New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒02‒09
seven papers chosen by

  1. Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries By UNICEF
  2. Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions By Rafael Lalive; Alejandra Cattaneo
  3. CES Function, Generalized Mean and Human Poverty Index: Exploring Some Links By Pillai N, Vijayamohanan
  5. Do Poverty Reduction Strategies Help Achieve The Millennium Development Goals? By Eggen, Andrea; Bezemer, Dirk
  6. Problem- and policy-analyis for human development: Sen in the light of Dewey, Myrdal, Streeten, Stretton and Haq. By Des Gasper
  7. Debating Targeting Methods for Cash Transfers: A Multidimensional Index vs. an Income Proxy for Paraguay?s Tekoporã Programme By Rafael Perez Ribas; Guilherme Issamu Hirata; Fabio Veras Soares

  1. By: UNICEF
    Abstract: This report builds and expands upon the analyses of Report Card No. 6 which considered relative income poverty affecting children and policies to mitigate it. Report Card 7 provides a pioneering, comprehensive picture of child well being through the consideration of six dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, subjective well-being, behaviours and lifestyles informed by the Convention on the rights of the child and relevant academic literature.
    Keywords: child education; child health; child poverty; child safety; child welfare; children's opinion; industrialized countries; right to adequate standard of living;; OECD Countries;
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Rafael Lalive; Alejandra Cattaneo
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to study whether schooling choices are affected by social interactions. Such social interactions may be important because children enjoy spending time with other children or parents learn from other parents about the ability of their children. Identification is based on a randomized intervention that grants a cash subsidy encouraging school attendance among a sub-group of eligible children within small rural villages in Mexico. Results indicate that (i) the eligible children tend to attend school more frequently, (ii) but also the ineligible children acquire more schooling when the subsidy is introduced in their local village, (iii) social interactions are economically important, and (iv) they may arise due to changes in parents’ perception of their children’s ability.
    Keywords: peer effects, schooling, field experiment, PROGRESA.
    JEL: C93 I21 I28
    Date: 2006–08
  3. By: Pillai N, Vijayamohanan
    Abstract: The Sennian capability approach has facilitated to capture poverty in its multi-dimensional incidence and thus to raise a new aggregate poverty index – the UNDP’s Human Poverty Index (HPI). The UNDP has found power mean of order  > 1 as possessing some of the most desirable properties in describing the distribution of deprivation dimensions and hence as the most appropriate aggregate index of multi-dimensional deprivation. The UNDP elevates power mean of order  > 1 (PM) in comparison with arithmetic mean (AM) commonly used for averaging, leaving out others. It would hence be worthwhile to look into the links among the means, both the known and the potential ones, and their strengths and weaknesses in terms of their properties in comparison with each other. The present paper is a preliminary attempt at this. We find that the means we commonly use, the AM, the geometric mean (GM) and the harmonic mean (HM), along with the PM, are special cases of the CES function. We acknowledge the possibility of an inverse CES function, and hence, that of an inverse power mean (IPM) also. Among these means, the AM is an average, typical of all the components, but its infinite elasticity of substitution renders it less desirable. To the extent that we need an average typical of the components, we seek for one that is closer to the AM, so that this second best choice will have the minimum deviations next to the AM. And we find this basic criterion is satisfied by the IPM only. Hence, while the PM captures the multi-dimensional deprivation, its inverse, the IPM, seems to offer a multi-dimensional development index.
    Keywords: Generalised mean; CES function; Human Poverty Index; Deprivation; development.
    JEL: C43 I3
    Date: 2008–02–01
  4. By: Pillai N., Vijayamohanan
    Abstract: Kerala has a high status in infrastructure development in India and her experiences in social infrastructure development rank her one among many developed countries. This study seeks to analyse the development experiences of Kerala, and to examine what worked behind these experiences. A proposition of a ‘chain interaction’ between human development and economic growth is suggested whereby the human development Kerala had achieved by means of infrastructure development propelled economic growth (in terms of consumption expenditure) which in turn has led to further human development. Another proposition on an ‘invisible hand’ a la Adam Smith that translates disparate, individual self-interests into coherent social interest also is put up in explaining the development experiences of Kerala. Both these propositions are statistically verified using some innovations in the interpretations of the results and in the methodology of Markov chain (‘Markov chain causality’). An attempt is also made to correlate quality and freedom in the context of infrastructure development. Defining development in its truest sense in terms of a duality of availability (including accessibility) and quality, we argue that Kerala has in the field of infrastructure achieved only what we call quasi-capability (or q-capability) enhancement, and she is yet to strive for the true development or the freedom from quasi-freedom.
    Keywords: Infrastructure; Growth; Human development; Kerala; quality
    JEL: H0 I0 O15
    Date: 2008–02–05
  5. By: Eggen, Andrea; Bezemer, Dirk
    Abstract: This paper examines the partnership in development policies between the World Bank/IMF and the United Nations. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are instruments used by the Washington institutions to achieve the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) initiated by the UN. We review and interpret the genesis and development of MDGs and PRSPs in this perspective, and examine their institutional connections. The analytical aim of the paper is to conduct the first investigation in the literature of the impact of PRSP features on progress in achieving the MDGs. We introduce a unique dataset of PRSP indicators and match these to MDG data on MDG indicators. We find robust effects of PRSP features on the youth literacy, women’s employment and child mortality indicators. The quantitative evidence suggests that PRSPs appear to become more effective over time, and that more focused PRSPs, more participatory PRSP formulation, and better proposed policy actions may enhance their effectiveness in achieving MDGs. We discuss these findings in the context of other PRSP assessments in the literature and propose future research avenues
    Keywords: Development Policies; Millenium Development Goals
    JEL: O19 O21
    Date: 2007–01
  6. By: Des Gasper
    Abstract: Much of Amartya Sen�s work has been directly policy-related, but his methodology of policy analysis has not been explained in detail. Action-related social science involves value-imbued procedures that guide the numerous unavoidable choices. This theme was explored earlier by authors close to Sen�s milieu such as Streeten and Stretton, and by forerunners including Dewey and Myrdal. Assisted by Jean Dr�ze, Sen has evolved a form of policy analysis guided by humanist values rather than those of mainstream economics. Features of the methodology include: 1) A wider range of values employed in valuation, with central attention to: how do and can people live? 2) Conceptual investigation of the wider range of values. 3) Use of the wider range of values to guide choice of topics and boundaries of analysis. 4) Hence a focus on human realities, not on an arbitrary slice of reality selected according to commercial significance and convenience for measurement. 5) Use of the wider range of values to guide other decisions in analysis; thus a focus on the socio-economic significance of results. 6) A matching focus on a wide range of potential policy means. The paper characterizes Sen�s policy analysis methodology, its roots in earlier work, and its relations to the UNDP Human Development approach and kindred approaches.
    Keywords: policy analysis, human development, entitlements approach, capability approach
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Rafael Perez Ribas (International Poverty Centre); Guilherme Issamu Hirata (International Poverty Centre); Fabio Veras Soares (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: There is a lively global debate on how to target beneficiaries of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes. In this Evaluation Note we analyze alternative targeting methods for Paraguay?s CCT programme, Tekoporã. The major practical choice for Paraguay is between a multidimensional quality-of-life index and a proxy-means test for income. We focus on the efficiency and efficacy of these approaches by examining primarily the trade-off between leakage and coverage. Tekoporã is a CCT programme that is being scaled up in Paraguay. Like other recent CCT programmes, it was designed in the context of a national strategy for combating poverty, as part of the general effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Its pilot started in August 2005, covering 4,500 households in five districts of two departments. Tekoporã is gradually expanding and intends to cover 35 districts by 2008. These districts were selected from the pool of 66 districts that had been judged to have the most vulnerable populations, according to a scoring system based on a Geographical Prioritization Index (IPG). Tekoporã?s objective is to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by means of the cash transfer and follow-up activities for beneficiary households. This follow-up consists of the monitoring of co-responsibilities (between beneficiaries and the programme) with regard to the supply and use of health and education facilities and the development of related family-support activities. (...)
    Keywords: Debating Targeting Methods for Cash Transfers: A Multidimensional Index vs. an Income Proxy for Paraguay?s Tekoporã Programme
    Date: 2008–01

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