nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2010‒03‒06
six papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Learning from the Chinese miracle : development lessons for Sub-Saharan Africa By Zafar, Ali
  2. Living Conditions in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Western Africa 1925-1985: What Do Survey Data on Height Stature Tell Us? By Denis Cogneau; Léa Rouanet
  3. Employment Vulnerability and Earnings in Urban West Africa By Philippe Bocquier; Christophe Nordman; Aude Vescovo
  4. Changes in Beliefs and Perceptions about the Natural Environment in the Forest-Savanna Transitional Zone of Ghana: The Influence of Religion By Paul Sarfo-Mensah; William Oduro
  5. Program evaluation of agricultural input subsidies in Malawi using treatment effects: Methods and practicability based on propensity scores By Chirwa, Themba G.
  6. The Experience of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) : Political Parties in Kenya from 1991 to 2007 By Tsuda, Miwa

  1. By: Zafar, Ali
    Abstract: A notable contrast in modern economic history has been the rapid economic growth of China and the slower and volatile economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the engagement between the two continues to grows, there will be a greater cross-fertilization of experiences. Total factor productivity comparisons suggest that capital accumulation in China coupled with more efficient factor usage explains the differential with Africa. Although the two have similar populations and patterns of inequality, their growth trajectories have been divergent. What can Africa learn from China? Although the lessons vary depending on country location and resource endowment, seven basic lessons are visible. First, the political economy of Chinese reforms and the shared gains between political elites and the private sector can be partially transplanted to the African context. Second, the Chinese used diaspora capital and knowledge in the early reform years. Third, rural reforms in China helped accelerate economic takeoff through a restructuring of property rights and a boost to both savings rates and output. Fourth, Chinese growth has taken place in the context of a competitive exchange rate. Five, port governance in China has been exemplary, and African landlocked economies can benefit significantly from port reform in the coastal countries. Six, China has experimented with a degree of decentralization that could yield benefits for many Sub-Saharan African countries. Seventh, Africa can learn from China’s policies toward autonomous areas and ethnic minorities to stave off conflict. Africa can learn from China’s experiences and conduct developmental experiments for poverty alleviation goals.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Access to Finance,Debt Markets,Emerging Markets,Banks&Banking Reform
    Date: 2010–02–01
  2. By: Denis Cogneau (Paris School of Economics, DIAL, IRD, Paris); Léa Rouanet (Paris School of Economics, ENSAE)
    Abstract: We find with survey data that the increase in height stature experienced by successive cohorts born in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana during the late colonial period (1925-1960) is almost as high as the increase observed in France and Great-Britain over the 1875-1975 period, even when correcting for the bias arising from old-age shrinking. In contrast, the early post-colonial period (1960-1985) is characterized by stagnation or even reversion, not only in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana but also in other countries in Western Africa. We argue that the selection effects linked to the interactions between height and mortality cannot give account of these figures. We then disaggregate these national trends by parental background and district of birth, and match individual data with district-level historical data on export crop (cocoa) expansion, urban density and colonial investment in health and educations. We provide evidence that a significant share of the increase in height stature may be related to the progresses of urbanization and of cocoa production. _________________________________ A partir de données d’enquêtes, nous trouvons que l’accroissement de la stature de cohortes successives nées en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana pendant la période coloniale tardive (1925-1960) se compare à l’accroissement observé en France et en Grande-Bretagne sur la période 1875-1975, même après avoir corrigé des biais liés au tassement des âges élevés. En revanche, le début de la période post-coloniale (1960-1985) est caractérisé par une stagnation voire une régression, non seulement en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana mais aussi dans d’autres pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Nous argumentons que les effets de sélection liés aux interactions entre taille et mortalité ne peuvent rendre compte de ces faits. Nous désagrégeons ensuite ces tendances nationales par origine sociale et région de naissance, et apparions les données individuelles avec des données historiques régionales sur l’expansion de la culture d’exportation (cacao), la densité urbaine, et les investissements coloniaux en santé et en éducation. Une part importante de l’accroissement de la stature physique semble pouvoir être reliée aux progrès de l’urbanisation et de la production de cacao.
    Keywords: West Africa, Economic History, Anthropometry, Afrique de l’Ouest, Histoire économique, Anthropométrie.
    JEL: N3 O1
    Date: 2009–12
  3. By: Philippe Bocquier (University of the Witwatersrand,Johannesburg, South Africa); Christophe Nordman (DIAL, IRD, Paris); Aude Vescovo (IRD, Centre de Recherche Appliquée CERA-AFRISTAT)
    Abstract: (english) In this article, we develop indicators of vulnerability in employment in seven economic capitals of West Africa and study their links with individual incomes from the main job. We draw on data from the 1-2-3 Surveys in 2002-2003 to make a cross-country comparison using rigorously the same variables and methodology for each country. The theory of compensating differentials states that workers may receive pecuniary compensation commensurate with the strenuous or hazardous nature of their tasks or adverse working conditions. Our interpretation of the link between employment status and incomes draws on these developments, applying them to both working conditions themselves and more broadly to vulnerability in employment. The main tested assumption is that high levels of employment vulnerability could be compensated by greater earnings. We allow for individual and job characteristics (the latter being used to construct the composite index of vulnerability) to be differentially valued for conditionally high and low income earners. Our composite index of employment vulnerability indicates that 85% of the private sector workers in all the economic capitals studied are vulnerable on the basis of at least one criterion. The results show that the average impact of vulnerability on earnings is generally negative for an average level of vulnerability. In the formal private sector of the West African cities, losses of income due to vulnerability are lower for high levels of vulnerability, but do not translate into gains. In the informal sector, however, the average predicted income for a high vulnerability level is higher than the average predicted income for a low vulnerability level. Quantitative, distributional and qualitative analyses show that vulnerability compensating mechanism is mainly seen in the informal sector, in the upper tail of the earnings distribution, and particularly in the circumstance of visible underemployment. Employment vulnerability is not compensated for the poorest workers in the private sector of these large west-African cities. _________________________________ (français) Dans cet article, nous construisons des indicateurs de la vulnérabilité au travail dans sept capitales économiques d’Afrique de l’Ouest et étudions leurs liens avec les revenus individuels de l’activité principale. Selon la théorie des salaires compensatoires, les travailleurs pourraient recevoir des compensations pécuniaires à hauteur de la pénibilité de leur tâche ou de leurs conditions de travail. Notre interprétation du lien entre le statut dans l’emploi et le revenu s’inspire de ces développements, en les appliquant non seulement aux conditions de travail proprement dites, mais plus largement à la vulnérabilité dans l’emploi (précarité contractuelle, conditions d’exercice, sous-emploi, emploi de secours inadapté aux caractéristiques individuelles). Notre indicateur composite de la vulnérabilité dans l’emploi révèle que 85% des travailleurs des secteurs privés de l'ensemble des capitales économiques étudiées sont vulnérables selon au moins un de nos critères de vulnérabilité (sur huit critères). L'effet moyen de la vulnérabilité sur les gains est généralement négatif pour un niveau moyen de vulnérabilité. Dans le secteur privé formel, les pertes de revenu causées par la vulnérabilité diminuent pour des hauts niveaux de vulnérabilité, mais ne se transforment pas en gains. Dans le secteur informel en revanche, le revenu prédit moyen pour une vulnérabilité élevée est supérieur à ce revenu pour une vulnérabilité faible. Finalement, nos analyses, qui sont tour à tour quantitative, distributive et « qualitative », montrent que des mécanismes compensatoires de la vulnérabilité dans l’emploi n’existeraient que dans le secteur informel, pour les travailleurs de la partie haute de la distribution des revenus, et en particulier dans le cas du sous-emploi visible. La vulnérabilité dans l’emploi n’est donc pas compensée pour les travailleurs les plus pauvres du secteur privé de ces grandes villes ouest-africaines.
    Keywords: Vulnerability, working conditions, compensating differentials, earnings, informal sector, West Africa, Vulnérabilité, conditions de travail, différentiels compensatoires, revenus, secteur informel,Afrique de l’Ouest.
    JEL: J24 J31 O12
    Date: 2010–02
  4. By: Paul Sarfo-Mensah (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)); William Oduro (Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, CANR, KNUST)
    Abstract: The potential of traditional natural resources management for biodiversity conservation and the improvement of sustainable rural livelihoods is no longer in doubt. In sub-Saharan Africa, extensive habitat destruction, degradation, and severe depletion of wildlife, which have seriously reduced biodiversity and undermined the livelihoods of many people in rural communities, have been attributed mainly to the erosion of traditional strategies for natural resources management. In Ghana, recent studies point to an increasing disregard for traditional rules and regulations, beliefs and practices that are associated with natural resources management. Traditional natural resources management in many typically indigenous communities in Ghana derives from changes in the perceptions and attitudes of local people towards tumi, the traditional belief in super natural power suffused in nature by Onyame, the Supreme Creator Deity. However, this is closely entwined with ecological, demographic and economic factors. Whilst these factors have driven the need to over-exploit natural resources, a situation which threatens the sustainability of community forests including sacred groves, religion has been used to justify such actions. This paper explores changes in tumi and the sustainability of sacred groves in the forest-savanna transitional zone in Ghana. It would confirm that changes in traditional animist beliefs, such as tumi, which informs the worldview of local people and underlies traditional natural resources management, is mainly due to the advances made by Christianity and Islam.
    Keywords: Tumi, Sacred Groves, Forest-Savanna Transition, Sustainability, Traditional, Christianity, Islam
    JEL: Z1
    Date: 2010–01
  5. By: Chirwa, Themba G.
    Abstract: Several evaluations have been conducted to assess the impact of agricultural input subsidies in Malawi but have been mostly either descriptive or qualitatively inferred of the intervention impacts on the overall goal of the subsidy program. In most studies cited in this paper their approaches do not control for misspecification errors that might arise due to selection bias. One common erroneous approach is the lack of controlling for treatment effects. In this study we employ quasi-experimental econometric techniques using propensity scores to control for selection bias by creating control groups for those individuals that benefit from agricultural input subsidies. The study utilizes raw household data from two surveys conducted through the Malawi National Statistical Office in 2004/05 and 2006/07 production seasons. A household model for each dataset is estimated together with Average Treatment Effects on the Treated to assess the impact of targeted fertilizer input subsidies in 2004/05 and a refined program adopted in 2006/07 production periods. The evidence suggest that the starter pack or targeted input program implemented before 2004/05 focusing on one tenth of a hectare had a significant negative impact on household food expenditures compared to the refined program in 2006/07 that targeted about half a hectare for marginalized smallholder farmers. The latter, though portraying mostly insignificant results, showed positive impacts on household food expenditures. The approach adopted also proposes ways in which policy makers can effectively and independently evaluate the impact of public programs on social and economic welfare.
    Keywords: Fertilizer Subsidies; Propensity Scores; Logit; Nearest Neighbor; Stratification; Kernel; Radius; Complex Survey Design; Average Treatment Effects on the Treated
    JEL: D13 H43 I38 C31 H23
    Date: 2010–02–22
  6. By: Tsuda, Miwa
    Abstract: This paper first examines splits and mergers among Kenya’s political parties (and inner-party factions) from the restoration of a multi-party system in 1991 until 2007, before the turbulent 10th general elections were conducted. It then considers what functions “political parties†have in Kenya with special reference to the period since 2002, the year in which President Moi announced his intention to retire. A look back at NARC’s five years of rule reveals that, although it succeeded in changing the government, NARC, as a “political party,†remained throughout an organization without any real substance. The paper looks at (1) NARC’s de facto split after its overwhelming win in the ninth general election, (2) malfunctions of the anti-defection laws that were introduced in the 1960s, and (3) Kenya’s election rules that require candidates to be nominated by registered political parties in general elections. The paper proceeds to argue that as a result of the operation of these three elements, Kenya’s political parties, and especially the victorious coalition sides, tend to end up being nothing more than temporary vehicles for political elites angling for post-election posts.
    Keywords: Kenya, Political Parties, Elections - Kenya, Democracy - Kenya, Kenya- Politics and Government
    Date: 2010–02

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