nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒05‒08
eight papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Understanding the Impacts of a Natural Disaster: Evidence from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami By Elizabeth Frankenberg; Cecep Sumantri; Duncan Thomas
  2. Africa's Industrialization Prospects: A Fresh Look By Naudé, Wim; Tregenna, Fiona
  3. Decomposing changes in child health inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: new approach and new evidence By David Pérez-Mesa; Gustavo A. Marrero; Sara Darias-Curvo
  4. Sustainable Economic Growth: A Critical Assessment of SDG 8.1 By Ahlerup, Pelle; Olsson, Ola
  5. Asymmetric networks, clientelism and their impacts: households' access to workfare employment in rural India By Anindya Bhattacharya; Anirban Kar; Alita Nandi
  6. Politics, policies, and the effectiveness of foreign aid in fragile states By Matthew Kofi Ocran
  7. Thriving in the Rain: Natural Shocks, Time Allocation, and Women's Empowerment in Bangladesh By Vitellozzi, Sveva; Giannelli, Gianna Claudia
  8. Drought and Political Trust By Ahlerup, Pelle; Sundström, Aksel; Jagers, Sverker C; Sjöstedt, Martin

  1. By: Elizabeth Frankenberg; Cecep Sumantri; Duncan Thomas
    Abstract: Measuring impacts of extreme events on population well-being is complicated if data are not representative of the pre-event at-risk population or a representative sample of the population is not followed post-event. The sources and nature of some important biases are documented using data from the Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery (STAR) which documents the evolution of population well-being before and after a major natural disaster, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The baseline, collected 10 months before the tsunami, is representative of the at-risk population. Respondents have been followed and re-interviewed multiple times in the fifteen years since the tsunami achieving high follow-up rates. We empirically document the importance of construct samples that represent the pre-event at-risk population, rather than an opportunistic sample of those in the vicinity of the event. Pre-event characteristics condition where and in what circumstances people live post-event. Post-event well-being is associated with post-event living conditions in the short-term, and that over time, the link weakens between short-term living arrangements and post-event well-being. Failure to follow-up all respondents, especially those who move away from the location of the event, yields biased estimates of impacts of the event.
    JEL: O10 Q56
    Date: 2023–04
  2. By: Naudé, Wim (RWTH Aachen University); Tregenna, Fiona (University of Johannesburg)
    Abstract: This paper identifies the determinants of industrialization in 18 African countries, 1965 to 2018, using various estimators and applying a battery of robustness checks. Industrialization in Africa is driven by historical legacies such as colonialism; geographical factors such as rainfall and distance from international markets; economic factors such competition from China, market size and urbanization; and technological factors such as digital technology adoption. An inverse U-shape relationship between industrialization and GDP per capita is consistent with (premature) de-industrialization. Technological change and adoption of digital technologies are found to have an ambiguous relationship with industrialisation in Africa. The establishment of the AfCFTA is timely, but its benefits will only be realised if countries also improve infrastructure to overcome the negative consequences of adverse geography, improve trade facilitation to exploit learning-by-exporting from intra-African trade, and facilitate urbanization.
    Keywords: industrialization, development, employment, technology, trade, Africa
    JEL: O47 O33 J24 E21 E25
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: David Pérez-Mesa (University of La Laguna); Gustavo A. Marrero (University of La Laguna); Sara Darias-Curvo (University of La Laguna)
    Abstract: We analyze recent changes in child health inequality in 15 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries, characterize the features (observed and unobserved) contributing to these within-country changes, and investigate the existence of trade-offs between changes in child health inequality and changes in mean child health. We propose a methodology for estimating the contribution of a group of factors to the changes in child health inequality, which is perfectly comparable with existing decomposition approaches for mean child health. Among the observed features, we consider between-regional aspects (regional and rural/urban fixed effects) and within-regional factors including family background, mother’s demography, family structure and home infrastructures. Total child health inequality is falling in most countries, but the part of inequality explained by our set of observed features is increasing. While the unobserved and between-regional features have reduced child health inequality, the within-regional factors related to mother’s demography and family background have pushed inequality in the opposite direction. These two sets of features are precisely the ones behind the observed trade-off between child health inequality and mean child health: while their changes are harming child health inequality, they are benefiting mean child health.
    Keywords: Child health inequality, Inequality decomposition, Mean health, Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: I14 I15 O10 P52
    Date: 2023–04
  4. By: Ahlerup, Pelle (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Olsson, Ola (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: In this report, we focus on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 8.1, stipulating that countries should pursue real GDP per capita growth rates that are in accordance with their national circumstances and that total GDP should grow by more than seven percent a year in the least developed countries. We start by briefly discussing the background of this target and then review some of the existing research on economic growth across the world, starting with growth theory and its predictions concerning the convergence of growth rates and income levels in the short and long term. We also review the extensive empirical work on cross-country income and growth regressions that have accumulated during the last three decades, focusing on recent (pre-covid) and historical patterns regarding the fulfillment of the SDG 8.1 targets. We show that a growth rate in total GDP of seven percent per year has only been observed in about 10 percent of all available country-year observations over history. Growth rates exceeding seven percent were relatively frequent among poor countries during 2000-2009 but not during 2009-2019. Since 2000, the relatively high average growth rates among poor countries have implied that their income levels have steadily converged towards those of richer countries, although at a slow pace. This pattern is manifested in longer periods of sustained growth episodes in poor countries and can probably be explained by successful policy reforms. We also show that about a third of all countries managed to have positive economic growth during 2010-19 while at the same time decreasing their emissions of CO2 from production (decoupling). For poor and rich countries alike, the growth prospects post-covid and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are uncertain.
    Keywords: economic growth; sustainable development goals; convergence; SDG 8.1
    JEL: N10 O47 O57
    Date: 2023–04
  5. By: Anindya Bhattacharya; Anirban Kar; Alita Nandi
    Abstract: In this paper we explore two intertwined issues. First, using primary data we examine the impact of asymmetric networks, built on rich relational information on several spheres of living, on access to workfare employment in rural India. We find that unidirectional relations, as opposed to reciprocal relations, and the concentration of such unidirectional relations increase access to workfare jobs. Further in-depth exploration provides evidence that patron-client relations are responsible for this differential access to such employment for rural households. Complementary to our empirical exercises, we construct and analyse a game-theoretical model supporting our findings.
    Date: 2023–04
  6. By: Matthew Kofi Ocran
    Abstract: International development cooperation has evolved since the 1960s. The effectiveness of aid is still topical, but studies have not paid adequate attention to the relationship between sectoral aid, politics, institutions, and aid effectiveness in fragile states. Using data from 2002 to 2020, this paper examines the effects of education aid and health aid on education outcomes and health outcomes in fragile states.
    Keywords: Aid effectiveness, Education, Health, Maternal mortality, Fragile states
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Vitellozzi, Sveva (University of Bologna); Giannelli, Gianna Claudia (University of Florence)
    Abstract: In low- and middle-income countries, differences between men and women in their time use patterns represent a major source of gender inequality. Among other factors, natural shocks can contribute to the widening of these differences. This paper examines the impact of the 2017 flood in Bangladesh on men's and women's time use patterns and women's empowerment. Using georeferenced and longitudinal data, we find that the flood decreased women's time spent on domestic work while increasing their engagement in paid activities and empowerment. In contrast, men spent less time at work and increased their participation in housework to substitute for women's domestic work. These responses to the shock are confirmed only for those individuals who were exposed to another flooding event that occurred in 2014. To better understand the underlying mechanisms, we look at the medium-term impact of the 2014 flood on women's empowerment and on their engagement in paid activities, and we find that the shock still positively affects both variables, suggesting that when endogenous, an increase in empowerment persists over time and influences reactions to the 2017 shock.
    Keywords: time allocation, time poverty, natural shocks, women's empowerment
    JEL: J16 J22 J43
    Date: 2023–03
  8. By: Ahlerup, Pelle (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Sundström, Aksel; Jagers, Sverker C; Sjöstedt, Martin
    Abstract: Droughts can affect people’s political trust positively, through rallying effects, or negatively, through blame attribution. We examine how drought conditions affect political trust in the context of Africa. We link high-precision exogenous climate data to survey respondents, 2002–2018, and report moderate negative effects of drought conditions on people’s trust in their president. These negative effects increase with the severity of drought conditions. The political economy of favoritism, where some regions are preferentially treated by rulers, should result in heterogeneous effects across territories. We find that trust increases in capital regions and in leader birth regions during dry conditions. In contrast, when droughts take place in such regions, trust levels fall in other regions. This is in line with the idea that capital regions and leader birth regions could be preferentially treated in the aftermath of droughts. Understanding these processes further is important given their salience because of global warming.
    Keywords: Africa; Drought; Afrobarometer; Trust; Climate change; Disasters
    JEL: D74 H70 O10
    Date: 2023–04

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