40 results for Gibson, John, Working or discussion paper

  • Which households are most distant from health centers in rural China? Evidence from a GIS network analysis

    Gibson, John; Deng, Xiangzheng; Boe-Gibson, Geua; Rozelle, Scott; Huang, Jikun (2008-12)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this paper we have two objectives - one empirical; one methodological. Although China’s leaders are beginning to pay attention to health care in rural China, there are still concerns about access to health services. To examine this issue, we use measures of travel distances to health services to examine the nature of coverage in Shaanxi Province, our case study. The mean distance by road to the nearest health center is still more than 6 kilometers. When we use thresholds for access of 5 and 10 kilometers we find that more than 40 (15) percent of the rural population lives outside of these 5 (10) kilometer service areas for health centers. The nature of the access differs by geographical region and demographic composition of the household. The methodological contribution of our paper originates from a key feature of our analysis in which we use Geographic Information System (GIS) network analysis methods to measure traveling distance along the road network. We compare these measures to straight-line distance measures. Road distances (produced by network analysis) produce measures (using means) that are nearly twice as great as straight-line distances. Moreover, the errors in the measures (that is, the difference between road distances and straight-line distances) are not random. Therefore, traditional econometric methods of ameliorating the effects of measurement errors, such as instrument variables regression, will not produce consistent results when used with straight-line distances.

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  • Mapping poverty in rural China: How much does the environment matter?

    Olivia, Susan; Gibson, John; Rozelle, Scott; Huang, Jikun; Deng, Xiangzheng (2008-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this paper, we apply a recently developed small-area estimation technique to derive geographically detailed estimates of consumption-based poverty and inequality in rural Shaanxi, China. We also investigate whether using environmental variables derived mainly from satellite remote sensing improves upon traditional approaches that only use household survey and census data. According to our results, ignoring environmental variables in statistical analyses that predict small-area poverty rates leads to targeting errors. In other words, using environmental variables both helps more accurately identify poor areas (so they should be able to receive more transfers of poor area funds) and identify non-poor areas (which would allow policy makers to reduce poverty funds in these better off areas and redirect them to poor areas). Using area-based targeting may be an efficient way to reach the poor since many counties and townships in rural Shaanxi have low levels of inequality, even though, on average, there is more within-group than between-group inequality. Using information on locations that are, in fact, receiving poverty assistance, our analysis also produces evidence that official poverty policy in Shaanxi targets particular areas which in reality are no poorer than other areas that do not get targeted.

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  • How pro-poor is the selection of seasonal migrant workers from Tonga under New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?

    Gibson, John; McKenzie, David; Rohorua, Halahingano Tu'akolo Siufanga (2008-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Temporary migration programs for unskilled workers are increasingly being proposed as a way to both relieve labour shortages in developed countries and aid development in sending countries without entailing many of the costs associated with permanent migration. New Zealand’s new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program is designed with both these goals in mind, enabling unskilled workers from the Pacific Islands to work in horticulture and viticulture in New Zealand for a period of up to seven months. However, the development impact on a sending country will depend not only on how many workers participate, but also on who participates. This paper uses new survey data from Tonga to examine the process of selecting Tongans to work in the RSE, and to analyze how pro-poor the recruitment process has been to date. We find that the workers recruited come from largely agricultural backgrounds and have lower average incomes and schooling levels than Tongans not participating in the program. We also compare the characteristics of RSE workers to those of Tongans applying to permanently migrate to New Zealand through the Pacific Access Category, and find the RSE workers to be more rural and less educated. The RSE therefore does seem to have succeeded in creating new opportunities for relatively poor and unskilled Tongans to work in New Zealand.

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  • Household credit to the poor and its impact on child schooling in peri-urban areas, Vietnam

    Doan, Tinh Thanh; Gibson, John; Holmes, Mark J. (2011-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    This paper uses a novelty dataset of poor households in peri-urban areas in Vietnam to estimate impacts of small loans on child schooling. The Probit and Negative Binomial model estimates roughly indicate no strong evidence of the effect, especially of informal credit. Formal credit is likely to have positive impacts on child schooling, but its effect is not strong enough to be conclusive. The paper suggests that to obtain the target of sustainable poverty reduction, easing access to formal credit sources as well as exempting tuition and other school fees are necessary to keep poor children at schools longer.

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  • Australia's Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS): Development impacts in the first two years

    Gibson, John; McKenzie, David (2011-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Australia launched the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme in August 2008. This program was designed to alleviate labor shortages for the Australian horticultural industry by providing opportunities for workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu to undertake seasonal work. This paper presents an analysis of the development impacts of this program in the first two years, and compares them to those from New Zealand’s seasonal worker program in the same countries. The overall development impact of the scheme to date is small, since only 215 individuals participated in the program in the first two years. We examine the selection of these workers, finding they tend to come from poorer areas of Tonga, but within these locations, appear to be of average income levels, and indeed are similar in many respects to the workers going to New Zealand. We estimate the gain per participating household to be approximately A$2,600, which is a 39 percent increase in per-capita annual income in participating Tongan households. The aggregate impact to date is small, but the experience of New Zealand’s program shows that seasonal worker programs can potentially have large aggregate effects. Finally, we provide some evidence on worker’s opinions about the program.

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  • Impacts of household credit on education and healthcare spending by the poor in peri-urban areas in Vietnam

    Doan, Tinh Thanh; Gibson, John; Holmes, Mark J. (2011-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    There is debate about whether microfinance has positive impacts on education and health for borrowing households in developing countries. To provide evidence for this debate we use a new survey designed to meet the conditions for propensity score matching (PSM) and examine the impact of household credit on education and healthcare spending by the poor in peri-urban areas of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In addition to matching statistically identical non-borrowers with borrowers, our estimates also control for household pre-treatment income and assets, which may be associated with unobservable factors affecting both credit participation and the outcomes of interest. The PSM estimates of binary treatment effect show significant and positive impacts of borrowing on education and healthcare spending. However, multiple ordered treatment effect estimates reveal that only formal credit has significant and positive impacts on education and healthcare spending, while informal credit has insignificant impacts on the spending.

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  • Using Engel curves to measure CPI bias for Indonesia

    Olivia, Susan; Gibson, John (2012-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    To measure real income growth over time a price index is needed to adjust for changes in the cost of living. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is often used for this task but studies from several countries show the CPI is a biased measure of changes in the cost of living, leading to potentially wrong estimates of the rate of growth of real income. In this paper CPI bias for Indonesia is calculated by estimating food Engel curves for households with the same level of CPI-deflated incomes at four different points in time between 1993 and 2008. The results suggest CPI bias was initially negative during the Asian Crisis but has been positive since 2000. Over the entire period, CPI bias has averaged four percent annually, equivalent to almost one-third of the measured inflation rate.

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  • How reliable are household expenditures as a proxy for permanent income? Implications for the income-nutrition relationship

    Gibson, John; Kim, Bonggeun (2011-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Measurement error in short-run expenditures from household surveys may attenuate estimated effects of permanent income on economic outcomes. Repeated observations on households during the year are used to calculate reliability ratios and estimate errors in variables regressions of the impact of income on calorie intakes. In contrast to influential studies finding no effect of income, the results suggest significant nutritional responses to income in poor countries.

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  • Rising regional income inequality in China: Fact or artefact?

    Li, Chao; Gibson, John (2012-07)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    China’s local populations can be counted in two ways; by how many people have hukou household registration from each place and by how many people actually reside in each place. The counts differ by the non-hukou migrants – people that move from their place of registration – who have grown from fewer than five million when reform began in 1978 to over 200 million by 2010. For most of the first three decades of the reform era, the hukou count was used to produce per capita GDP figures. In coastal provinces the resident count is many millions more than the hukou count, while for migrant-sending provinces it is the reverse, creating a systematic and time-varying distortion in provincial GDP per capita. Moreover, a sharp discontinuity occurred when provinces recently switched from the hukou count to the resident count when reporting GDP per capita. A double-count also resulted because some provinces switched before others and initial resident counts were incomplete. This paper describes the changing definition of provincial populations in China and their impact on inequality in provincial GDP per capita. We show that much of the apparent increase in inter-provincial inequality disappears once a consistent series of GDP per resident is used.

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  • The effect of infrastructure access and quality on non-farm enterprises in rural Indonesia

    Gibson, John; Olivia, Susan (2008-12)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    There is growing interest in the rural non-farm sector in developing countries as a contributor to economic growth, employment generation, livelihood diversification and poverty reduction. Access to infrastructure is identified in some studies as a factor that affects nonfarm rural employment and income but less attention has been paid to the constraints imposed by poor quality infrastructure. In this paper we use data from 4000 households in rural Indonesia to show that the quality of two key types of infrastructure – roads and electricity – affects both employment in and income from non-farm enterprises. It appears that there would be gains from development strategies that improve both the access to and the quality of rural infrastructure.

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  • Moving to opportunity, leaving behind what? Evaluating the initial effects of a migration policy on incomes and poverty in source areas

    McKenzie, David; Gibson, John; Stillman, Steven (2007-11)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Migration to New Zealand and consequent remittance inflows are dominant features of many Pacific Island countries. Evaluating the effect of these people and money flows on incomes and poverty in the Pacific is potentially complicated by the non-random selection of emigrants. This paper uses the randomization provided by an immigration ballot under the Pacific Access Category (PAC) of New Zealand’s immigration policy to address this problem. We survey applicants to the 2002-05 PAC ballots in Tonga and compare outcomes for the remaining family of emigrants with those for similar families who were unsuccessful in the ballots. We then contrast these estimates with more conventional ones that construct no-emigration counterfactuals by deducting remittance income from the remaining family of PAC emigrants and adding back the potential home earnings of emigrants. The results suggest that the economic welfare of remaining family may fall in the initial period after members of their household move to New Zealand. We also find that non-experimental methods of constructing counterfactual income are likely to work well only in rare situations where there is random selection of emigrants.

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  • The distributional impact of KiwiSaver incentives

    Gibson, John; Hector, Christopher James; Le, Trinh (2008-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    New Zealand’s approach to retirement incomes profoundly changed with the recent introduction of KiwiSaver and its associated tax incentives. Previous policy reduced lifetime inequality but KiwiSaver and its tax incentives will increase future inequality and lead to diverging living standards for the elderly. In this paper we evaluate the distributional effects of these tax incentives. Using data from a nationwide survey conducted by the authors, we estimate the value of the equivalent income transfer provided to individuals by the tax incentives for KiwiSaver participation. Concentration curves and inequality decompositions are used to compare the distributive impact of these tax incentives with those for New Zealand Superannuation. Estimates are reported for both initial and lifetime impacts, with the greatest effect on inequality apparent in the lifetime impacts.

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  • The rising public sector pay premium in the New Zealand labour market

    Gibson, John (2008-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    This note reports propensity score matching estimates of the public sector pay premium in New Zealand for each year from 2003 until 2007. Comparing with observably similar private sector workers shows that public sector workers have received a pay premium that has grown in each year, from almost zero in 2003 to 22 percent in 2007. Unless there have been unmeasured changes in the attributes of public sector jobs that give rise to compensating pay differentials, this rising public sector pay premium is most plausibly attributed to an increase in non-competitive rents.

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  • Using panel data to exactly estimate under-reporting by the self-employed

    Kim, Bonggeun; Gibson, John; Chung, Chul (2008-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    The income of the self-employed is often assumed to be understated in economic statistics. Debate exists about the extent of under-reporting and the resulting measures of the size of the underground economy. This paper refines a method developed by Pissarides and Weber (1989) and uses discrepancies between food shares and reported incomes to estimate under-reporting by the self-employed. In contrast to previous studies our panel data methodology distinguishes income under-reporting from transitory income fluctuations of the self-employed, and provides an exact estimate of the degree of under-reporting rather than just an interval estimate. Using panel data from Korea and Russia we estimate that 38 percent of the income of self-employed households in Korea and 47 percent of the income of Russian self-employed households is not reported.

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  • How cost elastic are remittances? Estimates from Tongan migrants in New Zealand

    Gibson, John; McKenzie, David; Rohorua, Halahingano Tu'akolo Siufanga (2006-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Pacific Island economies are some of the most remittance- dependent in the world. Proposals to lower the costs of sending money across borders are a core recommendation of recent international studies that aim to enhance the development impact of remittances. The potential increase in remittances that recipient countries can expect from such policies depends critically on the sensitivity of remittance transfers to the costs of remitting. This paper provides the first estimates of the cost-elasticity of remittances, using data from a survey of Tongan migrants in New Zealand. The costs of remitting to Tonga are high by international standards and remittances are found to have a negative cost-elasticity with respect to the fixed fee component of money transfer costs. These findings suggest that Pacific Island countries can expect a more than proportionate increase in remittances from a reduction in costs.

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  • How widespread are non-linear crowding out effects? The response of private transfers to income in four developing countries

    Gibson, John; Olivia, Susan; Rozelle, Scott (2006-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    This paper investigates whether there is a non-linear relationship between income and the private transfers received by households in developing countries. If private transfers are unresponsive to household income, expansion of public social security and other transfer programs is unlikely to crowd out private transfers, contrary to concerns first raised by Barro and Becker. There is little existing evidence for crowding out effects in the literature, but this may be because they have been obscured by methods that ignore non-linearities. If donors switch from altruistic motivations to exchange motivations as recipient income increases, a sharp non-linear relationship between private transfers and income may result. In fact, threshold regression techniques find such non-linearity in the Philippines and after accounting for these there is evidence of serious crowding out, with 30 to 80 percent of private transfers potentially displaced for low-income households [Cox, Hansen and Jimenez 2004, 'How Responsiveare Private Transfers to Income?' Journal of Public Economics]. To see if these non-linear effects occur more widely, semiparametric and threshold regression methods are used to model private transfers in four developing countries - China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. The results of our paper suggest that non-linear crowding-out effects are not important features of transfer behaviour in these countries. The transfer derivatives under a variety of assumptions only range between 0 and -0.08. If our results are valid, expansions of public social security to cover the poorest households need not be stymied by offsetting private responses.

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  • Improving estimates of inequality and poverty from urban China’s household income and expenditure survey

    Gibson, John; Huang, Jikun; Rozelle, Scott (2002-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In urban China the Household Income and Expenditure Survey requires respondents to keep a daily expenditure diary for a full 12-month period. This onerous reporting task makes it difficult to recruit households into the survey, compromising the representative nature of the sample. In this article we use data on the monthly expenditures of households from two urban areas of China to see if data collection short-cuts, such as extrapolating to annual totals from expenditure reports in only some months of the year, would harm the accuracy of annual expenditure, inequality and poverty estimates. Our results show that replacing 12-month diaries with simple extrapolations from either one, two, four or six months would cause a sharp increase in estimates of annual inequality and poverty. This finding also undermines international comparisons of inequality statistics because no country other than China uses such comprehensive 12-month expenditure records. But a corrected form of extrapolation, based on correlations between the same household’s expenditures in different months of the year, gives much smaller errors in estimates of inequality and poverty.

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  • Do research assessment exercises raise the returns to publication quality? Evidence from the New Zealand market for academic economists

    Gibson, John; Tressler, John; Anderson, David L. (2008-08)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Many countries have introduced research assessment exercises to help measure and raise the quality of research in their university sector. But there is little empirical evidence on how these exercises, such as the Quality Evaluation of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) in New Zealand and the recently aborted Research Quality Framework (RQF) in Australia, affect the signals that researchers observe in the academic labour market. Since these assessments aim to raise research quality, individual academics should perceive rising returns to publication quality at the expense of the returns to quantity. Data we collected on the rank and publication records of New Zealand academic economists prior to the introduction of the PBRF and just after the second assessment round are used to estimate the changing returns to the quantity and quality of journal articles.

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  • How important is selection? Experimental vs non-experimental measures of the income gains from migration

    McKenzie, David; Gibson, John; Stillman, Steven (2006-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Measuring the gain in income from migration is complicated by non-random selection of migrants from the general population, making it hard to obtain an appropriate comparison group of non-migrants. This paper uses a migrant lottery to overcome this problem, providing an experimental measure of the income gains from migration. New Zealand allows a quota of Tongans to immigrate each year with a lottery used to choose amongst the excess number of applicants. A unique survey conducted by the authors in these two countries allows experimental estimates of the income gains from migration to be obtained by comparing the incomes of migrants to those who applied to migrate, but whose names were not drawn in the lottery, after allowing for the effect of non-compliance among some of those whose names were drawn. We also conducted a survey of individuals who did not apply for the lottery. Comparing this non-applicant group to the migrants enables assessment of the degree to which non-experimental methods can provide an unbiased estimate of the income gains from migration. We find evidence of migrants being positively selected in terms of both observed and unobserved skills. As a result, non-experimental methods are found to overstate the gains from migration, by 9 to 82 percent. A good instrumental variable works best, while difference-in-differences and bias-adjusted propensity-score matching also perform comparatively well.

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  • The public sector pay premium and compensating differentials in the New Zealand labour market

    Gibson, John (2007-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this note, propensity score matching (PSM) methods are applied to data from the 2005 International Social Survey Program Work Orientations (ISSP-WO) survey to examine the public sector pay premium in New Zealand. Taking account of a wide range of worker characteristics and attitudes, job attributes, and the effects that jobs have on workers and their family life, there appears to be a pay premium from working in the public sector of 17 to 21 percent.

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