Environmental Policies and Political Realities: Fisheries Management and Job Creation in Pacific Island Countries and Territories
Journal of Environment and Development
Maria Damon and Joshua Graff Zivin
Effective environmental policymaking requires an understanding of how environmental goals interact with other political goals. This article analyzes development strategies in the PICT’s, where policymakers aim to leverage tuna resources into sustainable economic development and job creation. The authors develop a model that analyzes costs and benefits of different development strategies, with a focus on job creation and local socioeconomic factors that drive optimal policy mixes across PICTs. The analysis demonstrates that investment in fisheries management can effectively encourage economic development and create employment opportunities, and compare this strategy to others such as selling access permits and investing in processing capacity. While many benefits of fisheries management are widely recognized, its ability to create high-quality employment opportunities is often overlooked. For many PICTs, this may represent the lowest cost strategy for jobs creation and, coupled with selling fishery access to foreign vessels, can form a strong basis for economic development plans.
Migration and development, global South / Mexico-Morocco
I. Ness, ed. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. Wiley Blackwell
In recent years, the relationship between migration and development has received renewed attention, and analysts, policy-makers, and development experts have returned to the question of how to use emigration to foster economic growth in countries and communities of origin. The main thrust of this inquiry has focused on how to use remittances – the monies that migrants send back home – to support economic activity (de la Garza & Orozco 2002; Orozco 2002; Munzele Maimbo & Ratha 2005; Ratha 2005). However, among countries with high emigration rates, a handful of governments have expanded their emphasis past remittances to create policies that link emigration and development in a more comprehensive way (Castles & Delgado Wise 2008). Morocco and Mexico feature prominently among them. Both countries have policies to link emigration with local and national economic transformation that reach beyond a narrow focus on remittances, and that, more importantly, are creative, participatory, and dynamic (Iskander 2010). At their outset, however, the policies were as single-minded in their focus on remittances as any of the more mercenary examples of today.
The Impact of Microcredit on the Poor in Bangladesh: Revisiting the Evidence
Journal of Development Studies
David Roodman and Jonathan Morduch
We replicate and reanalyse the most influential study of microcredit impacts (Pitt and Khandker, 1998). That study was celebrated for showing that microcredit reduces poverty, a much hoped-for possibility (though one not confirmed by recent randomized controlled trials). We show that the original results on poverty reduction disappear after dropping outliers, or when using a robust linear estimator. Using a new program for estimation of mixed process maximum likelihood models, we show how assumptions critical for the original analysis, such as error normality, are contradicted by the data. We conclude that questions about impact cannot be answered in these data.
Banks and Microbanks
Journal of Financial Services Research
Robert Cull, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, and Jonathan Morduch
We combine two datasets to examine whether the presence of banks affects the profitability and outreach of microfinance institutions.We find evidence that competition matters. Greater bank penetration in the overall economy is associated with microbanks pushing toward poorer markets, as reflected in smaller average loans sizes and greater outreach to women. The evidence is particularly strong for microbanks relying on commercial-funding and using traditional bilateral lending contracts (rather than group lending methods favored by microfinance NGOs). We consider plausible alternative explanations for the correlations, including relationships that run through the nature of the regulatory environment and the structure of the banking environment, but we fail to find strong support for these alternative hypotheses.
Parallel paths to enforcement: Private compliance, public regulation, and labor standards in the Brazilian sugar sector
Politics & Society
Coslovsky, Salo and Richard Locke
In recent years, global corporations and national governments have been enacting a growing number of codes of conduct and public regulations to combat dangerous and degrading work conditions in global supply chains. At the receiving end of this activity, local producers must contend with multiple regulatory regimes, but it is unclear how these regimes interact and what results, if any, they produce. This paper examines this dynamic in the sugar sector in Brazil. It finds that although private and public agents rarely communicate, let alone coordinate with one another they nevertheless reinforce each other’s actions. Public regulators use their legal powers to outlaw extreme forms of outsourcing. Private auditors use the trust they command as company insiders to instigate a process of workplace transformation that facilitates compliance. Together, their parallel actions block the low road and guide targeted firms to a higher road in which improved labor standards are not only possible but even desirable.
Flying under the radar? The state and the enforcement of labor laws in Brazil
Oxford Development Studies
In recent years, developing countries have deregulated, privatized and liberalized their economies. Surprisingly, they have also retained or even strengthened their labor regulations. These contrasting policy orientations create a novel challenge without obvious solutions. To understand how developing country states can ensure reasonable levels of labor standards without compromising the ability of domestic firms to compete, this paper examines how labor inspectors and prosecutors intervened in four troublesome industries in Brazil. It finds that regulatory enforcement agents use their discretion and legal powers to realign incentives, reshape interests, and redistribute the risks, costs and benefits of compliance across a tailor-made assemblage of public, private and non-profit agents adjacent to the violations. By fulfilling this role, these agents become the foot-soldiers of a post-neoliberal or neo-developmental state.
Economic development without pre-requisites: How Bolivian firms met food safety standards and dominated the global brazil-nut market
Brazilian firms used to dominate the brazil nut (BN) market to such an extent that the product still carries the country’s name. Presently, 77% of all BNs are processed and exported by Bolivia, a country with far fewer resources than its neighbor. This paper analyzes the impact of EU regulations on the global BN market. It finds that Bolivian producers prevailed because they joined forces to revamp their manufacturing practices and meet EU sanitary standards despite continued mutual mistrust. In contrast, Brazilian producers have been unable to work cooperatively and lost access to the European market entirely.
Enforcing food quality and safety standards in Brazil: The case of COBRACANA
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2013, 649 (1), pp.122-138
Globalization of production has been complemented by increasingly stricter product quality and safety regulations. This trend is particularly acute in the food and beverage sectors, which puts enormous strain on producers from developing nations. This paper examines the trajectory of a cooperative of sugarcane, sugar and ethanol producers from Brazil that, once confronted with this challenge, failed to meet the standards but ultimately came around. It credits the coop’s turnaround to three variables: (a) a new cost accounting methodology that monetized some of the differences in product quality and attenuated tensions among the membership; (b) a low-cost but high-powered system of regulatory incentives that subverted rigid hierarchies and empowered middle-managers vis-à-vis top-executives; and (c) the action of external auditors who acted not as police-officers or consultants, but as conduits who reestablished information flows and helped create a business atmosphere conducive to productive change.
Democratization and Universal Health Coverage: A comparison of the experiences of Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal
Global Health Governance, 6(2): 1-27.
Grépin, Karen and Kim Yi Dionne
This article identifies conditions under which newly established democracies adopt Universal Health Coverage. Drawing on the literature examining democracy and health, we argue that more democratic regimes – where citizens have positive opinions on democracy and where competitive, free and fair elections put pressure on incumbents – will choose health policies targeting a broader proportion of the population. We compare Ghana to Kenya and Senegal, two other countries which have also undergone democratization, but where there have been important differences in the extent to which these democratic changes have been perceived by regular citizens and have translated into electoral competition. We find that Ghana has adopted the most ambitious health reform strategy by designing and implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We also find that Ghana experienced greater improvements in skilled attendance at birth, childhood immunizations, and improvements in the proportion of children with diarrhea treated by oral rehydration therapy than the other countries since this policy was adopted. These changes also appear to be associated with important changes in health outcomes: both infant and under-five mortality rates declined rapidly since the introduction of the NHIS in Ghana. These improvements in health and health service delivery have also been observed by citizens with a greater proportion of Ghanaians reporting satisfaction with government handling of health service delivery relative to either Kenya or Senegal. We argue that the democratization process can promote the adoption of particular health policies and that this is an important mechanism through which democracy can improve health.
Donors, local development groups and institutional reform over Vietnam's development decade
in Kerkvliet, B.J., Heng, R.H.K. and Hock, D.K.W. (eds.), Getting organized in Vietnam: Moving in and around the socialist state, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 234-270.
International donors have attempted to contribute to, and indeed influence, the overall tenor of socioeconomic and governance-related reforms in Vietnam. They have done so in a number of ways: directly supporting policy research, stablishing forums for debate of developmental issues with government counterparts, funding projects on administrative and judiciary reform and central level capacity building, and providing direct financial and sometimes indirect support for ‘indigenous’ NGOs, primarily development service organizations working as contractors for particular development projects. This paper examines another modality through which donors sought to influence administrative reform over the heady ‘development decade’ of the 1990s – donor support for rural development projects conceived as ‘policy experiments’ (Rondinelli 1983). Though diverse in sectoral focus, these projects commonly attempted to introduce local institutional arrangements promoting greater responsiveness and accountability of local governments to rural communities as a whole, or to particular sub-groups such as smallholder farmers. To do so, local organizations or grassroots groups were typically established as new ways of organizing the rural populace to demand, plan for, access or provide services underpinning rural development and poverty alleviation. “Local development groups” (LDGs) is the name I give to groups comprised of farmers and other end-users of project services (or representatives they choose) that were formed in the process of implementing particular development projects. This paper probes the experience of these development projects and LDGs over approximately the last ten years. It depicts how projects funded by a wide range of donors became an important part of the institutional landscape in many areas of Vietnam, leaving a significant mark on many sectors related to rural development. Five sections follow this introduction. The first examines how changing donor roles interacted with institutional developments to produce an opportunity for projects to influence policy. Section two presents a theoretical framework with which to assess LDGs and the policy experiments in which they were embedded, which section three applies the framework to a sample of 15 donor projects operational over the 1990s in Vietnam. Section four presents more qualitative detail on a few of the higher-impact projects. The final section concludes with implications for donors and the study of local institutional change in Vietnam.
From information to indicators: Monitoring progress in the fight against corruption in multi-project, multi-stakeholder organizations
From information to indicators: Monitoring progress in the fight against corruption in multi-project, multi-stakeholder organizations
Fritzen, Scott, Basu S.
The 2013 Federal Budget's Impact on Communities of Color and Low-Income Families
Women of Color Policy Network
The Obama administration's budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) strengthens the national economy by investing in schools, communities and safety net programs. The FY 2013 budget also includes a number of important investments in infrastructure that will spur much needed job growth in a time of economic uncertainty for many working and low-income families. It is critical that such investments take into account the persistently high unemployment in communities of color, and target spending to increase the economic security of the communities most impacted by the "Great Recession." Additionally, the budget includes important changes to the tax code that will lay the foundation for a fairer and more equitable economy.
Banking Low-Income Populations: Perspectives from South Africa
Insufficient Funds: Savings, Assets, Credit and Banking Anomg Low-Income Households. New York: Russell Sage,
Morduch, J. & Collins, D.
New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Second Edition. Palgrave Macmillan. 2008
Morduch, J. & Durlauf, S., Blume, L.
Written by 1506 eminent contributors, this new edition of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics retains many classic essays of enduring importance and contains 1,872 articles. Published in eight print volumes and for the first time in online format, this is the definitive scholarly reference work for a new generation of economists.
Access to Finance
Handbook of Development Economics, Volume 5. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 2009
Morduch, J. & Karlan, D.
Aid, Public Finance and Accountability: Cambodian Dilemmas
Peace and the Public Purse: Economic Policies for Postwar Statebuilding (Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers).
Local Revenues under Fiscal Decentralization in Developing Countries: Linking Policy Reform, Governance and Capacity
Fiscal Decentralization and Land Policies (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of land Policy Press)
Mission Matters: The Cost of Small High Schools Revisited
Economics of Education Review,
Stiefel, L., Schwartz, A.E., Iatarola, P. & Chellman, C.
With the financial support of several large foundations and the federal government, creating small schools has become a prominent high school reform strategy in many large American cities. While some research supports this strategy, little research assesses the relative costs of these smaller schools. We use data on over 200 New York City high schools, from 1996 through 2003, to estimate school cost functions relating per pupil expenditures to school size, controlling for school output and quality, student characteristics, and school organization. We find that the structure of costs differs across schools depending upon mission-comprehensive or themed. At their current levels of outputs, themed schools minimize per pupil costs at smaller enrollments than comprehensive schools, but these optimally sized themed schools also cost more per pupil than optimally sized comprehensive schools. We also find that both themed and comprehensive high schools at actual sizes are smaller than their optimal sizes.
"What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Worker Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making"
Review of Economics and Statistics, volume 90(2), May 2008
Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
This paper provides an answer to an important empirical puzzle in the retirement literature: while most people know little about their own pension plans, retirement behavior is strongly affected by pension incentives. We combine administrative and self-reported pension data to measure the retirement response to actual and perceived financial incentives and document an important role for self-reported pension data in determining retirement behavior. Well-informed individuals are far more responsive to pension incentives than the average individual. Ill-informed individuals seem to respond systematically to their own misperceptions of pension incentives.
Financial Performance and Outreach: A Global Analysis of Leading Microbanks
Economic Journal, February 2007, Vol. 117, Issue 517, pp. F107-F133
Morduch, J., Cull, R. & Demirguc-Kunt, A.
Microfinance promises to reduce poverty by employing profit-making banking practices in low-income communities. Many microfinance institutions have secured high loan repayment rates but, so far, relatively few earn profits. We examine why this promise remains unmet. We explore patterns of profitability, loan repayment, and cost reduction with unusually high-quality data on 124 institutions in 49 countries. The evidence shows the possibility of earning profits while serving the poor, but a trade-off emerges between profitability and serving the poorest. Raising fees to very high levels does not ensure greater profitability and the benefits of cost-cutting diminish when serving better-off customers.