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Cover of Working Paper 480

Does Deforestation Increase Malaria Prevalence? Evidence from Satellite Data and Health Surveys - Working Paper 480

3/22/18

In this paper we combine fourteen years of high-resolution satellite data on forest loss with individual-level survey data on malaria in more than 60,000 rural children in 17 countries in Africa, and fever in more than 470,000 rural children in 41 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. We did not find that deforestation increases malaria prevalence nor that intermediate levels of forest cover have higher malaria prevalence.

Cover of Working Paper 479

Alleviating Global Poverty: Labor Mobility, Direct Assistance, and Economic Growth - Working Paper 479

3/20/18

Simply allowing more labor mobility holds vastly more promise for reducing poverty than anything else on the development agenda. That said, the magnitude of the gains from large growth accelerations (and losses from large decelerations) are also many-fold larger than the potential gains from directed individual interventions and the poverty reduction gains from large, extended periods of rapid growth are larger than from targeted interventions and also hold promise (and have delivered) for reducing global poverty.

Cover of Working Paper 478

Short-Term Impacts of Improved Access to Mobile Savings, with and without Business Training: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania - Working Paper 478

3/16/18
Gautam Bastian , Iacopo Bianchi , Markus Goldstein and Joao Montalvao

This paper presents short-term results from an experiment randomizing the promotion and registration of a mobile savings account among women microentrepreneurs in Tanzania, with and without business training. Six months post-intervention, the results show that women save substantially more through the mobile account, and that the business training bolstered this effect. 

Cover of Working Paper 474

Measures of Global Public Goods and International Spillovers - Working Paper 474

2/5/18

This paper attempts a first-cut listing of global public goods and international spillover activities, as well as providing some data on their global distribution alongside basic correlational analysis. Few if any goods are “pure” global public goods and there is a spectrum of the extent of spillovers. Some global public goods are not well measured. The listing is far from exhaustive, nor is it based on rigorous selection criteria. But it does suggest considerable diversity in trends, levels and sources of public good and spillover activities.

Cover of Working Paper 475

FDI and Supply Chains in Horticulture (Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, Raw, Packaged, Cut, and Processed): Diversifying Exports and Reducing Poverty in Africa, Latin America, and Other Developing Economies - Working Paper 475

2/5/18

Prior research on foreign investment and supply chains in emerging markets has focused almost exclusively on the creation of international networks in manufacturing and assembly. This paper extends that research, looking beyond manufacturing into supply chain creation in horticulture in developing countries.

Cover of Working Paper 473

Encouraging State Governments to Protect and Restore Forests Using Ecological Fiscal Transfers: India’s Tax Revenue Distribution Reform - Working Paper 473

12/13/17

India’s tax revenue distribution reform creates the world’s first ecological fiscal transfers (EFTs) for forest cover, and a potential model for other countries. In this paper we discuss the origin of India’s EFTs and their potential effects. In a simple preliminary analysis, we do not yet observe that the EFTs have increased forest cover across states, consistent with our hypothesis that one to two years of operation is too soon for the reform to have had an effect. This means there remains substantial scope for state governments to protect and restore forests as an investment in future state revenues.

Cover of Working Paper 472

Meeting the Sustainable Development Goal Zero Targets: What Could We Do? - Working Paper 472

12/13/17

The Sustainable Development Goals are an ambitious set of targets for global development progress by 2030 that were agreed by the United Nations in 2015. A review of the literature on meeting "zero targets" suggests very high costs compared to available resources, but also that in many cases there remains a considerable gap between financing known technical solutions and achieving the outcomes called for in the SDGs. In some cases, we (even) lack the technical solutions required to achieve the zero targets, suggesting the need for research and development of new approaches.

Cover of Working Paper 470

Family Planning and Fertility Behavior: Evidence from Twentieth Century Malaysia - Working Paper 470

12/7/17
Kimberly Singer Babiarz , Jiwon Lee , Grant Miller , Tey Nai Peng and Christine Valente

There is longstanding debate about the contribution of family planning programs to fertility decline. Studying the staggered introduction of family planning across Malaysia during the 1960s and 1970s, we find modest responses in fertility behavior. Overall, Malaysia’s total fertility rate declined by about one quarter birth under family planning, explaining only about 10 percent of the national fertility decline between 1960 and 1988. Our findings are consistent with growing evidence that global fertility decline is predominantly due to underlying changes in the demand for children.

Cover of Working Paper 471

Family Planning and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Incentive Effects and Direct Effects among Malaysian Women - Working Paper 471

12/7/17
Kimberly Singer Babiarz , Jiwon Lee , Grant Miller , Tey Nai Peng and Christine Valente

Although family planning programs can improve women’s welfare directly through changes in realized fertility, they may also have important incentive effects by increasing parents’ investments in girls not yet fertile. We study these potential incentive effects, finding that family planning may have raised raise girls’ educational attainment substantially. We also find that these early investments are linked to gains in women’s paid labor at prime working ages and to greater support for women’s elderly parents (a marker for women’s bargaining power within the household). Notably, these incentive effects may be larger than the direct effects of family planning alone.

Cover of Working Paper 469

Estimating the SDGs' Demand for Innovation - Working Paper 469

10/26/17

How much innovation will be needed to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals? Our results suggest that (i) best performers are considerably outperforming the average performance at a given income level, suggesting considerable progress could be achieved through policy change but that (ii) the targets set in the SDGs are unlikely to be met by 2030 without very rapid, ubiquitous technological progress alongside economic growth.

Cover of Working Paper 467

Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries - Working Paper 467

10/23/17
Sonia R. Bhalotra , Alberto Diaz-Cayeros , Grant Miller , Alfonso Miranda and Atheendar S. Venkataramani

We analyzed a large-scale municipal water disinfection program in Mexico in 1991 that rapidly increased access to chlorinated water. Our results suggest that childhood diarrheal disease mortality in Mexico would have declined by 86 percent if all municipalities had good quality infrastructure—a decline consistent with historical experience.

Cover of Working Paper 466

Can Africa Be a Manufacturing Destination? Labor Costs in Comparative Perspective - Working Paper 466

10/15/17

Our central question is whether African countries can break into global manufacturing in a substantial way. Our results suggest that for any given level of GDP, labor is more costly for firms that are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, we also find that there are a few countries in Africa that, on a labor cost basis, may be potential candidates for manufacturing—Ethiopia in particular stands out.

Cover of Working Paper 465

Norms and Reform: Legalizing Homosexuality Improves Attitudes - Working Paper 465

10/13/17

This analysis examines the relationship between legal reform and social norms surrounding homosexuality. First, about a fifth of the variation in individual preferences can be explained at a country level. Second, using a difference-in-differences strategy, legalizing homosexuality improves how individuals view the tone of their communities. Third, we provide further evidence supporting a legal origins argument by examining former colonies. We conclude that adopting legal reform can improve societal attitudes.

Cover of Working Paper 464

Different Strokes for Different Folks: Experimental Evidence on the Effectiveness of Input and Output Incentive Contracts for Health Care Providers with Different Levels of Skills - Working Paper 464

10/11/17
Manoj Mohanan , Grant Miller , Katherine Donato , Yulya Truskinovsky and Marcos Vera-Hernández

A central issue in designing performance incentive contracts is whether to reward the production of outputs versus use of inputs: the former rewards efficiency and innovation in production, while the latter imposes less risk on agents.

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