Off the press: July 2019

OFF THE PRESS: JULY 2019

Select recent publications from PIM and partners on sustainable pro-poor policies, institutions, and markets

Experimental games for developing institutional capacity to manage common water infrastructure in India

Falk, Thomas; Kumar, Shalander; and Srigiri, Srinivasa. 2019. Agricultural Water Management 221 (July 2019): 260-269. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2019.05.005

Since the 1990s, India invested more than one billion USD in participatory watershed development. Amongst other interventions, the rehabilitation of small-scale water harvesting infrastructure is a main focus. Yet, many communities fail to maintain the structures.

In this study, Thomas Falk, Shalander Kumar, and Srinivasa Srigiri explore how experimental games closely framed to local conditions can help to better understand coordination challenges and develop institutional capacities related to managing small village reservoirs in Rajasthan, India. The authors played experimental games and had discussions with 300 water managers. The approach facilitated debate related to possible solutions and helped to better understand cooperation patterns. It also created a communication environment which encouraged the young, the less educated, and women to actively participate in decision making.

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Responding to conflict: Does “Cash Plus” work for preventing malnutrition?

Kurdi, Sikandra; Breisinger, Clemens; Ibrahim, Hosam; Ghorpade, Yashodhan; and Al-Ahmadi, Afrah. 2019. IFPRI Policy Brief. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). https://doi.org/10.2499/9780896293601

The research evaluated the ongoing Cash for Nutrition program of Yemen’s Social Fund for Development (SFD), which provides vulnerable poor households with young children monthly cash infusions and training in child and maternal nutrition. The program is designed to provide not only monetary support for purchasing food but also knowledge and practices for improving diets and nutrition. Authors find that cash transfer programs that provide households support for purchasing food have effectively reduced conflict-driven acute malnutrition in Yemen.

“Our findings provide evidence that cash transfer programs that include nutritional training can be an effective response to mitigate acute childhood malnutrition, even in an environment of conflict,” said Sikandra Kurdi, associate research fellow at IFPRI and lead author of the study.

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The Rohingya: Displacement, deprivation, and policy

Dorosh, Paul; Filipski, Mateusz J.; Hoddinott, John F.; Hoque, Mainul; Iqbal, Zabid; Mozumder, Golam Nabi; Rosenbach, Gracie; Sen, Binayak; Tiburcio, Ernesto; Uddin, Riaz; and Yunus, Mohammed. 2019. IFPRI Issue Brief. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). https://doi.org/10.2499/9780896296893

In late 2017, some 671,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh, where they joined 213,000 Rohingya who were already living there after having themselves fled earlier waves of violence. The Rohingya population now significantly outnumbers the host community in two areas of the district, prompting a recent study of how both the migrants and host community are faring in terms of employment, health, access to assistance, and general wellbeing.

International efforts to assist forcibly displaced Rohingya have averted a humanitarian catastrophe, finds the study. Food assistance reaches virtually all Rohingya now living in camps in Bangladesh. Despite these efforts, the Rohingya are at best surviving, not thriving. Malnutrition remains unacceptably high, and in the absence of employment opportunities, many Rohingya are forced to rely on negative coping strategies such as borrowing money to buy food.

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Revisiting the farm size-productivity relationship based on a relatively wide range of farm sizes: Evidence from Kenya 

Muyanga, Milu; Jayne, Thomas S. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Volume 101, Issue 4, July 2019, Pages 1140–1163, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aaz003

The new paper by Milu Muyanga and Thomas Jayne revisits the inverse farm size-productivity relationship in Kenya. The study makes two contributions. First, the relationship is examined over a much wider range of farm sizes than most studies, which is particularly relevant in Africa given the recent rise of medium- and large-scale farms. Second, the authors test the inverse relationship hypothesis using three different measures of productivity including profits per hectare and total factor productivity, which are arguably more meaningful than standard measures of productivity such as yield or gross output per hectare. They find a U-shaped relationship between farm size and all three measures of farm productivity. The inverse relationship hypothesis holds on farms between zero and 3 hectares. The relationship between farm size and productivity is relatively flat between 3 and 5 hectares. A strong positive relationship between farm size and productivity emerges within the 5 to 70 hectare range of farm sizes. Across virtually all measures of productivity, farms between 20 and 70 hectares are found to be substantially more productive than farms under 5 hectares. When the analysis is confined to fields cultivated to maize (Kenya’s main food crop) the productivity advantage of relatively large farms stems at least partially from differences in technical choice related to mechanization, which substantially reduces labor input per hectare, and from input use intensity.

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