nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒08‒28
ten papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan, Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Local Economic Growth and Infant Mortality By Andreas Kammerlander; Günther G. Schulze
  2. Violent instability and modern contraception: Evidence from Mali By Orsola Torrisi
  3. Manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Deindustrialisation or a Renaissance? By François Steenkamp; Haroon Bhorat; Zaakhir Asmal; Christopher Rooney
  4. Place-Based Energy Inequality for Ethnicities in Nepal By Rabindra Nepal; Rohan Best; Madeline Taylor
  5. Forest Protection and Human Health: The Case of Malaria in the Brazilian Amazon By Karpavicius, Luiza; Chimeli, Ariaster
  6. Neglected forces of fertility variation in sub-Saharan Africa: the role of marital dissolution and repartnering By Ben Malinga John
  7. Inequality and Poverty in India: Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Policy Response By Ms. Elif C Arbatli Saxegaard; Mattia Coppo; Nasser Khalil; Shinya Kotera; Ms. Filiz D Unsal
  8. Can Cash Transfers to the Unemployed Support Economic Activity? Evidence from South Africa By Haroon Bhorat; Timothy Köhler; David de Villiers
  9. Educational expansion and class mobility trends in Brazil By Costa Ribeiro, Carlos A.
  10. Why Is the Roy-Borjas Model Unable to Predict International Migrant Selection on Education? Evidence from Urban and Rural Mexico By Leopold, Stefan; Ruhose, Jens; Wiederhold, Simon

  1. By: Andreas Kammerlander; Günther G. Schulze (Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg)
    Abstract: We show, for the rst time, a causal eect of local economic growth on infant mortality. We use geo-referenced data for non-migrating mothers from 46 developing countries and 128 DHS survey rounds and combine it with nighttime luminosity data at a granular level. Using mother xed eects we show that an increase in local economic activity signicantly reduces the probability that the same mother loses a further child before its first birthday.
    Keywords: local economic growth, child mortality, nighttime lights
    JEL: I15 O18
    Date: 2021–09
  2. By: Orsola Torrisi (New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD)/London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE))
    Abstract: This study examines the consequences of armed violence on sexual and reproductive health in Mali, a country where modern contraceptive use (MCU) is low and a violent insurrection has been ongoing since 2012. I combine data from the 2006 and 2018 Demographic and Health Surveys with information on conflict events location and exploit spatial and temporal variation in violence intensity to investigate changes in women’s and men’s MCU associated with the insurrection. Results indicate that conflict violence is associated with reductions in MCU, particularly short-acting methods. Further, the insurrection is linked to increases in current unwanted pregnancies and women’s intention to use contraception. Analyses of potential mechanisms suggest that, for women, the slowdown in MCU can be partially attributed to diminished knowledge about where to obtain contraception. For men, the insurrection is simultaneously related to a downward shift in fertility preferences and an upward shift in sexual activity, perhaps also signalling some ‘supply-side’ unmet needs for male-controlled methods. Findings further suggest that where violence was most intense, the conflict undermined women’s reproductive autonomy. Provision of modern contraception remains a priority in humanitarian settings. To be meaningful, interventions should consider both women’s and men’s needs and integrate a gender perspective into their design.
    Keywords: Armed conflict, sexual and reproductive health, modern contraception, Mali, SahelSahara
    Date: 2023–07
  3. By: François Steenkamp; Haroon Bhorat; Zaakhir Asmal; Christopher Rooney (Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Past empirical evidence suggests that industrialisation is key to a country’s development trajectory. In SubSaharan Africa (SSA) a narrative has emerged that suggests the region has experienced premature deindustrialization (Rodrik, 2016). However, this narrative has been challenged in recent studies by Kruse, Mensah, Sen & de Vries (2022) and Nguimkeu & Zeufack (2019) who find evidence of a manufacturing renaissance in SSA. The comparability of these conflicting studies is limited due to differing country samples, estimation techniques, econometric specifications and time periods. In this study, we reconcile these conflicting results by using a common dataset over a defined period, 1990-2018, using two estimators and model specifications applied in the literature, to allow us to test whether the premature deindustrialization thesis is model dependent and time-specific. Our study finds that SSA’s manufacturing sector has experienced deindustrialisation, or at best remained stagnant, over the 2000s aand 2010s – thus confirming the more pessimistic Rodrik (2016) view of premature deindustrialisation in SSA. The implications of our results suggest that SSA countries may be required to seek alternative growth pathways to structurally transform their economies. More generally, our findings suggest that replicating the industrialisation experience of other regions is difficult. Not only is a detailed understanding of the factors which led to regions industrialising required, but a coherent implementation of policies for countries trying to replicate that success is necessary as well.
    Keywords: Industrialisation, Manufacturing, Structural change, Africa
    JEL: O14 L16 N17 N67
    Date: 2023–04
  4. By: Rabindra Nepal; Rohan Best; Madeline Taylor
    Abstract: This paper assesses ethnic differences for four energy outcomes using a survey of 6, 000 households in Nepal. These four outcomes are avoiding open wick lamps, having a solar lighting system, living in a neighbourhood with street lighting, and having a connection to the national grid. We find large differences across ethnic groups, with the Madhesi group having distinct energy outcomes, for each of the four dimensions. However, progressively more detailed locational variables explain much of the difference. Our interactive analysis then suggests that some of the remaining variation is explained by socioeconomic variables of having a financial account, school attendance, or membership of a women’s group. However, ethnic inequality for the most place-based outcome, of living in an area with street lighting, is not reduced by education or women’s group membership. Our results therefore suggest that ethnic inequality in place-based energy outcomes may not be addressed by policies promoting education and community group participation. Policies to increase the proportions of households with access to financial accounts may have broader effectiveness in reducing ethnic energy inequality across many energy dimensions.
    Keywords: ethnicity, financial account, grid, open wick lamp, solar lighting system, street light
    JEL: D14 O13 Q40 Q53
    Date: 2023–07
  5. By: Karpavicius, Luiza (Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University (ENVS/AU)); Chimeli, Ariaster (Departamento de Economia, Universidade de São Paulo)
    Abstract: Ecosystem degradation and contact with wildlife is often linked to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and malaria, a major cause of death and incapacitation worldwide. This paper investigates a quasi-experiment involving two forest protection policies for the Brazilian Amazon region and their consequences to malaria incidence. The first inadvertently increased forest degradation in part of the Amazon, whereas the second curbed deforestation in the entire region. Using actual malaria case data distributed across space and over 17 years, we estimate the causal link between deforestation and malaria. The results imply that effective forest protection reduced malaria incidence by over 50%.
    Keywords: Malaria; deforestation; forest protection policies
    JEL: D04 I18 Q23 Q56 Q57 Q58
    Date: 2023–08–05
  6. By: Ben Malinga John (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Union dissolution and repartnering are fundamental features of nuptiality regimes in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, they are greatly overlooked in the discourse of macro fertility developments in this region. This paper addresses this gap. Theoretically, the paper argues for a modified conceptual framework linking union dissolution, repartnering and fertility that emphasizes adaptation mechanisms as a central pathway through which union dissolution and repartnering affect fertility. Empirically, the paper uses Demographic Health Survey data to examine: (i) the macro-level relationship between union dissolution and repartnering rates with fertility, (ii) the contribution of union dissolution and repartnering rates to cross-country fertility variation, and (iii) the influence of union dissolution and repartnering on the pace of fertility decline. The results revealed that union dissolution and repartnering dynamics are important forces of fertility variation in SSA. Higher union dissolution rates are associated with lower fertility, and country heterogeneity in union dissolution and repartnering rates account for 9.0% of cross-country fertility differences. Furthermore, it is found that union dissolution and repartnering dynamics mostly slowed the pace of fertility decline. These findings call for a new research agenda for integrating union dissolution and repartnering dynamics in the discourse of union-fertility nexus and fertility variation in SSA and beyond.
    Keywords: Germany/GDR, cohort fertility, dissolution of marriage, fertility decline, remarriage
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Ms. Elif C Arbatli Saxegaard; Mattia Coppo; Nasser Khalil; Shinya Kotera; Ms. Filiz D Unsal
    Abstract: Using microdata from nationally representative household and labor force surveys, we study the impact and drivers of poverty and inequality in India during the pandemic. We have three main findings. First, India has made significant progress in reducing poverty in recent decades, but the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have temporarily increased poverty and inequality. Second, education and employment status seem to be the main factors associated with poverty and income/consumption changes. Finally, the government’s expansion of food subsidies has likely played a significant role in mitigating the increase in poverty during the pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19; poverty; inequality; earnings; India
    Date: 2023–07–14
  8. By: Haroon Bhorat; Timothy Köhler; David de Villiers (Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town)
    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 robust evidence 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: cash transfers; labour market; South Africa; COVID-19; difference-in-differences
    JEL: D04 D31 C54 H53 J48 J68
    Date: 2023–03
  9. By: Costa Ribeiro, Carlos A.
    Abstract: This paper examines trends in intergenerational class mobility for six birth cohorts of individuals born between 1921 and 1981, observed in surveys carried out in 1973, 1982, 1988, 1996 and 2014. Besides analysing the variation of trends on the basis of three temporal dimensions —age, birth cohort and survey year— the paper determines the effects of educational attainment on intergenerational mobility. The analysis reveals a historical trend of increasing social mobility across birth cohorts in Brazil. The effects of educational attainment are determined by three mechanisms: educational expansion, equality of educational opportunities and returns to education. While educational expansion is the main mechanism responsible for increasing mobility among the three younger cohorts of persons born between 1951 and 1981, the other two mechanisms play minor roles. In the period under review, the origin-destination class association, net of educational attainment, also declined and contributed to the increasing intergenerational mobility trend. Nevertheless, the expansion of higher education is the main reason for the increase in social mobility. This paper also examines racial disparities in intergenerational mobility. Despite the impressive educational expansion and increased mobility opportunities observed overall, the racial gap in intergenerational mobility opportunities does not change over time, with black people facing a greater probability of downward mobility.
    Date: 2023–07–19
  10. By: Leopold, Stefan (University of Kiel); Ruhose, Jens (University of Kiel); Wiederhold, Simon (IWH Halle)
    Abstract: The Roy-Borjas model predicts that international migrants are less educated than nonmigrants because the returns to education are generally higher in developing (migrant-sending) than in developed (migrant-receiving) countries. However, empirical evidence often shows the opposite. Using the case of Mexico-U.S. migration, we show that this inconsistency between predictions and empirical evidence can be resolved when the human capital of migrants is assessed using a two-dimensional measure of occupational skills rather than by educational attainment. Thus, focusing on a single skill dimension when investigating migrant selection can lead to misleading conclusions about the underlying economic incentives and behavioral models of migration.
    Keywords: international migration, selection, occupational skills, education
    JEL: F22 O15 J61 J24
    Date: 2023–07

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