nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2006‒05‒06
five papers chosen by
Suzanne McCoskey
Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State

  1. Examining the Robustness of Competing Explanations of Slow Growth in African Countries By Stan du Plessis; Ronelle Burger
  2. Farm productivity and market structure : evidence from cotton reforms in Zambia By Porto, Guido G.; Brambilla, Irene
  3. Returns to Race: Labour Market Discrimination in Post-Apartheid South Africa By Rulof Burger; Rachel Jafta
  4. The Demand for Outpatient Medical Care in Rural Kenya By Randell P. Ellis; Germano M. Mwabu
  5. On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict By Caselli, Francesco; Coleman II, Wilbur John

  1. By: Stan du Plessis (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Ronelle Burger (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: This research challenges previous findings regarding the robustness of the African growth dummy by expanding the list of variables to include those suggested by Easterly and Levine (1998) and Sachs and Warner (1997b). Using the Bayesing Averaging of Classical Estimates Approach, this paper concludes that the African growth dummy does not appear to be robustly related to growth. This supports the interpretation that the presence of the African dummy in other studies results from misspecification. This paper also contributes to the debate on growth strategies for Africa by assessing the robustness of divergent perspectives offered in the recent literature.
    Keywords: growth, Africa, model specification, robustness
    JEL: C11 O11 O40
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Porto, Guido G.; Brambilla, Irene
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impacts of cotton marketing reforms on farm productivity, a key element for poverty alleviation, in rural Zambia. The reforms comprised the elimination of the Zambian cotton marketing board that was in place since 1977. Following liberalization, the sector adopted an outgrower scheme, whereby firms provided extension services to farmers and sold inputs on loans that were repaid at the time of harvest. There are two distinctive phases of the reforms: a failure of the outgrower scheme, and a subsequent period of success of the scheme. The authors ' findings indicate that the reforms led to interesting dynamics in cotton farming. During the phase of failure, farmers were pushed back into subsistence and productivity in cotton declined. With the improvement of the outgrower scheme of later years, farmers devoted larger shares of land to cash crops, and farm productivity significantly increased.
    Keywords: Crops & Crop Management Systems,Economic Theory & Research,Livestock & Animal Husbandry,Rural Poverty Reduction,Rural Development Knowledge & Information Systems
    Date: 2006–05–01
  3. By: Rulof Burger (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Rachel Jafta (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: This paper empirically assesses the impact of post-1994 policy making on racial discrimination in the South African labour market. The post-apartheid government has implemented a series of remedial measures, including an ambitious set of black empowerment and affirmative action policies. The first part of the paper gives an overview of the South African labour market post-1994 and the most important legislation, regulations and other measures aimed at redressing the inequalities of the past. We then argue that some assessment of whether the aims of these measures are being achieved is necessary. The empirical part of the paper employs the decomposition techniques of Oaxaca (1973) and Blinder (1973), Brown, Moon and Zoloth (1980) and Juhn, Murphy and Pierce (1991, 1993) to analyse three stages of the employment process: employment, occupational attainment and wage determination. Fifteen nationally representative household surveys are used to compare the evolution of discriminatory hiring and remuneration practices between 1995 and 2004 and across population groups. The results suggest that affirmative action policies have had no observable effect on the racial employment gap, and its impact on the wage distribution is limited to a small narrowing of wages at the top of the wage distribution. There appears to have been a shift away from “pure discrimination” and towards differential returns to education, which is consistent with an increasingly important role for the quality of education in labour market outcomes.
    Keywords: growth, Discrimination, South Africa
    JEL: J31 J71
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Randell P. Ellis (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University); Germano M. Mwabu (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
  5. By: Caselli, Francesco; Coleman II, Wilbur John
    Abstract: We present a theory of ethnic conflict in which coalitions formed along ethnic lines compete for the economy's resources. The role of ethnicity is to enforce coalition membership: in ethnically homogeneous societies members of the losing coalition can defect to the winners at low cost, and this rules out conflict as an equilibrium outcome. We derive a number of implications of the model relating social, political, and economic indicators such as the incidence of conflict, the distance among ethnic groups, group sizes, income inequality, and expropriable resources.
    Keywords: ethnic distance; exploitation
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2006–04

This nep-afr issue is ©2006 by Suzanne McCoskey. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.