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Title:Rural households and shocks: Asset transfer, migration and civil conflict
Author(s):Phadera, Lokendra
Director of Research:Winter-Nelson, Alex E.; Arends-Kuenning, Mary Paula
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Winter-Nelson, Alex E.; Arends-Kuenning, Mary Paula
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Michelson, Hope C.; Crost, Benjamin; Thornton, Rebecca
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Poverty Dynamics, Resilience, Livestock, Asset Transfers, Migration for employment, Labor supply, Wellbeing of left-behind, Civil Conflict, Intergenerational Health, Adult height, Nepal
Abstract:In this dissertation, I present research on three topics in development economics, with overarching theme being the long-term implications of positive and negative shocks on rural poor's economic wellbeing. In the first paper, based on the joint work with Hope Michelson, Alex Winter-Nelson and Peter Goldsmith, I estimate the impact of an asset transfer program on household resilience, where resilience is defined as the probability that a household will sustain at least the threshold asset level required to support consumption above the poverty line. Using six rounds of data collected over 42 months in rural Zambia, I construct a measure of resilience based on households' conditional welfare distributions to estimate program impacts. The study finds that the program increased household resilience; beneficiaries' likelihood of being non-poor in future periods increased by 44%. The program both increased mean assets and decreased variance, signaling an upward shift in households' conditional asset distributions. The method used in the study demonstrates the added value of the resilience estimation compared with a conventional impact assessment; numerous households classified as non-poor are unlikely to remain nonpoor. In the second paper, I analyze the differential impact of migration on labor supply of the left-behind household members in Nepal, where international migration for employment, predominantly a male phenomenon, increased substantially between 2001 and 2011. Using the NLSS III data, this study extends the analysis further by incorporating the impacts on both extensive and intensive margins and answering the question of if they are not wage-employed, what the remaining members in the household engaging in instead. The paper finds that, in response to out-migration of some family members, women realign their priorities and reallocate their time from market employment to self-employment and home production, possibly filling in the roles vacated by the migrants. In contrast, the income effect dominates the impact of migration on the left-behind men; that is, men value their leisure more because of the remittances from abroad and decrease their overall supply of labor. In the final paper, I analyze the long-term health impacts of the 1996-2006 Nepalese civil conflict using information on conflict incidents at the village level, which allows me to identify the effects of exposure to conflict more accurately than prior studies. Moreover, I am able to track the impact of conflict on health outcomes across generations. Growth stunting is a known outcome of health shocks in childhood, and height has long been recognized as an important factor influencing individuals' professional and personal success. I exploit the heterogeneity in conflict intensity across villages and birth cohorts to document long-term health and intergenerational impacts. I find that childhood exposure to conflict and, in particular, exposure starting in infancy, has highly significant and negative impacts on final adult height -- each additional month of exposure decreases women’s height by 1.36 millimeters. Additionally, this is among the first papers to document the intergenerational impacts of early childhood conflict exposure. I find that mother's exposure to conflict in her childhood is detrimental to her children's health. Exposed mothers have more children and live in less wealthy households, likely reducing their ability to invest during critical periods of their children's development.
Issue Date:2019-04-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Lokendra Phadera
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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