Policy Research Working Paper series publication roundup for June 1- 15, 2022


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This blog is a biweekly feature highlighting recently published working papers from around the World Bank Group from the World Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper Series. This entry introduces 5 papers published from June 1 to June 15, 2022, on various topics related to gender, migration, energy consumption and support towards policy reforms.  

The first two papers take us to Sub-Saharan Africa. In Two Sides of Gender: Sex, Power, and Adolescence, Markus Goldstein and coauthors evaluate the impact of a randomized controlled trial that offers females a goal setting activity to improve their sexual and reproductive health outcomes and offers their male partners a soccer-based intervention, which educates and inspires young men to make better sexual and reproductive health choices. In Household Use of Bottled Gas for Cooking: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa, Masami Kojima and Xin Zhou examine household energy use in 24 Sub-Saharan African countries with a focus on bottled cooking gas.  

  • In Tanzania, 32 percent of ever-partnered 15-19-year-olds report ever experiencing intimate partner violence and 25 percent report experiencing IPV in the last 12 months. Two Sides of Gender: Sex, Power, and Adolescence implements a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with female and male adolescents in Tanzania to improve sexual reproductive health (SRH) outcomes related to violence and risky sexual behaviors. For females, the authors randomized invitations to participate in a goal setting activity aimed at motivating the adoption of safe behaviors to improve their SRH outcomes. Males from a random subset of communities were invited to participate in an intervention using an innovative sport-based pedagogy that employs soccer-specific activities, metaphors, and language to educate and inspire them. Both interventions are found to reduce female reports of intimate partner violence. Impacts are larger among females who were already sexually active at baseline. 

  • Household Use of Bottled Gas for Cooking: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa analyzed national household expenditure surveys conducted between 2014 and 2019 in 24 Sub-Saharan African countries. The share of people using clean energy (electricity and gas) as the primary source exceeded half only in five countries, with liquefied petroleum gas dominating in three and electricity in two. As income rose, households shifted away from wood in every country, to clean energy in most countries and to charcoal in some. Of the 12 countries (nationally or in urban areas) in which at least one-fifth of the population used liquefied petroleum gas as their primary cooking fuel, more than three-fifths of primary liquefied petroleum gas users had abandoned polluting fuels in five countries. Within per capita expenditure quintiles, households who had abandoned all polluting fuels were consistently smaller than those who continued to use polluting fuels, mainly charcoal or kerosene, perhaps pointing to the ease of cooking for small families exclusively with liquefied petroleum gas and electricity.  

Figure 1: Percentage of total household expenditures spent on different forms of energy 

Figure 1

The next two papers we introduce deal with topics closely related to immigration and refugees. In Discrimination Toward Migrants During Crises, Marisol Rodriguez Chatruc and Sandra V. Rozo examine how crises affect native altruism and attitudes towards migrants. In Do Refugees with Better Mental Health Better Integrate Evidence from the Building a New Life in Australia Longitudinal Survey, Hai-Anh H. Dang and coauthors explore the effects of mental illness on refugee labor outcomes in Australia.

  • Discrimination Toward Migrants During Crises explores how crises, such as the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, affect altruism and attitudes towards migrants in contexts of large migration inflows. For this purpose, the authors conducted a survey experiment that primed Colombians to think about the COVID-19 pandemic before eliciting self-reported behaviors and attitudes towards migrants. The authors found that priming negatively affects these attitudes. Respondents in their impressionable years reacted otherwise, showing more altruism after priming. Results highlight the importance of support for migrants during crises as these vulnerable populations could experience more prejudice and receive less assistance from hosting communities. Findings also suggest that the impressionable years are a period in which treatments to improve prosocial behaviors could be most effective.
  • Do Refugees with Better Mental Health Better Integrate Evidence from the Building a New Life in Australia Longitudinal Survey is a pioneering study that examines the relationship between mental health and refugees’ labor market outcomes in Australia. Findings indicate that worse mental health lowers the probability of having paid employment and labor income. Worse mental health also reduces labor force participation, job quality, and life satisfaction and exerts negative externalities on refugee partners and children. These effects appear more pronounced for refugees who recently arrived or are without a social network. At the same time, the effects are weaker for those who receive benefits from the government.

In the final paper we introduce From #Hashtags to Legislation: Engagement and Support for Economic Reforms in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries, Ha Nguyen and coauthors explore media engagement and support for economic reforms in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries using text analysis techniques on publicly available sources. Results show that while reform efforts have intensified in recent years in the GCC countries, these efforts tend to focus on stronger rather than weaker policy areas, potentially limiting the growth-enhancing effect of reforms. Social media analysis using Twitter shows that the population’s support for current economic situation or current economic reforms remains positive but is declining for the GCC countries (see figure 2 below)

Figure 2: Sentiment about Economic Reforms in Twitter

Figure 2

Note: A declining sentiment indicates growing discontent about the economic conditions and demand for economic reforms or growing disapproval of the current economic reforms.

The following are other interesting papers published in the first half of May. Please make sure to read them as well.  

  1. Why Do Indian States Differ in Their Infrastructure Development (Timilsina, Govinda R., Sahoo,Pravakar,Dash, Ranjan Kumar) 

  1. Scaling Up Oportunidades and Its Impact on Child Nutrition (Maria Gabriela Farfan Betran, Genoni, Maria Eugenia, Rubalcava, Luis,Teruel, Graciela M., Thomas,Duncan) 

  1. Corporate Debt and Stock Returns : Evidence from U.S. Firms during the 2020 Oil Crash (Arezki,Rabah,Cho, Caleb Sungwoo, Ha Nguyen, Pham,Anh) 

  1. How Well Can Real-Time Indicators Track the Economic Impacts of a Crisis Like COVID-19 (Ten,Gi Khan,Merfeld,Joshua David,Newhouse, David Locke, Pape,Utz Johann) 

  1. Understanding the Climate Change-Migration Nexus through the Lens of Household Surveys : An Empirical Review to Assess Data Gaps  (Letta,Marco,Montalbano,Pierluigi,Paolantonio,Adriana) 

  1. Social Sustainability, Poverty, and Income : An Empirical Exploration (Cuesta Leiva,Jose Antonio,Madrigal Correa,Alma Lucia,Pecorari,Natalia Gisel) 

  1. The Welfare Implications of COVID-19 for Fragile and Conflict-Affected Areas (Tabakis,Chrysostomos,Ten,Gi Khan,Merfeld,Joshua David,Newhouse,David Locke,Pape,Utz Johann,Weber,Michael) 

  1. Natural Disasters and Economic Dynamics : Evidence from the Kerala Floods (Beyer,Robert Carl Michael,Narayanan,Abhinav,Thakur,Gogol Mitra) 

  1. Geography, Institutions, and Global Cropland Dynamics (Park,Hogeun,Selod,Harris,Murray,Siobhan,Chellaraj,Gnanaraj) 

  1. Combining Survey and Geospatial Data Can Significantly Improve Gender-Disaggregated Estimates of Labor Market Outcomes (Merfeld,Joshua David,Newhouse,David Locke,Weber,Michael,Lahiri,Partha) 

  1. A Welfarist Theory Unifying Monetary and Non-Monetary Poverty Measurement  

  1. Small and Medium Enterprises in Emerging Economies : The Achilles’ Heel of Corporate ESG Responsibility Practices (Ferrazzi,Matteo,Tueske,Annamaria) 

  1. Green Investment by Firms : Finance or Climate Driven (Kalantzis,Fotios,Schweiger,Helena,Dominguez,Sofia) 

  1. Trade and Innovation in MENA  

  1. Jobs, Access to Credit, and Informality in MENA Countries (Brancati,Emanuele,Di Maio,Michele,Rahman,Aminur) 

  1. Management Practices and the Partial Government Ownership of Firms in the Middle East and North Africa Region (Islam,Asif Mohammed,Gatti,Roberta V.) 

  1. The Human Capital of Firms and the Formal Training of Workers (Islam,Asif Mohammed,Gatti,Roberta V.) 

  1. How Do Government Transfer Payments Affect Retail Prices and Welfare Evidence from SNAP (Leung,Justin H.,Hee Kwon (Samuel) Seo) 

  1. What the Mean Measures of Mobility Miss : Learning About Intergenerational Mobility from Conditional Variance (Ahsan,Md. Nazmul,Emran, M. Shahe,Jiang,Hanchen,Shilpi,Forhad J.) 

  1. The Financial Risk Reduction Provided by Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (Raju,Dhushyanth,Younger,Stephen D.)

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