nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2010‒04‒11
seven papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Investments in Land Conservation in the Ethiopian Highlands: A Household Plot-Level Analysis of the Roles of Poverty, Tenure Security, and Market Inventives By Bekele, Genanew; Mekonnen, Alemu
  2. An Empirical Study of Corruption in Ports By Sequeira, SANDRA; Djankov, SIMEON
  3. Cash or condition ? evidence from a randomized cash transfer program By Baird, Sarah; Mcintosh, Craig; Ozler, Berk
  4. Terms of Trade Shocks and Economic Performance Under Different Exchange Rate Regimes By A. H. Ahmad; Eric J. Pentecost
  5. Whose incentives? The evolution of inheritance practices, intergenerational conflict, and women’s control over land in rural Kenya By Linkow, Benjamin
  6. Agriculture, Roads, and Economic Development in Uganda By Douglas Gollin; Richard Rogerson
  7. Resource management and the effects of trade on vulnerable places and people : lessons from six case studies By Larson, Donald F.; Nash, John

  1. By: Bekele, Genanew; Mekonnen, Alemu
    Abstract: Land degradation is a major problem undermining land productivity in the highlands of Ethiopia. This study explores the factors that affect farm households’ decisions at the plot level to invest in land conservation and how much to invest, focusing on the roles of poverty, land tenure security, and market access. Unlike most other studies, we used a double-hurdle model in the analysis with panel data collected in a household survey of 6,408 plots in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The results suggest that the decisions to adopt land conservation investment and how much to invest appear to be explained by different processes. Poverty-related factors seem to have a mixed effect on both the adoption and intensity decisions. While a farmer’s adoption decision is influenced by whether or not the plot is owner-operated (a measure of risk for the immediate period), intensity of conservation is determined by expectation of the certainty of cultivating the land for the next five years (a measure of risk for the longer term), farmer’s belief of land ownership, and distance from plot to home.
    Keywords: Ethiopia, land conservation, poverty, tenure security
    JEL: D1 Q12
    Date: 2010–03–29
  2. By: Sequeira, SANDRA; Djankov, SIMEON
    Abstract: We generate an original dataset on bribe payments at two competing ports in Southern Africa that allows us to take an unusually close look at the relationship between bureaucratic organization, bribe-setting behavior and the costs corruption imposes on users of public services. We find that the way bureaucracies are organized can generate different opportunities for bureaucrats to engage in "collusive" or "coercive" types of corruption. We then observe how firms adjust their shipping and sourcing strategies in response to different types of corruption. "Collusive" corruption is cost-reducing for firms, increasing usage of the corrupt port, while "coercive" corruption is cost-increasing, reducing demand for port services. Our findings therefore suggest that firms respond to the opportunities and challenges created by different types of corruption, organizing production in a way that increases or decreases demand for the public service.
    Keywords: Corruption; Transport; Trade Costs; Firm Behavior
    JEL: D23 D21 D02 L91 D01
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Baird, Sarah; Mcintosh, Craig; Ozler, Berk
    Abstract: Are the large enrollment effects of conditional cash transfer programs a result of the conditions or simply the cash? This paper presents the first experimental evidence on the effectiveness of conditionality in cash transfer programs for schooling. Using data from an intervention in Malawi that featured randomized conditional and unconditional treatment arms, the authors find that the program reduced the dropout rate by more than 40 percent and substantially increased regular school attendance among the target population of adolescent girls. However, they do not detect a higher impact in the conditional treatment group. This finding contrasts with previous non-experimental studies of conditional cash transfer programs, which found negligible"income"effects and strong"price"effects on schooling. The authors argue that their findings are consistent with the very low level of incomes and the high prevalence of teen marriage in the region. The results indicate that relatively small, unconditional cash transfers can be cost-effective in boosting school enrollment among adolescent girls in similar settings.
    Keywords: Education For All,Population Policies,Primary Education,Tertiary Education,Adolescent Health
    Date: 2010–03–01
  4. By: A. H. Ahmad (Dept of Economics, Loughborough University); Eric J. Pentecost (Dept of Economics, Loughborough University)
    Abstract: The impact of terms of trade shocks on a country’s output and price level are, according to economic theory, expected to vary according to the de facto exchange rate regime. This paper tests this hypothesis how terms of trade shocks impact on 22 African countries, which operate different de facto exchange rate regimes, using a structural VAR with long-run restrictions, over the period from 1980 to 2007. The empirical findings support the view that the exchange rate regime matters as to how countries respond to exogenous external shocks like terms of trade shocks, in that output variation is greater for countries with fixed regimes, while for flexible regime countries real exchange rate variation reduces the need for output variability.
    Keywords: Terms of Trade, Exchange Rate Regimes, Structural VARs
    JEL: F13 F31 F41
    Date: 2010–03
  5. By: Linkow, Benjamin
    Abstract: Land related investment decisions are shaped by both the formal and informal institutions governing land tenure and acquisition. In the case of agricultural Kikuyu households in Kenya, we show that the inheritance practice of uncertain allocation in conjunction with the principle of equal division among heirs reduces long-term investments in land among potential heirs. This apparent inefficiency is explained by intergenerational power dynamics within the household, as the inheritance practice allows parents to shift the investment incentives facing heirs in their favor. This analytical framework is also used to illustrate that despite legislation formalizing women’s rights to property, control over land continues to follow the informal traditional patrilineal system in important ways.
    Keywords: Inheritance; agriculture; Kenya
    JEL: D13 O10 D02 Q15 Q12 O12
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Douglas Gollin; Richard Rogerson
    Abstract: A large fraction of Uganda's population continues to earn a living from quasi-subsistence agriculture. This paper uses a static general equilibrium model to explore the relationships between high transportation costs, low productivity, and the size of the quasi-subsistence sector. We parameterize the model to replicate some key features of the Ugandan data, and we then perform a series of quantitative experiments. Our results suggest that the population in quasi-subsistence agriculture is highly sensitive both to agricultural productivity levels and to transportation costs. The model also suggests positive complementarities between improvements in agricultural productivity and transportation.
    JEL: O1 O11 O13 O41 Q12
    Date: 2010–04
  7. By: Larson, Donald F.; Nash, John
    Abstract: Lessons from six case studies illustrate the complex relationships between international trade, vulnerable ecologies and the poor. The studies, taken from Africa, Asia and Latin America and conducted by local researchers, are set in places where the poor live in close proximity to ecologies that are important to global conservation efforts, and focus on the cascading consequences of trade policy for local livelihoods and environmental services. Collectively, the studies show how under-valued common resources are often poorly protected and consequently subject to shifting economic incentives, including those that arise from trade. The studies provide examples where trade works to accelerate the use of natural resources and to exacerbate unsustainable dependencies by the poor, and other examples where trade has the opposite effect. An important conclusion is that local livelihood and technology choices have important consequences for how environmental resources are used and should be taken into account when designing policies to safeguard fragile ecologies.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies,Economic Theory&Research,Emerging Markets,Labor Policies,Population Policies
    Date: 2010–03–01

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