nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2016‒02‒17
four papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. What is driving the African Growth Miracle ? By Harttgen, Kenneth; McMillan, Margaret
  2. Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China s Foreign Assistance By Fuchs, Andreas; Dreher, Axel; Hodler, Roland; Parks, Bradley C.; Raschky, Paul
  3. Culture and the formation of gender-specific skills in an agrarian society By Unte, Pia; Kemper, Niels
  4. The Role of Economic Geography in Subnational African Development By Seiffert, Sebastian

  1. By: Harttgen, Kenneth; McMillan, Margaret
    Abstract: We show that much of Africa s recent growth and poverty reduction can be traced to a substantive decline in the share of the labor force engaged in agriculture. This decline has been accompanied by a systematic increase in the productivity of the labor force, as it has moved from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity manufacturing and services. These declines have been more rapid in countries where the initial share of the labor force engaged in agriculture is the highest and where commodity price increases have been accompanied by improvements in the quality of governance.
    JEL: O13 O40 Q16
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Fuchs, Andreas; Dreher, Axel; Hodler, Roland; Parks, Bradley C.; Raschky, Paul
    Abstract: We investigate whether the political leaders of aid-receiving countries use foreign aid inflows to further their own political or personal interests. Aid allocation biased by leaders selfish interests arguably reduces the effectiveness of aid, negatively affecting development outcomes. We examine whether more Chinese aid is allocated to the political leaders birth regions and regions populated by the ethnic group to which the leader belongs, controlling for objective indicators of need. We have collected data on 117 African leaders birthplaces and ethnic groups and geocoded 1,955 Chinese development finance projects across 3,553 physical locations in Africa over the 2000-2012 period. The results from various fixed-effects regressions show that current political leaders birth regions receive substantially larger financial flows than other regions. We do not find evidence that leaders shift aid to regions populated by groups who share their ethnicity.
    JEL: D73 F35 P33
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Unte, Pia; Kemper, Niels
    Abstract: This study examines whether cultural norms arising from traditional agricultural practices affect the formation of gender-specific skills. We hypothesize that a culturally induced division of labor along gender lines generates gender-specific skills. As opposed to the traditional measurement of skills, which measures skill levels based on the type of tasks or abilities observed in certain occupations, we measure skills directly using a controlled field experiment in rural Ethiopia. Comparing women with exposure to the plow culture with women without exposure to such cultural norms, and with men in general, we find a clear division of labor along gender lines between domestic and non-domestic work. We show that women exposed to the plow culture are particularly skilled in exercising a light manual task resembling everyday work in the domestic sphere. Drawing on secondary data on the time-use of Ethiopian adults, we find supporting evidence that women with exposure to the plow culture specialize in tasks from the domestic sphere. Thus, culturally-induced skill differences arguably are a neglected explanation for gender disparities in labor income.
    JEL: J16 J24 N50
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Seiffert, Sebastian
    Abstract: This contribution investigates the role spatial agglomeration of economic in explaining difference in comparative development of the African hinterland. In order to overcome the paucity with regards to disaggregated data concerning economic activity as well its spatial distribution, this approach relies on geo-referenced satellite data. Using information about the intensity of nocturnal lights at a spatial resolution of one square kilometre, it integrates the fields of spatial economics and the research concerning the fundamental causes of economic growth. It is shown that introducing measures of spatial dispersion in economic activity can help explaining a considerable amount of unobserved heterogeneity. I show that higher levels of spatial agglomeration are associated with significantly higher levels of local development in the African hinterland. These findings are robust to controlling for both national legal institutions as well as unobservable cross-ethnicity differences.
    JEL: O10 O40 R12
    Date: 2015

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