Policy Research Working Paper series publication roundup for February 1–February 15, 2023
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This blog is a biweekly feature highlighting recent working papers from around the World Bank Group that were published in the World Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper Series. This entry introduces 5 papers published from February 1 to February 15 on various topics, including migration, COVID-19, education, cash transfers, revenue mobilization among others.
The first two papers we introduce take us to Latin America during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Least Protected, Most Affected: Impacts of Migration Regularization Programs on Pandemic Resilience, Sandra V. Rozo and coauthors explore whether regularization programs improve forced migrants’ resilience to shocks. In The Effects of Differential Exposure to COVID-19 on Educational Outcomes in Guatemala, Monica Yanez-Pagans and coauthors study the effects of differential exposure to COVID-19 on educational outcomes in Guatemala.
- Least Protected, Most Affected: Impacts of Migration Regularization Programs on Pandemic Resilience study the effect of a large regularization program of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia on easing the health and economic impacts of the pandemic for forced migrants. The results indicate that access to the program promoted better health access for eligible migrants, facilitating adherence to prevention guidelines and increasing detection rates. Additionally, eligible migrants had better housing and labor conditions, relative to non-eligible migrants.
- The Effects of Differential Exposure to COVID-19 on Educational Outcomes in Guatemala estimates the differential effects of higher exposure to COVID-19 infections on dropout, promotion, and school switching in Guatemala. The government adopted a warning index (ranging from 0 to 10) to classify municipalities by infection rates in 2020, which was then used by the Ministry of Education in 2021 to establish a “stoplight” system for in-person instruction. The results show that municipalities with a higher warning index had significantly larger dropout, lower promotion rates, and a greater share of students switching from private to public schools. These effects were more pronounced during the first year of the pandemic. The findings show differential effects by the level of instruction, with greater losses for younger children in initial and primary education. Figure 1 below shows that while 7.8% of school-age children dropped out in 2019, this percentage increased to 8.7% in 2020 and further to 11.6% in 2021.
Figure 1. Changes in educational outcomes from 2018-2021
Source: Authors’ calculations from Guatemalan educational administrative records.
Notes: The figure presents raw means by year for the entire sample in all educational levels.
The next two papers we introduce take us to Africa. In Cash and Conflict: Large-Scale Experimental Evidence from Niger, Patrick Premand and Dominic Rohner study the impact of cash transfers on conflict in Niger. In Cross-Border Exchange of Information and Tax Revenue Mobilization in Africa, Yannis Arvanitis and coauthors provide the first empirical evidence on the revenue effects of tax-related exchange of information for African countries.
- Cash and Conflict: Large-Scale Experimental Evidence from Niger studies the impact on conflict of a large-scale, randomized government-led cash transfer program in Niger. The analysis relies on the large-scale randomization of a government-led cash transfer program among nearly 4,000 villages over seven years, combined with geo-referenced conflict events that draw on media and nongovernmental organization reports from a wide variety of international and domestic sources. The findings show that cash transfers did not result in greater pacification but—if anything triggered a short-term increase in conflict events, which were to a large extent driven by terrorist attacks by foreign rebel groups that could have incentives to “sabotage” successful government programs.
Figure 2: Location of the Niger Cash Transfer Program and Conflict Events
- Cross-Border Exchange of Information and Tax Revenue Mobilization in Africa examines the revenue effects of tax-related exchange of information for African countries. The regressions are carried out on a sample of 54 African countries on data from 1990–2020. The findings indicate that the exchange of information for tax purposes between national tax jurisdictions has a positive and statistically significant impact on tax revenue. The estimation results show that exchange of information could increase tax revenue collection by a magnitude ranging from 5 to 19 percent.
In the last paper we introduce, How Selling Online Is Affecting Informal Firms in South Asia, Maurizio Bussolo and coauthors explore how e-commerce platforms are affecting the small, informal firms that sell on them. The paper uses data collected in cooperation with two e-commerce platforms to investigates whether engagement with e-commerce is linked to increased sales and productivity gains for informal firms in South Asia. The businesses selling on these platforms range widely in terms of size, degree of formalization, and other characteristics. The sellers’ main reason for joining the platforms is to access more customers. Most of the sellers report an expansion of their business after joining the platforms. They also report an increase in their incentive to register their business and their visibility to tax authorities.
The following are other interesting papers published in January. Please make sure to read them as well.
- Cognitive and Socioemotional Skills in Low-Income Countries: Measurement and Associations with Schooling and Earnings
- Maternal Work and Children’s Development: Examining 20 Years of Evidence
- Stock Market Liberalizations and Export Dynamics
- From Middle Class to Poverty: The Unequal Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Developing Countries
- The Aggregate Effects of Global and Local Supply Chain Disruptions: 2020–2022
- Measuring Poverty in Forced Displacement Contexts
- Natural Disasters and Fiscal Drought
- Scalable Tracking of CO2 Emissions: A Global Analysis with Satellite Data
- Estimating House Prices in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies: A Big Data Approach
- Long COVID: The Evolution of Household Welfare in Developing Countries during the Pandemic
- A Metadata Schema for Data from Experiments in the Social Sciences
- A Deeper Dive into the Relationship between Economic Development and Migration
- Labor Productivity Growth and Industrialization in Africa
- Efficiency and Equity in Urban Flood Management Policies: A Systematic Urban Economics Exploration
- Alternative Delivery Channels and Impacts: Agent Banking
- Quantifying Vulnerability to Poverty in El Salvador
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