nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2023‒10‒16
eleven papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan, Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Farm size and income distribution of Latin American agriculture: new perspectives on an old issue By Gáfaro, Margarita; Ibáñez, Ana María; Sánchez Ordóñez, Daniel; Ortiz, María Camila
  2. Contracting Out Schools at Scale: Evidence from Pakistan By Lee Crawfurd; Abdullah Alam
  3. Assessing the macroeconomic impact of weather shocks in Colombia By Jose Vicente Romero; Sara Naranjo-Saldarriaga; Jonathan Alexander Munoz
  4. The effect of wage subsidies on job retention in a developing country: Evidence from South Africa By Timothy Köhler; Haroon Bhorat; Robert Hill
  5. Subsidies, information, and energy-efficient cookstove adoption: A randomized uncontrolled trial in rural Ethiopia By Malan, Mandy; Voors, Marten; Ankel-Peters, Jörg; Seje, Selan J.; Heuburger, Lotte; Seid, Dawud; Mitiku, Abiyot
  6. Cash Transfers and Social Preferences of Children By Johannes Haushofer; Magdalena Larreboure; Sara Lowes; Leon Mait
  7. Taxation and accountability in sub-Saharan Africa By Roel Dom; Oliver Morrissey; Abrams M.E. Tagem
  8. Does Social Identity Constrain Rural Entrepreneurship? The Role of Financial Inclusion By Sandhya Garg; Samarth Gupta; Sushanta Mallick
  9. The digital divide in rural Ethiopia: Determinants and implications of sex-disaggregated mobile phone ownership and use By Warner, James; Mekonnen, Yalew; Habte, Yetimwork
  10. Can Digital G2P Transfers Drive Financial Inclusion and Digital Payments? Evidence from India By Alan Gelb; Anit Mukherjee; Brian Webster
  11. Environmental Protection and Labor Market Composition By Jaiswal, Sreeja; Balietti, Anca; Schäffer, Daniel

  1. By: Gáfaro, Margarita; Ibáñez, Ana María; Sánchez Ordóñez, Daniel; Ortiz, María Camila
    Abstract: Latin American and Caribbean countries have historically been known for their rates of land inequality, highest in the world. However, these countries also exhibit a high degree of heterogeneity in their patterns of land concentration and average farm sizes. These cross-country differences play a determining role in productivity of farms and the distribution of agricultural income. Constructing a new data-set matching agricultural census and household survey data, we provide suggestive evidence on the positive relationship between farm size and farm income and wages. We identify the prevalence of small farms and the resulting low agricultural incomes as an important mechanism contributing to high income inequality in agricultural regions. Low labor productivity in small farms appears as a key explanatory factor.
    JEL: N0 R14 J01
    Date: 2023–09–01
  2. By: Lee Crawfurd (Center for Global Development); Abdullah Alam (Institute for Social and Policy Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan)
    Abstract: Can governments contract out school management at scale? In 2016 the Government of Punjab transferred management of over 4, 000 failing primary schools to private operators. Schools remained free to students. Private operators received a government subsidy per enrolled student of less than half per-student spending in government schools. This paper evaluates the effects on performance of converted schools. Comparing early converters to later converters, we estimate that enrolment in treated schools increased by over 60 percent, and test scores declined sharply.
    Keywords: Charter schools, difference-in-difference, Pakistan, PPPs, public-private partnerships
    JEL: I25 O15
    Date: 2022–09–06
  3. By: Jose Vicente Romero (Banco de la Republica); Sara Naranjo-Saldarriaga (Banco de la Republica); Jonathan Alexander Munoz (Banco de la Republica)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the impact of adverse weather shocks on Colombian economic activity, with a particular emphasis on the effects on agricultural output, food and headline inflation. Existing literature and empirical evidence suggest that adverse weather shocks, such as those related to the El Nino event in 2015-2016, lead to decreases in agricultural output and increases in inflation without significantly affecting total GDP growth. To further assess this result, we evaluate the impact of ENSO fluctuations using a BVAR-X model. Based on these findings, we propose a small open economy New Keynesian model that introduces a novel channel through which relative prices (agricultural vs. non-agricultural) are affected by weather shocks, allowing us to incorporate this empirical evidence into a structural model for Colombia.
    Keywords: Weather shocks; El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO); Small Open Economy New Keynesian Models
    JEL: Q54 E52 E31
    Date: 2023–09–14
  4. By: Timothy Köhler; Haroon Bhorat; Robert Hill
    Abstract: Wage subsidies served as a dominant labour market policy response around the world to mitigate job losses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no causal evidence of their effects exists for developing countries. We use unique panel labour force survey data and exploit a temporary institutional eligibility detail to estimate the causal effects of such a policy—the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS)—on job retention among formal private sector employees in South Africa.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Wage subsidy, South Africa, Labour market
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Malan, Mandy; Voors, Marten; Ankel-Peters, Jörg; Seje, Selan J.; Heuburger, Lotte; Seid, Dawud; Mitiku, Abiyot
    Abstract: Energy-efficient biomass cookstoves (EEBC) are an important technology for the three billion people relying on firewood and charcoal for cooking in the Global South. This paper assesses the price-responsiveness of demand for EEBC and the role of information about health and economic benefits. The pilot program under evaluation randomized different subsidy schemes (40%, 70%, and 100% subsidy) and information treatments across 292 Ethiopian villages. Unlike previous willingness-to-pay studies we examine a take-it-orleave-it approach in an uncontrolled and hence natural setting. We observe that EEBC demand is highly price-sensitive: There is virtually no EEBC uptake in the no-subsidy group, irrespective of which information households received. Yet, uptake increases considerably for households who received a high subsidy (70% or a 100%). Adding information on economic benefits nearly doubles uptake when coupled with such high subsidies. Our results confirm the emerging picture in the literature suggesting that subsidization for EEBC is required to foster widespread adoption.
    Keywords: Household technology adoption, biomass consumption, randomized controlled trial, humanitarian assistance, environmental degradation
    JEL: C93 O12 O13 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Johannes Haushofer; Magdalena Larreboure; Sara Lowes; Leon Mait
    Abstract: We study the effects of an unconditional cash transfer program on social preferences of children. The program allocated $1, 076 to randomly selected households in rural Kenya. We measure the social preferences of 4, 022 children from 1, 687 households with survey questions and incentivized behavioral games three years after the intervention. We distinguish between the direct effects on children of recipient households and the spillover effects on children of neighboring households. We do not find consistent evidence that children from treatment and spillover groups are more or less prosocial than children from the control group. Additionally, we find no persistent economic effects of the program. We find some evidence of reduced psychological well-being among adults and children in spillover households.
    JEL: C92 C93 D31 I38 O12
    Date: 2023–09
  7. By: Roel Dom; Oliver Morrissey; Abrams M.E. Tagem
    Abstract: Taxation can contribute to state-building through a tax bargain in which taxpayers are willing to increase compliance in return for improved government accountability. There is limited evidence for this in sub-Saharan Africa where it is argued that the fiscal state is weak, with low tax revenues and governments that are not accountable. However, since the early 2000s, sub-Saharan African countries on average have increased tax/gross domestic product ratios significantly and there have also been increases in measures of accountability.
    Keywords: Tax revenue, Accountability, Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Sandhya Garg; Samarth Gupta; Sushanta Mallick (Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether better financial access can mitigate the impact of social identity on entrepreneurship. Using a novel dataset of Indian villages and distance to bank branches, we find that proximity to a bank branch improves non-agricultural entrepreneurship of underprivileged caste groups in India, with a significant entry occurring in sectors which were dominated by the privileged caste groups. We find that this effect is mediated by the uptake of institutional credit by under-privileged groups. Our results show that the financial inclusion can break rigid social norms around caste and occupation in India.
    Date: 2023
  9. By: Warner, James; Mekonnen, Yalew; Habte, Yetimwork
    Abstract: Mobile phones are rapidly being adopted in less developed countries, with widely acknowledged commensurate socio-economic benefits, including United Nations SDGs advocating for increased ownership of mobile phones to promote women’s empowerment. While overall mobile phone ownership is rising quickly in Ethiopia, it is lagging for rural women, particularly married rural women. Overall, we find that married men are approximately five times more likely to own a phone than their wives even though married women with phones are more active in agricultural decision making. This lack of female mobile phone ownership should be considered within the broader context of several recent Ethiopian digital initiatives, including mobile banking and mobile payments. These initiatives are likely to provide greater benefits to those individuals that own a mobile phone. By applying gender analysis to phone ownership, we believe that we can anticipate some potentially unexpected negative consequences for women created by these mobile phone initiatives. This paper outlines current rural sex-disaggregated phone ownership trends, determinants of phone ownership, and related impacts on intrahousehold decision making. We believe that by identifying these gender differences in mobile phone ownership, policymakers can better target their digital economy initiatives.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; mobile phones; developing countries; socioeconomic development; women's empowerment; rural areas; women; gender; marriage; agriculture; technological innovation; Sustainable Development Goals; intrahousehold decision making; rural households
    Date: 2023
  10. By: Alan Gelb (Center for Global Development); Anit Mukherjee (Center for Global Development); Brian Webster (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: Does channeling government-to-person (G2P) payments through bank accounts encourage financial inclusion and use? This paper explores the factors that have driven the adoption of digital payments in India by beneficiaries of PMGKY, the large-scale COVID-19 relief program launched in May 2020. India’s 2013 move to pay social benefits through direct transfers into bank accounts significantly increased account ownership, but uptake of digital payments has been slower, although it has accelerated more recently through smartphone-based apps. Recipient survey data shows that personal and household attributes influence the likelihood of adopting digital payments. Smartphone ownership and digital literacy improve the odds while being a woman reduces them. The strength of the local digital payments ecosystem also exerts significant influence on household adoption; favorable personal and ecosystem factors are needed for widespread use. The historical progression shows that G2P transfers create an entry point but that widespread access to low-cost mobile telecommunications, interoperability, and the entry of new players offering convenient payments interfaces have been vital to the growth of digital payments.
    Keywords: digital, payments, India
    JEL: G20 G53 O10 O16 O33 O35
    Date: 2022–06–09
  11. By: Jaiswal, Sreeja; Balietti, Anca; Schäffer, Daniel
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term impacts of protected area management on the labor market participation and composition of the affected population. We study changes spanning two decades in the Western Ghats region of India, one of the key global biodiversity hotspots with the highest population density. Our findings indicate a noteworthy shift toward non-farm employment. Additionally, our research unveils a marked trend towards irregular income patterns: eco-development initiatives appear to have resulted in a significant decline in year-round employment coupled with a corresponding rise in employment for less than six months a year. The primary mechanism we identify is a distinct change in land use patterns, whereby villages under the scope of eco-development initiatives manifest a substantial transition from irrigated to rainfed agricultural land, known to be conducive to seasonal employment. Following these changes, lower consumption levels and higher poverty rates persist in the affected population compared to surrounding areas.
    Keywords: environmental protection; labor market participation; labor composition; land use changes
    Date: 2023–09–22

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