Africa

  • Poverty and Productivity in Female-Headed Households in Zimbabwe

    Horrell and Krishnan (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    A household survey conducted in rural Zimbabwe in 2001 is used to compare the position of de facto and de jure female-headed households to those with a male head. These households are characterised by different forms of poverty that impinge on their ability to improve agricultural productivity. However, once inputs are accounted for, it is only for growing cotton that female- headed households' productivity is lower than that found for male-headed households. General poverty alleviation policies will benefit the female-headed household but specific interventions via extension services and access to marketing consortia are also indicated.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: OLS and Heckman selection model.

    Sample: 300 households (69 female-headed).

    Findings: Compares the position of de facto and de jure female headed households to male headed households. Initially perceived differences in agricultural productivity disappear when inputs are taken into account, particularly land holdings.

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  • Kaizen for Managerial Skills Improvement in Small and Medium Enterprises: An Impact Evaluation Study

    Sonobe, Suzuki, and Otsuka (2011)

    Intervention settings: Urban.

    Intervention description: KAIZEN Production management training - to reduce non-value adding operations. Multifaceted classroom training and on-site KAIZEN training. Sample received both trainings, one or the other, or none.

    Methodology: RCT - Randomized invitation to participate.

    Sample: 100-180 male and female firm owners with typical revenues of $200-300,000 USD per year.

    Findings: Entrepreneurs in the sample knew little about standard business practices and attached low value to learning management, but the training improved participants' business practices and recognition of importance of management knowledge. Male owners 20% more likely to participate in training given invitation than females. One year older increases probability of participating by 1-2%.

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  • Is Land Titling in Sub-Saharan Africa Cost-Effective? Evidence from Madagascar

    Jacoby and Minten (2007)

    Original Abstract:

    Formalizing land rights has been promoted as a way to encourage agricultural investment and stimulate land markets, yet little is known about the benefits of such policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the preconditions for success are less favorable. The analysis uses a large sample of plots from an intensively titled rice-growing area of Madagascar and compares land-specific investments, land productivity, and land values for titled and untitled plots cultivated by the same household. Having a title has no significant effect on plot-specific investment and correspondingly little effect on land productivity and land values. These results are broadly consistent with a simulation of a theoretical model of investment under expropriation risk calibrated to the same data. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that the current system of formal titling should not be extended in rural Madagascar and that any new system of land registration would have to be quite inexpensive to be worthwhile.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Lac Alaotra region.

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Household-level fixed effects estimation using cross-section data on multiple plots per household.

    Sample: 1,700 households owning 2,652 owner-cultivated rice plots in 38 communes.

    Findings: Land titling has only a modest (+6%) effect on land values. Land titling has no significant effect on land-related investment or productivity.

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  • Information from Markets Near and Far: Mobile Phones and Agricultural Markets in Niger

    Aker (2010)

    Intervention settings: Rural (39% of markets were located in an urban center).

    Intervention description: Extension of mobile phone coverage.

    Methodology: Matched difference in differences.

    Sample: Traders and markets.

    Findings: Grain markets that are further apart from other markets or have poor road quality, or high transportation costs between them show stronger effects. Mobile phones have a greater impact as more markets gain coverage. Impact of mobiles on price dispersion increases slightly and becomes more statistically significant as more people have phones making the same technology have greater value.

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  • Inheritance Practices and Gender Differences in Poverty and Well-Being in Rural Ethiopia

    Kumar and Quisumbing (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    This article examines the role of men's and women's asset inheritance in poverty and well-being in rural Ethiopia. Data from the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (1997, 2004, and 2009) are used to investigate the following. (i) What is the long-term impact of gender differentials in inheritance on household consumption, poverty and food security? (ii) Are there significant differences in poverty and well-being between male-and female-headed households? The most important finding is that it is the amounts of inheritance received, and not whether women inherit at all, that have the most profound impacts. The area of land inherited is particularly important for women's long-term well-being. These findings underscore the importance of women's rights to inherit equally with men.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Probit and OLS models with Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (1997, 2004, 2009).

    Sample: 1,300 households (32% female-headed).

    Findings: Area of land inherited is a key determinant of women's long term well-being.

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  • Zap It to Me: The Short-Term Impacts of a Mobile Cash Transfer Program

    Aker and others (2011)

    Intervention settings: Rural: Tahoua region.

    Intervention description: Use of mobile phones to distribute unconditional cash transfers in targeted villages.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Recipient households in 96 villages.

    Findings: Participants in the Zap program incurred significantly fewer costs in the process of obtaining the cash transfer as compared to the placebo group or the manual cash transfer group. Zap program recipients saved approximately 30 minutes of time not spent traveling for each transfer, a total of 2.5 hours over the duration of the program. Zap HHs compared to both the manual transfer group and the placebo group purchased on average .86 more types food and non-food items with the cash transfer. (Finding was statistically significant and shows that the m-transfer encourages a larger variety of purchases.) These spending trends do not carry over into the analysis of health and school fee expenditures made with the transfer. (There are no statistically significant differences between the groups in spending on health or education.) HH diet diversity is .16 points higher in Zap villages as compared with placebo villages. (There was no statistically significant difference between the levels of consumption of staple foods but there were notable and statistically significant differences among consumption of fruit and fats.) No statistically significant differences across groups. No statistically significant differences among program types in ownership of durable assets HHs in the Zap program villages had on average .15 more non-durable assets as compared to the placebo group. (This finding suggests that "zap households were selling non-durable assets less frequently than those in placebo or cash villages.") Zap villages on average grew .36 more types of crops than those in the placebo villages. (Findings are driven by an increased likeliness for Zap village households to engage in female produced cash crops such as vouandzou and okra production.) No differences among groups in levels of spending for school fees or spending in markets outside the village.

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  • Women's Property Rights and Gendered Policies: Implications for Women's Long-Term Welfare in Rural Tanzania

    Peterman (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This paper evaluates effects of community-level women's property and inheritance rights on women's economic outcomes using a 13 year longitudinal panel from rural Tanzania. In the preferred model specification, inverse probability weighting is applied to a woman-level fixed effects model to control for individual-level time invariant heterogeneity and attrition. Results indicate that changes in women's property and inheritance rights are significantly associated with women's employment outside the home, self-employment and earnings. Results are not limited to sub-groups of marginalised women. Findings indicate lack of gender equity in sub-Saharan Africa may inhibit economic development for women and society as a whole.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Individual-level fixed effects models with 1991-94 and 2004 Kagera Health and Development Survey.

    Sample:

    Findings: Stronger property and inheritance rights for women are significantly associated with women's employment outside the home, self-employment and earnings. Property and inheritance rights in Tanzania were strengthened in 1999 with a land reform act that shifted the administration of land registration and titling to the village level. Women also gained land rights through the Law of Marriage Act, which allowed women to hold and sell property. However, customary law is stronger than formal laws in governing women's right to land. In local communities where cultural and economic development indicators favored women, women were more likely to be employed and to have higher earnings.

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  • Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs. Financial Incentives for Loan Payments

    Cadena, Ximena and Antoinette Schoar (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    We report the results from a field experiment with a micro lender in Uganda to test the effectiveness of privately implemented incentives for loan repayment. Using a randomized control trial we measure the impact of three different treatments: Borrowers are either given a lump sum cash reward upon completion of the loan (equivalent to a 25% interest rate reduction on the current loan), a 25% reduction of the interest rate in the next loan the borrower takes from the bank, or a monthly text message reminder before the loan payment is due (SMS). We find that on average the size of the treatment effect is similar across all the treatment groups: borrowers in the treatment groups have a 7-9% increase in the probability of paying on time and the average days late drop by 2 days a month. The results suggest that simple text messages which help borrowers to better manage their repayment dates have similar effects as large changes in the cost of capital of 25% of interest. The impact of the cash back incentives are stronger for customers with smaller loans and less banking experience, the reduced future interest rate seemed to be most effective for customers with larger loans, while the SMS text messages were particularly effective for younger customers.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Text message reminders to save. Messages were delivered three days prior to the repayment deadline and the messages were in the language of choice by the client (either in English, Luganda or in symbols).

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Individual loan customers who provided collateral worth 80% of the size of the loan. 35% of sample female.

    Findings: The text message strategy increased the probability of perfect repayment by 9 points on average. This impact was statistically significant and larger in magnitude than either of the other incentive schemes. The impact of the cash back incentives are stronger for customers with smaller loans and less banking experience. The reduced future interest rate seemed to be most effective for customers with larger loans. The SMS text messages were particularly effective for younger customers.

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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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  • 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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