Journal articles published externally

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These are journal articles by World Bank authors published externally.

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The Medium-Term Effects of Scholarships in a Low-Income Country

2014-09, Filmer, Deon

Despite progress in recent decades, a substantial fraction of children in developing countries attain little schooling, and many adults lack skills that are valued in the labor market. We evaluate the medium-term effects of a program that provided scholarships for three years to poor children upon graduation from elementary school in Cambodia, a low-income country. To do this we use a sharp regression discontinuity design. We show that scholarships have substantial effects on school attainment. By the time children would have been in grade 11 had they remained in school, two years after they stopped being eligible for scholarships, those who were offered scholarships have attained 0.6 more grades of completed schooling. Nevertheless, we find no evidence that scholarships had significant effects on test scores, employment, earnings, or the probability of getting married or having a child in adolescence.

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Aggregate Income Shocks and Infant Mortality in the Developing World

2011-08, Baird, Sarah, Friedman, Jed, Schady, Norbert

Health and income are strongly correlated both within and across countries, yet the extent to which improvements in income have a causal effect on health status remains controversial. We investigate whether short-term fluctuations in aggregate income affect infant mortality using an unusually large data set of 1.7 million births in 59 developing countries. We show a large, negative association between per capita GDP and infant mortality. Female infant mortality is more sensitive than male infant mortality to negative economic shocks, suggesting that policies that protect the health status of female infants may be especially important during economic downturns.

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Aggregate Economic Shocks and Infant Mortality: New Evidence for Middle-Income Countries

2010, Schady, Norbert, Smitz, Marc-Francois

We provide country-specific estimates of the effect of macroeconomic shocks on infant mortality for a sample of mainly middle-income countries. In most countries, infant mortality appears to be pro-cyclical or acyclical. Only when shocks to GDP are very deep, 15% or larger, are they consistently associated with higher mortality.

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Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood : Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

2012-07, Macours, Karen, Schady, Norbert, Vakis, Renos

Cash transfer programs have become extremely popular in the developing world. A large literature analyzes their effects on schooling, health and nutrition, but relatively little is known about possible impacts on child development. This paper analyzes the impact of a cash transfer program on early childhood cognitive development. Children in households randomly assigned to receive benefits had significantly higher levels of development nine months after the program began. There is no fade-out of program effects two years after the program ended. Additional random variation shows that these impacts are unlikely to result from the cash component of the program alone.

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Does More Cash in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs Always Lead to Larger Impacts on School Attendance?

2011, Filmer, Deon

There is considerable evidence that conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs can have large impacts on school enrollment, including in very poor countries. However, little is known about what features of program design account for the observed outcomes. In this paper we analyze the impact of a program in Cambodia that made payments of varying magnitude to otherwise comparable households. The identification is based on a sharp regression discontinuity design. We find that a modest cash transfer, equivalent to approximately 2% of the consumption of the median recipient household, had a substantial impact on school attendance, approximately 25 percentage points. A somewhat larger transfer did not raise attendance rates above this level.

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Getting Girls into School : Evidence from a Scholarship Program in Cambodia

2008, Filmer, Deon

Increasing the schooling attainment of girls is a challenge in much of the developing world. In this study, we evaluate the impact of a program that gives scholarships to girls making the transition between the last year of primary school and the first year of secondary school in Cambodia. We show that the scholarship program increased the enrollment and attendance of recipients at program schools by about 30 percentage points. Larger impacts are found among girls with the lowest socioeconomic status at baseline. The results are robust to a variety of controls for observable differences between scholarship recipients and nonrecipients, to unobserved heterogeneity across girls, and to selective transfers between program schools and other schools. We conclude that there is substantial potential for demand-side interventions in lower-income countries like Cambodia.

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Does more cash in conditional cash transfer programs always lead to larger impacts on school attendance?

2011-09-01, Filmer, Deon

There is considerable evidence that conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs can have large impacts on school enrollment, including in very poor countries. However, little is known about what features of program design account for the observed outcomes. In this paper we analyze the impact of a program in Cambodia that made payments of varying magnitude to otherwise comparable households. The identification is based on a sharp regression discontinuity design. We find that a modest cash transfer, equivalent to approximately 2 percent of the consumption of the median recipient household, had a substantial impact on school attendance, approximately 25 percentage points. A somewhat larger transfer did not raise attendance rates above this level.

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Changes in Returns to Education in Latin America : The Role of Demand and Supply of Skills

2010, Manacorda, Marco, Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina, Schady, Norbert

Using micro data for the urban areas of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, the authors document trends in men's returns to education during the 1980s and the 1990s and estimate the role of supply and demand factors in explaining the changes in skill premia. They propose a model of demand for skills with three production inputs, corresponding to workers with primary-, secondary-, and university-level education. Further, the authors demonstrate that an unprecedented rise in the supply of workers having completed secondary-level education depressed their wages relative to workers with primary-level education throughout Latin America. This supply shift was compounded by a generalized shift in the demand for workers with tertiary education.

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Are Cash Transfers Made to Women Spent Like Other Sources of Income?

2008, Schady, Norbert, Rosero, Jose

We use a randomized design to analyze the effects of unconditional cash transfers to women on the food Engel curve. After the intervention, households assigned to the "treatment" group had significantly higher food shares than those assigned to the "control" group.