path towards more favourable labour market outcomes.
    Keywords: Afrique du Sud
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2023–03–22
  5. By: Rikhia Bhukta; Debayan Pakrashi; Sarani Saha; Ashish Sedai
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of community-level electrification on women’s social autonomy in India using panel household survey data, administrative data and satellite data spanning over two decades. Using flexible difference-in-difference estimators, we find higher community-level electricity hours reduce incidence of sexual violence against women, and improve women’s mobility, fertility choices and access to health care. Results are robust when using night-time luminosity as an alternative indicator of community electrification, most recent data on reliability of electricity and alternative longitudinal estimation techniques. Heterogeneity analysis shows that the effects are stronger in rural areas compared to urban areas. We identify four main channels through which electricity impacts women’s autonomy: paid employment, education, exposure to mass media and safety.
    Keywords: community electricity, sexual violence, mobility, fertility, health care, women’s autonomy
    JEL: D13 D63 H42 Q43
    Date: 2023–04
  6. 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 proxy 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: Human Development; Freedoms; Human Rights; BF; Inequality
    JEL: I38
    Date: 2022–11
  7. By: Arellano Gonzalez Jesus; Juárez-Torres Miriam; Zazueta Borboa Francisco
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the effect of temperature shocks on the price of nine vegetables with a high contribution to Mexico's non core inflation. We utilize monthly panel data of the price index of each vegetable at the city level which we combine with high resolution weather data of the producing states. For every city, we construct a relevant temperature measure by weighting the different temperatures of its supplier states using historic production shares and distance. Our findings elicit a convex U-shaped relationship between temperature and vegetable prices and a high sensitivity of the latter to contemporaneous and lagged temperature shocks that occur within their growing period. Our findings also suggest that temperature shocks may have a detrimental effect on vegetable yields which may be an important driver of the impact on prices.
    Keywords: Food Inflation;Weather Shocks;Vegetable Prices;Local Markets
    JEL: E31 Q15 Q54
    Date: 2023–03
  8. By: Pamela Bombarda; Maria Bas (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA)
    Abstract: This work investigates the role of input-trade liberalization on labor allocation between informal and formal employment in Mexico. Using individual household data for Mexico (1993-2001), we exploit exogenous input tariff changes applied to United States (U.S.) products when Mexico enters the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. The theoretical mechanisms considered are the foreign input cost reduction that increases revenues in the formal sector and the foreign input-skilled biased channel, such that input-trade liberalization induces the reallocation of workers from informal to formal firms. Our findings confirm these mechanisms: individuals working in manufacturing industries experiencing the average reduction in input tariffs (12 percentage points) are almost 4 percent more likely to work in formal rather than informal occupations. This effect is concentrated on high-skilled workers which reinforces the input-skilled biased complementarity channel.
    Keywords: informal and formal employment, trade liberalization, household data
    JEL: F12 F16 O14 J16 O17
    Date: 2023
  9. By: Jean-Louis Combes (LEO - Laboratoire d'Économie d'Orleans [2022-...] - UO - Université d'Orléans - UT - Université de Tours - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne, UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Pascale Combes Motel (LEO - Laboratoire d'Économie d'Orleans [2022-...] - UO - Université d'Orléans - UT - Université de Tours - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne, UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Manegdo Ulrich Doamba (LEO - Laboratoire d'Économie d'Orleans [2022-...] - UO - Université d'Orléans - UT - Université de Tours - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne, UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Youba Ndiaye (ENVT - Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse - Toulouse INP - Institut National Polytechnique (Toulouse) - UT - Université de Toulouse, UMR ASTRE - Animal, Santé, Territoires, Risques et Ecosystèmes - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: African countries are natural resource-rich. The continent has natural forests, homes of endemic biodiversity and various ores. This richness brings hope for sustainable and inclusive development in a continent whose population is rapidly growing. It also raises fears of environmental degradation. This article studies mining-driven deforestation using unique finescale data from 2001 to 2019. The dataset covering all Sub-Saharan African countries entails 2, 207 polygons with an average size of about 12, 000 square kilometres. 926 polygons were forested in 2001, of which 198 hosted industrial mines. A spatial autoregressive model allows taking dependence between deforestation decisions at the polygon level. The econometric results show that an additional mine increases deforestation by about 155 square kilometres. Protected areas mitigate deforestation poorly. One hundred square kilometres under protected areas enable only a 9.7 square kilometres reduction in forest loss. More than doubling protected areas would be necessary to offset mining-driven forest loss. Protected areas cannot alone mitigate the adverse effects of mining on forest loss and other environmental consequences. Moreover, the effectiveness of protected areas is not uniform across space: it vanishes in highly conflicted regions.
    Abstract: Les pays africains sont riches en ressources naturelles. Le continent possède des forêts naturelles, foyers de biodiversité endémique et divers produits miniers. Cette richesse est porteuse d'espoir pour un développement durable et inclusif dans un continent dont la population croît rapidement. Elle suscite également des craintes de dégradation de l'environnement. Cet article étudie la déforestation due à l'activité minière en utilisant des données uniques à échelle fine sur la période 2001-2019. L'ensemble de données couvrant tous les pays d'Afrique subsaharienne comprend 2 207 polygones d'une taille moyenne d'environ 12 000 kilomètres carrés. 926 polygones comportaient une surface forestière en 2001, dont 198 accueillaient des mines industrielles. Un modèle spatial autorégressif permet de prendre en compte la dépendance entre les décisions de déforestation au niveau des polygones. Les résultats économétriques montrent qu'une mine supplémentaire augmente la déforestation d'environ 155 kilomètres carrés. Les aires protégées atténuent peu la déforestation. Cent kilomètres carrés d'aires protégées ne permettent qu'une réduction de 9, 7 kilomètres carrés de déforestation. Il faudrait plus que doubler les zones protégées pour compenser la perte de forêt due à l'exploitation minière. Les zones protégées ne peuvent à elles seules atténuer les effets négatifs de l'exploitation minière sur la déforestation et les autres conséquences environnementales. En outre, l'efficacité des aires protégées n'est pas uniforme dans l'espace : elle disparaît dans les régions fortement conflictuelles.
    Keywords: Deforestation, Mining, Protected areas, Panel data, Spatial econometrics, Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2023–04–06

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.