nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2016‒11‒20
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Do Leaders' Characteristics and Regime Transitions in Africa Matter for Citizens' Health Status? By Diaz-Serrano, Luis; Sackey, Frank Gyimah
  2. Gender and social protection in sub-Saharan Africa: a general assessment of programme design By Raquel Tebaldi
  3. Competing cleavages in sub-Saharan Africa? How economic distance affects ethnic bloc politics By Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz
  4. The DDT Effect: The case of Economic Growth, Public Debt and Democracy Relationship By Adom, Philip Kofi
  5. Corruption, innovation and firm growth: Firm-level evidence from Egypt and Tunisia By Goedhuys, Micheline; Mohnen, Pierre; Taha, Tamer
  6. Market Perspectives for the Livestock Sector in Africa: a vector autoregressive approach By Acosta, Alejandro

  1. By: Diaz-Serrano, Luis (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Sackey, Frank Gyimah (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)
    Abstract: Africa's quest to achieving improved health status and meeting the Millennium Development Goals targets cannot be effectively achieved without examining the quality of leadership, transitions and regimes and how they impact on the decisions and the policy effectiveness that bring about improved health and living standards of the citizenry. In this paper, we study the importance of leader characteristics and regime transitions on government's expenditure in health, and hence on infant mortality, as a development indicator. A unique dataset comprising 44 sub-Saharan African countries spanning from 1970 to 2010 was used for the study. To effectively analyze the impact of leader characteristics and regime transitions on the citizens' health status we control for leader fixed-effects since different leaders, among other things impact on outcomes differently and changes in policy to a large extent depend on the leader characteristics. The overall results are suggestive of a democratic advantage in the process of achieving effective health policy outcomes for promoting health and the wellbeing of the citizens in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, at least in the long run. Whilst there is evidence of more private and public investments in the health sector under democratic leadership, Government's health policy is virtually non-existent under dictatorships and public sector investment in the health sector is on the decadence.
    Keywords: Africa, health policy, public health, private health, child mortality, democracy, autocracy, political leaders
    JEL: I15 H51 O55
    Date: 2016–10
  2. By: Raquel Tebaldi (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "In the last decade, an increasing number of developing countries have started implementing social protection programmes with the objective, among others, of contributing to the eradication of poverty. In Africa, in particular, there has been an impressive growth in the number of non-contributory programmes over the last 15 years targeting poor and vulnerable households and individuals and serving various purposes such as reducing poverty and vulnerability, and improving health, education and food security among beneficiaries. Although the gender dimension of social protection has received little attention until recently, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that the impacts of these programmes are not gender-neutral and that there is a lot of potential to promote gender equality when gender-sensitive considerations are taken into account in programme design, implementation and evaluation". (?)
    Keywords: Gender, social protection, sub-Saharan Africa, general assessment, programme design
    Date: 2016–11
  3. By: Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz
    Abstract: Does economic standing cross-cut ethnicity in African electoral politics? In many countries in the region, ethnicity appears to be a major consideration in individuals’ political decision-making. However, there is significant variation in the extent to which coethnics support parties en bloc; while some ethnic groups exhibit high rates of similarity in terms of members’ preferred parties, others are more fractionalized. One factor that might affect the probability that an individual will support the plurality-choice party of his or her ethnic group is relative economic standing. I expect that, as the distance between an individual’s level of wealth and his or her ethnic group’s median level of wealth increases, the probability of the member supporting the most-favoured party of their coethnics decreases. In other words, economic considerations can cross-cut ascriptive identities. I test this expectation with data from 27 countries included in the fifth round of the Afrobarometer and find that individuals who are significantly different, in terms of wealth, from other members of their ethnic group are significantly less likely to support their group’s plurality-choice party. Specifically, economic difference increases non-partisanship and support for out-parties (i.e., those not their group’s plurality choice). Further, being a member of a group that has greater levels of within-group inequality reduces support for a plurality-choice party, while living in a country with higher levels of between-group inequality increases support for a plurality-choice party. The results suggest that some ethnic groups’ propensity towards bloc voting can be explained, at least partially, by group-level similarities in economic interests.
    Keywords: Africa, elections, ethnicity, inequality, parties
  4. By: Adom, Philip Kofi
    Abstract: This study contributes to the research on the economic growth, public debt and democracy relationship using the case of Ghana. We posit that, (1) the capacity of a country to tolerate higher debt is dependent on the quality of institutions, and (2) the growth enhancing effect of democracy depends on the initial debt levels. The results point to an inverse relationship between the quality of institution and the capacity of the country to tolerate higher debt. Further, the growth enhancing effect of democracy is crucially dependent on the initial debt-to-GDP ratio. Several robustness checks conducted confirmed these results.
    Keywords: Economic growth; Public debt; Democracy
    JEL: H63 O4 O43
    Date: 2016–11–11
  5. By: Goedhuys, Micheline (UNU‐MERIT); Mohnen, Pierre (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University); Taha, Tamer (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: Using recently collected firm-level data from Egypt and Tunisia, this paper explores the effect of institutional obstacles and corruption on the innovative behaviour of firms and their effect on firms' employment growth. We estimate the micro-level interactions between corruption and institutional obstacles and test the hypothesis that corruption 'greases the wheels' of firm performance when bureaucratic procedures are more severe and hampering innovation. Accounting for endogeneity and simultaneity, the paper uses a conditional recursive mixed-process model (CMP). The results show that corruption has a direct negative effect on the likelihood that a firm is an innovator, but a positive effect when interacted with institutional obstacles. This provides support for the hypothesis that corruption serves as a mechanism to bypass the bureaucratic obstacles related to obtaining the necessary business permits and licences for product innovation. These effects also resonate into firm growth, through their effect on product innovation.
    Keywords: Innovation, corruption, employment growth, Egypt, Tunisia
    JEL: L25 D73
    Date: 2016–10–11
  6. By: Acosta, Alejandro
    Abstract: The development path that the livestock sector follows in Africa will have important economic, social and environmental implications for the region. In recent years, livestock development has become highly market driven in Africa. In this regards, several studies have attempted to project the future market perspectives for the livestock sector. Most of these studies have used theory-based simultaneous equations model approaches. This paper argues that under the complex dynamics that characterize the market for livestock products in Africa a Vector Autoregressive model could be a more appropriate methodological approach. The results show that size of the livestock market in Africa can be partly explained by the past realizations of each subsector, the cross feedback effect of other subsectors, and the changes in the levels of gross national income and population. The paper highlights that market size for livestock products in Africa by 2030 could fluctuate considerably depending on the level of economic growth achieved in the region.
    Keywords: Market Perspectives, Livestock, Vector Autoregressive Model, Livestock Production/Industries, Marketing,
    Date: 2016–09

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