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  • Author: Thiemo Fetzer, Stephan Kyburz
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better at managing conflicts over distribution? We exploit exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments and use new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria to answer these questions. There is a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the resource. Conflict over distribution is highly organized, involving political militias, and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Democratically elected local governments significantly weaken the causal link between rents and political violence. Elections produce more cohesive institutions, and vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Violence, Institutions, Human Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Heather A. Knauer, Pamela Jakiela, Owen Ozier, Frances Aboud, Lia C.H. Fernald
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, 250 million children under five (43 percent) are not meeting their developmental potential because they lack adequate nutrition and cognitive stimulation in early childhood. Several parent support programs have shown significant benefits for children’s development, but the programs are often expensive and resource intensive. The objective of this study was to test several variants of a potentially scalable, cost-effective intervention to increase cognitive stimulation by parents and improve emergent literacy skills in children. The intervention was a modified dialogic reading training program that used culturally and linguistically appropriate books adapted for a low-literacy population. We used a cluster randomized controlled trial with four intervention arms and one control arm in a sample of caregivers (n = 357) and their 24- to 83-month-old children (n = 510) in rural Kenya. The first treatment group received storybooks, while the other treatment arms received storybooks paired with varying quantities of modified dialogic reading training for parents. Main effects of each arm of the trial were examined, and tests of heterogeneity were conducted to examine differential effects among children of illiterate vs. literate caregivers. Parent training paired with the provision of culturally appropriate children’s books increased reading frequency and improved the quality of caregiver-child reading interactions among preschool-aged children. Treatments involving training improved storybook-specific expressive vocabulary. The children of illiterate caregivers benefited at least as much as the children of literate caregivers. For some outcomes, effects were comparable; for other outcomes, there were differentially larger effects for children of illiterate caregivers.
  • Topic: Children, Language, Rural, Parenting , Reading
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is a lot we don’t know about what automation will mean for jobs in the future, including its impact (if any) on gender inequality. This note reviews evidence and forecasts on that question and makes four main points: Past automation has been (broadly) positive for women’s average quality of life, economic empowerment, and equality. Forecasts of the gendered impact of automation and AI going forward based on the current distribution of employment suggest considerable uncertainty and a gender inequality of impact that is marginal compared to the potential impact overall. The bigger risk—and/or opportunity—is likely to be in the combined impact of automation, policy, and social norms in changing the type of work that is seen as male or female. Minimizing any potential aggravating impact of automation and AI on inequalities in economic power in the future can best be achieved by maximizing economic equality today.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Feminism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Pisa, Denise McCurdy
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In many low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) where disease burdens are highest, health supply chains function poorly, resulting in frequent stockouts and a high prevalence of substandard and even falsified medications. In response to these concerns, the global health initiatives have stepped up their efforts to improve supply chain management. At the same time, a growing number of rich country pharmaceutical companies are investing in digital technologies that help them “track and trace” the movement of medicines through the supply chain at the package-level. Drawing from interviews with over thirty experts, we find that traceability offers a realistic solution to some of the problems found in LMIC health supply chains but that implementing the approach is a huge logistical endeavor that requires a strong political commitment. We close by discussing how donors can support committed governments, by taking an evidence-based approach to determine what traceability methods work best.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Health Crisis, Pharmaceuticals , Tracing
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maryam Akmal, Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education include the goal that “all youth...achieve literacy and numeracy” (Target 4.6). Achieving some absolute standard of learning for all children is a key element of global equity in education. Using the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) data from India and Pakistan, and Uwezo data from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda that test all children of given ages, whether in school or not, on simple measures of learning in math, reading (local language), and English, we quantify the role of achieving equality between the richest 20% and the poorest 40% in terms of grade attainment and learning achievement toward accomplishing the global equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy for all children. First, excluding Kenya, equalizing grade attainment between children from rich and poor households would only close between 8% (India) and 25% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 8% (Uganda) and 28% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal literacy. Second, children from the poorest 40% of households tend to have lower performance in literacy and numeracy at each grade. If such children had the learning profiles of children from rich households, we would close between 16% (Pakistan and Uganda) and 34% (India) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 13% (Uganda) and 44% (India) of the gap to universal literacy. This shows that the “hidden exclusion” (WDR, 2018) of lower learning at the same grade levels—a gap that emerges in the earliest grades—is a substantial and often larger part of the equity gap compared to the more widely documented gaps in enrollment and grade attainment. Third, even with complete equality in grade attainment and learning achievement, children from poor households would be far from the equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy, as even children from the richest 20% of households are far from universal mastery of basic reading and math by ages 12-13. Achieving universal literacy and numeracy to accomplish even a minimal standard of global absolute equity will require more than just closing the rich-poor learning gap, it will take progress in learning for all.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Sustainable Development Goals, Language
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Kenya, Africa, Middle East, India, Asia, Tanzania
  • Author: Owen Barder, Hannah Timmis, Arthur Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: here has been a resurgence in calls to reconsider the cross-party consensus in the UK on foreign aid and development. The main political parties are all committed to spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid, to using the internationally agreed definition of aid, and to maintaining a separate government department to administer the majority of this aid, led by a Cabinet Minister. In their recent report, Global Britain: A Twenty-first Century Vision, Bob Seely MP and James Rogers lay challenge to these long-established pillars of UK development policy. In this note, we consider some of the questions they raise and suggest alternative answers.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Foreign Aid, Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Transparency by design: Transparency should be the norm for all government contracts, particularly regarding information on what is being exchanged and for what price. Contracting systems should be designed to support proactive publication of contracts as open data. Public contracting should be designed for transparency and efficiency. Full contract publication should be the norm. Information needed to judge value for money should be disclosed. Exceptions in the public interest: Redactions on the basis of commercial sensitivity should only be justified where the public interest in withholding information is greater than the public interest in having that information published. The assessment should take into account both any commercial harm to the contractor and the broader benefits of transparency to markets and public trust. Where exceptions to publication are considered: Information should only be redacted for reasons of commercial sensitivity when the public interest in withholding information is greater than the public interest in disclosure. The public interest test should take into account the wider economic benefits of the sharing of commercial information, as well as the case for accountability and the public’s right to know. All redactions should be clearly marked with the reason for redaction. A clear and robust process: Governments should issue detailed guidance on commercial sensitivity principles and exemptions, put in place systems to support publication, ensure that redaction is time-limited, and use other oversight mechanisms to compensate for information withheld from publication. Governments should issue clear guidance to public entities, agencies, and firms on contract publication and when information may be exempted from publication for commercial sensitivity reasons. Where redaction is potentially allowed, there should be a clear process for determining what is redacted, why, for how long, and with what appeals process. There should be a system for ensuring that contracts and contract information are in fact disclosed in practice. Where exemption to disclosure of information is granted for commercial sensitivity reasons, this should be grounds for increased scrutiny through other oversight mechanisms.
  • Topic: Government, Transparency, Public Service, Contracts
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kimberly Singer Babiarz, Paul Ma, Grant Miller, Shige Song
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Most of China’s fertility decline predates the famous One Child Policy—and instead occurred under its predecessor, the Later, Longer, Fewer (LLF) policy. Studying LLF’s contribution to fertility and sex selection behavior, we find that it i) reduced China’s total fertility rate by 0.9 births per woman (explaining 28% of China’s modern fertility decline), ii) doubled the use of male-biased fertility stopping rules, and iii) promoted postnatal neglect (implying 210,000 previously unrecognized missing girls). Considering Chinese population policy to be extreme in global experience, our paper demonstrates the limits of population policy—and its potential human costs.
  • Topic: Population, Sexuality, Fertility
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Bright Simons
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Just before the yuletide of 2018, I arrived in my native Ghana after one of my long spells away. I flipped out my phone, opened Uber, and tried to flag a ride from inside the shiny new terminal of Accra’s international airport. After a couple of false starts I gave up, walked out, and headed for the taxi stand. In the many days that followed, this ritual repeated itself with remarkable regularity. Sometimes I got the Uber, but on as many occasions, I couldn’t. The reasons for the frequent failure ranged from curious to bizarre. The “partner-drivers” would accept the request. Then they would begin to go around in circles. Sometimes they would start heading in the opposite direction. On a few occasions they would call and announce that they were “far away,” even though their registered location was visible to me on the app and their estimated time of arrival had factored into my decision to wait. It would take me a whole week to figure out that the problem wasn’t always that many Ghanaian Uber drivers couldn’t use GPS all that well, or that they were displeased with fares. There were other issues that I’d left out of my calculation, such as my payment preference, which was set to “bank card” instead of “cash.” The drivers want cash because it allows them to unofficially “borrow” from Uber and remit Uber’s money when it suits their cashflow. Though Uber offers two tiers of service, the difference in quality appeared negligible. Even on the upper tier, it was a constant struggle to find an Uber whose air conditioner hadn’t “just stopped working earlier today.” As something of a globetrotter used to seamless Uber services in European and American cities, I found the costs of onboarding onto Uber as my main means of mobility in Accra onerous. Why is a powerful corporation like Uber, reportedly valued by shrewd investment bankers at $120 billion, with $24 billion in capital raised, unable to maintain even a relative semblance of quality in its product in Ghana? And in other African cities I have visited? It may seem bleedingly obvious why heavily digitalised Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Google manage to deliver fairly uniform standards of product quality regardless of where their customers are based, whilst Uber, because of its greater “embeddedness in local ecosystems” and lower digitalisation of its value chain, fails. But in that seemingly redundant observation enfolds many explanations for why the innovation-based leapfrogging narrative in frontier markets, especially in Africa, unravels at close quarters.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Governance, Digital Economy, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: James C. Knowles
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This is the report of a midline evaluation of a randomized controlled trial to increase the utilization of saving and other financial services by women business owners in Indonesia. The trial was motivated by a recent law in Indonesia supporting the development of branchless banking services for a large unbanked rural population and by the results of several studies suggesting that it is possible to stimulate savings and improve a range of downstream outcomes with suitable interventions targeted to under-banked rural populations. The trial was conducted in 400 purposively selected rural and semi-urban villages in five districts of East Java province in which branchless banking services (including basic savings accounts accessible through mobile phones) were available. The randomized interventions supported by this trial include both supply-side treatments (higher agent incentives) and demand-side treatments (training and mentoring of female business owners). The data analyzed include both baseline and midline survey data on female and male business owners and branchless banking agents. Implementation of the trial was delayed due to difficulties in recruiting suitable agents in all 400 trial villages. Numerous supply-side problems, both technical and logistical, were also reported in the monitoring data. However, the midline results indicate that the interventions were successfully delivered, resulting in significant positive effects on key intermediate outcomes, including knowledge and use of mobile banking services and initial take up of a mobile basic savings account. Downstream effects indicate that the supply- and demand-side interventions, particularly in combination, increased women business owners’ savings, empowerment, self-confidence, and economic welfare.
  • Topic: Women, Finance, Rural, Financial Services
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Indo-Pacific