BRIEF March 15, 2018

Africa Chief Economist’s Office Publications and Working Papers

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The Africa Chief Economist’s Office seeks to produce high-quality research that is relevant for your operational work. For your information, we share our publications from the last year below. You can click on a topic of interest to read the most relevant publications:

Agriculture | Energy & Extractives | Environment & Natural Resources | Finance, Competitiveness And Innovation | Gender | Governance Macroeconomics, Trade And Investment | Health, Nutrition & Population | Poverty & Equity | Social Protection & Labor | Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience | Transport & Digital Development

 

Agriculture

■ Formalization Without Certification? Experimental Evidence on Property Rights and Investment

This study finds that improved tenure security from program demarcation activities leads households to shift their investment decisions from subsistence crops to long-term and perennial cash crops. Moreover, as initial lower levels of tenure security amplify the impact of a marginal change in land rights, female-headed households respond to demarcation by closing the gender gap in fallowing, a key soil fertility investment. 

Journal Article by Markus Goldstein, Kenneth Houngbedji, Florence Kondylis, Michael O'Sullivan, Harris Selod, Journal of Development Economics, 2017

■ Gender and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Strengthening women's ownership, control, and use of land, livestock, and savings assets matters for poverty and shared prosperity, as unequal property rights can lead to intrahousehold inequality in wealth. This paper examines the underlying constraints that potentially give rise to these inequalities, assesses the impact evaluation evidence on how to narrow existing gaps and boost welfare, and outlines a set of priority research and policy questions. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8250 by Michael O'Sullivan, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ The Impact of Strengthening Agricultural Extension Services: Evidence from Ethiopia

The paper examines the impact of the Rural Capacity Building Project using panel data on 1,485 geographically dispersed households in project and control kebeles. The results show that the strengthening of extension services had a positive impact on economic participation in the household, land area cultivated, and adoption of marketable crops, suggesting that access to extension helped farmers switch to more commercial, market-oriented agriculture. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8169 by Niklas Buehren, Markus Goldstein, Ezequiel Molina, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, August 2017

■ Soft skills for Hard Constraints: Evidence from High-Achieving Female Farmers 

This paper documents the positive link between the noncognitive skills of women farmers and the adoption of a cash crop. The analysis finds that a one standard deviation increase in noncognitive ability related to perseverance is associated with a five percentage point (or 33 percent) increase in the probability of adoption of the main cash crop. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8095 by Joao Montalvao, Michael Frese, Markus Goldstein,Talip Kilic, World Bank Group, June 2017

Energy & Extractives

■ Local Communities Can Reap Better Benefits from Mining if Market and Fiscal Channels are Strong

Evidence from the boom in large-scale gold mining in three countries in Africa suggests that mining communities experience on average positive, but limited welfare gains in the near term. The benefits that come from opening a mine (or mines) are mostly transmitted through the normal functioning of markets, primarily through labor and land. 

Journal Article by Punam Chuhan-Pole with Andrew Dabalen, GREAT Insights, July/August 2017

■ Mining in Africa: Are Local Communities Better Off?

This study focuses on the local and regional impact of large-scale gold mining in Africa in the context of a mineral boom in the region since 2000. It contributes to filling a gap in the literature on the welfare effects of mineral resources, which, until now, has concentrated more on the national or macroeconomic impacts. 

Report by Punam Chuhan-Pole with Andrew Dabalen and Christopher Land, Africa Development Forum Series, 2017

■ Evidence for a Presource Curse? Oil Discoveries, Elevated Expectations, and Growth Disappointments

Based on research into the effect of oil discoveries on growth, we find that major oil discoveries trigger raised expectations about growth - in the form of increased IMF WEO growth forecasts. Meanwhile the actual growth path can prove disappointing- undershooting forecasts on average- and even coming in lower than pre-discovery growth in some cases. This is all before production or exports have chance to start. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8140 by James Cust with David Mihalyi, World Bank Group, July 2017

Environment & Natural Resources 

■ The Carbon Wealth of Nations: From Rents to Risks

The wealth accounts in the Changing Wealth of Nations show there are 26 countries that have at least 5 percent of their total assets in the form of fossil fuels. If much of this must remain below ground, these countries may see their total assets decline significantly in value, including above ground assets such as carbon-linked produced and human capital. 

Report Chapter by James Cust with David Manley, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future", World Bank Group, 2018

■ Evidence for a Presource Curse? Oil Discoveries, Elevated Expectations, and Growth Disappointments

Based on research into the effect of oil discoveries on growth, we find that major oil discoveries trigger raised expectations about growth - in the form of increased IMF WEO growth forecasts. Meanwhile the actual growth path can prove disappointing- undershooting forecasts on average- and even coming in lower than pre-discovery growth in some cases. This is all before production or exports have chance to start. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8140 by James Cust with David Mihalyi, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ The Role of Governance and International Norms in Managing Natural Resources

A variety of international initiatives have emerged seeking to support those striving for better governance in their countries. The paper provides a review of initiatives targeting governments as the key agents of change and offers some critical reflections on challenges faced and potential ways forward to build on the lessons and achievements of the past decade and a half. 

Working paper 2017/203 by James Cust, UNU-WIDER, December 2017

Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation

■ Teaching Personal Initiative Beats Traditional Business Training in Boosting Small Business in West Africa

Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. Four follow-up surveys tracked outcomes for firms over 2 years and showed that personal initiative training increased firm profits by 30%, compared with a statistically insignificant 11% for traditional training.

Journal Article by Francisco Campos, Michael Frese, Markus Goldstein, Leonardo Iacovone, Hillary C. Johnson, David McKenzie, Mona Mensmann, Science Vol 357, Issue 6357, September 2017

■ Exchange Rate Flexibility and the Effect of Remittances on Economic Growth

This paper studies the question of whether exchange rate policy affects the impact of remittances on economic growth in recipient countries. The findings indicate that more flexible exchange rate regimes are associated with a greater increase in economic growth following an increase in remittances, but also that the impact of remittances on growth is positive under a fixed regime. 

Journal Article Emmanuel K. K. Lartey, Review of Development Economics, 21(1), 103–125, 2017

■ FDI, Sectoral Output and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics Under Financial Openness

Based on data for a group of developing countries, the findings of this study suggest that an increase in FDI inflow could result in an expansion of the nontradable sector, which would be associated with a greater appreciation of the real exchange rate under a higher level of financial openness. 

Journal Article by Emmanuel K.K. Lartey, Bulletin of Economic Research 69:4, 384-394, 2017

■ Does Higher Openness Cause More Real Exchange Rate Volatility

This study investigates the factors driving RER volatility and the properties of both trade and financial openness to stabilize RERs. Therefore, this paper guides the formulation of better economic policies to lower RER variability. It tests whether the extent and composition of international trade and financial integration would smooth the impact of shocks to the RER for 82 countries from 1974 to 2013 and confirms empirically that the composition of trade and financial openness matters for RER stabilization. 

Journal Article by Cesar Calderon with Megumi Kubota, Journal of International Economics 110: 176-204, 2018

■ The Carbon Wealth of Nations: From Rents to Risks

The wealth accounts in the Changing Wealth of Nations show there are 26 countries that have at least 5 percent of their total assets in the form of fossil fuels. If much of this must remain below ground, these countries may see their total assets decline significantly in value, including above ground assets such as carbon-linked produced and human capital. 

Report Chapter by James Cust with David Manley, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future", World Bank Group, 2018

■ Human Capital and The Wealth of Nations: Global Estimates and Trends

This chapter provides the first-ever set of comparable estimates of human capital wealth based on a time series of household surveys for a large number of countries over two decades, from 1995 to 2014. The estimates suggest that human capital accounts for the lion’s share of a country’s wealth, and typically a higher share in upper-middle-income and high-income countries than in poorer countries. 

Report Chapter by Luis-Diego Barrot with Kirk Hamilton, Quentin Wodon, and Ali Yedan, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future", World Bank Group, 2018

■ Gender and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Strengthening women's ownership, control, and use of land, livestock, and savings assets matters for poverty and shared prosperity, as unequal property rights can lead to intrahousehold inequality in wealth. This paper examines the underlying constraints that potentially give rise to these inequalities, assesses the impact evaluation evidence on how to narrow existing gaps and boost welfare, and outlines a set of priority research and policy questions.

Policy Research Working Paper 8250 by Michael O'Sullivan, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ The Profits of Wisdom: The Impacts of a Business Support Program in Tanzania 

This study finds that business training programs targeting women with established small businesses in urban Tanzania have no impact of on business practices and business outcomes. However, entrepreneurs with low levels of experience show reduced revenues; those with more experience benefit from the program. This finding suggests that business training programs may have greater impacts if they are more carefully targeted

Policy Research Working Paper 8279 by Elena Bardasi, Marine Gassier, Markus Goldstein, Alaka Holla, World Bank Group, December 2017

■ Crossovers: Female Entrepreneurs Who Enter Male Sectors

This paper uses data from Ethiopia to compare the firm performance and characteristics of women in male-dominated sectors (crossovers) with women who are in female-concentrated sectors (noncrossovers). The findings show that female-owned enterprises in male-dominated sectors perform better on average than those in female-concentrated sectors, with firms achieving higher profits and having more employees. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8065 by Salman Alibhai, Niklas Buehren, Sreelakshmi Papineni, Rachael Pierotti, World Bank Group, May 2017

Gender

■ Teaching Personal Initiative Beats Traditional Business Training in Boosting Small Business in West Africa

Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. Four follow-up surveys tracked outcomes for firms over 2 years and showed that personal initiative training increased firm profits by 30%, compared with a statistically insignificant 11% for traditional training. 

Journal Article by Francisco Campos, Michael Frese, Markus Goldstein, Leonardo Iacovone, Hillary C. Johnson, David McKenzie, Mona Mensmann, Science Vol 357, Issue 6357, September 2017

■ Formalization Without Certification? Experimental Evidence on Property Rights and Investment

This study finds that improved tenure security from program demarcation activities leads households to shift their investment decisions from subsistence crops to long-term and perennial cash crops. Moreover, as initial lower levels of tenure security amplify the impact of a marginal change in land rights, female-headed households respond to demarcation by closing the gender gap in fallowing, a key soil fertility investment. 

Journal Article by Markus Goldstein, Kenneth Houngbedji, Florence Kondylis, Michael O'Sullivan, Harris Selod, Journal of Development Economics, 2017

■ Women the Future of Africa

The book tells the story of a new generation of women and girls who are breaking gender barriers and taking charge of their own destiny. As part of its research, the GIL is working closely with some of the women portrayed in this book to understand what has driven their success, what challenges they continue to face, and what we can do to help them overcome these obstacles. 

Contributions by Africa Gender Innovation Lab

■ Gender and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Strengthening women's ownership, control, and use of land, livestock, and savings assets matters for poverty and shared prosperity, as unequal property rights can lead to intrahousehold inequality in wealth. This paper examines the underlying constraints that potentially give rise to these inequalities, assesses the impact evaluation evidence on how to narrow existing gaps and boost welfare, and outlines a set of priority research and policy questions. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8250 by Michael O'Sullivan, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ Gender and Enterprise Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Female participation in entrepreneurial activities is higher in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region. However, women-owned businesses significantly underperform those owned by men. This paper identifies the main constraints that women face in developing their businesses in Africa and discusses how these constraints influence strategic choices in areas such as level of investment and sector of operations. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8239 by, Francisco Campos and Marine Gassier, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ The Value of Reference Letters

This paper shows that reference letters from former employers alleviate information asymmetries about workers' skills and improve both match quality and equity in the labor market. A resume audit study finds that using a reference letter in the application increases callbacks by more than 60 percent, with women driving the effect. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8266 by Martin Abel with Rulof Burger, Patrizio Piraino

■ The Profits of Wisdom: The Impacts of a Business Support Program in Tanzania 

This study finds that business training programs targeting women with established small businesses in urban Tanzania have no impact of on business practices and business outcomes. However, entrepreneurs with low levels of experience show reduced revenues; those with more experience benefit from the program. This finding suggests that business training programs may have greater impacts if they are more carefully targeted 

Policy Research Working Paper 8279 by Elena Bardasi, Marine Gassier, Markus Goldstein, Alaka Holla, World Bank Group, December 2017

■ Gender and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

This paper discusses the specific barriers that youth face in accessing employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the ways in which young women's employment is constrained above and beyond the constraints faced by male youth. The paper synthesizes the emerging lessons from a growing evidence base on interventions that aim to support young women's employment, and identifies knowledge gaps and priority research questions for the future. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8245 by Shubha Chakravarty, Smita Das, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ The Impact of Strengthening Agricultural Extension Services: Evidence from Ethiopia

The paper examines the impact of the Rural Capacity Building Project using panel data on 1,485 geographically dispersed households in project and control kebeles. The results show that the strengthening of extension services had a positive impact on economic participation in the household, land area cultivated, and adoption of marketable crops, suggesting that access to extension helped farmers switch to more commercial, market-oriented agriculture. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8169 by Niklas Buehren, Markus Goldstein, Ezequiel Molina, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, August 2017

■ Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa 

This study evaluates a multi-faceted policy intervention attempting to jumpstart adolescent women’s empowerment in Uganda, a context in which 60% of the population are aged below twenty. Results show that four years post-intervention, adolescent girls in treated communities are 48% more likely to engage in income generating activities, an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. Teen pregnancy falls by 34%, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation falls by 62%. 

Report by Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul and Munshi Sulaimany, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Can Job Training Decrease Women’s Self-Defeating Biases? Experimental evidence from Nigeria

Occupational segregation is a central contributor to the gap between male and female earnings worldwide. The paper examines the impacts of an information and communications technology training intervention that targeted university graduates in five major cities and found that training programs can help individuals overcome self-defeating biases that could hamper mobility and reduce efficiency in the labor market.

Policy Research Working Paper 8141 by Kevin Croke, Markus Goldstein, Alaka Holla, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Measuring Women’s Agency

This paper examines the measurement of agency through the lens of how women arrive at different decisions, based on their own preferences and goals, and proposes a framework for the constructs needed to measure agency. Ultimately this will provide greater understanding of when and how women have the ability to influence their own lives, and those of their families and communities, across different spheres. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8148 by Aletheia Donald, Gayatri Koolwal, Jeannie Annan, Kathryn Falb, Markus Goldstein, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Soft skills for Hard Constraints: Evidence from High-Achieving Female Farmers 

This paper documents the positive link between the noncognitive skills of women farmers and the adoption of a cash crop. The analysis finds that a one standard deviation increase in noncognitive ability related to perseverance is associated with a five percentage point (or 33 percent) increase in the probability of adoption of the main cash crop. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8095 by Joao Montalvao, Michael Frese, Markus Goldstein,Talip Kilic, World Bank Group, June 2017

■ Governance and Women’s Economic and Political Participation: Power Inequalities, Formal Constraints and Norms 

This report reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of reforms addressing gender inequality and applied via formal law changes, focusing on micro-empirical studies that tackle this challenge. The evidence suggests that some reforms have been successful reducing inequalities. Power and norms can shift and sometimes temporary interventions can deliver long-term results. There are, however, enormous challenges posed by power inequalities and inherent social norms that are slow-moving. 

Report by Annamaria Milazzo, Markus Goldstein, World Bank Group, June 2017

■ Crossovers: Female Entrepreneurs Who Enter Male Sectors

This paper uses data from Ethiopia to compare the firm performance and characteristics of women in male-dominated sectors (crossovers) with women who are in female-concentrated sectors (noncrossovers). The findings show that female-owned enterprises in male-dominated sectors perform better on average than those in female-concentrated sectors, with firms achieving higher profits and having more employees. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8065 by Salman Alibhai, Niklas Buehren, Sreelakshmi Papineni, Rachael Pierotti, World Bank Group, May 2017

Governance, Macroeconomics, Trade And Investment 

■ Teaching Personal Initiative Beats Traditional Business Training in Boosting Small Business in West Africa

Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. Four follow-up surveys tracked outcomes for firms over 2 years and showed that personal initiative training increased firm profits by 30%, compared with a statistically insignificant 11% for traditional training. 

Journal Article by Francisco Campos, Michael Frese, Markus Goldstein, Leonardo Iacovone, Hillary C. Johnson, David McKenzie, Mona Mensmann, Science Vol 357, Issue 6357, September 2017

■ Exchange Rate Flexibility and the Effect of Remittances on Economic Growth

This paper studies the question of whether exchange rate policy affects the impact of remittances on economic growth in recipient countries. The findings indicate that more flexible exchange rate regimes are associated with a greater increase in economic growth following an increase in remittances, but also that the impact of remittances on growth is positive under a fixed regime. 

Journal Article Emmanuel K. K. Lartey, Review of Development Economics, 21(1), 103–125, 2017

■ FDI, Sectoral Output and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics Under Financial Openness

Based on data for a group of developing countries, the findings of this study suggest that an increase in FDI inflow could result in an expansion of the nontradable sector, which would be associated with a greater appreciation of the real exchange rate under a higher level of financial openness.

Journal Article by Lartey, Bulletin of Economic Research 69:4, 384-394, 2017

■ Selection, Firm Turnover, and Productivity Growth: Do Emerging Cities Speed up the Process?

This paper identifies and estimates the impact of firm entry and exit on plant-level productivity in Ethiopia as part of a selection mechanism that might be driving aggregate productivity growth in cities.

Policy Research Working Paper 8291 by Albert G Zeufack with Patricia Jones and Taye Alemu Mengistae, World Bank Group, 2018

■ Does Higher Openness Cause More Real Exchange Rate Volatility

This study investigates the factors driving RER volatility and the properties of both trade and financial openness to stabilize RERs. Therefore, this paper guides the formulation of better economic policies to lower RER variability. It tests whether the extent and composition of international trade and financial integration would smooth the impact of shocks to the RER for 82 countries from 1974 to 2013 and confirms empirically that the composition of trade and financial openness matters for RER stabilization.

Journal Article by Cesar Calderon with Megumi Kubota, Journal of International Economics 110: 176-204, 2018

■ Cyclicality of Fiscal Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Magnitude and Evolution

Mirroring the pattern in other developing regions, the degree of cyclicality has changed since 2002 in Sub-Saharan Africa, with incipient signs of a shift toward acyclical or more countercyclical policies. The evidence does not suggest that resource wealth or fragility increases the procyclicality of government consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Policy Research Working Paper 8108 by César Calderón, Punam Chuhan-Pole and Rafael M. López-Monti, World Bank Group, June 2017. (Submitted to World Development)

■ Gross Capital Flows, Common Factors, and the Global Financial Cycle

This paper assesses the international comovement of gross capital inflows and outflows using a two-level factor model. Greater financial openness, deeper financial systems, and more rigid exchange rate regimes amplify countries’ exposure to the global financial cycle. 

Policy Research Working Paper No. 8354 by Luis-Diego Barrot with Luis Servén, World Bank Group, February 2018

■ Evidence for a Presource Curse? Oil Discoveries, Elevated Expectations, and Growth Disappointments

Based on research into the effect of oil discoveries on growth, we find that major oil discoveries trigger raised expectations about growth - in the form of increased IMF WEO growth forecasts. Meanwhile the actual growth path can prove disappointing- undershooting forecasts on average- and even coming in lower than pre-discovery growth in some cases. This is all before production or exports have chance to start.

Policy Research Working Paper 8140 by James Cust with David Mihalyi, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Dutch Disease Resistance: Evidence from Indonesian Firms

Oil and gas windfalls cause wage growth but that the firm exit rate is unaffected. Firms’ output and labor productivity increase along with wages suggesting where firms are able to respond to booming local demand, and raise productivity in response to upward wage pressures, they can overcome the crowding-out effects from resource windfalls. 

Research Working Paper Series Number 192 by James Cust with Torfinn Harding and Pierre-Louis Vezina, OxCarre, June 2017

■ The Role of Governance and International Norms in Managing Natural Resources

A variety of international initiatives have emerged seeking to support those striving for better governance in their countries. The paper provides a review of initiatives targeting governments as the key agents of change and offers some critical reflections on challenges faced and potential ways forward to build on the lessons and achievements of the past decade and a half. 

Working paper 2017/203 by James Cust, UNU-WIDER, December 2017

■ Gender and Enterprise Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Female participation in entrepreneurial activities is higher in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region. However, women-owned businesses significantly underperform those owned by men. This paper identifies the main constraints that women face in developing their businesses in Africa and discusses how these constraints influence strategic choices in areas such as level of investment and sector of operations. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8239 by, Francisco Campos and Marine Gassier, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ Gender and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

This paper discusses the specific barriers that youth face in accessing employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the ways in which young women's employment is constrained above and beyond the constraints faced by male youth. The paper synthesizes the emerging lessons from a growing evidence base on interventions that aim to support young women's employment, and identifies knowledge gaps and priority research questions for the future. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8245 by Shubha Chakravarty, Smita Das, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ Governance and Women’s Economic and Political Participation: Power Inequalities, Formal Constraints and Norms 

This report reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of reforms addressing gender inequality and applied via formal law changes, focusing on micro-empirical studies that tackle this challenge. The evidence suggests that some reforms have been successful reducing inequalities. Power and norms can shift and sometimes temporary interventions can deliver long-term results. There are, however, enormous challenges posed by power inequalities and inherent social norms that are slow-moving. 

Report by Annamaria Milazzo, Markus Goldstein, World Bank Group, June 2017

Health, Nutrition & Population

■ Health-care quality and information failure: Evidence from Nigeria

This paper presents results from a health survey in Nigeria to investigate whether patients can evaluate health service quality effectively. Specifically, this paper demonstrates that although more than 90% of patients agree with any positive statement about the quality of their local health services, satisfaction is significantly associated with the diagnostic ability of health workers at the facility. 

Journal Article by David Evans with Anna Welander Tärneberg, Health Economics, October 2017

■ Cash Transfers and Health: Evidence from Tanzania  (Working paper); (Summary blog post)

How do cash transfers, conditioned on health clinic visits and school attendance, impact health-related outcomes? Examining the 2010 randomized introduction of a program in Tanzania, this paper finds nuanced impacts. The study finds significant increases in take-up of health insurance and the likelihood of seeking treatment when ill. 

Journal Article by David Evans with Brian Holtemeyer and Katrina Kosec, World Bank Economic Review, April 2017

■ The Carbon Wealth of Nations: from Rents to Risks

The wealth accounts in the Changing Wealth of Nations show there are 26 countries that have at least 5 percent of their total assets in the form of fossil fuels. If much of this must remain below ground, these countries may see their total assets decline significantly in value, including above ground assets such as carbon-linked produced and human capital. 

Report Chapter by James Cust with David Manley, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future", World Bank Group, 2018

■ Human Capital and The Wealth of Nations: Global Estimates and Trends

This chapter provides the first-ever set of comparable estimates of human capital wealth based on a time series of household surveys for a large number of countries over two decades, from 1995 to 2014. The estimates suggest that human capital accounts for the lion’s share of a country’s wealth, and typically a higher share in upper-middle-income and high-income countries than in poorer countries. 

Report Chapter by Luis-Diego Barrot with Kirk Hamilton, Quentin Wodon, and Ali Yedan, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future", World Bank Group, 2018

■ Management, Supervision, and Health Care: A Field Experiment (IZA Discussion Paper 10967)

However, little is known about how to increase managerial capital to generate persistent improvements in quality of health services delivery. We present results from a randomized field experiment in 80 primary health care centers (PHCs) in Nigeria to evaluate the effects of a health care management consulting intervention. 

NBER Working Paper 23749 by David Evans with Felipe Dunsch, Ezinne Eze-Ajoku, and Mario Macis, August 2017

■ Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa 

This study evaluates a multi-faceted policy intervention attempting to jumpstart adolescent women’s empowerment in Uganda, a context in which 60% of the population are aged below twenty. Results show that four years post-intervention, adolescent girls in treated communities are 48% more likely to engage in income generating activities, an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. Teen pregnancy falls by 34%, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation falls by 62%.

Report by Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul and Munshi Sulaimany, World Bank Group, July 2017

Poverty & Equity

■ Local communities can reap better benefits from mining if market and fiscal channels are strong

Evidence from the boom in large-scale gold mining in three countries in Africa suggests that mining communities experience on average positive, but limited welfare gains in the near term. The benefits that come from opening a mine (or mines) are mostly transmitted through the normal functioning of markets, primarily through labor and land. 

Journal Article by Punam Chuhan-Pole with Andrew Dabalen, GREAT Insights, July/August 2017

■ Mining in Africa: Are Local Communities Better Off?

This study focuses on the local and regional impact of large-scale gold mining in Africa in the context of a mineral boom in the region since 2000. It contributes to filling a gap in the literature on the welfare effects of mineral resources, which, until now, has concentrated more on the national or macroeconomic impacts. 

Report by Punam Chuhan-Pole with Andrew Dabalen and Christopher Land, Africa Development Forum Series, 2017

■ Measuring Women’s Agency

This paper examines the measurement of agency through the lens of how women arrive at different decisions, based on their own preferences and goals, and proposes a framework for the constructs needed to measure agency. Ultimately this will provide greater understanding of when and how women have the ability to influence their own lives, and those of their families and communities, across different spheres. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8148 by Aletheia Donald, Gayatri Koolwal, Jeannie Annan, Kathryn Falb, Markus Goldstein, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Soft Skills for Hard Constraints: Evidence from High-Achieving Female Farmers 

This paper documents the positive link between the noncognitive skills of women farmers and the adoption of a cash crop. The analysis finds that a one standard deviation increase in noncognitive ability related to perseverance is associated with a five percentage point (or 33 percent) increase in the probability of adoption of the main cash crop. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8095 by Joao Montalvao, Michael Frese, Markus Goldstein,Talip Kilic, World Bank Group, June 2017

Social Protection & Jobs

■ Formalization Without Certification? Experimental Evidence on Property Rights and Investment

This study finds that improved tenure security from program demarcation activities leads households to shift their investment decisions from subsistence crops to long-term and perennial cash crops. Moreover, as initial lower levels of tenure security amplify the impact of a marginal change in land rights, female-headed households respond to demarcation by closing the gender gap in fallowing, a key soil fertility investment. 

Journal Article by Markus Goldstein, Kenneth Houngbedji, Florence Kondylis, Michael O'Sullivan, Harris Selod, Journal of Development Economics, 2017

■ Local communities can reap better benefits from mining if market and fiscal channels are strong

Evidence from the boom in large-scale gold mining in three countries in Africa suggests that mining communities experience on average positive, but limited welfare gains in the near term. The benefits that come from opening a mine (or mines) are mostly transmitted through the normal functioning of markets, primarily through labor and land. 

Journal Article by Punam Chuhan-Pole with Andrew Dabalen, GREAT Insights, July/August 2017

■ Mining in Africa: Are Local Communities Better Off?

This study focuses on the local and regional impact of large-scale gold mining in Africa in the context of a mineral boom in the region since 2000. It contributes to filling a gap in the literature on the welfare effects of mineral resources, which, until now, has concentrated more on the national or macroeconomic impacts. 

Report by Punam Chuhan-Pole with Andrew Dabalen and Christopher Land, Africa Development Forum Series, 2017

■ Cash Transfers Increase Trust in Local Government

How does a locally-managed conditional cash transfer program impact trust in government? This paper answers this question by exploiting the randomized introduction of a locally-managed transfer program in Tanzania in 2010, which included popular election of community management committees to run the program 

Policy Research Working Paper 8333 by David Evans with Brian Holtemeyer and Katrina Kosec), February 2018

■ Cash Transfers and Health: Evidence from Tanzania  (Working paper); (Summary blog post)

How do cash transfers, conditioned on health clinic visits and school attendance, impact health-related outcomes? Examining the 2010 randomized introduction of a program in Tanzania, this paper finds nuanced impacts. The study finds significant increases in take-up of health insurance and the likelihood of seeking treatment when ill. 

Journal Article by David Evans with Brian Holtemeyer and Katrina Kosec, World Bank Economic Review, April 2017

■ Management, Supervision, and Health Care: A Field Experiment and IZA Discussion Paper 10967

However, little is known about how to increase managerial capital to generate persistent improvements in quality of health services delivery. We present results from a randomized field experiment in 80 primary health care centers (PHCs) in Nigeria to evaluate the effects of a health care management consulting intervention.

NBER Working Paper 23749 by David Evans with Felipe Dunsch, Ezinne Eze-Ajoku, and Mario Macis, August 2017

■ Gender and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Strengthening women's ownership, control, and use of land, livestock, and savings assets matters for poverty and shared prosperity, as unequal property rights can lead to intrahousehold inequality in wealth. This paper examines the underlying constraints that potentially give rise to these inequalities, assesses the impact evaluation evidence on how to narrow existing gaps and boost welfare, and outlines a set of priority research and policy questions. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8250 by Michael O'Sullivan, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ The Value of Reference Letters

This paper shows that reference letters from former employers alleviate information asymmetries about workers' skills and improve both match quality and equity in the labor market. A resume audit study finds that using a reference letter in the application increases callbacks by more than 60 percent, with women driving the effect.

Policy Research Working Paper 8266 by Martin Abel with Rulof Burger, Patrizio Piraino, November 2017

■ Gender and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

This paper discusses the specific barriers that youth face in accessing employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the ways in which young women's employment is constrained above and beyond the constraints faced by male youth. The paper synthesizes the emerging lessons from a growing evidence base on interventions that aim to support young women's employment, and identifies knowledge gaps and priority research questions for the future. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8245 by Shubha Chakravarty, Smita Das, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ Bridging the Intention-Behavior Gap?: The Effect of Plan-Making Prompts on Job Search and Employment 

In a field experiment with unemployed youths, participants who complete a detailed job search plan increase the number of job applications submitted (by 15 percent) but not the time spent searching, consistent with intention-behavior gaps observed at baseline. Job seekers in the plan-making group diversify their search strategy and use more formal search channels. This greater search efficiency and effectiveness translate into more job offers (30 percent) and employment (26 percent).

Policy Research Working Paper 8181 by Martin Abel, Rulof Burger, Eliana Carranza, Patrizio Piraino, World Bank Group, September 2017

■ Labor Market Discrimination and Sorting: Evidence from South Africa

This paper collects a unique data set of classified ads and exploits quasi-random variation in the applicant pool composition to test for hiring discrimination against immigrants in South Africa's informal sector. Consistent with a tournament models in which immigrants are penalized, the analysis finds that foreigners and natives benefit from being pooled with foreign job seekers. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8180 by Martin Abel, World Bank Group, September 2017

■ Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa 

This study evaluates a multi-faceted policy intervention attempting to jumpstart adolescent women’s empowerment in Uganda, a context in which 60% of the population are aged below twenty. Results show that four years post-intervention, adolescent girls in treated communities are 48% more likely to engage in income generating activities, an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. Teen pregnancy falls by 34%, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation falls by 62%.

Report by Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul and Munshi Sulaimany, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Can Job Training Decrease Women’s Self-Defeating Biases? Experimental Evidence from Nigeria

Occupational segregation is a central contributor to the gap between male and female earnings worldwide. The paper examines the impacts of an information and communications technology training intervention that targeted university graduates in five major cities and found that training programs can help individuals overcome self-defeating biases that could hamper mobility and reduce efficiency in the labor market. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8141 by Kevin Croke, Markus Goldstein, Alaka Holla, World Bank Group, July 2017

Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience

■ Selection, Firm Turnover, and Productivity Growth: Do Emerging Cities Speed up the Process?

This paper identifies and estimates the impact of firm entry and exit on plant-level productivity in Ethiopia as part of a selection mechanism that might be driving aggregate productivity growth in cities. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8291 by Albert G Zeufack with Patricia Jones and Taye Alemu Mengistae, World Bank Group, 2018

■ Gender and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Strengthening women's ownership, control, and use of land, livestock, and savings assets matters for poverty and shared prosperity, as unequal property rights can lead to intrahousehold inequality in wealth. This paper examines the underlying constraints that potentially give rise to these inequalities, assesses the impact evaluation evidence on how to narrow existing gaps and boost welfare, and outlines a set of priority research and policy questions. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8250 by Michael O'Sullivan, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ Gender and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

This paper discusses the specific barriers that youth face in accessing employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the ways in which young women's employment is constrained above and beyond the constraints faced by male youth. The paper synthesizes the emerging lessons from a growing evidence base on interventions that aim to support young women's employment, and identifies knowledge gaps and priority research questions for the future. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8245 by Shubha Chakravarty, Smita Das, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, November 2017

■ Bridging the Intention-Behavior Gap?: The Effect of Plan-Making Prompts on Job Search and Employment 

In a field experiment with unemployed youths, participants who complete a detailed job search plan increase the number of job applications submitted (by 15 percent) but not the time spent searching, consistent with intention-behavior gaps observed at baseline. Job seekers in the plan-making group diversify their search strategy and use more formal search channels. This greater search efficiency and effectiveness translate into more job offers (30 percent) and employment (26 percent).

Policy Research Working Paper 8181 by Martin Abel, Rulof Burger, Eliana Carranza, Patrizio Piraino, World Bank Group, September 2017

■ The Impact of Strengthening Agricultural Extension Services: Evidence from Ethiopia

The paper examines the impact of the Rural Capacity Building Project using panel data on 1,485 geographically dispersed households in project and control kebeles. The results show that the strengthening of extension services had a positive impact on economic participation in the household, land area cultivated, and adoption of marketable crops, suggesting that access to extension helped farmers switch to more commercial, market-oriented agriculture. 

Policy Research Working Paper 8169 by Niklas Buehren, Markus Goldstein, Ezequiel Molina, Julia Vaillant, World Bank Group, August 2017

■ Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa 

This study evaluates a multi-faceted policy intervention attempting to jumpstart adolescent women’s empowerment in Uganda, a context in which 60% of the population are aged below twenty. Results show that four years post-intervention, adolescent girls in treated communities are 48% more likely to engage in income generating activities, an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. Teen pregnancy falls by 34%, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation falls by 62%.

Report by Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul and Munshi Sulaimany, World Bank Group, July 2017

■ Can Job Training Decrease Women’s Self-Defeating Biases? Experimental evidence from Nigeria 
Occupational segregation is a central contributor to the gap between male and female earnings worldwide. The paper examines the impacts of an information and communications technology training intervention that targeted university graduates in five major cities and found that training programs can help individuals overcome self-defeating biases that could hamper mobility and reduce efficiency in the labor market. 
Policy Research Working Paper 8141 by Kevin Croke, Markus Goldstein, Alaka Holla, World Bank Group, July 2017

Transport & Digital Development 

■ Can Job Training Decrease Women’s Self-Defeating Biases? Experimental evidence from Nigeria

Occupational segregation is a central contributor to the gap between male and female earnings worldwide. The paper examines the impacts of an information and communications technology training intervention that targeted university graduates in five major cities and found that training programs can help individuals overcome self-defeating biases that could hamper mobility and reduce efficiency in the labor market.

Policy Research Working Paper 8141 by Kevin Croke, Markus Goldstein, Alaka Holla, World Bank Group, July 2017