Africa

  • 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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  • 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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  • Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya

    Duflo, Kremer and Robinson (2009)

    Original Abstract:

    While many developing-country policymakers see heavy fertilizer subsidies as critical to raising agricultural productivity, most economists see them as distortionary, regressive, environmentally unsound, and argue that they result in politicized, inefficient distribution of fertilizer supply. We model farmers as facing small fixed costs of purchasing fertilizer, and assume some are stochastically present-biased and not fully sophisticated about this bias. Even when relatively patient, such farmers may procrastinate, postponing fertilizer purchases until later periods, when they may be too impatient to purchase fertilizer. Consistent with the model, many farmers in Western Kenya fail to take advantage of apparently profitable fertilizer investments, but they do invest in response to small, time-limited discounts on the cost of acquiring fertilizer (free delivery) just after harvest. Later discounts have a smaller impact, and when given a choice of price schedules, many farmers choose schedules that induce advance purchase. Calibration suggests such small, time-limited discounts yield higher welfare than either laissez faire or heavy subsidies by helping present-biased farmers commit to fertilizer use without inducing those with standard preferences to substantially overuse fertilizer.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Busia district.

    Intervention description: Farmers randomly offered one of the following: the chance to purchase a voucher immediately after the harvest, the chance to purchase at the time of their choosing, fertilizer at regular price with free delivery 2-4 months after harvest or fertilizer at a 50% subsidy with free delivery 2-4 months after harvest.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 924 farmers (841 in follow-up) with children enrolled in 16 local schools.

    Findings: Fertilizer use increased in every group (from 14-22% on a base of 23%), except for the group allowed to purchase fertilizer at the regular price.

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  • When is Capital Enough to Get Microenterprises Growing? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Ghana

    Fafchamps et al (2010)

    Original Abstract:

    Standard models of investment predict that credit-constrained firms should grow rapidly when given additional capital, and that how this capital is provided should not affect decisions to invest in the business or consume the capital. We randomly gave cash and in-kind grants to male- and female-owned microenterprises in urban Ghana. Our findings cast doubt on the ability of capital alone to stimulate the growth of female microenterprises. First, while the average treatment effects of the in-kind grants are large and positive for both males and females, the gain in profits is almost zero for women with initial profits below the median, suggesting that capital alone is not enough to grow subsistence enterprises owned by women. Second, for women we strongly reject equality of the cash and in-kind grants; only in-kind grants lead to growth in business profits. The results for men also suggest a lower impact of cash, but differences between cash and in-kind grants are less robust. The difference in the effects of cash and in-kind grants is associated more with a lack of self-control than with external pressure. As a result, the manner in which funding is provided affects microenterprise growth.

    Intervention settings: Urban.

    Intervention description: Capital grants in cash or in-kind ($120) as proxy to credit.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Entrepreneurs (more than half of sample).

    Findings: Both cash and in-kind grants had positive impact on men's businesses. In-kind grants led to higher profits only for women with initially larger, higher-profit businesses. No significant impact on per capita expenditure. No overall impact of grants on women's business investment or income; heterogeneous impact that depends on initial business size and profitability, and type of capital injection (in-kind have positive impact on more successful firms). Cash grants have no impact on women's businesses; tend to be used for HH expenses. No impact of grants on profits of women with initially below average profit businesses.

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  • Control and Ownership of Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households

    Fafchamps and Quisumbing (2002)

    Original Abstract:

    This paper investigates how the control and devolution of productive assets are allocated among husband and wife. Using detailed household data from rural Ethiopia, the authors show that assets brought to marriage, ownership of assets, control within marriage, and disposition upon death or divorce are only partly related.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Logit, probit, tobit with 1995/96 and 1997 household surveys.

    Sample: 1,420 households (23% female-headed).

    Findings: Land that women bring with them into a marriage as assets served as a strong predictor of their control over productive assets during the marriage, including the right to rent land.

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  • A Psychological Personal Initiative Training Enhances Business Success of African Business Owners

    Glaub, Frese, Fischer, and Hoppe (2012)

    Intervention settings: Rural

    Intervention description: Three-day course focused on personal intitiative through a psychological intervention aimed at making business owners more likely to self-start new ideas on products and processes, be more proactive in preparing future opportunities and problems, and be persistent in overcoming barriers.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 109 male and female business owners.

    Findings: 57.4% increase in revenues using difference in difference calculation. Study reports difference in log sales is signficant at 1% level.

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  • Insurance, credit, and technology adoption: Field experimental evidence from Malawi

    Giné and Yang (2009)

    Original Abstract:

    Does production risk suppress the demand for credit? We implemented a randomized field experiment to ask whether provision of insurance against a major source of production risk induces farmers to take out loans to adopt a new crop technology. The study sample was composed of roughly 800 maize and groundnut farmers in Malawi, where by far the dominant source of production risk is the level of rainfall. We randomly selected half of the farmers to be offered credit to purchase high-yielding hybrid maize and groundnut seeds for planting in the November 2006 crop season. The other half of farmers were offered a similar credit package, but were also required to purchase (at actuarially fair rates) a weather insurance policy that partially or fully forgave the loan in the event of poor rainfall. Surprisingly, take-up was lower by 13 percentage points among farmers offered insurance with the loan. Take-up was 33.0% for farmers who were offered the uninsured loan. There is suggestive evidence that reduced take-up of the insured loan was due to farmers already having implicit insurance from the limited liability clause in the loan contract: insured loan take-up was positively correlated with farmer education, income, and wealth, which may proxy for the individual's default costs. By contrast, take-up of the uninsured loan was uncorrelated with these farmer characteristics.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Central Malawi.

    Intervention description: Farmers offered either credit to purchase high-yielding hybrid seeds or credit plus a requirement to purchase rainfall insurance at an actuarially fair price.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Maize and groundnut farmers in 32 localities.

    Findings: Take up was 33% in the first group, and 13% lower in the second group.

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  • Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts

    Karlan and Zinman (2010)

    Original Abstract:

    Expanding access to commercial credit is a key ingredient of financial development strategies. There is less consensus on whether expanding access to consumer credit helps borrowers, particularly when loans are extended at high interest rates. Popular skepticism about "unproductive," "usurious" lending is fueled by research highlighting behavioral biases that may induce overborrowing. We estimate the impacts of expanding access to consumer credit at a 200% annual percentage rate (APR) using a field experiment and follow-up data collection. The randomly assigned marginal loans produced significant net benefits for borrowers across a wide range of outcomes. There is also some evidence that the loans were profitable.

    Intervention settings: Urban.

    Intervention description: Individual credit with median loan size of $127, 40% of average borrower's gross monthly income. Assessed impact of offering access to individual loans to marginal clients who otherwise would have been rejected.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Poor men and women wage workers.

    Findings: Positive impact of access to credit on clients' retention of jobs (loans likely helped clients smoothe or avoid shocks that prevent them from getting to work). Positive impact of access to credit on HH incomes. Loans increased HH food consumption. Reported experiencing increased HH decision-making (though small sample size of married women and imprecise estimate). No significant difference in impact of credit assigned to men and women.

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