» Archive for: February, 2014

RobertWe analyse various pathways through which access to electricity affects fertility in Indonesia, using a district pseudo-panel covering the period 1993-2010. Identification of causal effects relies on a district-fixed effects approach and controlling for local economic development. The electrification rate increased by about 65 percent over the study period and our results suggest that the subsequent effects on fertility account for about 18 to 24 percent of the overall decline in the fertility rate, depending on the specification. A key channel through which electrification affects fertility relates to increased exposure to TV.  Using in addition several waves of Demographic and Health Surveys we find suggestive evidence that increased exposure to TV affects in particular fertility preferences and increases the effective use of contraception. Moreover, reduced child mortality seems to be another important pathway linking access to electricity and fertility. We find no evidence that changes to direct and indirect costs of children play a role. Overall, the results suggest that the expansion of the electricity grid contributes substantially to the fertility decline. In a context in which family planning policy still plays an important role and in which the societal objective is to further reduce the birth rate, these benefits need to be taken into account when costs of electrification are compared to its benefits.

From: 11 March 2014 16:00
Till:    11 March 2014 17:00

Room: 4.42

Robert Sparrow is a Fellow with the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy of the Australian National University. He obtained a PhD in Economics from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute in 2006. His research interests relate to development economics, social policy evaluation, health economics, child labour and education. Current research projects deal with evaluation of health and education policy interventions and renewable energy programs in Indonesia, and community based health insurance in Ethiopia.

Matthias RiegerCommunity-driven development programs rest on the principle of development aid through active community participation. The involvement of communities rather than top-down decision making is held to affect social capital. This paper studies the impact on pro-social behaviour of one of such program in rural Morocco. We use behavioral experiments in the field to measure social capital among households living in communes with and without the policy intervention. The experiments include a public goods game, a dictator game, and an investment game to capture, respectively, civic responsibility, altruism, and trust. We make use of the program’s eligibility criteria regarding a poverty rate threshold in a regression discontinuity framework to estimate causal effects on social capital. We find that community-driven development has positive but weak impacts on public goods contribution. Behavior in the public game also varies with treatment intensity as proxied by the amount of CDD funding. While we find that the program has no effects on altruism, we do find evidence suggesting that it reduces interpersonal trust. These mixed results signal that social capital responds slowly if at all to a shift from a centralized to a more localized decision making process.

From: 04 March 2014 16:00
Till:    04 April 2014 17:00

Room: 4.42


Matthias Rieger is a post-doctoral Max Weber Fellow (training program funded by the European Commission) in Economics at the European University Institute, Florence. He is a development economist with interests in experimental economics. He obtained his PhD in International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, in May 2013. His thesis studied the impact of civil war on the spread of HIV/Aids in Burundi, as well as the dynamics and determinants of nutrition and health capital in Senegal and Cambodia.

Matthias has conducted impact evaluations and household surveys in Morocco, the Central African Republic, Cambodia and Burundi. He is a regular consultant to the World Bank for the evaluation of a Community-Driven Development program in the Central African Republic, and a poverty alleviation project in Cambodia.

During the Max Weber Fellowship Matthias is pursuing his on-going research projects on social capital, health and economic development. In his research Matthias combines household surveys with experimental economics, which are analyzed with rigorous micro-econometric techniques. Much of this work is interdisciplinary and Matthias works with psychologists and political scientists alike. Papers are forthcoming in international field journals like Economic Development and Cultural Change, as well as interdisciplinary journals such as The Journals of Gerontology and Feminist Economics.

Fields of expertise: Development Economics, Experimental Economics, Applied Micro-Econometrics, Impact Evaluation Methods, Household Surveys.

Zelalem Y

Lead author ISS PhD researcher Zelalem Yilma Debebe

Using survey data and event history interviews undertaken in Ethiopia, they investigate which shocks trigger which coping responses and why? Relatively covariate natural and economic shocks trigger reductions in savings and in food consumption while relatively idiosyncratic health shocks prompt reductions in savings and a reliance on borrowing. Surprisingly, across all shocks, households do not rely on gifts from family and friends, highlighting the need for formal protection systems.

They argue that the insensitivity of food consumption to health shocks does not imply insurability but indicates that it is not a viable response to such a shock.

Forthcoming in the Journal of Development Studies. Accepted on January 23, 2014. By Zelalem Yilma DebebeAnagaw Mebratie, Robert Sparrow, Degnet Abebaw, Marleen Dekker, Getnet Alemu, Arjun S. Bedi

Mebratie's picture_EDEMAbstract

Objectives: To investigate the determinants of healthcare-seeking behaviour using five context-relevant clinical vignettes. The analysis deals with three issues: whether and where to seek modern care and when to seek care.

Setting: This study is set in 96 villages located in four main regions of Ethiopia. The participants of this study are 1632 rural households comprising 9455 individuals.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Probability of seeking modern care for symptoms related to acute respiratory infections/pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, tetanus and tuberculosis. Conditional on choosing modern healthcare, where to seek care (health post, health centre, clinic and hospital). Conditional on choosing modern healthcare, when to seek care (seek care immediately, the next day, after 2 days, between 3 days to 1 week, a week or more).

Results: We find almost universal preference for modern care. Foregone care ranges from 0.6% for diarrhoea to 2.5% for tetanus. There is a systematic relationship between socioeconomic status and choice of providers mainly for adult-related conditions with households in higher consumption quintiles more likely to seek care in health centres, private/Non-Government Organization (NGO) clinics as opposed to health posts. Delays in care-seeking behaviour are apparent mainly for adult-related conditions and among poorer households.

Conclusions: The analysis suggests that the lack of healthcare utilisation is not driven by the inability to recognise health problems or due to a low perceived need for modern care.

Download the paper here.

Corresponding author: Anagaw Derseh

GilmarUsing an ambiguous political stand in elections can be a winning strategy. Previous literature has highlighted the relationship between the preference for ambiguity and voters’ risk attitude (i.e. risk-lovers prefer ambiguity). However, recent literature has focused on the existence of projection bias vis-à-vis ambiguous strategies that influence voters’ evaluation of candidates, independently of their risk attitude. We argue that if a positive (negative) bias exists, – i.e. when voters understand ambiguity as a signal of flexibility (non-credibility) – voters prefer (reject) ambiguous positions even though this contradicts their risk attitude. Empirical studies found that party affiliation can encourage this bias. In order to measure more purely to what extent voters’ inclination (repulsion) for ambiguous strategies affects voting behavior, we exclude the effect of party affiliation. We conducted an experiment with 300 participants in a setting with multiparty competition and low party affiliation. Unlike previous works, we do not rely on self-reported measures of risk attitude that can be context-dependent and inaccurate. Instead, we elicit actual risk-behavior by analyzing participants’ responses to a lottery game. We consider three relevant political issues to include issue specific effects and to test the reliability of our findings. We found empirical evidence which shows that voters’ positive and negative biases influence their preferences for ambiguity. We obtain a clear confirmation that a positive bias towards ambiguity encourages risk-averse voters to choose ambiguous candidates. However, in one political issue, voters with negative bias still choose the ambiguous candidate if they are sufficiently risk-loving. We cannot rule out the possibility that there are issue-specific effects that influence preference for ambiguity.

Speaker: Gilmar Zambrana-Cruz from the University of Antwerp, Belgium


From: 15 April 2014 13:00
Till: 15  April 2014 14:00

Room: 4.42

EDEM logoPreparations for EDEM started early 2012, but in 2013 the process gained momentum. This report provides an overview of what has already been achieved. The track record over 2013 is impressive with 3 major grants, 7 A journal articles, increased supervision of an additional 11 PhD students, integration of our PhDs into the research program, significant success in publications during the PhD trajectory and  concrete valorization including testimonies in parliament and appearances on national television. During 2013 many institutional issues still had to be sorted out at the ISS level and only by December 17, 2013 could a management team be proposed. Due to a hiring stop at ISS EDEM was seriously understaffed during the full year.

For a detailed information, got the document here

Mebratie's picture_EDEMIn June 2011, the Government of Ethiopia rolled out a pilot Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) scheme. This paper assesses scheme uptake. We examine whether the scheme is inclusive, the role of health status in inducing enrolment and the effect of the quality of health care on uptake. By December 2012, scheme uptake had reached an impressive 45.5 percent of target households. We find that a household’s socioeconomic status does not inhibit uptake and the most food-insecure households are substantially more likely to enrol. Recent illnesses, incidence of chronic diseases and self-assessed health status do not induce enrolment, while there is a positive link between past expenditure on outpatient care and enrolment. A relative novelty is the identification of the quality of health care on enrolment. We find that the availability of medical equipment and waiting time to see a medical professional play a substantial role in determining enrolment. Focus group discussions raise concerns about the behaviour of health care providers who tend to provide preferential treatment to uninsured households. Nevertheless, the start of the pilot scheme has been impressive and despite some concerns, almost all insured households indicate their intention to renew membership and more than half of uninsured households indicate a desire to enrol. While this augurs well, the estimates suggest that expanding uptake will require continued investments in the quality of health care.

Download the paper here.

Corresponding author: Anagaw Derseh

MichaelMichael Grimm presents the findings from a systematic review of evaluations on the employment effects of these programmes in low and middle income countries.

Creating new jobs and in particular ‘good’ jobs, i.e. jobs in high productivity sectors offering decent working conditions, including social security benefits, is one of the major challenges most low and middle income countries face. According to the World Development Report 2013 worldwide 600 million jobs are needed over the next 15 years to keep employment rates at their current level. Governments, non-governmental organisations and donors spend large amounts of money on targeted programmes to enhance employment creation and the creation of new firms. What results were achieved?

Date: Thursday 20 February

Time: 12.15-13.30 (Sandwich & coffee at 12.00)

Location: 3e50

Register at: IOB@minbuza.nl (before Friday 14 February)

Prof.Dr. Michael Grimm holds the chair of development economics at the University of Passau. His research covers problems related to poverty and growth such as education, health and labour markets including the evaluation of policy interventions in these domains. Before joining the University of Passua, he held positions at the World Bank, the University of Göttingen and the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He holds two MA’s in economics and a PhD in development economics.

MishaDespite numerous development interventions, poverty remains endemic in Bangladesh with more than one-fifth of its population living in extreme poverty. In order to combat this issue, BRAC- one of the largest Non-Government Organizations in the world, initiated the multifaceted programme called, Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction, with an asset transfer approach, targeted towards the extremely poor in 2002.This paper utilises a four round panel dataset (2002-2005-2008-2011) to evaluate the short and long run impacts of the programme on various socio economic outcomes, such as income, asset holding, food security.

We use a difference in difference approach and subsequently perform sensitivity analysis of the results using a propensity score matching technique. While we indeed find the returns of the programme to the beneficiary are substantial, we find that the gains peak after six years into the programme. However analysis beyond the sixth years reveals dissipating marginal returns. Evidence based on this paper suggests that a further push may be in order to precipitate a repeat of the upward trajectory of the outcomes analysed.

From: 18 February 2014 13:00
Till: 18  February 2014 14:00

Room: 4.42

Farzana Misha is a Bangladeshi PhD candidate at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam.                  

International Institute of Social Studies

Economics of Development (ECD) is a Major in the MA in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the ECD teaching team.