nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2009‒07‒03
nine papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Socio-economic Determinants of the Performance of Informal Women Co-operatives in Enugu state, Nigeria By Opata, Patience. I; Nweze, Noble. J
  2. Fiscal incidence of social spending in South Africa, 2006 By Servaas van der Berg
  3. Political Economy of Agricultural Trade Interventions in Africa By Bates, Robert H.; Block, Steven
  4. The Distributional impact of dams: Evidence from cropland productivity in Africa By Eric Strobl; Robert Strobl
  5. Africa.s Recovery from the Global Economic Crisis By Naude, Wim; Fosu, Augutin
  6. The cost of fiscal subsidies to higher education students in South Africa: A comparison between 2000 and 2006 By Pierre de Villiers
  7. Endogenous optimal currency areas: The case of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community By Fabrizio Carmignani
  8. Attitudes toward Uncertainty among the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia By Akay, Alpaslan; Martinsson, Peter; Medhin, Haileselassie; Trautmann, Stefan T.
  9. Working long hours and having no choice : time poverty in Guinea By Bardasi, Elena; Wodon, Quentin

  1. By: Opata, Patience. I; Nweze, Noble. J
    Abstract: Paper to be presented for International Conference of Women in Africa and African Diaspora (WAAD) at Yaradua Conference Centre Abuja, August 3-11, 2009
    Keywords: Women, Credit and Savings, Agribusiness, Agricultural Finance, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Crop Production/Industries, Financial Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Marketing,
    Date: 2009–08–03
  2. By: Servaas van der Berg (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: This paper presents the findings of a study undertaken for the South African National Treasury regarding the expenditure incidence of social spending in South Africa in 2006, and also regarding changes in incidence in the period following democratisation. Concentration ratios and concentration curves show that there have been considerable shifts in social spending incidence in the period 1995 (the year after democracy) and 2006, the most recent observation. In particular, social spending grants have become a major tool of targeting resources to the poor. Although the poor now get considerably more of social spending than their population share, the very skew underlying income distribution means that the post-fiscal situation still is one with great inequality. Moreover, evidence is presented that spending efficiency for social spending is low, thus there is only a tenuous link between social spending and social outcomes. Thus great shifts in social spending have had a limited impact on poverty and inequality in South Africa.
    Keywords: Fiscal incidence, Social spending, Poverty, Inequality, South Africa
    JEL: H50 D63 I31 I32
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Bates, Robert H.; Block, Steven
    Abstract: This paper uses new data on agricultural policy interventions to examine the political economy of agricultural trade policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Historically, African governments have discriminated against agricultural producers in general (relative to producers in non-agricultural sectors), and against producers of export agriculture in particular. While more moderate in recent years, these patterns of discrimination persist. They do so even though farmers comprise a political majority. Rather than claiming the existence of a single best approach to the analysis of policy choice, we explore the impact of three factors: institutions, regional inequality, and tax revenuegeneration. We find that agricultural taxation increases with the rural population share in the absence of electoral party competition; yet, the existence of party competition turns the lobbying disadvantage of the rural majority into political advantage. We also find that privileged cash crop regions are particular targets for redistributive taxation, unless the country's president comes from that region. In addition, governments of resource-rich countries, while continuing to tax export producers, reduce their taxation of food consumers.
    Keywords: Distorted incentives, agricultural and trade policy reforms, national agricultural development, agriculture, taxation, political economy, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Relations/Trade, F13, F14, Q17, Q18, O13,
    Date: 2009–05
  4. By: Eric Strobl (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X); Robert Strobl (Institut for Environment and Sustainability - European Commission)
    Abstract: We examine the distributional impact of major dams on cropland productivity in Africa. As our unit of analysis we use a scientifically based spatial breakdown of the continent that allows one to exactly define regions in terms of their upstream/downstream relationship at a highly disaggregated level. We then use satellite data to derive measures of cropland productivity within these areas. Our econometric analysis shows that while regions downstream benefit from large dams, cropland within the vicinity tends to suffer productivity losses during droughts. Overall our results suggest that because of rainfall shortages dams in Africa caused a net loss of 0.96 per cent in productivity over our sample period (1981-2000). However, further dam construction in appropriate areas could potentially lead to large increases in productivity even if rainfall is not plenty.
    Keywords: dams, agricultural productivity, Africa
    Date: 2009–06–07
  5. By: Naude, Wim; Fosu, Augutin
    Abstract: African economies have been shaken by the global economic downturn which followed the US-centered financial crisis of 2008. Africa.s growth rate for 2009 and 2010 has recently been revised substantially downwards by international financial institutions. For instance the IMF has revised Africa.s economic growth forecasts for 2009 downwards from 5 per cent in October 2008, to 3.5 per cent in January 2009, and to 1.7 per cent in April 2009. Likewise the World Bank has revised African growth prospects down to 2.4 per cent for 2009. The consequences of a reduction in growth, even if African economies may avoid shrinking, are likely to be higher unemployment and poverty, increases in infant mortality, and adverse coping with long-lasting impacts such as higher school drop-out rates, reductions in healthcare, environmental degradation, and political instability, inter alia.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship, index, principal components analysis
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Pierre de Villiers (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: In this analysis the expenditure (subsidy) on higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa is compared for 2000 and 2006. The analysis was done with headcounts of students as well as with full-time equivalent student numbers. A second method was followed where a distinction was made between the number of students enrolled in the social sciences and those enrolled in the natural sciences. It is found that Subsidies of the African, coloured and Indian students in general deteriorated slightly compared to the subsidy levels of whites. However, with the calculations for contact full-time equivalent students according to field of study it was found that either the other racial groups’ relative situation improved over time or they received higher subsidies than the white group.
    Keywords: Government subsidies, National government expenditure, Education
    JEL: H2 H5 I2
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Fabrizio Carmignani (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC) has been a monetary union for several decades now. According to the hypothesis of endogenous optimal currency areas (OCA), the degree of business cycles synchronization across its member states should be significantly higher today than 40 years ago. Investigating the empirical validity of this hypothesis is important in the context of the African economic integration process. If currency unions are endogenous, then quick monetary integration is a worthwhile option that can be used to accelerate economic integration. On the contrary, if currency unions were not endogenous, then a speedy monetary unification would not benefit countries collectively and might therefore jeopardize the whole regional integration initiative. This paper assesses the endogeneity of CAEMC as an OCA by examining the cross-country synchronization of business cycles along three statistical dimensions: bilateral correlation of cyclical co-movements, similarity of cycle statistical properties, and concordance of cyclical phases. Its innovative contribution is threefold. First, it provides a direct test of the endogeneity hypothesis on a specific currency union. Most previous studies instead rely on panel estimates of global datasets. Second, it expands the existing literature on the monetary geography of Africa. Indeed, there are several papers that study whether or not specific African regions are OCA. However, these papers generally look at the ex-ante conditions for optimality, leaving the issue of endogeneity of OCA criteria unexplored. The paper fills in this gap. Third, the paper presents a business cycle chronology for the six CAEMC members, thus opening up new opportunities to understand the cyclical characterization of economic systems and policies in the region. The main result of the analysis is that (i) the degree of synchronization of business cycles across CAEMC countries has remained low throughout the period 1960-2007, but (ii) it has somewhat increased over time. This increase is however marginal in both economic and statistical terms, thus implying that CAEMC currency union is not as endogenous as one would expect from previous empirical results obtained from global datasets. The reason why the endogeneity effect is so weak is that its channels of transmission are not work: intra-regional trade is very low and macroeconomic policies across union members do not seem to converge. Furthermore, increasingly different productive structures also reduced the intensity of synchronization. The policy implications of the analysis then concern the design of policy and institutions in the CAEMC and the way forward for monetary unification in Africa.
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg); Medhin, Haileselassie (University of Gothenburg); Trautmann, Stefan T. (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: We looked at risk and ambiguity attitudes among Ethiopian peasants in one of the poorest regions of the world and compared their attitudes to a standard Western university student sample elicited by the same decision task. Strong risk aversion and ambiguity aversion were found with the Ethiopian peasants. Ambiguity aversion was similar for peasants and students, but peasants were more risk averse. Testing for the effect of socio-economic variables on uncertainty attitudes showed that poor health increased both risk and ambiguity aversion.
    Keywords: risk attitudes, ambiguity attitudes, poverty, cultural differences
    JEL: D81 C93 O12
    Date: 2009–06
  9. By: Bardasi, Elena; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: This paper provides a new definition of'time poverty'as working long hours and having no choice to do otherwise. An individual is time poor if he/she is working long hours and is also monetary poor, or would fall into monetary poverty if he/she were to reduce his/her working hours below a given time poverty line. Thus being time poor results from the combination of two conditions. First, the individual does not have enough time for rest and leisure once all working hours (whether spent in the labor market or doing household chores such as cooking, and fetching water and wood) are accounted for. Second, the individual cannot reduce his/her working time without either increasing the level of poverty of his/her household (if the household is already poor) or leading his/her household to fall into monetary poverty due to the loss in income or consumption associated with the reduction in working time (if the household is not originally poor). The paper applies the concepts of the traditional poverty literature to the analysis of time poverty and presents a case study using data for Guinea in 2002-03. Both univariate and multivariate results suggest that women are significantly more likely to be time poor than men.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Population Policies,Achieving Shared Growth,Scientific Research&Science Parks
    Date: 2009–06–01

This nep-afr issue is ©2009 by Quentin Wodon. 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.
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