Africa

  • 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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  • The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana

    Goldstein and Udry (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    We examine the impact of ambiguous and contested land rights on investment and productivity in agriculture in Akwapim, Ghana. We show that individuals who hold powerful positions in a local political hierarchy have more secure tenure rights, and that as a consequence they invest more in land fertility and have substantially higher output. The intensity of investments on different plots cultivated by a given individual correspond to that individual's security of tenure over those specific plots and, in turn, to the individuals' position in the political hierarchy relevant to those specific plots.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Akwapim South District, Eastern Region.

    Intervention description: None.

    Methodology: Household-level fixed-effects estimation.

    Sample: 252 married couples; 519 plots in 4 village clusters owned by 240+ married couples; each couple was interviewed 15 times during a two-year period.

    Findings: Security of tenure has an important effect on land productivity (via investments in soil fertility) and security of tenure is related to an individual's position in the political and social hierarchy, with most women relatively disadvantaged. Insecure tenure leads to substantially lower profits per hectare for women compared to men.

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  • Crop Price Indemnified Loans for Farmers: A Pilot Experiment in Rural Ghana

    Karlan, Kutsoati, McMillan and Udry (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    Farmers face a particular set of risks that complicate the decision to borrow. We use a randomized experiment to investigate (1) the role of crop-price risk in reducing demand for credit among farmers and (2) how risk mitigation changes farmers' investment decisions. In Ghana, we offer farmers loans with an indemnity component that forgives 50 percent of the loan if crop prices drop below a threshold price. A control group is offered a standard loan product at the same interest rate. Loan uptake is high among all farmers and the indemnity component has little impact on uptake or other outcomes of interest.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Eastern.

    Intervention description: Farmers offered loans with or without crop price insurance and financial literacy training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Farmers (15% female).

    Findings: Take up rates were high (92% of farmers offered loans and crop price insurance, 86% of farmers offered loans only). Gender did not have a significant effect on take up.

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  • Strengthening Economic Rights and Women's Occupational Choice The Impact of Reforming Ethiopia's Family Law

    Hallward-Driemeier and Gajigo (2011)

    Intervention settings: Nationwide

    Intervention description: Reform of Ethiopia's 2000 Family Code: Raised the minimum age of marriage for women, removed the ability of the husband to deny permission for the wife to work outside the home and required both spouses' consent in the administration of marital property.

    Methodology: Difference in using DHS survey data collected in Ethiopia in 2000 and 2005.

    Sample: 15,367 women (14,070 in follow-up).

    Findings: Women more likely to work in occupations that require work outside the home, in paid and full-time jobs, and in higher-paid positions. Effect of law seems strongest for young, single women, which seems to be from the increase in the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years.

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  • Incentives to Learn

    Kremer, Miguel and Thornton (2009)

    Original Abstract:

    We report results from a randomized evaluation of a merit scholarship program for adolescent girls in Kenya. Girls who scored well on academic exams had their school fees paid and received a cash grant for school supplies. Girls eligible for the scholarship showed significant gains in academic exam scores (average gain 0.12-0.19 standard deviations) and these gains persisted following the competition. There is also evidence of positive program externalities on learning: boys, who were ineligible for the awards, also showed sizeable average test gains, as did girls with low pretest scores, who were unlikely to win. Both student and teacher school attendance increased in the program schools. We discuss implications both for understanding the nature of educational production functions and for the policy debate surrounding merit scholarships.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Busia and Teso districts

    Intervention description: Merit scholarships awarded to 6th grade girls.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: Students

    Findings: Test scores increased by 0.19 standard deviations. Teacher attendance increased by 4.8 percentage points (by 7.6 percentage points in the 6th grade).

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  • 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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