nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2013‒09‒25
three papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Twin Transitions By Aksan, Anna-Maria; Chakraborty, Shankha
  2. After Apartheid: The Effects of ANC Power By Poulsen, Jonas
  3. Can area measurement error explain the inverse farm size productivity relationship? By Holden, Stein; Fisher, Monica

  1. By: Aksan, Anna-Maria; Chakraborty, Shankha
    Abstract: We provide a new explanation for sub-Saharan Africa’s slow demographic and economic change. In a model where children die from infectious disease, childhood health affects human capital and noninfectious-disease related adult mortality. When child mortality falls from lower prevalence, as in western Europe, labor productivity improves, fertility falls and the economy prospers. When it falls mainly from better cures, as in sub-Saharan Africa, survivors are less healthy and there is little economic payoff. The model quantitatively explains sub-Saharan Africa’s experience. More generally it shows that life expectancy at birth is a poor indicator of population health unless morbidity falls with mortality.
    Keywords: Demographic Transition, Epidemiological Transition, Mortality, Morbidity, Fertility
    JEL: I10 I12 J13 O40
    Date: 2013–05–27
  2. By: Poulsen, Jonas (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: The African National Congress (ANC) can look back on eighty years of struggle which resulted in the liberation of black Africans, the creation of a democratic constitution and free elections. However, the last twenty years of ANC rule has been criticized for the failure to bring higher living standards for the formerly oppressed. With the party's dominance and the challanges facing South Africa in mind, I estimate the effect of ANC power in municipalities on economic, social and budgetary outcomes. To estimate the causal effect of the party, this paper uses an instrumental variable approach developed by Freier & Odendahl (2012) and a regression discontinuity design. Taken together, the results point to an adverse effect of the party: less is spent on repairs and water provision which in turn may explain why ANC power seems to lower the share of individuals who have access to piped water and electricity. Further, more resources are used on municipal employees and the councillors themselves, while I find suggestive evidence of an increase in the poverty rate due to the party. Lastly, although being their major political support, we cannot conclude that the ANC affects black African's living standards. From the IV analysis, I find indications that oppositional parties many times have a more positive impact on outcomes as they gain power at the expence of the ANC.
    Keywords: ANC; party effects; instrumental variable; regression discontinuity; South Africa
    JEL: H11 N47 O12
    Date: 2013–09–17
  3. By: Holden, Stein (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Fisher, Monica (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center)
    Abstract: The existence of an inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and productivity in tropical agriculture remains a debated issue with policy relevance. Poor agricultural statistical data, including data on farm sizes and farm plot sizes that typically are self-reported by farmers, can lead to biased results and wrong policy conclusions. This study combines self-reported and GPS-measured farm plot and farm sizes to assess how measurement error affects the IR using three rounds of farm plot and household data from Malawi. The results show that measurement error covers up more than 60% of the IR for the total sample but leads to an upward bias in the IR on farms less than one ha. Land and labor market imperfections in combination with food self-sufficiency motives appear to explain most of the IR and lead to a strong IR on farms below one ha.
    Keywords: Inverse farm size – productivity relationship; Measurement error; Land and labor market imperfections; Land quality; Malawi.
    JEL: J43 O13 Q12
    Date: 2013–09–20

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