nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2016‒04‒09
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa By Marco Manacorda; Andrea Tesei
  2. Management standard certification and firm productivity: micro-evidence from Africa By Goedhuys, Micheline; Mohnen, Pierre
  3. The Macrogenoeconomics of Comparative Development By Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor
  4. The Systematic Assessment of Health Worker Performance: A Framework for Analysis and its Application in Tanzania By kenneth L. Leonard; Melkiory C. Masatu; Christopher H. Herbst; Christophe Lemiere
  5. Aid, institutions and economic growth: Heterogeneous parameters and heterogeneous donors By Wako, Hassen
  6. Assessing and Evaluating the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). By Chhibber, Ajay

  1. By: Marco Manacorda (Queen Mary University of London, CEP (LSE), CEPR & IZA); Andrea Tesei (Queen Mary University of London & CEP (LSE);)
    Abstract: Can digital information and communication technology (ICT) foster mass political mobilization? We use a novel geo-referenced dataset for the entire African continent between 1998 and 2012 on the coverage of mobile phone signal together with geo-referenced data from multiple sources on the occurrence of protests and on individual participation in protests to bring this argument to empirical scrutiny. We find that mobile phones are instrumental to mass mobilization during economic downturns, when reasons for grievance emerge and the cost of participation falls. Estimated effects are if anything larger once we use an instrumental variable approach that relies on differential trends in coverage across areas with different incidence of lightning strikes. The results are in line with insights from a network model with imperfect information and strategic complementarities in protest provision. Mobile phones make individuals more responsive to both changes in economic conditions - a mechanism that we ascribe to enhanced information - and to their neighbors' participation - a mechanism that we ascribe to enhanced coordination. Empirically both effects are at play, highlighting the channels through which digital ICT can alleviate the collective action problem.
    Keywords: Mobile phones, Collective action, Africa, Geo-referenced data
    JEL: D70 O55 L96
    Date: 2016–03
  2. By: Goedhuys, Micheline (UNU-MERIT); Mohnen, Pierre (UNU-MERIT & SBE, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Using micro evidence from manufacturing and services firms located in 55 African countries, this paper shows that better management practice, reflected by international management certification, helps firms to raise productivity. Larger and older firms and firms operating closer to the technological frontier are more likely to possess international management standards certification, as do firms engaged in international transactions. Certification in turn raises productivity levels further, in line with a process of continuous improvement. The findings hold for both manufacturing and services firms.
    Keywords: standards, productivity, Africa, manufacturing, services
    JEL: D02 D24 L15 O33 O55
    Date: 2016–03–15
  3. By: Quamrul H. Ashraf (Williams College); Oded Galor (Brown University)
    Abstract: A vibrant literature has emerged in recent years to explore the influences of human evolution and the genetic composition of populations on the comparative economic performance of societies, highlighting the roles played by the Neolithic Revolution and the prehistoric "out of Africa" migration of anatomically modern humans in generating worldwide variations in the composition of genetic traits across populations. The recent attempt by Nicholas Wade's "A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History" to expose the evolutionary origins of comparative economic development to a wider audience provides an opportunity to review this important literature in the context of his theory.
    Keywords: Comparative development, natural selection, human evolution, Malthusian era, Neolithic Revolution, genes, race
    JEL: O11 N10 N30 Z10
    Date: 2016–03
  4. By: kenneth L. Leonard; Melkiory C. Masatu; Christopher H. Herbst; Christophe Lemiere
    Abstract: This paper introduces a simple framework for understanding the dimensions and determinants of health worker performance based on the idea that there can be three different gaps affecting performance: a knowledge gap, the knowledge-capacity gap and the capacity-performance gap. The paper argues that performance is determined by a combination of competence, capacity and effort, and that any of these elements may lead to poor performance, and applies this framework to the measurement of health worker performance in Tanzania. Whilst discussing and highlighting key findings related to the assessment of health worker performance in Tanzania, the overarching objective of the paper is to offer a systematic way to analyze health worker performance through primary data collection and analysis to benefit researchers and countries beyond Tanzania.
    Keywords: pharmacy, health care providers, infant mortality rates, sutures, determinants of health, access to health care, employment, treatment, health service delivery, diagnosis ... See More + deaths, income, quality of health care, drug supply, public sector, doctors, health economics, health research, health care, drugs, health care workers, effects, health care facilities, incentives, health, health workers, breast cancer, prescriptions, health facilities, symptom, public health, quality of health, health sector, knowledge, choice, animal health, workplace, diseases, costs, voluntary sector, patients, patient, life, demand for health services, intervention, probability, health systems, health centers, medication, nurses, observation, medical care, health care quality, medical officers, symptoms, work environment, outpatient services, health care outcomes, hiv/aids, health services research, interview, mortality, health care system, medical service providers, cancer, availability of drugs, infant mortality, diagnoses, health care sector, clinician, emergency medicine, health specialist, workers, fever, quality of care, patient satisfaction, amodiaquine, basic needs, care, health policy, medicine, demand, diarrhea, std, preventive health services, income countries, adequate care, medical personnel, malnutrition, private sector, measurement, nutrition, medical officer, syringes, malaria, rest, primary health care, pneumonia, internet, exposure, health system, outpatient care, low income, health care delivery, children, malaria symptoms, clinicians, clinics, evaluation, bandages, human resources, demand for health, illness, infants, all, population, medical doctors, child deaths, fees, families, medicines, forceps, hospitals, certification, illnesses, health service, health services, private sectors, demand for services, financial incentives, visits, nursing, medical training
    Date: 2015–08
  5. By: Wako, Hassen (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: Aid effectiveness has been a subject of long-sustained debate. This study contributes to this debate using panel data from 43 Sub-Saharan African countries. Its novelty lies in assessing the intermediary role of institutional quality between aid and growth, and in taking a disaggregated view of aid (at the level of a donor). Using estimation techniques which allow for recipient-specific (slope) parameters and suit the context of non-stationary and cross-sectionally dependent panels, the study finds that the relationship between aid and growth is characterised by heterogeneous (or recipient-specific) short-run parameters but a shared long-run coefficients. In the long-run, the direct growth effect of (aggregate) aid from 'traditional' donors is robustly non-positive, and the indirect effect is negative and robust to different specifications. Disaggregation reveals that there is heterogeneity in aid-effectiveness from the donor side as well: there are cases of 'good' aid (four donors), 'bad' aid (ten donors), 'neutral' aid (three donors) as well as cases where the total effect of aid is 'indeterminate' (four donors). With a lesser confidence, attributed to smaller sample size and less reliable quality of data, Chinese aid to Sub-Saharan Africa has a positive direct growth effect, a negative institutional effect, and thus an indeterminate total effect. The short-run relationships are generally not robust to alternative specifications. Comparison of the behaviour of donors with differing degrees of aid-effectiveness suggests that the future of aid would benefit more from focusing on its quality than quantity. In particular, two quality aspects - reduced fragmentation (or better specialisation) and better donor alignment (with recipient country's policy and system) - deserve much more attention.
    Keywords: aid, development aid, economic development, economic growth, institutions, donor countries, recipient countries, beneficiaries, heterogeneity, donor/recipient heterogeneity, aid effectiveness
    JEL: F35 O43 F43
    Date: 2016–02–16
  6. By: Chhibber, Ajay (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)
    Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs with 17 goals and 169 targets were adopted by world leaders in September, 2015. This paper argues that if the world had problems monitoring the MDGs - with 8 goals and 21 targets, it will find it impossible to track the SDGs. It recommends focusing on 60 highest priority targets. It also highlights the synergies and trade-offs among the various goals - especially between growth, inequality and sustainability which countries and the world will have to navigate. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), ostensibly, the financing plan for the SDGs widens the scope of development financing to include private and domestic financing - moving from billions to trillions. But such an approach also dilutes global responsibility for development and climate financing. The paper suggests an evaluation framework for assessing the AAAA and ensuring that the synergies among the SDGs are exploited and the trade-offs confronted. The paper suggests a pathways approach with concurrent evaluation every five years to assess and adjust programmes and policies.
    Keywords: Economic Development ; Economic Impact ; Environment ; Growth ; Sustainable Growth ; Technological Change ; Technology Adoption ; Sustainability ; International Environmental Policy ; Environmental Economics ; Alternative Energy Source
    JEL: O33 O44 Q28 Q5 Q42
    Date: 2016–03

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