nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2010‒02‒20
three papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. The end of subsistence farming: Growth dynamics and investments in human and environmental capital in rural Ethiopia By Erreygers G.; Ferede T.
  2. Does one size fit all? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda By Vegard Iversen et al
  3. Do Labor Statistics Depend on How and to Whom the Questions Are Asked? Results from a Survey Experiment in Tanzania By Bardasi, Elena; Beegle, Kathleen; Dillon, Andrew; Serneels, Pieter

  1. By: Erreygers G.; Ferede T.
    Abstract: In settings characterized by weak human capital and agricultural land degradation, investments in human capital formation and land conservation can be key candidates for triggering sustained economic growth. In this study, based on insights from growth literature and models of economic transformation, we develop a framework to examine the dynamic interactions between income, human and natural capital in rural Ethiopia. In addition, the trade-offs and complementarities of economic and environmental policies in terms of their impact on growth, investments in human capital formation and land conservation are assessed. The study underscores the centrality of interconnectedness and reciprocal influences between growth and investments in human and natural capital in understanding the long-run implications of policy reforms. Development interventions that are crucial for achieving broad-based and sustainable improvements in household income, human and natural capital are identified, which have wider implications for settings sharing similar socioeconomic characteristics.
    Date: 2009–09
  2. By: Vegard Iversen et al (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester)
    Abstract: We test core theories of the household using variants of a public good game and experimental data from 240 couples in rural Uganda. Spouses do not maximise surplus from cooperation and realise a greater surplus when women are in charge. This violates assumptions of unitary and cooperative models. When women control the common account, they receive less than when men control it; this contradicts standard bargaining models. Women contribute less than men and are rewarded more generously by men than vice versa. This casts doubt on postulates in Sen (1990). We also find strong evidence for opportunism. The results are put in a socioeconomic context using survey data and follow-up interviews, which provides hints of the external validity of our findings; more so for contribution than for allocation behaviour. Taken together, our findings suggest that a `one-size fits all' model of the household is unlikely to be satisfactory.
    Date: 2009–01
  3. By: Bardasi, Elena (World Bank); Beegle, Kathleen (World Bank); Dillon, Andrew (International Food Policy Research Institute); Serneels, Pieter (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: Labor market statistics are critical for assessing and understanding economic development. In practice, widespread variation exists in how labor statistics are measured in household surveys in low-income countries. Little is known whether these differences have an effect on the labor statistics they produce. This paper analyzes these effects by implementing a survey experiment in Tanzania that varied two key dimensions: the level of detail of the questions and the type of respondent. Significant differences are observed across survey designs with respect to different labor statistics. Labor force participation rates, for example, vary by as much as 10 percentage points across the four survey assignments. Using a short labor module without screening questions on employment generates lower female labor force participation and lower rates of wage employment for both men and women. Response by proxy rather than self-report yields lower male labor force participation, lower female working hours, and lower employment in agriculture for men. The differences between proxy and self reporting seem to come from information imperfections within the household, especially with the distance in age between respondent and subject playing an important role, while gender and educational differences seem less important.
    Keywords: labor statistics, survey design, Tanzania, field experiment
    JEL: J21 C93
    Date: 2010–01

This nep-afr issue is ©2010 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.
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.