nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒05‒22
twenty-one papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The Effect of the Out of Africa Migration on Cultural Diversity By Wainstock, Daniel Crisóstomo; Galor, Oded; Klemp, Marc
  2. Ancestral Livelihoods and Moral Universalism: Evidence from Transhumant Pastoralist Societies By Sara Lowes; Etienne Le Rossignol
  3. Farm size and exposure to extreme heat: evidence from subsistence farms in Sub-Saharan Africa By Fernando Aragon; Juan Pablo Rud
  4. Peacefully Demobilizing Rebels: Identity, Emotional Cues, and the FARC By Aparicio, Juan P.; Jetter, Michael; Parsons, Christopher
  5. The literature on the impact of natural disasters on remittances has provided mixed evidence so far, with identification remaining a key challenge. This paper studies the insurance role of remittances by investigating their dynamic response in the aftermath of a disaster. We use a novel and rich panel dataset of monthly remittance flows from Italy to 81 developing countries for the period 2005 to 2015. We find that monthly remittance flows on average increase by 2% due to natural disasters in migrants’ home countries. The response gets significant a few months after the event and tends to disappear within a year from the disaster occurrence. The intensity and timing of remittances’ responsiveness are heterogeneous according to the nature of the disaster, the receiving country’s characteristics, and migrants’ socio-economic conditions in the host country. By Giulia Bettin; Amadou Jallow; Alberto Zazzaro
  6. Secondary School Fee Abolition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Taking Stock of the Evidence By Gruijters, Rob J.; Abango, Mohammed A; Casely-Hayford, Leslie
  7. Coping with Compounding Challenges in Conflict Crises: Evidence from North-east Nigeria By Wolfgang Stojetz; Tilman Brück
  8. Market access and agricultural land use: Does distance matter? Insights from Colombia By Arguello, R; García, A. F.; Bolivar, M. F.; Alzate, Maryury
  9. Does Official Development Assistance Benefit the Donor Economy? New evidence from Japanese overseas infrastructure projects By NISHITATENO Shuhei
  10. Can Resource-backed Loans Mitigate Climate Change ? By Yacouba Coulibaly
  11. Employment transitions with high unemployment and a small informal sector: Examining worker flows during normal and recessionary periods in South Africa By Shakeba Foster
  12. Women’s transitions in the labour market as a result of childbearing: the challenges of formal sector employment in Indonesia By Lisa Cameron; Diana Contreras Suarez; Yi-Ping Tseng
  13. The political economy of remittances:the case of Sub-Saharan Africa By Judit Kiss
  14. More information, better knowledge? The effects of information campaigns on aid beneficiaries' knowledge of aid projects By Alexander De Juan; Paul Hofman; Carlo Koos
  15. Early Warning Systems, Mobile Technology, and Cholera Aversion: Evidence from Rural Bangladesh By Aziz, Sonia; Boyle, Kevin; Akanda, Ali S.; Hanifi, M.A.; Pakhtigian, Emily L.
  16. Leaders’ Characteristics in Indonesia: What Does the Data Say? By Albert Ludi Angkawibawa; Jahen F. Rezki
  17. From Deforestation to Reforestation: The Role of General Deterrence in Changing Farmers' Behavior By Vieira, João Pedro; Dahis, Ricardo; Assunção, Juliano
  18. The Women Empowering Effect of Higher Education By Elsayed, Ahmed; Shirshikova, Alina
  19. Layoffs and Productivity at a Bangladeshi Sweater Factory By Robert Akerlof; Anik Ashraf; Rocco Macchiavello; Atonu Rabbani
  20. Estimating the Value of Near-Real-Time Satellite Information for Monitoring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon By Biggs, Trent; Caviglia-Harris, Jill; Rodrigues Ribeiro, Jime; Ottoni Santiago, Thaís; Sills, Erin; AP West, Thales; Mullan, Katrina
  21. Wars, Education and Economic Development By Jakob B. Madsen; Miethy Zaman

  1. By: Wainstock, Daniel Crisóstomo (Brown University); Galor, Oded (Brown University); Klemp, Marc (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Evidence suggests that the Out of Africa Migration has impacted the degree of intra-population genetic and phenotypic diversity across the globe. This paper provides the first evidence that this migration has shaped cultural diversity. Leveraging a folklore catalogue of 958 oral traditions across the world, we show that ethnic groups further away from East Africa along the migratory routes have lower folkloric diversity. This pattern is consistent with the compression of genetic, phenotypic, and phonemic traits along the Out of Africa migration routes, setting conditions for the emergence and proliferation of differential cultural diversity and economic development across the world.
    Keywords: diversity, culture, Out of Africa migration, folklore
    JEL: O10 Z10
    Date: 2023–04
  2. By: Sara Lowes (UC San Diego - University of California [San Diego] - UC - University of California); Etienne Le Rossignol (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UP1 UFR02 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - École d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, London Business School)
    Abstract: Moral universalism, the extent to which individuals exhibit similar altruism and trust towards in-group and out-group members, varies widely across societies. We test the hypothesis from anthropology that the requirements of transhumant pastoralism – a livelihood in which populations seasonally migrate and herd livestock – made individuals highly interdependent and cohesive within groups but hostile to individuals beyond the radius of extended kin. Using global data, we find that historical reliance on transhumant pastoralism is strongly predictive of greater in-group relative to out-group trust. This result is consistent across countries, between residents of the same country, among second-generation migrants, and with an instrumental variable strategy. We find evidence that these results are specific to transhumant pastoralism. The effects are particularly pronounced when transhumant pastoralists interact with groups that rely on other forms of economic production and in areas that are prone to climate shocks and conflict. Finally, we explore the economic implications of limited moral universalism. We find that greater reliance on transhumant pastoralism is associated with less objective promotion criteria within firms and smaller firm size.
    Keywords: Transhumant pastoralism, Trust, Moral universalism, Kinship, Culture, Firms
    Date: 2022–07
  3. By: Fernando Aragon (Simon Fraser University); Juan Pablo Rud (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: This paper pools panel data from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Malawi to examine the heterogeneous impact of extreme heat on subsistence farmers. Despite significant differences in agricultural practices and performance between smaller and larger farms, we find that high temperatures have a negative impact on agricultural productivity, output, and food security regardless of farm size. Farms of different size seem to respond differently to extreme temperatures: small farms increase their land use while larger farms use more pesticides. While all farms also increase off-farm work, these responses do not fully mitigate the effects on output and food insecurity.
    Date: 2023–02
  4. By: Aparicio, Juan P. (University of Western Australia); Jetter, Michael (University of Western Australia); Parsons, Christopher (University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: In the early 2000s, the Colombian government aired messages during games of the national football team, urging FARC rebels to demobilize. We first study the strategy's effectiveness, leveraging game dates, kick-off times, and spatial-temporal variation in rain-induced signal strength in a municipality-day-level panel spanning 2003-2016. Over 1, 000 rebels demobilized because of family-themed (but not national-unity-themed) messages, received during unexpected losses (i.e., negative emotional cues). We then model a rebel's demobilization decision, combining identity salience with their emotional state. Finally, we corroborate the model's predictions examining family- versus non-family-specific holidays and local climatic anomalies.
    Keywords: civil war, conflict resolution, demobilization, hearts-and-minds, information campaigns
    JEL: D74 D91 H56 L82 N46 O54
    Date: 2023–04
  5. By: Giulia Bettin (Universitá Politecnica delle Marche and MoFiR.); Amadou Jallow (University of the Gambia.); Alberto Zazzaro (University of Naples Federico II, CSEF and MoFiR.)
    Keywords: migrants’ remittances, international migration, natural disasters.
    JEL: F24 F22 Q54
    Date: 2023–05–02
  6. By: Gruijters, Rob J.; Abango, Mohammed A; Casely-Hayford, Leslie
    Abstract: Several African countries have abolished secondary school fees in recent years, but there is no systematic evidence on the effectiveness of these initiatives. In this study, we take stock of free secondary education (FSE) initiatives in the region and review their impact on equitable access and the quality of teaching and learning, as well as their cost-effectiveness. We start by discussing the theoretical arguments for and against fee abolition. Second, we look at aggregate statistics on enrollment and transition rates, and find that primary school completion remains far from universal in most countries in the region, meaning that most low-income children are currently ineligible for free secondary education. Third, we provide a comprehensive overview of existing FSE policies in sub-Saharan Africa, showing that almost half of all countries in the region have abolished secondary school fees in the last two decades. Finally, we systemically review the empirical evidence on the impact and effectiveness of recent FSE initiatives. We conclude that free secondary education is an appropriate long-term goal for education systems but can be costly and inequitable in the short run, especially if it diverts resources from primary education. Our review suggests four concrete recommendations for policymakers, which are broadly aligned with the principle of ‘progressive universalism’ in improving access to education.
    Date: 2023–04–08
  7. By: Wolfgang Stojetz (ISDC – International Security and Development Center, Berlin, Germany; and Humboldt University Berlin, Germany); Tilman Brück (ISDC – International Security and Development Center, Berlin, Germany; Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Großbeeren, Germany; and Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes how the intersectionality of gender, forced displacement, and collective violence shapes coping behaviors in conflict crises, paying particular attention to household composition by gender and age. Drawing on survey data from 17, 951 individuals in North-east Nigeria, the analysis finds that coping behaviors at the household, adult, and child levels are interlinked and strongly shaped by compounding challenges stemming from individual gender, household forced displacement status, and local violence shocks. These challenges have significant welfare implications and create severe vulnerabilities and special needs for specific groups of households and individuals, such as rural communities affected by violence, large households with many children, female breadwinners, and displaced girls. The findings emphasize the need for and potential of concerted policy approaches that account for the intersectionality of gender, displacement, and violence in conflict settings and pay particular attention to specific types of communities, households, and individuals.
    Keywords: violent conflict, gender, forced displacement, conflict crisis, internally displaced persons
    JEL: D74 J16 J24 O15
    Date: 2023–03
  8. By: Arguello, R; García, A. F.; Bolivar, M. F.; Alzate, Maryury
    Abstract: A rich dataset, based on the agricultural census, characterizing Colombian agricultural units is used to examine the relationship between market access and market influence, on one hand, and the intensity of land use for productive purposes as instrumented as the share of usable land with respect to the total area of the production unit, on the other. We find that there is a stable and significant negative relationship between the two, meaning that as market access and market influence improve there is a decline in the share of usable land in average, reflecting a lower extent an intensity of agricultural activity. We additionally explore heterogenous effects arising from different market types and find that this relationship changes with the type of municipality, yielding significant implications for land and rural policy. Overall, the results provide evidence supporting the convenience of place-based policies and the usefulness of the qualified von Thunen model for approaching the analysis of rural land use.
    Keywords: Market access, Market influence, Land use, Land policy, von Thünen model, ColombiaDeclarations of interest: none.
    JEL: Q15 R14 R12 Q18
    Date: 2023–05–04
  9. By: NISHITATENO Shuhei
    Abstract: Given the growing pressure on donors to curtail foreign aid budgets, analyzing the effectiveness of bilateral official development assistance (ODA) in realizing national interests has become more significant than ever before. From the viewpoint of economic interests, prior research has revealed that ODA can help expand donor exports and outward foreign direct investments. This study provides evidence that ODA can also help firms from donor countries win infrastructure project contracts in recipient countries. Employing unique contract data on Japanese overseas infrastructure projects, I estimate a fixed effects Poisson model with a panel dataset for 158 recipients for the period between 1970 and 2020. The results suggest that 17% of the total number of overseas infrastructure projects contracted to Japanese firms during 1970–2020 were attributable to Japanese ODA disbursement. I also explore the potential mechanism, finding that the Japanese ODA-infrastructure link is strengthened when Japanese loans and grants are simultaneously provided to a recipient country. This finding is consistent with the view that pre-investment studies conducted as part of technical cooperation could generate goodwill effects for Japanese firms during their bidding for Japanese yen loan projects.
    Date: 2023–04
  10. By: Yacouba Coulibaly (UO - Université d'Orléans, UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne)
    Abstract: Resource-backed loans are used today by many resource-rich countries as an effective means of providing public goods and services. However, this type of financing can undermine environmental sustainability (e.g., forest cover loss, CO2 emissions, pollution, ecological collapse, material footprint, etc.). In this paper, we first use propensity score matching, which allows for self-selection bias in signature policies, coarsened exact matching, and the entropy balancing method to test whether resource-backed loans have a causal impact on forest cover loss in 64 developing countries from 2004 to 2018. Through a series of econometric and alternative specification tests, we find that resource-backed loans increase forest cover loss. Nevertheless, when we disaggregate resource-backed loans to run the regressions, we find that mineral, tobacco, and cocoa-backed loans increase forest cover, while oil-backed loans have no significant direct impact on forest cover. We recommend that signatory countries and those considering signing resource-backed loans put in place a very strong compensation mechanism, such as introducing taxes or reforming the current tax system in resource-backed loan agreements, to protect biodiversity and mitigate the environmental impacts of these loans. Signatory countries must ensure full transparency of resource-backed loans to make the characteristics of the loans more fluid, avoiding a situation of budgetary debauchery.
    Keywords: H81, C12, Q54, Q01, Resource-backed loans, Resource rents, Forest cover loss, Resource taxation, Environment, Climate Change, Propensity score matching O13
    Date: 2023–04–18
  11. By: Shakeba Foster
    Abstract: This paper examines employment transitions in the South African labour market. Using the Post-Apartheid Labour Market Series, it analyses flows between the formal sector, informal sector, and unemployment, paying specific attention to how these flows differ during recessions. It explicitly considers heterogeneity within the informal sector by separately accounting for wage employment and self-employment as well as upper-tier and lower-tier informal sector segments.
    Keywords: Informal work, Employment, transition, Recession, South Africa
    Date: 2023
  12. By: Lisa Cameron (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Diana Contreras Suarez (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Yi-Ping Tseng (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: Although it is well established that women’s labour force participation drops markedly with marriage and childbearing, surprisingly little is known about women’s labour market transitions, especially in developing countries. This paper uses the Indonesian Family Life Survey to track the employment histories of over 9, 000 women across a period of more than 20 years, observing them as they get married and have children. The data show that large numbers of Indonesian women drop out of the labour market as a result of marriage and childbearing. The difficulty of maintaining formal sector employment emerges as a key problem. Having worked in the formal sector prior to the birth of a first child reduces the probability of working in the year following the birth by 20 percentage points and reduces the probability of returning to the labour market thereafter by 3.6 percentage points. Further, to the extent that women do return to work, formal sector employment is associated with greater delays in returning - women are more likely to return to work in the formal sector only once their child starts primary school, while in the informal sector they return earlier. We find little evidence of women switching from the formal to the informal sector. Formal sector labour market policies such as flexible work hours; compressed work weeks; part-time work (with the same career opportunities and benefits as full-time work); the ability to work from home; and work-based childcare are likely to boost women’s labour force participation, with consequent boosts to economic productivity and prosperity.
    Keywords: female labour force participation, labour market transitions, economic development, childbearing
    JEL: J20 J16 O15
    Date: 2023–05
  13. By: Judit Kiss (Institute of World Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, ELRN)
    Abstract: The aim of the paper is to introduce and analyse the positive and negative micro- and macroeconomic effects of remittances in its complexity, in the migration-remittances- development context and to draw the overall balance from a political economy perspective in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa. The impact of remittances is mainly determined by the motivation to remit and the determinants of remittances. In the case of Africa, the main motivation is still altruism mixed with self-interest based on endogenous migration-, exchange- and portfolio- approaches with countercyclical and procyclical nature. The size and frequency of fixed and discretionary remittances inflow depend on the stock, type, legal status, personal character, individual behaviour, qualification and educational attainment of migrants, the political and economic situation of the host and the home country, and the transaction costs. The micro- and macroeconomic impacts of the yearly 50 billion remittances inflow is analysed according to remittance-developmental pluralist school of thought where the causes and the use of remittances are also considered. Though the results are not in all cases straightforward, Africa should promote and sustain the inflow of remittances as an alternative, non-debt generating source of financing development and strengthen the positive impact on economic growth, savings and investment, financial and human development, poverty and inequality reduction, and minimize/handle the negative consequences, like corruption, inflation, moral hazard, brain drain, Dutch disease
    Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, remittances, micro and macroeoconomic impacts
    JEL: F F
    Date: 2023–04
  14. By: Alexander De Juan; Paul Hofman; Carlo Koos
    Abstract: Aid beneficiaries know very little about development interventions in their own communities. This lack of transparency and information is likely to reduce beneficiaries' ability and willingness to become active in local development. It may also dampen intended aid effects on beneficiaries' political and social attitudes. Can targeted information campaigns strengthen beneficiaries' understanding of aid projects? We test the effects of two types of interventions: the provision of information only and the combination of information and feedback opportunities.
    Keywords: Development aid, Information, Fragile states, Randomized controlled trial
    Date: 2023
  15. By: Aziz, Sonia; Boyle, Kevin; Akanda, Ali S.; Hanifi, M.A.; Pakhtigian, Emily L.
    Abstract: In Bangladesh, cholera poses a significant health risk. Yet, information about the nature and severity of cholera risk is limited as risk varies over time and by location and changing weather patterns have made historical cholera risk predictions less reliable. In this paper, we examine how households use geographically and temporally personalized cholera risk predictions to inform their water use behaviors. Using data from an eight month field experiment, we estimate how access to a smartphone application containing monthly cholera risk predictions unique to a user’s home location affects households’ knowledge about their cholera risk as well as their water use practices. We find that households with access to this application feel more equipped to respond to environmental and health risks they may face and reduce their reliance on surface water for bathing and washing—a common cholera transmission pathway. We do not find that households invest additional resources into drinking water treatment, nor do we find reductions in self-reported cholera incidence. Access to dynamic risk information can help households make safer water choices; tailoring information provision to those at highest risk could reduce cholera transmission in endemic areas.
    Date: 2022–10–19
  16. By: Albert Ludi Angkawibawa; Jahen F. Rezki (Institute for Economic and Social Research, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia (LPEM FEB UI))
    Abstract: Leaders' qualities are an essential part of economic growth and policymaking. Nonetheless, in many cases, the information about leaders’ qualities and characteristics is limited. This study investigates and provides new information about leadership characteristics in Indonesia. We collect novel datasets from the curriculum vitae of local leaders (e.g., mayors, vice mayors, regents, and vice-regents) at districts in Indonesia to understand the leaders in Indonesia’s political environment. We ï¬ nd that most of the local leaders in Indonesia are male, highly educated, experienced, and had experience in bureaucracy. Our results suggest that Indonesia’s political system is still dominated by speciï¬ c groups and exclusive to certain groups. However, our study suggests that since it transitioned into a democratized country in 1998, the quality of elected leaders’ quality in Indonesia has improved. Nonetheless, it remains unclear whether these characteristics lead to better policy choices.
    Keywords: leaders' characteristics — political entry — political selection — Indonesia
    JEL: H1 H70 J45 P16
    Date: 2022
  17. By: Vieira, João Pedro; Dahis, Ricardo; Assunção, Juliano
    Abstract: We investigate the role of general deterrence in improving forest law enforcement in the Brazilian Amazon. Using a difference-in-differences strategy and novel farm-level data, we find that sanctions curbed deforestation and promoted reforestation among punished farmers and their neighbors. Heterogeneities reveal that even sanctions lacking incapacitation components lead to substantial behavioral changes and that farmers’ responsiveness to sanctions coincides with the government's commitment to enforcement. We find no evidence of significant strategic responses regarding spatial displacement or monitoring evasion. Overall, sanctions prevented 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions between 2006-2019, equivalent to 31% of US emissions in 2021.
    Date: 2023–04–19
  18. By: Elsayed, Ahmed (American University in Cairo); Shirshikova, Alina (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: We examine the effects of the large-scale construction of public universities in Egypt during the 1960s and 1970s. We found that opening a local university increased the likelihood of obtaining higher education degrees and had long-lasting positive effects on labor market and marriage outcomes, particularly for women. We give insights on internal migration as a channel and show that migration prior to university enrollment age decreased while migration after that age increased as an outcome of university construction. Local universities reduced men's migration for study and women's migration for early marriage. The paper highlights the importance of increasing access to higher education for positive social and labor outcomes, particularly for women.
    Keywords: umpowerment of women, universities, higher education, Egypt
    JEL: I21 I23 J22 J24 O15 O55
    Date: 2023–04
  19. By: Robert Akerlof (University of Warwick); Anik Ashraf (LMU Munich); Rocco Macchiavello (London School of Economics and Political Science); Atonu Rabbani (University of Dhaka)
    Abstract: Conflicts between management and workers are common and can have significant impacts on productivity. Combining ethnographic, survey and administrative records from a large Bangladeshi sweater factory, we study how workers responded to management’s decision to lay off about a quarter of the workers following a period of labor unrest. Our main finding is that the mass layoff resulted in a large and persistent reduction in the productivity of surviving workers. Moreover, it is specifically the firing of peers with whom workers likely had social connections - friends - that matters. Additional evidence on defect rates suggests a deliberate shading of performance by workers in order to punish the factory’s management.
    Keywords: layoffs; productivity; morale; relational contracts;
    JEL: J50 M50 O12
    Date: 2023–05–07
  20. By: Biggs, Trent; Caviglia-Harris, Jill; Rodrigues Ribeiro, Jime; Ottoni Santiago, Thaís; Sills, Erin; AP West, Thales; Mullan, Katrina
    Abstract: We estimate the amount of avoided deforestation due to the use of near-real-time satellite imagery (DETER) to support the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm), the conservation of indigenous and other protected areas, and compliance with the Brazilian Forest Code (FC). We develop a Directed Acyclical Graph (DAG) that outlines some of the econometric challenges that arise from the role of policy in the estimation of satellite data on deforestation and consider that policy could be a mediator and/or a moderator along this causal chain. We control for other policies that were introduced simultaneously with DETER, and allow for changes in the influences of prices, agricultural settlement, and forest conservation policies on deforestation after near-real-time monitoring was introduced. We find both direct impacts of DETER on deforestation, and indirect impacts via changes in the influences of commodity prices on deforestation. Our counterfactual estimates suggest that 652, 216 km2 of forest was saved from 2000 to 2015 in the Legal Amazon region due to the presence of satellites (43, 481 km2 per year). We estimate that avoided emissions amount to approximately 24 Pg CO2 during our study period. At the municipality level, standardized carbon emission reductions ranged from -1447 to 288, 611 Mg CO2 per km2.
    Date: 2022–10–19
  21. By: Jakob B. Madsen; Miethy Zaman
    Abstract: In this paper, we hypothesize that the prolonged wars in Latin America during most of the 19th century hindered human capital development and delayed economic progress well into the 20th century. Collecting novel data for the seven largest Latin American economies over the period 1820-2016, we show that the extraordinarily large share of military expenditure in total spending crowded out investment in education and R&D, which in turn had persistent effects on economic development.
    Keywords: military campaigns, education, economic development, crowding out, state capacity, Latin America
    JEL: I20 N54 O11 O30
    Date: 2023–05

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