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Policy Research Working Paper series publication roundup for November 1-November 15, 2021

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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 six papers published from November 1 to November 15 on various topics, including agriculture, trade, vaccine hesitancy and others.    

The first two papers we introduce touch upon topics related to agriculture. In Survey Measurement Errors and the Assessment of the Relationship between Yields and Inputs in Smallholder Farming Systems : Evidence from Mali, Ismael Yacoubou Djima and Talip Kilic use unique survey data from Mali to demonstrate that self-reported crop yields, vis-à-vis crop cut yields are subject to non-classical measurement error that in turn biases the estimates of returns to inputs, including land, labor, fertilizer, and seeds. In Knowledge and Adoption of Complex Agricultural Technologies : Evidence from an Extension Experiment, Denise Hörner and coauthors through the use of a randomized control trial  assess the effects of farmer-to-farmer extension and a video intervention on the adoption of a complex technology package among 2,382 smallholders in Ethiopia.

For the third and fourth papers we introduce this week we delve into trade and economic integration. In Trade Networks in Latin America : Spatial Inefficiencies and Optimal Expansions, Nicole Gorton and Elena Ianchovichina use a spatial general equilibrium framework to construct optimal transport networks and optimal expansions to existing networks in most Latin American countries. In Deep Trade Agreement and Foreign Direct Investments, Nadia Rocha and coauthors analyze the impact of deep trade agreements on foreign direct investment.  

  • Trade Networks in Latin America : Spatial Inefficiencies and Optimal Expansions assesses the average annual welfare losses due to inefficient domestic road networks in Latin America at 1.7 percent, ranging from 2.5 percent in Brazil to 0.2 percent in El Salvador. Spatial misallocation of transnational road networks is associated with annual welfare losses of 1.8 percent in MERCOSUR and 1.6 percent in the Andean Community. Optimal investments in improvements and expansions of existing networks can correct these inefficiencies and reduce spatial inequality within countries. Figure 1 shows the welfare gains from reallocation of the road network in Latin America.

Figure 1. Welfare gains from reallocation of road network

Welfare Gains from Reallocation of Road Network

  • Deep Trade Agreement and Foreign Direct Investments exploits the World Bank’s data set on the content of preferential trade agreement and data on announcements of bilateral greenfield investment at the activity level. The findings show that deep trade agreements matter for investment: every additional discipline in a preferential trade agreement increases foreign direct investment by 1.4 percent, on average. Deep agreements do not impact foreign direct investment in natural resources and extractive activities and have heterogeneous effects across manufacturing- and services-related activities.

Finally, for the last two papers of this roundup, we introduce two papers on two timely topics: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and immigration.  In Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy : Survey and Experimental Evidence from Papua New Guinea, Christopher Hoy and coauthors examine the drivers of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and tests various means of increasing people’s willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. In Empowering Migrants Impacts of a Migrant’s Amnesty on Crime Reports, Sandra Rozo and coauthors examine whether undocumented immigrants change their crime-reporting behavior after receiving a regular migratory status.

  • Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy : Survey and Experimental Evidence from Papua New Guinea draws on data collected through a broadly representative phone survey with 2,533 respondents and an online randomized survey experiment with 2,392 participants in Papua New Guinea. Both surveys show that less than 20 percent of the respondents who were aware a vaccine existed were willing to be vaccinated. The main reason respondents stated for their hesitancy regarding the vaccine was concern about side effects; however, the majority also said health workers could change their mind, particularly if information was communicated in person (see figure 2 below). The phone survey illustrated that people’s level of trust in the vaccine and their beliefs about the behavior of others are strongly associated with their intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Figure 2. Top three groups in people who could change respondents’ minds about getting the vaccine

Top three groups in people who could change respondents? minds about getting the vaccine

  • Empowering Migrants Impacts of a Migrant’s Amnesty on Crime Reports uses a natural experiment of a massive amnesty program that gave a regular migratory status to over 281,000 undocumented Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia. The findings suggest that following the amnesty there is an increase in reporting of crimes by Venezuelan immigrants, not explained by an increase in crime overall. The results are particularly strong for reports of domestic violence and sex crimes. Results are almost entirely driven by reports by female Venezuelan immigrants, a vulnerable population, suggesting that empowerment is an important mechanism driving the behavior change.

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

1. The Promise and Limitations of Information Technology for Tax Mobilization (Okunogbe,Oyebola Motunrayo,Santoro,Fabrizio)

2. Preparation, Practice, and Beliefs : A Machine Learning Approach to Understanding Teacher Effectiveness (Filmer,Deon P.,Nahata,Vatsal,Sabarwal,Shwetlena)

3. What Types of Capital Flows Help Improve International Risk Sharing (Islamaj,Ergys,Kose,Ayhan)

4. Rural Poverty Reduction and Economic Transformation in China : A Decomposition Approach  (Lugo,Maria Ana,Niu,Chiyu,Yemtsov,Ruslan G).

5. Urban CO2 Emissions : A Global Analysis with New Satellite Data (Dasgupta,Susmita,Lall,Somik V.,Wheeler,David R.)

6. Fair and Welfare-Consistent Global Income Poverty Measurement : Theory and Application (Decerf,Benoit Marie A,Ferrando,Mery,Quinn,Natalie N.)

7. The Pass-Through of International Commodity Price Shocks to Producers’ Welfare : Evidence from Ethiopian Coffee Farmers  (Kebede,Hundanol Atnafu)

8. Impacts of Energy Efficiency Projects in Developing Countries : Evidence from a Spatial Difference-in-Differences Analysis in Malawi (Naeher,Dominik,Narayanan,Raghavan,Ziulu,Virginia)

9. Poverty Imputation in Contexts without Consumption Data : A Revisit with Further Refinements (Dang,Hai-Anh H.,Kilic,Talip,Carletto,Calogero,Abanokova,Kseniya)

10. The Intergenerational Effects of Economic Sanctions  (Moeeni,Safoura)

11. A Tale of Two Programs: Assessing Treatment and Control in NREGA Studies (Bahal,Girish)

12. Assessing the Affordability of Nutrient-Adequate Diets (Schneider,Kate,Christiaensen,Luc,Webb,Patrick J.,Masters,William Alan)

13. International Reserves and Central Bank Independence (Samano Penaloza,Agustin)

14. Can Grit Be Taught Lessons from a Nationwide Field Experiment with Middle-School Students (Santos,Indhira Vanessa,Petroska-Beska,Violeta,Amaro Da Costa Luz Carneiro,Pedro Manuel,Eskreis-Winkler,Lauren,Munoz Boudet,Ana)

15. Improving the Well-Being of Adolescent Girls in Developing Countries (Bergstrom,Katy Ann,Ozler,Berk)

16. Introducing the Adequate Housing Index (AHI) : A New Approach to Estimate the Adequate Housing Deficit within and across Emerging Economies (Behr,Daniela Monika,Chen,Lixue,Goel,Ankita,Haider,Khondoker Tanveer,Singh,Sandeep - CSEFI,Zaman,Asad)

17. Childcare and Mothers’ Labor Market Outcomes in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries  (Halim,Daniel Zefanya,Perova,Elizaveta,Reynolds,Sarah)

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