Africa

  • Can Skills Training Programs Increase Employment for Young Women? The Case of Liberia.

    World Bank (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    The Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) project in Liberia consists of six-months of classroom training followed by six-months of placement and support (including micro-enterprise advisory services and internship and job placement assistance). Participants are trained in business development skills, job skills, and life skills, and the program includes a capacity-building component for local partners. The aim is to smooth the transition from the classroom to wage or self-employment. According to midline results from 2012, the program led to a 50% increase in employment among trainees, increased average weekly income by 115%, and significantly increased girls' savings.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Vocational, business development, and life skills classroom and on-the-job training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Women 16-27 years old with basic literacy and numeracy skills, currently not in school.

    Findings: Employment increased by 50%. Incomes increased by 115%.

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  • Intentions to Participate in Adolescent Training Programs: Evidence from Uganda

    Bandiera et al (2010)

    Original Abstract:

    Almost one-third of the population in developing countries is under age 15. Hence improving the effectiveness of policy interventions that target adolescents might be especially important. We analyze the intention to participate in training programs of adolescent girls in Uganda, a country with perhaps the most skewed age distribution anywhere in the world. The training program we focus on is BRAC's Adolescent Development Program, which emphasizes the provision of life skills, entrepreneurship training, and microfinance. We find that girls who are more likely to benefit from the program are more likely to intend to participate. The program attracts girls who are likely to place a high value on financial independence: single mothers and girls who are alienated from their families. The program attracts girls who are more likely to benefit from training: girls who believe they could be successful entrepreneurs but currently lack the quantitative skills to do so. Reassuringly, girls who are in school full-time are less likely to intend to participate. We also find that the program attracts girls from poorer villages but we find no evidence that poorer girls within each village are more likely to want to participate. Finally, girls from villages who have previously been exposed to NGO projects are less likely to intend to participate.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Group-based unconditional cash transfer.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Men and women 16-35 years old.

    Findings: 80% of beneficiaries use grants for vocational training and business asset purchases. Employment increases by 50% for women and 25% for men. Income increases by 50%.

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  • Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY): Providing Social Support, Savings, and Microcredit Opportunities for Young Women in Areas with High HIV Prevalence

    Erulkar et al (2006)

    Original Abstract:

    The document reports on the Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY) project in Nairobi, Kenya. The project aimed to reduce the vulnerability of out of school adolescent girls and young women, aged 16-22, to HIV infection and other illnesses by improving their livelihood options through microfinance interventions. The document includes a description of the project, an overview of microfinance in Africa, a discussion of the limits of the project's initial microcredit model, an analysis of the project's impact, and recommendations for the way forward.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Microfinance.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Women 16-22 years old, who are out-of-school and live in low-income and slum areas of Nairobi

    Findings: Low repayment and high program dropout.

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  • Vocational Education Voucher Delivery and Labor Market Returns: A Randomized Evaluation Among Kenyan Youth

    Hicks et al (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This report describes the ongoing Technical and Vocational Vouchers Program (TVVP) in Kenya and provides early results from the intervention. Implementation began in 2008 with the recruitment of approximately 2,160 out-of-school youths (ranging in age from roughly 18 to 30). Study participants were drawn from the Kenya Life Panel Survey, an unusual on-going panel dataset of detailed educational, health, and cognitive information for over 7,000 adolescents in western Kenya. Of the 2,160 youths that applied to the TVVP, a random half were awarded a voucher for vocational training, while the other half served as the control group. Of the voucher winners, a random half were awarded a voucher that could only be used in public (government) institutions, while the other half received a voucher that could be used in either private or public institutions. The project also included a cross-cutting information intervention, which exposed a randomly selected half of all treatment and control individuals to information about the actual returns to vocational education. This report focuses on program take-up, the demand for vocational training and the impacts of the information intervention on institution and course selection, participant attendance, the short-term impacts of training on labor market expectations and outcomes for a representative subset of program participants, and training center characteristics. The report also provides some suggestive evidence on the supply-side impacts of the program.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Awarded voucher for either public (government) institution or private institution. Half of the group was also expsed to information about actual returns to vocational education.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 2,160 men and women aged 18-30 (63% women) who were out of school.

    Findings: Influenced more women to enroll in traditionally male-dominated (and higher-paying) courses of study.

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  • Widowhood and Asset Inheritance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Empirical Evidence from 15 Countries

    Peterman (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    Widows in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are perceived to face widespread discrimination in asset and property inheritance following the death of a spouse, leading to poverty for themselves and their children. However, large-sample empirical research directly supporting this claim is scarce. This paper explores levels, determinants and effects of asset inheritance among widows using data from two sources: 1) cross-country, nationally representative demographic and health survey (DHS) data from 15 SSA countries to assess levels and correlates of asset inheritance among ever widowed women aged 15-49; and 2) a 13-year longitudinal panel from the Kagera region in northwest Tanzania to examine the relationship between inheritance and levels of household per capita consumption and value of asset stocks. Results indicate that, across the 15 DHS countries, less than half of widows report inheriting any assets (average inheritance of any assets is 47 percent, ranging from 22 percent in Sierra Leone to 66 percent in Rwanda); the proportion reporting inheriting the majority of assets is lower (average of 32 percent, ranging from 13 percent in Sierra Leone to 60 percent in Rwanda). Across countries, inheritance is generally correlated with higher age, education and wealth, indicating that women with higher socioeconomic status may be more likely to negotiate favourable asset inheritance outcomes. Findings from Kagera indicate that the value of inheritances, especially for widows (and specifically land inheritance), is significant in determining changes in long-term household welfare when accounting for sources of unobservable community- and individual-level bias. Taken together, findings indicate a major role for creative and culturally sensitive programme design to protect widow asset inheritance through property and family law, coupled with rigorous impact evaluation to document effectiveness of these programmes.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Individual level fixed effects models.

    Sample: 8,725 widows (DHS) and 946 women in Kagera.

    Findings: Land inheritance is positively associated with higher levels of per capita household consumption and asset stocks for widows in SSA.

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  • Risk Sharing and Transactions Costs: Evidence from Kenya's Mobile Money Revolution

    Jack and Suri (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    We explore the impact of reduced transaction costs on risk sharing by estimating the effect of mobile money on household consumption. Over a two-year period, household adoption increased from 43 to 70 percent, while the number of cash-in and cash-out agents increased four-fold. Using panel data we collected, we found that while shocks reduce per capita consumption by 7 percent for non-user households, the consumption of households with access is unaffected. The mechanism underlying this effect is an increase in remittances received, in number, size and diversity of senders. A falsification test using data prior to the innovation supports these results.

    Intervention settings: National.

    Intervention description: Extension of M-Pesa mobile money agent coverage.

    Methodology: Difference in differences and instrumental variable estimation using panel data.

    Sample: Randomly selected households from 102 locations, in areas accounting for 92% of Kenya's population.

    Findings: Access to M-Pesa increases a household's ability to smooth consumption in response to a negative income shock. For households that do not use M-PESA or households that lack access to the M-PESA agent network, per capita consumption fell by 7-10% on average when they experience a negative income shock. However, M-PESA user households experienced "no such fall in per capita consumption" and often the post-shock consumption fall was statistically indistinguishable from zero. The effects were greater for households in lower income distribution quintiles than those in higher quintiles. Effects are due to improved risk sharing, not liquidity effects. M-PESA user HH are different from non-user HH (13% more likely to receive remittances; they also receive remittances from a larger network).

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  • (In) Efficiency in Intra-household Allocations

    Akresh (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    In years with negative rainfall shocks, households increase labour on women-controlled plots (follow up to Udry 1996).

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  • Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment

    Baird, McIntosh and _zler (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This paper assesses the role of conditionality in cash transfer programs using a unique experiment targeted at adolescent girls in Malawi. The program featured two distinct interventions: unconditional transfers (UCT arm) and transfers conditional on school attendance (CCT arm). While there was a modest decline in the dropout rate in the UCT arm in comparison to the control group, it was only 43% as large as the impact in the CCT arm at the end of the two-year program. The CCT arm also outperformed the UCT arm in tests of English reading comprehension. However, teenage pregnancy and marriage rates were substantially lower in the UCT than the CCT arm, entirely due to the impact of UCTs on these outcomes among girls who dropped out of school.

    Intervention settings: Rural (mostly): Zomba district

    Intervention description: Cash transfers varied randomly (at level of enumerator area) between $4, $6, $8 and $10 per month to parents and between $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5 to student beneficiaries. In addition, CCT recipients' secondary school fees were paid. For conditional treatment arms, payment was made if attendance the previous month was at least 80% of school days. Unconditional arm had identical offer except payment was not conditional on attending school, and payments were adjusted upward to match the amount of school fees plus cash transfer that CCT arm received.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 2,907 school girls in 176 enumeration areas.

    Findings: Decrease in the drop-out rate in the UCT group only 43% as large as that in the CCT group.

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  • Does ICT Benefit the Poor? Evidence from South Africa.

    Klonner and Nolen (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    We study the economic effects of the roll-out of mobile phone network coverage in rural South Africa. We address identification issues which arise from the fact that network roll-out cannot be viewed as an exogenous process to local economic development. We combine spatially coded data from South Africa's leading network provider with annual labor force surveys. We use terrain properties to construct an instrumental variable that allows us to identify the causal effect of network coverage on economic outcomes under plausible assumptions. We found substantial effects of cell phone network roll-out on labor market outcomes with remarkable gender-specific differences. Employment increases by 15 percentage points when a locality receives network coverage. A gender-differentiated analysis shows that most of this effect is due to increased employment by women. Household income increases in a pro-poor way when cellular infrastructure is provided.

    Intervention settings: Rural

    Intervention description: Extension of mobile phone network.

    Methodology: Instrumental variable estimation.

    Sample: Data from two nationally representative household surveys.

    Findings: Employment increases by 15 percentage points, with most of the effect concentrated in females. Positive effect on household income among households with no children. No effect on average household income or moderate poverty. Reduces severe poverty.

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  • Are Poor Slum-dwellers Willing to Pay for Formal Land Title? Evidence from Dar es Salaam

    Ali et al (2012)

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 1,059 households (22% women-headed).

    Findings: Dissemination activities had positive impact on listing of female co-owners. Demand for a Certificate Right of Occupancy among urban slum dwellers was high relative to income and to cost of other options.

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