The Economic Impact of Schistosomiasis

The economic impact of schistosomiasis and the underlying tradeoffs between water resources development and public health concerns have yet to be quantified. Schistosomiasis exerts large health, social and financial burdens on infected individuals and households. While irrigation schemes are one of the most important policy responses designed to reduce poverty, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, they facilitate the propagation of schistosomiasis and other diseases. We estimate the economic impact of schistosomiasis in Burkina Faso via its effect on agricultural production. We create an original dataset that combines detailed household and agricultural surveys with high-resolution geo-statistical disease maps. We develop new methods that use the densities of the intermediate host snails of schistosomiasis as instrumental variables together with panel, spatial and machine learning techniques. We estimate that the elimination of schistosomiasis in Burkina Faso would increase average crop yields by around 7%, rising to 32% for high infection clusters. Keeping schistosomiasis unchecked, in turn, would correspond to a loss of gross domestic product of approximately 0.8%. We identify the disease burden as a shock to the agricultural productivity of farmers. The poorest households engaged in subsistence agriculture bear a far heavier disease burden than their wealthier counterparts, experiencing an average yield loss due to schistosomiasis of between 32 and 45%. We show that the returns to water resources development are substantially reduced once its health effects are taken into account: villages in proximity of large-scale dams suffer an average yield loss of around 20%, and this burden decreases as distance between dams and villages increases. This study provides a rigorous estimation of how schistosomiasis affects agricultural production and how it is both a driver and a consequence of poverty. It further quantifies the tradeoff between the economics of water infrastructures and their impact on public health. Although we focus on Burkina Faso, our approach can be applied to any country in which schistosomiasis is endemic.

The Economic Burden of Malaria: Revisiting the Evidence

A portion of the economics literature has long debated about the relative importance of historical, institutional, geographical, and health determinants of economic growth. In 2001, Gallup and Sachs quantified the association between malaria and the level and growth of per capita income over the period 1965–1995 in a cross-country regression framework. We took a contemporary look at Gallup and Sachs’ seminal work in the context of significant progress in malaria control achieved globally since 2000. Focusing on the period 2000–2017, we used the latest data available on malaria case incidence and other determinants of economic growth, as well as macro-econometric methods that are now the professional norm. In our preferred specification using a fixed-effects model, a 10% decrease in malaria incidence was associated with an increase in income per capita of nearly 0.3% on average and a 0.11 percentage point faster per capita growth per annum. Greater average income gains were expected among higher burden countries and those with lower income. Growth of industries with the same level of labor intensity was found to be significantly slower in countries with higher malaria incidence. To analyze the causal impact of malaria on economic outcomes, we used malaria treatment failure and pyrethroid-only insecticide resistance as exogeneous instruments in two-stage least squares estimations. Despite several methodological challenges, as expected in these types of analyses, our findings confirm the intrinsic link between malaria and economic growth and underscore the importance of malaria control in the agenda for sustainable development.

Assessing Military Access in Politics: A Dyadic Methodology

The extensive literature on civil-military relations deals with the influence of the military on politics by attending to either specific policy outcomes, such as budgetary allocations, coups, or decisions to employ force; or to prerogatives, such as legal privileges, high office, or control of state enterprises. However, more structural, background forms of influence are not reducible either to policy outcomes or to prerogatives: for example, if the military is able to set the political agenda, or if certain civilian cadres owe their advancement to their ties with the military. This latter possibility, which we call access, is the focus of this paper. We propose a dyadic methodology for assessing access, based on long-term geographical proximity between particular civilian cadres and particular military officers; our measurement argument is that civilians who for many years have had ”buddy” ties with officers are, ceteris paribus, likely to advance more rapidly up the ladder than counterparts who lack such ties; and vice-versa for military officers with civilian buddies. This argument is tested using a sample from a large-scale data set of party cadres and military officers in China, with results pointing toward mutual effects of members of each group on the other, and the paper concludes with preliminary thoughts on both civil-military relations and dyadic research more generally.

Does Community-Driven Development Improve Inclusiveness in Peasant Organizations? – Evidence from Senegal

Using panel village census data from Senegal, we assess the impact of a decentralized agricultural development program—the Programme de Services Agricoles et Organisations de Producteurs (PSAOP)—on membership and assortative matching in community-based organizations (CBOs). We find that channeling agricultural assistance through CBOs makes these organizations more inclusive in the sense that several tradition-bound assortative matching patterns are broken: homophily in ethnicity and wealth are reduced. Traditionally marginalized groups such as men of nomadic background, women with small landholdings and little education and those residing in female-headed households become CBO members whereas the position of previous CBO leaders is not reinforced. Similarly, those households that received services from a CBO before the PSAOP was in place are less likely to stay. This leads to more heterogeneous CBOs and is in line with the terms and conditions of the program. On the other hand, the likelihood of CBO membership is reduced in project villages, with significant differences between men and women. Women disproportionately drop out of CBOs which receive PSAOP benefits. We conclude that for grassroots-level development projects to be successful, contextual factors need to be integrated into program design and implementation, since they shape local participation. Understanding local power relations and the potential for changing preferences due to external support are key to inclusive participation and development at the local.

L'(absence d') impact de l'impact : pourquoi les évaluations d'impact conduisent rarement à une prise de décision politique fondée sur les faits

Une question récurrente qui déroute plusieurs chercheurs et certains responsables politiques est celle de savoir pourquoi les évaluations d’impact, qui sont devenues monnaie courante dans le domaine du développement, ont si peu d’impact sur la prise de décision à proprement parler. Dans cet article, j’étudie l’impact des évaluations d’impact. Je fais appel à un cadre bayésien simple emboîté dans un modèle standard reposant sur une fonction de « contest success ». Avec ce modèle de concurrence entre des décideurs anti-évaluation, des décideurs bayésiens et des évaluateurs fréquentistes, je montre que la probabilité d’annulation d’un programme est une fonction décroissante de l’impact estimé par l’évaluation et de la croyance a priori sur la base de laquelle le programme a été initialement approuvé. En outre, la probabilité d’annulation est une fonction décroissante de l’efficacité de l’influence exercée par les évaluateurs fréquentistes. Dans la mesure où il est fort probable que cette efficacité en termes de lobbying des évaluateurs fréquentistes soit proche de zéro dans la vraie vie, la probabilité d’annulation d’un programme qui avait été approuvé au départ, bien qu’il soit entaché d’une évaluation très négative, est extrêmement faible. Le modèle fournit ainsi une explication possible de la raison pour laquelle les évaluations d’impact ont si peu d’impact sur la prise de décision, et pourquoi elles ont si peu contribué à la prise de décision fondée sur les faits.

Finance and Economic Development in a Model with Credit Rationing
Language in Economic Development: Is English Special and is Linguistic Fragmentation Bad?
Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models and Unobservable Household-Specific Effects

When market structure is complete, factor demands by households will be independent of their characteristics, and households will take their production decisions as if they were profit-maximizing firms. This observation constitutes the basis for one of the most popular empirical tests for complete markets, commonly known as the “separation” hypothesis. In this paper, we show that all existing tests for separation using panel data are potentially biased towards rejecting the null-hypothesis of complete markets, because of the failure to adequately control for unobservable individual effects. Since the variable on which the test for separation is based cannot be identifed in most panel datasets following the usual covariance transformations, and is likely to be correlated with the household-specific effect, neither the within nor the variance-components procedures are able to solve the problem. We show that the Hausman-Taylor (1981) estimator, in which the impact of covariates that are invariant along one dimension of a panel can be identifed through the use of covariance transformations of other included variables that are orthogonal to the household-specific effects as instruments, provides a simple solution. Our approach is applied to a rich Tunisian dataset in which separation -and thus the null of complete markets- is strongly rejected using the standard approach, but is not rejected once correlated unobservable household-specific effects are controlled for using the Hausman-Taylor instrument set.

The Making of a (vice-) President: Party Politics, Ethnicity, Village Loyalty and Community-Driven Development

African politics are often said to be dominated by ethnic divides, with the ensuing policies implemented by leaders being based almost exclusively on their ethnic power base. In this paper, we demonstrate that the identity of leaders matters for the attribution of development projects in the context of one of the largest Community-Driven Development (CDD) programs in Senegal. After showing that leadership matters, we consider its determinants by focusing on those factors that determine who becomes president and vice-president of a Conseil rural, the smallest administrative unit in Senegal, and which is elected by universal suffrage. We also consider the link between power in the Conseil rural and that in the Conseil de Concertation et de Gestion (CCG), an assembly coopted by the Conseil rural president that is typical of local institutions set up in the context of CDD programs, and which is responsible for the attribution of development projects to individual villages. Using a unique dataset, we show that ethnicity plays almost no role in determining who becomes president (or vice-president) of a Conseil rural and vice-president of the CCG, while party politics, age, political experience, village loyalty, and educational and professional qualifications do. Our results highlight the crucial importance, in terms of development policy, of the local political institutions that are often created alongside CDD programs.

Class position and Economic Behavior in a Tunisian Village: Selective Separability in a Multi-Factor Household Model

The purposes of this paper are twofold. First, we examine, using a unique dataset collected in the Tunisian village of El Oulja, what might be termed “all or nothing” separability (Benjamin, 1992) by testing, while controling for plot characteristics (Udry, 1996), the proposition that farm input use is independent of household characteristics. Second, we test for separability in the context of a model of class structure based on the seminal work of Eswaran and Kotwal (1986). In order to do so, we construct a model of class structure which offers an appealing representation of the typology of household types in the village when they are classified in terms of (i) their hiring in of wage labor, and (ii) their hiring out of family labor. We use a two-stage estimation technique in which we first estimate the probability of class membership as a function of household characteristics using discrete choice methods. In the second stage we estimate labor intensity per hectare using a Lee-Heckman procedure in which the inverse-Mill ratio from the first stage is included as an additional explanatory variable. As with the case of the test for "all or nothing" separability, the test for selective separability involves exclusion restrictions on household characteristics, although these are now conditional on class membership. Our empirical results strongly support the selective separability hypothesis as well as our theoretical model: most of the "action" in terms of non-separability stems, as one would expect from the model, from the class of "self-cultivators" who neither hire in wage labor nor hire out family labor. Our paper extends the work of DeJanvry, Sadoulet and Benjamin (1996) on Mexican ejidatarios to plot- as opposed to household-level estimation. Moreover, our paper provides an elaboration on and an empirical bridge to theoretical models, such as Roemer (1982), Eswaran and Kotwal (1986), and Carter and Zimmerman (1995) which examine how credit constraints and imperfections on factor markets shape the class structure of the agrarian economy. The implications and scope for government intervention in the context of market imperfections are also examined.

Inefficacité marshallienne, partage de coûts et modèles contractuels avec marchés manquants

When moral hazard concerns are present, standard contract theory predicts the "Marshallian inefficiency" of sharecropping contracts, in the sense that, ceteris paribus, sharecropping tenants will use different amounts of inputs than owner operators. In this paper, we examine this issue using a unique dataset collected in 1993 in the Tunisian village of El Oulja, thanks to the financial support of the PARADI program. We focus our attention on four questions that have been neglected by previous studies, namely: (1) cost sharing between landlords and tenants; (2) management inputs provided by landlords; (3) direct supervision of tenants by landlords;(4) repeated interaction between landlords and tenants. We implement panel estimation with household-specific fixed effects and control for the censoring of the dependent variable using the trimmed LAD estimator proposed by Honoré (1992). Our empirical results show that moral hazard is indeed an issue in tenancy contracts in the village, but that its quantitative importance in determining input use, in comparison with other factors, is relatively small. It follows that sharecropping is probably not chosen because of moral hazard concerns, and that other motivations, such as risk sharing or transaction costs, may be more important determinants of contractual choice.