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  • Author: Matt Collin, Theodore Talbot
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Child marriage is associated with bad outcomes for women and girls. Although many countries have raised the legal age of marriage to deter this practice, the incidence of early marriage remains stubbornly high. We develop a simple model to explain how enforcing minimum age-of-marriage laws creates differences in the share of women getting married at the legal cut-off. We formally test for these discontinuities using multiple rounds of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in over 60 countries by applying statistical tests derived from the regression discontinuity literature. By this measure, most countries are not enforcing the laws on their books and enforcement is not getting better over time. Separately, we demonstrate that various measures of age-of-marriage discontinuities are systematically related to with existing, widely-accepted measures of rule-of-law and government effectiveness. A key contribution is therefore a simple, tractable way to monitor legal enforcement using survey data. We conclude by arguing that better laws must be accompanied by better enforcement and monitoring in to delay marriage and protect the rights of women and girls.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Justin Sandefur, Tessa Bold, Nicholas Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Public employees in many developing economies earn much higher wages than similar private-sector workers. These wage premia may reflect an efficient return to effort or unobserved skills, or an inefficient rent causing labor misallocation. To distinguish these explanations, we exploit the Kenyan government’s algorithm for hiring eighteen-thousand new teachers in 2010 in a regression discontinuity design. Fuzzy regression discontinuity estimates yield a civil-service wage premium of over 100 percent (not attributable to observed or unobserved skills), but no effect on motivation, suggesting rent-sharing as the most plausible explanation for the wage premium.
  • Topic: Employment, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Jennifer Hunt
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An influential strand of research has tested for the effects of immigration on natives’ wages and employment using exogenous refugee supply shocks as natural experiments. Several studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the effects of noted refugee waves such as the Mariel Boatlift in Miami and post-Soviet refugees to Israel. We show that conflicting findings on the effects of the Mariel Boatlift can be explained by a sudden change in the race composition of the Current Population Survey extracts in 1980, specific to Miami but unrelated to the Boatlift. We also show that conflicting findings on the labor market effects of other important refugee waves can be produced by spurious correlation between the instrument and the endogenous variable introduced by applying a common divisor to both. As a whole, the evidence from refugee waves reinforces the existing consensus that the impact of immigration on average native-born workers is small, and fails to substantiate claims of large detrimental impacts on workers with less than high school.
  • Topic: Refugee Issues, Financial Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mayra Buvinic, Megan O'Donnell
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A review of the recent evaluation evidence on financial services and training interventions questions their gender neutrality and suggests that some design features in these interventions can yield more positive economic outcomes for women than for men. These include features in savings and ‘Graduation’ programs that increase women’s economic self-reliance and self-control, and the practice of repeated micro borrowing that increases financial risk-taking and choice. ‘Smart’ design also includes high quality business management and jobs skills training, and stipends and other incentives in these training programs that address women’s additional time burdens and childcare demands. Peer support may also help to increase financial risk taking and confidence in business decisions, and may augment an otherwise negligible impact of financial literacy training. These features help women overcome gender-related constraints. However, when social norms are too restrictive, and women are prevented from doing any paid work, no design will be smart enough. Subjective economic empowerment appears to be an important intermediate outcome for women that should be promoted and more reliably and accurately measured. More research is also needed on de-biasing service provision, which can be gender biased; lastly, whenever possible, results should be sex-disaggregated and reported for individuals as well as households.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Reuben, Flávia Carbonari
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Peru is a remarkable example of a country that established civil identification as a national priority in response to the need to re-integrate the state after a serious insurgency. It has built one of the strongest and most inclusive national ID programs in the world, including for children. The approach has combined the creation of an autonomous civil registration and identification agency and the use of performance-based financing to expand coverage to poor, remote, communities and to help integrate civil registration with the national ID. It offers lessons for many countries struggling to achieve SDG 16.9, to provide legal identity to all by 2030, including birth registration.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, International Security, Information Age
  • Political Geography: Peru
  • Author: Souleymane Soumahoro
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In this paper, I examine the effects of power sharing on vulnerability to adverse shocks in a multiethnic setting. Combining a unique dataset on the allocation of ministerial posts across ethnicities with the spatial distribution of Ebola, I provide evidence that ethnic representation mitigated the transmission of Ebola in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The findings suggest that one percentage point increase in proportional cabinet shares reduced Ebola transmission by five percent, as reflected in the total number of confirmed cases. I also provide suggestive evidence that this relationship goes beyond a simple correlation and operates through public resource capture and trust in political institutions.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Charles Kenny, Dev Patel
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes six waves of responses from the World Values Survey to understand the determinants of beliefs about women’s roles in society and their relationship with the legal system and outcomes. Using survey data for 300,000 individuals, we find that characteristics of an individual’s home country only explain about a fifth of the variation in values, and a single individual can report strongly different norms about women’s equality across different domains. There is a strong correlation between norms, laws and female labor force participation and between norms and the proportion of legislators who are women—but not between norms and relative female tertiary education. There is some suggestive evidence that laws may be more significant than norms in determining female employment outcomes, but the available evidence does not allow for strong causal statements at the cross-country level.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Ethan Lewis, Hannah Postel
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An important class of active labor market policy has received little rigorous impact evaluation: immigration barriers intended to improve the terms of employment for domestic workers by deliberately shrinking the workforce. Recent advances in the theory of endogenous technical change suggest that such policies could have limited or even perverse labor market effects, but empirical tests are scarce. We study a natural experiment that excluded almost half a million Mexican ‘bracero’ seasonal agricultural workers from the United States, with the stated goal of raising wages and employment for domestic farm workers. We build a simple model to clarify how the labor market effects of bracero exclusion depend on assumptions about production technology, and test it by collecting novel archival data on the bracero program that allow us to measure state-level exposure to exclusion for the first time. We reject the wage effect of bracero exclusion required by the model in the absence of induced technical change, and fail to reject the hypothesis that exclusion had no eect on US agricultural wages or employment. Important mechanisms for this result include both adoption of less labor-intensive technologies and shifts in crop mix.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Immigration, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents results on the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in sixteen Latin American countries around 2010. The countries that redistribute the most are Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Uruguay, and the least, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. At higher social spending, greater redistribution is achieved, but countries with a similar level of social spending show different levels of redistribution which suggests that other factors such as the composition and targeting of the expenditures are involved in determining the redistributive effect beyond its size. Fiscal policy reduces extreme poverty in twelve countries. However, the incidence of poverty after taxes, subsidies and monetary transfers is higher than the pre-fisc poverty rate in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, even when fiscal policy does reduce inequality. Expenditure on pre-school and primary education is equalizing and pro-poor in all countries. Spending on secondary education is equalizing in all countries and also pro-poor in some countries but not all. Expenditure on tertiary education is never pro-poor, but it is equalizing, with the exception of Guatemala, where it is regressive and unequalizing and in Venezuela, where its redistributive effect is zero. Health spending is always equalizing but it is pro-poor only in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Capitalism, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Anna Diofasi
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Despite increasing volatility in the global economy, the uptake of the IMF’s two precautionary credit lines, the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), has remained limited—currently to just four countries. The two new lending instruments were created in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 to enable IMF member states to respond quickly and effectively to temporary balance of payment needs resulting from external shocks. Both credit lines offer immediate access to considerable sums—over 10 times a country’s IMF quota in some cases with no (FCL) or very limited (PLL) conditionality. This paper addresses four misconceptions (or ‘myths’) that have likely played a role in the limited utilization of the two precautionary credit lines: 1) too stringent qualification criteria that limit country eligibility; 2) insufficient IMF resources; 3) high costs of precautionary borrowing; and 4) the economic stigma associated with IMF assistance. We show, in fact, that the pool of eligible member states is likely to be seven to eight times larger than the number of current users; that with the 2016 quota reform IMF resources are more than adequate to support a larger precautionary portfolio; that the two IMF credit lines are among the least costly and most advantageous instruments for liquidity support countries have; and that there is no evidence of negative market developments for countries now participating in the precautionary lines.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Current policy discussion focuses primarily on the power of fiscal policy to reduce inequality. Yet, comparable fiscal incidence analysis for 28 low and middle income countries reveals that, although fiscal systems are always equalizing, that is not always true for poverty. In Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Guatemala the extreme poverty headcount ratio is higher after taxes and transfers (excluding in-kind transfers) than before. In addition, to varying degrees, in all countries a portion of the poor are net payers into the fiscal system and are thus impoverished by the fiscal system. Consumption taxes are the main culprits of fiscally-induced impoverishment. Net direct taxes are always equalizing and indirect taxes net of subsidies are equalizing in nineteen countries of the 28. While spending on pre-school and primary school is pro-poor (i.e., the per capita transfer declines with income) in almost all countries, pro-poor secondary school spending is less prevalent, and tertiary education spending tends to be progressive only in relative terms (i.e., equalizing but not pro-poor). Health spending is always equalizing but not always pro-poor. More unequal countries devote more resources to redistributive spending and appear to redistribute more. The latter, however, is not a robust result across specifications.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ali Enami, Nora Lustig, Rodrigo Aranda
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides a theoretical foundation for analyzing the redistributive effect of taxes and transfers for the case in which the ranking of individuals by pre-fiscal income remains unchanged. We show that in a world with more than a single fiscal instrument, the simple rule that progressive taxes or transfers are always equalizing not necessarily holds, and offer alternative rules that survive a theoretical scrutiny. In particular, we show that the sign of the marginal contribution unambiguously predicts whether a tax or a transfer is equalizing or not.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Margarita Beneke, José Andrés Oliva
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We conducted a fiscal impact study to estimate the effect of taxes, social spending, and subsidies on inequality and poverty in El Salvador, using the methodology of the Commitment to Equity project. Taxes are progressive, but given their volume, their impact is limited. Direct transfers are concentrated on poor households, but their budget is small so their effect is limited; a significant portion of the subsidies goes to households in the upper income deciles, so although their budget is greater, their impact is low. The component that has the greatest effect on inequality is spending on education and health. Therefore, the impact of fiscal policy is limited and low when compared with other countries with a similar level of per capita income. There is room for improvement using current resources.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: El Salvador
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: <p>Do we still need the World Bank, given how much the global financial sector has expanded since the institution was founded? The paper argues that there is a continuing role for the Bank and that it is complementary to private finance.</p>
  • Author: Raymond Robertson, Davide Gandolfi, Timothy Halliday
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Large wage differences between countries (“place premiums”) are well documented. Theory suggests that factor price convergence should follow increased migration, capital flows, and commercial integration. All three have characterized the relationship between the United States and Mexico over the last 25 years. This paper evaluates the degree of wage convergence between these countries during the period 1988 and 2011. We match survey and census data from Mexico and the United States to estimate the change in wage differentials for observationally identical workers over time. We find very little evidence of convergence. What evidence we do find is most likely due to factors unrelated to US-Mexico integration. While migration and trade liberalization may reduce the US-Mexico wage differential, these effects are small when compared to the overall wage gap.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Willa Friedman
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the impact of corruption on the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in preventing AIDS deaths and the potential channels that generate this relationship. This is based on a unique panel dataset of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which combines information on all imported antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) from the World Health Organization's Global Price Reporting Mechanism with measures of corruption and estimates of the HIV prevalence and the number of AIDS deaths in each year and in each country. Countries with higher levels of corruption experience a significantly smaller drop in AIDS deaths as a result of the same quantity of ARVs imported. This is robust to different measures of corruption and to a measure of overall death rates as well as HIV-specific death rates as the outcome. A case-study analysis of the Kenyan experience illustrates one potential mechanism for the observed effect, demonstrating that disproportionately more clinics begin distributing ARVs in areas that are predominantly represented by the new leader's ethnic group.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Benjamin Leo, Robert Morello
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The need for infrastructure improvements is a top-tier economic, political, and social issue in nearly every African country. Although the academic and policy literature is extensive in terms of estimating the impact of infrastructure deficits on economic and social indicators, very few studies have examined citizen demands for infrastructure. In this paper, we draw upon survey data to move beyond topline estimates of national infrastructure access rates towards a more nuanced understanding of service availability and citizen demands at the regional, national, and sub-national level. We find a predictable pattern of infrastructure services across income levels—lower income countries have fewer services. The survey data also allows us to observe the sequencing of infrastructure services. On the demand side, survey respondents are most concerned with jobs and income-related issues, as well as with the availability of infrastructure: specifically transportation and sanitation. These priorities transcend demographic factors, including gender and location (urban/rural).
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Governments, donors, and public sector agencies are seeking productive ways to 'crowd in' private sector involvement and capital to tackle international development challenges. The financial instruments that are used to create incentives for private sector involvement are typically those that lower an investment's risk (such as credit guarantees) or those that lower the costs of various inputs (such as concessional loans, which subsidise borrowing).
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Author: Mead Over, Gesine Meyer-Rath, Daniel J. Klein, Anna Bershteyn
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The South African government is currently discussing various alternative approaches to the further expansion of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in public-sector facilities. Alternatives under consideration include the criteria under which a patient would be eligible for free care, the level of coverage with testing and care, how much of the care will be delivered in small facilities located closer to the patients, and how to assure linkage to care and subsequent adherence by ART patients. We used the EMOD-HIV model to generate 12 epidemiological scenarios. The EMOD-HIV model is a model of HIV transmission which projects South African HIV incidence and prevalence and ARV treatment by age group for alternative combinations of treatment eligibility criteria and testing. We treat as sunk costs the projected future cost of one of these 12 scenarios, the baseline scenario characterizing South Africa's 2013 policy to treat people with CD4 counts less than 350. We compute the cost and benefits of the other 11 scenarios relative to this baseline. Starting with our own bottom-up cost analyses in South Africa, we separate outpatient cost into non-scale-dependent costs (drugs and laboratory tests) and scale-dependent cost (staff, space, equipment and overheads) and model the cost of production according to the expected future number and size of clinics. On the demand side, we include the cost of creating and sustaining the projected incremental demand for testing and treatment. Previous research with EMOD-HIV has shown that more vigorous recruitment of patients with CD4 counts less than 350 appears to be an advantageous policy over a five-year horizon. Over 20 years, however, the model assumption that a person on treatment is 92 percent less infectious improves the cost-effectiveness of higher eligibility thresholds over more vigorous recruitment at the lower threshold of 350, averting HIV infections for between $1,700 and $2,800 (under our central assumptions), while more vigorous expansion under the current guidelines would cost more than $7,500 per incremental HIV infection averted. Granular spatial models of demand and cost facilitate the optimal targeting of new facility construction and outreach services. Based on analysis of the sensitivity of the results to 1,728 alternative parameter combinations at each of four discount rates, we conclude that better knowledge of the behavioral elasticities would be valuable, reducing the uncertainty of cost estimates by a factor of 4 to 10.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Charles Kenny, Justin Sandefur, Sarah Dykstra
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Since 2001, an aid consortium known as Gavi has accounted for over half of vaccination expenditure in the 75 eligible countries with an initial per capita GNI below $1,000. Regression discontinuity (RD) estimates show aid significantly displaced other immunization efforts and failed to increase vaccination rates for diseases covered by cheap, existing vaccines. For some newer and more expensive vaccines, i.e., Hib and rotavirus, we found large effects on vaccination and limited fungibility, though statistical significance is not robust. These RD estimates apply to middle-income countries near Gavi's eligibility threshold, and cannot rule out differential effects for the poorest countries.