nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒07‒31
seven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Armed Conflict and Early Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Cameroon's Anglophone Conflict By Hector Galindo-Silva; Guy Tchuente
  2. Agricultural Shocks and Conflict in the Short- and Long-Term: Evidence from Desert Locust Swarms By Biscaye, Pierre
  3. Industrial versus artisanal mining: The effects on local employment in Liberia By Melanie Gräser
  4. The Impact of Formalization Assistance on Informality: Experimental evidence from Colombian mines By Saavedra, S
  5. The illusion of stable fertility preferences. By Müller, Maximilian W; Hamory, Joan; Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer; Miguel, Edward
  6. Local Labor Market Effects of Mergers and Acquisitions in Developing Countries: Evidence from Brazil By Vitor Costa
  7. Labor Market Competition and Attitudes toward Immigrants: New Evidence from Asia By Lee, Zeewan; Fong, Joelle H.

  1. By: Hector Galindo-Silva; Guy Tchuente
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon on human capital accumulation. Using high-quality individual-level data on test scores and information on conflict-related violent events, a difference-in-differences design is employed to estimate the conflict's causal effects. The results show that an increase in violent events and conflict-related deaths causes a significant decline in test scores in reading and mathematics. The conflict also leads to higher rates of teacher absenteeism and reduced access to electricity in schools. These findings highlight the adverse consequences of conflict-related violence on human capital accumulation, particularly within the Anglophone subsystem. The study emphasizes the disproportionate burden faced by Anglophone pupils due to language-rooted tensions and segregated educational systems.
    Date: 2023–06
  2. By: Biscaye, Pierre
    Abstract: This paper tests the importance of changes in opportunity costs related to agriculture on the risk of violent conflict using data on locust swarms and conflict collapsed to annual 0.25 (approx. 28km2) grid cell observations across Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The identification exploits exogenous local variation in locust swarm exposure driven by patterns in swarm movements together with weather controls and grid cell and country-by-year fixed effects to identify causal impacts of these agricultural shocks. Locust swarms decrease the likelihood of violent conflict event in a given year by around 20%. Effects are driven by areas with crop and pasture land, and there is no evidence of conflict spillovers to nearby areas. The impacts are largest for swarms that arrive in the off-season or planting season for major crops, based on national crop calendars, and the patterns are not consistent with effects on conflict driven by changes in conflict opportunity costs related to agriculture. This points to the availability of non-agricultural livelihood opportunities and to alternative factors such as psychological impacts and relief efforts less often discussed in this literature as crucial in determining whether an agricultural shock increases conflict risk. In contrast to short term negative effects on conflict, cells affected by the 2003-2005 major desert locust upsurge were 62% more likely to experience any conflict in a given year afterward.Absolute impacts are increasing over time alongside a general increase in conflict in the sample countries, suggesting affected areas are made vulnerable to future shocks which precipitate conflict.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Risk and Uncertainty
    Date: 2023–07
  3. By: Melanie Gräser (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: Using novel data on industrial, semi-industrial, and artisanal mining, this paper analyses the impact of different mining types on employment outcomes for individuals living close to mines in Liberia. The econometric strategy exploits the temporal variation in mine openings and closings and the spatial variation in mine locations in a difference-in-difference analysis. Primary data collected through qualitative interviews at mining sites explains the mechanisms behind the econometric results. The findings provide the first causal evidence on employment effects of a boom-and-bust cycle of artisanal mining. A boom seems to shift employment from subsistence agriculture to more productive sectors and a bust decreases the likelihood for individuals to work. In contrast, the opening of industrial gold mines seems to decrease employment in more productive sectors and increase employment in agriculture, while industrial iron ore mines have no effect. This paper shows that benefits of mining for the local population depend on the type of mining, the commodities mined, and the local boom-bust cycle of mining.
    Keywords: Natural resources, extractive industries, Liberia, industrial mining, artisanal mining
    JEL: J21 L72 O13 O55 O14 Q32 Q33
    Date: 2023–07
  4. By: Saavedra, S
    Abstract: More than 60% of global employees work in the informal economy. One of the reasons that firms remain in informality is the length and cost of the formalization process. I explore whether assisting in the formalization process could reduce informality in the mining sector in Colombia. The study is a randomized control trial with informal coal and gold mines. After two years of treatment, the formalization assistance treatment did not increase formalization rates, and attrition was high. However, the treatment increased miners’ income but not expenses, suggesting the miners are saving more, possibly for the titling costs. The high attrition and unsuccessful treatment highlight the difficulties of formalizing the mining sector.
    Keywords: Formalization; Mining; Colombia
    JEL: E26 L72 O17
    Date: 2023–07–13
  5. By: Müller, Maximilian W; Hamory, Joan; Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer; Miguel, Edward
    Abstract: Fertility preferences have long played a key role in models of fertility differentials and change. We examine the stability of preferences over time using rich panel data on Kenyan women's fertility desires, expectations, actual fertility, and recall of desires in three waves over a nine-year period, when respondents were in their 20s. We find that although desired fertility is quite unstable, most women perceive their desires to be stable. Under hypothetical future scenarios, few expect their desired fertility to increase over time but, in fact, such increases in fertility desires are common. Moreover, when asked to recall past desires, most respondents report previously wanting exactly as many children as they desire today. These patterns of bias are consistent with the emerging view that fertility desires are contextual, emotionally laden, and structured by identity.
    Keywords: Humans, Illusions, Fertility, Child, Kenya, Female, fertility preferences, panel data, recall, stability of preferences, Contraception/Reproduction, Demography
    Date: 2022–07–01
  6. By: Vitor Costa
    Abstract: I use matched employer-employee records merged with corporate tax information from 2003 to 2017 to estimate labor market-wide effects of mergers and acquisitions in Brazil. Labor markets are defined by pairs of commuting zone and industry sector. In the following year of a merger, market size falls by 10.8%. The employment adjustment is concentrated in merging firms. For the firms not involved in M&As, I estimate a 1.07% decline in workers earnings and a positive, although not significant, increase in their size. Most mergers have a predicted impact of zero points in concentration, measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI). I spillover firms, earnings decline similarly for mergers with high and low predicted changes in HHI. Contrary to the recent literature on market concentration in developed economies, I find no evidence of oligopsonistic behavior in Brazilian labor markets.
    Date: 2023–06
  7. By: Lee, Zeewan; Fong, Joelle H.
    Abstract: Immigrants in a destination country both alter the prospects of economic development and influence the livelihood of natives. Using data from 10 Asian countries in the 2018-2020 World Value Survey (WVS), we provide new evidence regarding the impact of skill-driven labor market competition on natives’ attitudes toward immigrants. Linking information on occupation-specific human capital accumulation from O*NET to WVS, we explore granular dimensions of natives’ skills and their implications for labor market competition and vulnerability. To account for the possibility of reverse causality (selection in natives’ occupational choices resulting from natives’ inherent preferences toward immigrants), we run the two-stage instrumental variable estimator adopting the control function approach. Holding educational levels constant, we find that natives with greater manual skills and fewer communication skills are more likely to be pro-immigration. We also find that the links between manual skills and attitudes are driven primarily by the level of flexibility in natives’ skills, while the negative impacts of communication skills are driven by natives’ writing abilities. Our results offer important insights for policymakers in Asia to establish nuanced immigration policies and skill-development programs that account for their impacts on intergroup labor market competition and social cohesion.
    Keywords: attitudes, immigration, labor market competition, skills, human capital accumulation, control function approach
    JEL: F66 F68 J61 J68
    Date: 2023

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