Journal Issue: World Bank Economic Review, Volume 23, Issue 3

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The Effect of Male Migration on Employment Patterns of Women in Nepal
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Lokshin, Michael ; Glinskaya, Elena
What is the impact of male migration on the labor market behavior of women in Nepal? The instrumental variable full information maximum likelihood method is applied to data from the 2004 Nepal Household Survey to account for unobserved factors that could simultaneously affect men's decision to migrate and women's decision to participate in the labor market. The results indicate that male migration has a negative impact on the level of the labor market participation by women in the migrant-sending household. There is evidence of substantial heterogeneity (based on both observable and unobservable characteristics) in the impact of male migration. The findings highlight the important gender dimension of the impact of predominantly male migration on the well-being of sending households. Strategies for economic development in Nepal should take into account such gender aspects of the migration dynamics.
Development, Modernization, and Childbearing
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Filmer, Deon ; Friedman, Jed ; Schady, Norbert
Does the sex composition of existing children in a family affect fertility behavior? An unusually large data set, covering 64 countries and some 5 million births, is used to show that fertility behavior responds to the presence—or absence—of sons in many regions of the developing world. The response to the absence of sons is particularly large in Central Asia and South Asia. Modernization does not appear to reduce this differential response. For example, in South Asia the fertility response to the absence of sons is larger for women with more education and has been increasing over time. The explanation appears to be that a latent demand for sons is more likely to manifest itself when fertility levels are low. As a result of this differential fertility behavior, girls tend to grow up with significantly more siblings than do boys, with potential implications for their well-being when quantity–quality tradeoffs result in fewer material and emotional resources allocated to children in larger families.
Macroeconomic Stability and the Distribution of Growth Rates
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Sirimaneetham, Vatcharin ; Temple, Jonathan R.W.
It is often argued that macroeconomic instability can form a binding constraint on economic growth. Drawing on a new index of stability, threshold estimation is used to divide developing economies into two growth regimes, depending on a threshold level of stability. For the more stable group of countries, the output benefits of investment are greater, conditional convergence is faster, and measures of institutional quality have more explanatory power, suggesting that instability forms a binding constraint for the less stable group. Macroeconomic stability is also shown to dominate several other candidates for identifying distinct growth regimes.
The Consequences of the "Missing Girls" of China
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Ebenstein, Avraham Y. ; Sharygin, Ethan Jennings
In the wake of the one-child policy of 1979, China experienced an unprecedented rise in the sex ratio at birth (ratio of male to female births). In cohorts born between 1980 and 2000, there were 22 million more men than women. Some 10.4 percent of these additional men will fail to marry, based on simulations presented here that assess how different scenarios for the sex ratio at birth affect the probability of failure to marry in 21st century China. Three consequences of the high sex ratio and large numbers of unmarried men are discussed: the prevalence of prostitution and sexually transmitted infections, the economic and physical well-being of men who fail to marry, and China's ability to care for its elderly, with a particular focus on elderly males who fail to marry. Several policy options are suggested that could mitigate the negative consequences of the demographic squeeze.
Gender, Poverty and Demography
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Buvinic, Mayra ; Gupta, Monica Da ; Casabonne, Ursula
Much has been written on gender inequality and how it affects fertility and mortality outcomes as well as economic outcomes. What is not well understood is the role of gender inequality, embedded in the behavior of the family, the market, and society, in mediating the impact of demographic processes on economic outcomes. This article reviews the empirical evidence on the possible economic impacts of gender inequalities that work by exacerbating demographic stresses associated with different demographic scenarios and reducing the prospects of gains when demographic conditions improve. It defines four demographic scenarios and discusses which public policies are more effective in each scenario in reducing the constraints that gender inequality imposes on poverty reduction
The Gender and Intergenerational Consequences of the Demographic Dividend
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Schultz, T. Paul
The demographic transition changes the age composition of a population, potentially affecting resource allocation at the household level and exerting general equilibrium effects at the aggregate level. If age profiles of income, consumption, and savings were stable and estimable for the entire population, they might imply how the demographic transition would affect national savings rates, but there is little agreement on the impact of age composition. These age profiles differ by gender and are affected by human capital investments, whereas existing microsimulations are estimated from samples of wage earners that are not distinguished by sex or schooling and make no effort to model family labor supply behavior or physical and human capital accumulation. Considering these shortcomings of assessments of the "demographic dividend," a case study based on household surveys and long-run social experiments may be more informative. Matlab, Bangladesh, extended a family planning and maternal and child health program to half the villages in the district in 1977, and recorded fertility in the program villages was 15–16 percent lower than in the control villages for two decades. Households in the program villages realized health and productivity gains that were concentrated among women, survival and schooling increased among children, and after 19 years household physical assets were 25 percent greater per adult than in the control villages. These large gains in the wake of the program-induced demographic transition suggest reasons for designing new labor market and microcredit policies to help women during the demographic transition invest in productive skills; shift their time more efficiently from child care to home production, self-employment, and wage labor; and invest more in the human capital of their children.
Political Accountability and Regulatory Performance in Infrastructure Industries : An Empirical Analysis
(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Gasmi, Farid ; Um, Paul Noumba ; Virto, Laura Recuero
The relationship between the quality of political institutions and the performance of regulation has recently assumed greater prominence in the policy debate on the effectiveness of infrastructure industry reforms. Taking the view that political accountability is a key factor linking political and regulatory structures and processes, this article empirically investigates its impact on the performance of regulation in telecommunications in time-series–cross-sectional data sets for 29 developing countries and 23 developed countries during 1985–99. In addition to confirming some well-documented results on the positive role of regulatory governance in infrastructure industries, the article provides empirical evidence on the impact of the quality of political institutions and their modes of functioning on regulatory performance. The analysis finds that the impact of political accountability on the performance of regulation is stronger in developing countries. An important policy implication is that future reforms in these countries should give due attention to the development of politically accountable systems.